Interview with Siobhán McGinty

Siobhan McGinty1. Could you please introduce you? 

My name is Siobhán McGinty (twitter, instagram, LinkedIn) and I work at HubSpot. I’m a Principal Marketing Manager, focused on two things: 

  1. Carving out our International Customer Marketing strategy, with a primary focus on our core non-English-speaking regions: Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and Portuguese
  2. Partnering with our VP of International Marketing in developing our International Go-To-Market strategy

2. How did you start working remotely? 

I started working the Dublin office back in 2015. I’m from the West of Ireland myself and it was always in my plan to move back West eventually. I wanted to be closer to family, and the cost and quality of life is much better (in my opinion!). 

When myself and my partner started talking about moving, I discussed it with my manager and she was so, so supportive. She was open to finding a way to make it work, and I initially began working from home 2-3 days per week to get used to not being in the office.Then in October 2017, we moved to Galway and I haven’t looked back since. 

3. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?

For me, it’s flexibility. I work well early in the morning, and late in the evening. Working remotely means that I can work around a schedule where I’m most productive and engaged.  And being flexible means that I can be healthier — I can get to the gym in the middle of the day, cook healthy meals, and do my life admin far more efficiently.

By not having to commute, I’ve gained so much more time into my daily schedule and don’t have the stress of having to get somewhere at a specific time. For us, moving out of Dublin allowed us the opportunity to pursue our goals within our means and we’re currently building a house from scratch in the countryside.

HubspotFor my role in particular, which is very internationally-focused, it means that I can adjust my days to work with my international peers without being tied to the traditional 9-5.

For example, I was very focused on the Japanese market for the first part of the year. I used to get up at 5.30/6am for meetings, and finish up just after lunch time. This meant I got half a work-day with the team in Tokyo, which was so productive. I genuinely don’t think I’d have the mindset to do that if I was in the office every day. 

4. Have you experienced any disadvantages due to your remote work setting? 

Free snacks 😛 

Jokes aside, FOMO is the biggest thing to be honest. It’s hard to be away from celebrations or big news, but the remote community is a strong one and we make up for the FOMO in our own ways. 

I built up some really strong friendships in the office before I went remote, and both the team and I have worked hard to maintain those. I have quick 15-minute meetings dotted throughout the week/month which are dedicated to those “watercooler-type” chats. We don’t typically talk about work — we talk about what’s happening in our lives. Keeping friendships like that alive with teammates makes for more productive and trusting working relationships.

I also make an effort to visit the office at least every six weeks, even if it’s just for a day. I make an effort to go on team bonding activities, and Christmas parties. I honestly feel as much a part of the team today as I did three years ago when I was an office employee.

On my first visit to the office after I got engaged, the team threw a surprise engagement party for me, as well as a mini-hen party on my last trip before my wedding. We had prosecco, cake, balloons, music, speeches, and gifts. It was SO thoughtful. After two years of working remote, they still see me as being such a big part of the team, and that meant so much to me. 

5. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have started to work remotely? 

I’ve been based in Tuam, Co. Galway since I went remote. Funnily enough, I have no desire to travel and work. I travel a lot as part of my job — I was in Tokyo earlier this year, and visit Boston, Massachusetts (where our headquarters are located) very frequently. 

That being said, I appreciate the flexibility to work and travel and being able to visit my parents for a week and working from there as they get older.

6. From what type of place do you prefer to work? 

I work from my home full time. I have a dedicated place in my house which I have turned into my office. Routine is everything to me. I like waking up, getting ready for work, making my coffee, and sitting down in front of my laptop in a space dedicated to work. 

That being said, I’m generally very productive when I work from the hairdressers every 8 weeks 🙂 

7. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe in remote work?

That they are missing out on a huge talent pool, and a great way to retain top talent. We have over 200 remote employees at HubSpot and they are among our happiest employee cohorts at the company. I truly believe that the world will only become more remote in the future, so now’s the time for companies to start building out a framework for remote employees to be successful. 

In addition, you’re probably missing out on ways to save money — you save on hiring costs if your retention metrics improve; and real estate if you don’t need office space.

8. What tools do you use to work remotely? (productivity, communication, etc.)

We use Slack and Zoom. We work collaboratively in Google Docs. We have some smart boards in some of the meeting rooms too which help with whiteboarding.

9. How do you manage your payments and taxes as a remote working professional/business?

I just get paid like any other Irish employee. 

10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?

Invest

Invest time and money in researching tools and set-ups required to enable employees to have a good and productive experience. We actually have a Remote Work and Inclusion Program Manager whose job it is to ensure that use remote workers have what we need to be happy, productive, successful, and long-term employee at HubSpot. She’s amazing. We also train our managers on how to manage a remote team.

Trust 

If you hire the best people, there should be no concerns over trust. I feel like my manager trusts me completely to do my job and that means a lot. She’s never checking in to ensure I’m working when I’m “supposed” to be. I work flexible hours, and she trusts that I’m getting my work done. It’ll be really obvious if I’m not getting my work done once I start missing my goals/deadlines! 

Lead by example 

Have senior people work remote. My manager is the VP of International Marketing, and she works remote from Sweden. We also have lots of other very senior folks working remote, and their impact is undeniable. 

Set guidelines

One of my early frustrations working remote was the lack of guidelines — what I could and couldn’t do. Things like expensing trips to the office, what hardware I was entitled to, how flexible I could be with working hours. HubSpot has solid guidelines in place now as we have so many remote workers, so it’s far easier for new remote workers to get access to that kind of information today! Investing time in creating those (ever-evolving!) guidelines is crucial.

Be inclusive

Sometimes, if we have rebrand or a product launch, the team products t-shirts and stickers and hands them out in the office. In the early days as a remote employee, I missed stuff like that (it sounds ridiculous, but I felt like I was missing out on stuff culturally). Now, us remote folks get stuff like that posted to us and it’s absolutely lovely! Our culture team also runs initiatives like “bring your kids to work” to mark holidays such as Fathers Day. This year, remote dads got a care package full of fathers day goodies posted to them so they didn’t feel left out. 

Another lovely thing HubSpot did was, they recently rebranded our office locations, and gave each office location some imagery. They included “Remote” as an official location with its own imagery, which says a lot about HubSpot’s dedication to their remote workforce.

Build a community

We have a Slack channel full of all the remote workers at HubSpot (Remote-Spotters!). It’s such a nice community. Topics range from things like how we stay focused, to the best WeWork locations, to meal prep, to dogs, to how we get our house work done! We also have a Remote Watercooler meetings every Wednesday, where a Zoom link is dropped into the channel and we can job drop in and chat about whatever we want. Believe it or not, we’ve also got remote yoga. Again, over Zoom, one of our remote yogis runs a yoga class for anyone who wants to drop in! 🙂 

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