Stepping away from tradition
While studying for a degree in science, Angus received some advice from one of his former high school teachers that would stay with him forever: “Always make sure you do something to spark your creative side.”
At the time, Angus had been pursuing traditional academic subjects like math and engineering because that’s what he thought he should be doing. But this advice pushed him to think differently. After switching to more creative subjects, he realized that his true passion lay in design. And it’s a decision that’s led him to where he is today.
As he was exploring design, one area, in particular, caught his attention: the psychology of human-computer interaction. Angus immediately knew he had found his true calling. He fell in love with just about everything to do with design when looking at it from the user experience (UX) perspective.
“When I first began to explore UX theory and concepts, I was intrigued. Typically, we think about design as the look or feel of an item and overlook its function. I can think of numerous examples where the design fails to meet the user’s needs or expectations. For example, take the TV control; most have tons of buttons, yet we only use about five. This can make for a frustrating experience and can be even problematic for some people.”
Now, over 10 years later, Angus has enjoyed a long and varied career in UX design. He’s worked at a design agency, a B2B fashion organization, and an accounting software company in his home country of Australia. It was during his time in the accounting industry, he took a bookkeeping course and became drawn to finance.
“As I got to know the subject more, I began to see how deeply personal it is. We are all impacted by our financial status and well-being, yet so many people know very little about it. It took me a while to figure out what sort of designer I wanted to be and where my skill set lies. Now, I get to enjoy the complexity and variability that working in finance brings, and it’s really rewarding.”
Bringing UX design to payroll
About four years ago, Angus moved to Amsterdam to be closer to his Dutch wife’s family. There, he continued to hone his UX skills. Then an opportunity arose to combine his design knowledge with his budding interest in finance. The Omnipresent team was hiring for a designer in our payroll team, and the role suited his skill set perfectly.
Angus joined Omnipresent as a Senior Product Designer in May 2022. He’s now part of the team responsible for making sure our client’s team members get paid accurately, on time, and in compliance with local regulations. This is a core part of our business, so we needed a sharp UX designer who could make the client and employee experience the best it can be.
“The best thing about my role is talking with people, understanding what they do, and then working out how we can help. I always try to look for solutions from the user’s perspective and bring that in, which is especially important when applied to something so crucial to people’s financial well-being–their payslip.”
And it’s not just the work that Angus finds great joy in; it’s his team, too: “Every person at Omnipresent has an interesting story and lives in an interesting place. There's never a dull moment on the phone or Zoom with someone here.”
How Omnipresent’s flexible work culture opened up endless possibilities
Like so many others, the COVID-19 pandemic irrevocably changed Angus’s life. For the first time, he was working at home and suddenly realized the opportunities this working style could offer him.
“It was a bit of an awakening for me. I discovered I didn’t need to live in a busy city or stay on the 9-5 treadmill. That’s why I leaped at the chance to join Omnipresent’s globally distributed team.”
Angus loves the freedom and flexibility that working for Omnipresent offers and is relishing the fact that he now has control and choice over how and where he works.
“By far the best thing about this way of working is that I get to spend every morning with my daughter and wife. I’m not missing out on anything from a work capacity, and instead, most days, I get to drop my daughter off at creche, and then I get to pick her up as well. This new way of working is beneficial for so many people, so I’m really proud to work for an organization that is helping more companies to offer this opportunity.”
Once a week, he currently goes to a co-working space in Amsterdam just for a change of scenery. It offers the best of both worlds. And after work, Angus can then take his daughter on a bike ride through the city and surrounding countryside.
“I like variety. In addition to having the flexibility around where we work, we also get to meet face-to-face a couple of times a year. I was incredibly fortunate that I got to travel to Marrakech to meet colleagues just before I started the role. Talk about an exciting start to a new job!”