Nitro’s Cameron MacPhee discusses her experience of switching to remote work, the challenges involved and how it can benefit the future of work.
The future is now for many workplaces as they try and figure out a whole new way of operating beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
Remote working has become much more common and while employers try to nail down policies and best practices, employees are figuring out what works best for them.
Cameron MacPhee is a talent brand specialist at software company Nitro and was fully remote when she joined the company.
During the pandemic, Nitro introduced a programme called ‘flexible forever’, allowing employees to choose when to work in the office and when to work from home. MacPhee is now working in a hybrid arrangement between her home and the company’s hub in Toronto.
‘Learning what can be an email and what needs to be a meeting can make all the difference’
– CAMERON MACPHEE
Have you always worked remotely?
I first experienced remote work during the beginning of the pandemic and the adjustment was a challenge for me as I work closely with my teams and value face-to-face meetings.
Like everyone else, I moved all my meetings and collaboration sessions online, adopted new tools to brainstorm virtually and manage projects. I’ve found better ways to structure my days based on my productivity levels and the schedules of my colleagues.
I believe we’ve all benefited in some way or another from the autonomy working from home has given us. Overall, I’m grateful to work at a company that offers us the choice to do so when we can.
Which skills have you found to be most important for working remotely?
Keeping yourself accountable for your responsibilities is an essential skill at any job, but even more so when working remotely, often on your own. Knowing how and when to communicate information is also incredibly important for remote work.
I work with Nitronauts across the globe and need to consider their work schedules and time zones when planning projects and organising teams.
Learning what can be an email and what needs to be a meeting can make all the difference in the efficiency and speed of project completion.
What were the biggest challenges you encountered while working remotely?
Coordinating schedules has always been difficult, but one challenge of remote work is that now everything, no matter how small or large, must be planned ahead of time.
There is no opportunity to stop by someone’s desk and ask their opinion or collaborate briefly over lunch. The reduction in organic conversation has made it challenging to work in people and culture because there are fewer opportunities to connect face to face.
In our office, we try to encourage everyone within reasonable traveling distance to come in on Thursdays. We make a point to meet at the end of the workday for a short happy hour so that we can talk and catch up with everyone.
It’s a great way for new employees to integrate into our workplace culture and get to know their co-workers outside their titles and task lists.
How do you stay productive when remote working?
I make sure to schedule down time for lunch, breaks and daily walks to give myself a break from the screen. Time away allows me to return, ready to jump into my next task.
What are some tools and techniques you’ve found particularly helpful while working remotely?
One thing the switch to remote work has afforded us is incredible online tools for collaboration. We use Monday.com to manage projects, share ideas and keep team members updated on timelines. I use it for everything and anything!
What do you most enjoy about doing your job remotely?
I can work with people all over the world! The people team is spread across Dublin, Toronto and San Fransisco. While our time zones differ because we work at different times throughout the day, it allows our team to work on projects continuously.
I greatly value being able to work with people across the globe, our company is a fantastic combination of people and cultures, and we’re better for that.
Is remote working something that suits everyone?
I don’t believe 100pc remote work suits everyone, myself included. I could not do my job correctly without being able to talk with my team members and understand their interests and concerns at Nitro.
I am a better face-to-face collaborator. Others are better dialled into their work at home. The option to choose what works for you and your role is an amazing thing born from the pandemic.
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