Human (and Internet) connections in Sayulita

4 min
Human (and Internet) connections in Sayulita

Key Take away.

Who said remote work and performance were mutually exclusive? We’re not just talking about couch work, either: for these GSoft employees, the sky’s the limit. Here are their stories!

Author :

GSoft

At GSoft, we are a fully (and proudly) distributed company. What does that mean, exactly? Well, in addition to having the freedom to work from our offices or from home, our employees can choose to do so from just about anywhere in the world, 150 days a year. And it works. Here’s how.

Human (and Internet) connections in Sayulita

Marc manages GSoft’s customer success team. Six months ago, he decided he wouldn’t be spending winter in Quebec.

Marc : “My partner and I subleased our apartment in Montreal and took off for Mexico. Our plan was to really just settle in and get the full experience: meet people, immerse ourselves in the local culture, etc. It’s been so much more than just a “trip”: I legitimately moved abroad, for six months.”

Where are you exactly? Tell us all about your new work environment!

Marc : “I’m on the West coast of Mexico, in a town called Sayulita. I rented a coworking space for the duration of our stay. The town has grown quite a bit in the last five years, but its infrastructure hasn’t! Sometimes the power goes out citywide, which made work challenging a few times. That’s just the reality of it here and we’re adapting to it.”

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What do you do when that happens?

Marc : “Generally, it comes back quickly. Phew! But once we were without power for two whole hours. Fortunately, I was able to let my team know, and I went out for a walk. We always have a plan B or a plan C just in case – that’s why we chose Mexico (oh, and for the surf and the beach, of course 😉).

It was amazing to have a few folks from GSoft make their way down to Sayulita as well! It was so much fun to work and hang out with my colleagues in a totally different environment.”

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You also received a promotion remotely! Congratulations!

Marc : “Thank you, it was nuts! But it goes to show just how feasible working from abroad is, or even remote work in general. My transition from account manager to manager of the customer success team all happened in Mexico. The interview and the internal mobility process went super well, including my work sample, which I was able to do in a private little room in our coworking space!”

Speaking of teamwork, how are you managing things remotely?

Marc : “As far as performance is concerned, nothing has changed. Whether I’m in Montreal or in Mexico or in the Eastern Townships, which I’ll be heading back to shortly, I interact with my coworkers the exact same way (although they do enjoy teasing me every now and then when I’ve gotten a bit of weekend sun: “Oh, it looks like someone had fun at the beach!” 😉). My entire team is spread throughout Quebec, and we have all the tools we need to work efficiently from anywhere.

The toughest to replace are the human connections. Some of my coworkers are now also my friends, so it’s really important to make time to interact socially outside of work. We’ve got some rituals down, though: Thirsty Thursdays, health breaks, Codenames battles, you name it! We do all this remotely and it’s had a positive impact on our productivity, engagement and on our team morale.”

Is there a funny anecdote or experience you’d like to share?

Marc : “There’s so many! I was once on a rather serious call and while I was talking, a bare-chested guy walked up behind me and started looking for a place to sit. My coworkers, who were watching it all play out, stopped me mid-sentence: “Marc, we’re completely distracted by what’s going on behind you, can you start over?” So yeah, remote work can sometimes be challenging, and sometimes quite hilarious !”

What have you taken away from all this (aside from managing to avoid the shirtless guy during your meeting)?

Marc : “The most important thing would have to be putting my well-being first. Being here lets me tap into a new culture, find cool yoga spots, connect with new people. I’ve created a network that’s allowed me to change my outlook and really embrace this new era of remote work. All of this has clearly been very beneficial for my mental health as well.

For me, work-life balance has become a necessity, a non-negotiable. It’s not every day you find a company like GSoft – we’re so fortunate to have the flexibility we have. I’m so grateful for it and I do everything in my power to help those who want to work remotely have an equally fruitful experience.

I also try to promote flexibility as much as I can on my team. I feel like small gestures throughout the day can have a huge impact on people’s well-being and productivity. For example, I encourage everyone to leave their desks for a few minutes at a time and do something completely different. It sounds simple enough, but it really helps us disconnect.”

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Any advice for someone who’s considering giving the remote thing a whirl?

Marc : “Keep in mind that anything is possible in this new reality of work. I’ve seen so many different people come through the coworking space in Mexico: families with 2-3 kids, couples, single people, etc. Everyone can adapt! Another essential point: to plan things out thoroughly and to make sure the Wi-Fi is reliable, or to have a plan B close by!”

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