Introduction

Meghan Castillo is a Senior Learning Experience Designer with HubSpot. Skilled in eLearning development, learning needs analysis, facilitation, educational technology, cross-cultural communication & engagement, and inclusion of remote workers. She is also recognized as a member of 30 Learning Leaders Under 30 at Elliott Masie's Learning 2018.

Current Location?

Arlington, VA

Current Gig?

Senior Learning Experience Designer at HubSpot

Current Computer, Mobile, etc?

Windows, iPhone

Where can we follow you on the Internet?

LinkedIn

Describe how you work in 10 words or less?

I work best in blocks (1-2 hours intervals) and occasionally cuddle with my dog.

Tell us a little bit about your background & how did you get started with remote work?

I studied Political Science and Spanish, and am very passionate about helping people. I began my career as a teacher and then found my way through consulting and working with CPG companies in their Learning and Development functions.

My responsibilities have ranged from designing training programs and building eLearning courses, to analyzing survey and interview data, to traveling across the world to facilitate engaging training sessions.

I dabbled with remote opportunities when I had to relocate every 1-2 years for my husband’s job, or was working flexibly from another location but had never started a position as a net new remote employee before my current role with HubSpot.

I'm so thankful to have found a company that is not only supportive of remote work, but that's leading the way to build a truly collaborative and empowered hybrid workforce.

Aside: If you're interested in starting remote work, now maybe the best time amid all the tough situations surrounding this pandemic time. Start searching.

Take us through your typical weekday?

I typically wake up and walk the dog, then get a head start on email and self-development (podcasts, articles and blogs) before 8am. Right now my days are spent building a location-inclusive curriculum for our company on-boarding program.

I work best when I section 2-hour blocks to dive deep into project work, and often keep my meetings before 3pm. Depending on the day, I'll hop on to a 30-minute Zoom chat with my team or other remote colleagues to catch up and have an informal chat.  Sometimes I’m at my creative peak in the evenings around 7pm when I may pull out my laptop and work for thirty minutes to an hour while the creative juices are flowing.

I’m thankful to work at a company with a flexible culture where I’m able to adjust my working hours during the day to accommodate for these idiosyncrasies.

This prevents me from sitting and staring at my screens when I’m not being productive and means I don’t have guilt about stepping away during the 9-5 hours to walk the dog or have lunch with a friend.

What’s your workspace setup like?

Home office

I'm a big fan of changing things up, so after 6 months of working in my family room I’ve just relocated my desk in front of a few large windows (yay, natural light!). I have two monitors and often use my laptop screen as a third.

Above my laptop stand is an adjustable light to provide sufficient lighting during early morning or late night meetings with my colleagues across the globe. Photos of friends and family hang on the wall next to my desk to keep me motivated and bring a smile to my face.

We also suggest getting a good pair of headphones, especially if you are taking calls frequently.

How do you keep track of what you need to prioritize?

Recently my team has been using Smartsheet for a major project, and we have a fabulous project manager who has input dates, formatting, and details. It’s been incredibly helpful to work from a shared doc that we can all update in real time and hold 15-minute check-ins twice a week.

I also live by my Google calendar and add reminders or tasks for myself the moment I commit to something.

How do you recharge or take a break?

An afternoon walk with my dog or playing fetch with him really brightens my day. I often find that fresh air and nature help to clear my mind and allow for a quick recharge. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I’m looking forward to afternoon bike rides along the Potomac.

(Employee of the month… every month)

What are you reading currently? What do you recommend?

I’m currently reading “AI for Marketing and Product Innovation”. I’ve been meaning to get a better understanding of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for a while, so this book has been a helpful introduction to the technology and possibilities for implementation.

Advice for someone who is looking to switch to a remote job?

Be able to clearly articulate how you currently succeed in flexible and work from home environments. Think about the experience you have, then message that story to highlight your personal approach for managing your time, workload, and proving your credibility in these areas.

Clearly identify your communication preferences - how you prefer to receive feedback, your communication style and awareness of what you need.

What’s your favorite travel hack?

Pack in a carry-on! Even if I’m traveling for a three-week trip, I pride myself on packing smart and fitting everything in a carry-on. It saves me so much time and is easier to navigate crowded airports, cobblestone streets, or endless stairs (Hello, Positano!).

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

Always say yes to a [work] opportunity. Even though you’re unsure of how you will accomplish it, or if you fail - you’ll learn and grow.

I credit so much of my experience and success throughout my career to following this advice.

Often one intimidating experience opens doors to new ones that you couldn’t have imagined, including meeting new friends and mentors along the way.

What qualities would you recommend are a must-have for a person seeking a remote job?

Self-motivation, passion for your role and the work you’re doing, organization & time management, integrity, awareness, and adaptability.

What according to you are the pros and cons of remote work?

Pros:
Flexibility hands down, although this depends a lot on your work culture - do your research.

It’s priceless to me to be able to flex my schedule and work hours around my commitments, and especially to be able to work from wherever I may be - whether that’s my hometown in Michigan, my in-laws’ kitchen table during the holidays, or from my living room.

In my line of work, I focus on the cons as opportunities to improve our remote culture and better equip our remote employees for success.

Common cons are:

  • A lower level of social interaction (this can be combated by simply talking about this reality to generate awareness, encourage remote employees to help themselves and get involved in local groups and activities),
  • Decreased awareness of office talk/ad hoc brainstorming/politics (find an advocate, supportive manager, or coworkers who debrief you and keep you in the loop).

Want to work remotely like Meghan amid these tough times? Visit the DailyRemote's Job Board and apply to your dream job. Succeeding at a remote job interview is not as hard as one might think.