1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Claire McEachern and I joined the Voodle team remotely in April of 2021 after moving across the country, from Portland, OR to Sarasota, FL during the pandemic — as a new mom with a kid under 1! Our family is East Coast based and after a decade out West, we decided we wanted to be closer now that we had a little one of our own.
I’m extremely passionate about products that make remote worker’s lives better, which is what drew me to Voodle. Voodle is an async short video platform that was purpose-built for remote teams to create working moments that matter — without another meeting. From hiring, to managing and motivating a team, Voodle’s tool helps people managers and team members connect authentically, save time, and showcase their humanity with the power of video.
As the Director of Demand Generation for an early stage startup, I am responsible for building marketing programs, channels, and operations from the ground up as well as contributing to the evolution of the product, company, and culture. It’s a really exciting time and place to be!
2. What motivated you to choose remote working?
Definitely multiple factors! As a new first-time mom, I wanted to take advantage of the flexibility that can come with a remote role and be available for “all-the-things” that come with parenting — sick kiddos, appointments that can only happen M-F and 9-5, special occasions, and extra hugs.
The COVID-19 pandemic was definitely a factor in that I wanted the option to not have to work in a cramped office, take a packed elevator into work, and be set up to work from home should any type of illness creep into our family.
Moving across the country to a new market without a lot of connections was also a consideration. By choosing remote-based opportunities, I was able to apply to a broader set of companies and ultimately join a company that is a great culture and position match. Location wasn’t an issue and I love working with a distributed team, which has deep West Coast roots, while enjoying the palm trees and tropical life that Florida has to offer.
3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations?
I’m not going to lie, coming back to work as a new mom was hard and doing it remotely was an even harder transition than I expected. I feel really lucky to have rejoined the workforce with a company that not only focuses on curating a great culture but really lives and breathes that commitment with its product. The Voodle team was exceptionally welcoming and I got to know my colleagues' quirky and fun nature through our product via videos of their pets, pizza making adventures, and gardening triumphs.
While hard, working remotely has definitely lived up to my expectations. I am able to create a balance between my work and personal life while also creating new and fulfilling experiences and relationships. There are certainly IRL experiences that I miss but I look forward to creating different ones in the remote cloud and taking advantage of the time we do get in-person through retreats and other events.
4. How did you find remote working roles?
I found roles through recruiters and the old-fashioned way of filtering for “remote” on job boards. I knew that’s the type of role I wanted and was very clear about that in my search and interview opportunities that came my way. Since I was applying during the pandemic, there were a plethora of options and it seemed like as time went on more and more remote opportunities became available. At the time, I did not find a lot of strictly remote job boards; however, I think that is becoming more commonplace.
5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you?
Best: The Flexibility. And, I mean that in so many ways. Whether that’s in choosing my wardrobe (no heels!), shifting hours when the need arises, having access to “my stuff” throughout the day, or giving my dog “coworker of the month” awards every month. Getting to hug and belly rub a 90 lbs golden retriever throughout the day is definitely a work perk.
Good: The Change. By working remotely, I’ve changed my perspective on how work gets done and how to communicate better. It’s also forced me to examine my own communication patterns - for better or worse - and make some changes demanded by a remote working environment.
The Worst: The Loss of Casual Collaboration. Those little ah-ha moments by the microwave or the bathroom line - I miss those. But, I also don’t miss having to wait in either line; so, it’s a fair trade-off. In all seriousness though, while I do miss those moments, I’m lucky in that I work with a team that intentionally provides space for them to exist in team culture activities plus our product is built for solving that exact problem.
6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely?
Voodle :) Slack, Google for Business, Asana, Zoom. I use Skitch for screenshots and also Canva & Promo for creative production and collaboration. Our tech stack also includes Miro, Frame.io and HubSpot, which all allow us to collaborate as a team in a digital-first realm.
7. Your most exciting/ hilarious experience since you started working remotely.
We do a weekly culture activity with the team and recently we did a charades type of game. I had the card for piggy bank, and couldn’t say words normally associated with it like money or farm, and found myself blurting out “dolla, dolla, oink oink” as the clue. The team and I started laughing so hard we couldn’t finish the round.
8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker?
- Find ways to connect and share bits of yourself.
- If you are an introvert, find and take advantage of async tools to share your unique viewpoint and contributions because it is often difficult to insert your voice in Zoom meetings.
- If you are an extrovert, find ways to bring in the introtroverts and make an effort to not jump in and always fill the awkward silences with your voice.
- Find an onboarding buddy who you can share the highs and lows of joining a new team with
9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals?
I look forward to continuing to merge creative, strategic, and operations-focused skills in order to bring Voodle’s product to market and help remote managers and workers make a sustainable shift to the new way of working.
10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?
I think the current move towards “hybrid” is just a stepping stone to more and more companies being remote-first. Hybrid is the most difficult to pull off but I think many companies have a lot of fear around shifting too quickly to pure remote. “Work from anywhere” is only going to continue to scale. I, for one, am excited about it. I strongly believe distributed teams are more inclusive and bring more diverse voices and perspectives to the table. The future is bright!
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