The idea for “work names” began to form when Morgan heard Amberly answer a client call: “Hello, this is Amberly from Lemonly.” It took further shape when Emily greeted an office visitor: “Welcome to Lemonly! I’m Emily.”
Morgan began to wonder — what if everyone at Lemonly had an -ly? An idea that began as an errant thought soon developed into a concept with the potential to become a unique and valuable part of our company culture. “Work names.” Adding an -ly to the end of each Lemonhead’s name, only during work hours.
Morgan brought her proposal to the leadership team, where it was met with some (understandable) skepticism. But soon they brought the whole team together to be briefed on the change. The first question on everyone’s mind: Why?
Life-work balance of work names
Work names serve as a cue for presence of mind both in and out of the office. When Lemonheads leave the office (or for remotes, when they turn off their computers), they take the -ly off their names and leave work at work. Tessly becomes Tess again. Brettly is Brett once more. Too many companies working in marketing and advertising are notorious for long hours and “hustle”-focused culture. By adopting our “work names,” we avoid letting work interrupt our personal time and vice versa.
Company branding + client experience
As our business development manager, Colinly probably has the best gauge on how our work names have helped cement our brand in our clients’ minds.
“I get a lot of questions about it,” Colinly says. “But, I mean, they definitely remember talking to me about it, and hopefully that means they remember Lemonly and our great work.”
For some of us, adopting a work name was adding only a letter (Amly). For others, it was a little more complicated (Allisonly). For Amberly, Emily, and Molly, there wasn’t a real change.
I wasn’t really sure about the whole thing at first.
— Ashtonly, senior designer
Dafne chose to go by Dafly instead of Dafnely — and her work name has become part of her side hustle as well. Under the stage name “DaFly,” she performs as an Icelandic electronic dance fusion DJ on the weekends.
“I wasn’t really sure about the whole thing at first,” Ashtonly admits. “But Morganly was so excited about it, and it does make us pretty unique. I made a print-out explanation of it to go with my business cards because it’s easier than trying to explain it to people.”
It’s definitely a process. Chrisly has worked from home every day since he was mistakenly called “Christy” on a client call. He did not respond to a request for a comment.
“I think the work names concept is a powerful disruption in the company culture sphere,” says Johnly. “I’m looking forward to seeing which other companies take it on. Adding -zon at Amazon? Adding -camp at Basecamp? I have a feeling this is going to be huge. People will remember that it started right here at Lemonly.”
UPDATE (APRIL 2)
OK, OK, we admit the “work names” idea was a silly prank for April Fools’ Day. We’ll revert back to our real names going forward, but keen, blog-reading clients are permitted to add -ly onto our names during calls, just for fun.