From being a skeptic to a solid advocate of remote work

1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself? 

Hey y’all! My name is Gabriel and I’m a growth marketer (and the first marketing hire) at V2 Cloud. V2 Cloud is the simplest and fastest Cloud desktop available. A cloud desktop is a great tool to get your IT managed without having to deal with a firm, and you can use it to work remotely also.

I was born in Quebec. I studied business management with a major in marketing and I moved out to Quebec city to find a job that was fitting my ambitions. A year after my graduation, I quickly became interested in the tech startup scene.

The thing is, there aren’t a lot of tech startups in Quebec city, and I needed to show that I would be the best choice for them. As a recent graduate, it’s hard to be recognized when you don’t have fantastic work experiences. So I woke up early, became even more obsessed about startups and software, until after a couple of months, I got a reference from another company that interviewed me to meet up with Mathieu, the CEO of V2 Cloud.

I’ve been managing the marketing department of V2 Cloud for 7 months now, and I’m pretty excited to show remote businesses the power of cloud desktops! 😀

2. What motivated you to choose remote working?

Remote work was a dream that I was caressing, but didn’t think it was possible. I did an internship at a pharmaceutical company and in three months, I remember that I did like maybe 5 or 6 days of telework because of the bad weather (snowstorms in Canada are not a joke, people). And those days were really less productive than I thought it would be.

So, the beginning of my relationship with remote work was not the best, because I was wondering how it would be possible to work from home with all of those distractions around me. After this internship, I worked for about a year in a small business, having to drive 45-50 min every day, in a cubicle without a window and four people all around me. 

I started to become depressed, wondering if that’s all that life has for me. I also started to talk with someone on LinkedIn that was offering me some SEO contract on the side, and that guy was a complete digital nomad. I was not necessarily interested in traveling all year long, but it was sounding like a dream compared to my situation.

When I got interviewed at V2 Cloud, my principal goal was the fact that I was going to work in a tech startup. That was all that was driving me. I didn’t care if I had to relocate to Montreal or Toronto. All I wanted was to work in a field that I was passionate about. 

But during the interview, my boss told me that it was a fully remote job. I wasn’t sure if this work-frame would fit me, but the motivation to thrive in a tech startup was bigger than my insecurities and I was going to do everything possible to make sure that I would be a perfect fit.

3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations? 

My initial months were focused on two things: 
– Understanding our technology
– Learning how to work remotely

Cloud desktops are an IT-related product and I come from a Marketing background. So, even though I’m a technology enthusiast, I’m far from an expert in it. I took a lot of time to understand what I was going to promote and even today, when someone asks me what I’m working on, it can be challenging to summarize what V2 Cloud is! 🤕

The part when I “learned” to work remotely, is special, because the learning was pretty brief. It’s more about getting more disciplined, ensuring a better work process and knowing the best way to get the work done. Really, I believe this is always a work in progress.

I think I might have learned slowly a little bit at first, but now I think I’m a valuable player in our startup. I’m still learning every day and I’m always trying to find new ways to be more and more productive when I’m in front of my laptop.

4. How did you find remote working roles? 

As I said, I didn’t check a lot of remote jobs, the job found me. But I know that there are a handful of websites that can be relevant for the remote worker. I just think that, if you’re looking for a remote job, you should find a business that speaks to you and that you really hope to land, and not only because it is a remote job. Working remotely is a huge perk, but you should always be driven by a company mission or product first.

Here are a few websites that I like to find a remote job on: (this one is focused on remote marketing jobs)

Also, a nice tip would be to apply even if you don’t see a job offer. You don’t know what the company is dealing with at the moment, and they might see your submission as a new title.

I also think that if you’re in a non-remote job position, you can maybe tweak your way into having a part-time remote job (like 2 or 3 days a week). And if you need data, my friend Boris Borisov of Remote More, showed me those powerful statistics about remote work.

5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you? 

Remote work is really nice. You can work from anywhere, adapt your life schedule more freely, and get more done. But like everything in life, it’s not perfect. Here’s what I think about remote work.

The best: It is certainly the fact that you can adapt your work around your life, and not the contrary. It doesn’t matter if you’re a night owl or an early bird, as long as you get the work done. I had to change my car tires and during the hour and a half that it took, I was able to keep working. This is clearly the best advantage that you’re getting. Being focused on results instead of the amount of time spent at work.

The good: While I’m writing these lines, I’m currently in Oviedo in Spain. The good part is certainly that if you’re sick of always seeing the same things day after day, you can take a few weeks to discover a new country and still crush your objectives at work. Another nice part is that you’re more productive. I’m a productivity fanatic. I’m always trying to discover new ways to achieve my work faster and better. Remote work stops the casual office distraction. It’s you and your tasks, better get to work. 

The worst: I would say that, on my end, the worst aspect of remote work is the lack of work relationships. I love to talk to my colleagues and share about our weekends and I don’t find this aspect with remote work.

You can still have like virtual coffee breaks, team meetings, 1 on 1 chats, but it’s still not the same thing as drinking a beer with your work friends on Friday before leaving for the weekend.

6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely? 

It’s important to have great tools to work better, especially when working remotely. Here are the top three tools I’m using:

V2 Cloud: Shameless plug here, I know. At the same time, I would not be able to be efficient at work without V2 Cloud. Whether I’m using my work laptop or my personal computer, I’m enjoying a great desktop performance with the cloud, much more than if I was using a casual desktop. I can have 20 tabs open, talking on Slack, designing something in photoshop, while having a Zoom meeting (it’s an example, please don’t work during your team meeting) and my cloud desktop would barely feel it. Plus, it’s really simple to connect to new apps, share my view to our support team, and stay protected from cyberattacks.

Asana: When you’re a remote worker, you need to bring results. The only way to do so is to be organized. Asana is my best experience so far to manage my projects effectively. In my past job experiences, I was using Trello. Maybe it’s the Kanban Board design, but Trello didn’t work for me. Asana enables me to filter my tasks by due date, and this is a game changer when planning my week workflow. The free version is also a nice way to start and you can add a few colleagues to manage multiple projects together.

CloudApp: A part of my job is to work with our devs to adapt the website for our customers. Because we are working remotely, I cannot just show my screen to convey how I want a specific design to be. CloudApp is a screenshot and annotation app. I use it daily to show parts of our website to the devs, add notes, put arrows to highlight something, etc. This might sound like a simple tool, but this is really indispensable for my work.

Other than that, the classic headphones and laptop stand are mandatory in my opinion. 🤷‍♂️

7. Your most exciting/ hilarious experience since you started working remotely.

I think one of the most exciting things about remote work that I found is that I’m always pushing the limits of where I can work. To be fair, the best is to have a dedicated place to work so you can work at your best, but sometimes you don’t have this luxury. The key is that, when I’m in front of my computer with my headphones, I’m 100% dedicated to my work. 

I followed my brother one day when he was going to see the doctor, and I worked in the waiting area. In Spain, I had to carpool, so I put my smartphone as a hotspot and worked during our 5-hour drive. It seems that the more I work, the more I find myself in weird places to work, but I think that’s pretty cool. Of course, there are certain conditions you need to respect to still be focused and productive, but working in unusual places is fun.

8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker? 

My golden advice for a new remote worker would be to learn the most you can about the way you work in a typical workplace. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Are you able to stay focused for a long period of time, or are you easily distracted? Do you listen to music or do you prefer a complete silence? These are all really important for you, because you need to know what helps you achieve your best productivity state.

In a casual workplace, if you’re productive in the morning and pretty tired in the afternoon, you can adapt your golden timespan to your remote schedule. At my end, I know that around 2 PM, I don’t have a lot of energy left. So, I start my day with my hardest tasks of the day and I try to keep my meeting in the PM. There is no perfect way to work remotely. You just have to understand when you are at your best, and adapt with your colleagues’ timezone for your meetings.

9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals? 

I think I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to work for a great technology startup and also for being a remote employee. I’m unsure if I would be able to switch back to a regular work structure because remote means freedom and trust for me.

I see my career shaping up as me becoming better and better in digital marketing and maybe one day, having the possibility of managing a whole department of V2 Cloud, either marketing or operations. 😎

I think an excellent way of shaping your career is seeing it as a marathon and not a sprint. Of course, I’m in marketing so I always want more growth, more leads, and more visits, but at the same time, it’s more important to keep progressing slowly than rushing your way into it and hitting a wall after a while. One thing for sure, you must see yourself in the future of the company you’re working on. Otherwise, your future might not shape up the way you’re imagining it.

10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?

I expect remote work to have a bigger place in the future, since businesses will understand that freedom and trust are crucial elements in an employee’s happiness. It’s easier for people all around the world to find work without needing to abandon everything to move to a new country. 🤠

Since I have been working remotely, I’m a solid advocate of this workstyle. Even if people are saying that remote work is not a fit for them, I believe that the human mind has an incredible capacity for adaptation, and that it’s possible to have success that way. A great community of makers are building remote tools for businesses and I’m fairly certain that, in the near future, remote work won’t be a trend, but a necessity everywhere. I mean, traveling 5 days a week to go work in an office for 8 hours a day might have been logical 30 years ago, but now, we have the technology to manage a business without any physical office, so why not?

11. Where can we follow you on? 

You can follow me on LinkedIn, I don’t post often but I always answer. You can also follow V2 Cloud on Twitter and LinkedIn as well. Happy to chat with you guys!

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