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How I stay connected with my team while 100% remote

Liat Cohen, Canva’s Product Marketing Manager, shares her experience working remotely and tips for staying connected and collaborative from anywhere.

I’ve been working remotely for over a year as a Product Marketing Manager at Canva, and am excited to share some insights for anyone about to embark on a similar journey. Flexibility and connection are both incredibly important at Canva, so what does this look like — and how do I stay connected with my team while working remotely?

The Benefits of Remote Working

As many of us know, remote work can have a range of advantages — from a better work-life balance and less commuting stress, to more independence around your location and the flexibility to choose your working hours at times. While I love lots of things about working remotely, one aspect that definitely stands out for me is the ownership I have over how my day is structured.

I joined Canva back in 2021 as part of Product Marketing. Back then, we were a team of just four across Australia and the US. Today, we’ve grown into a team of more than 20 people across Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. As a Product Marketing Manager, I often have a lot of meetings from brainstorms to strategic jams, and check-ins with stakeholders, but being in San Francisco, I’ve been able to use the time difference as an advantage.

Because most of my team is based in Australia, I’m able to spend my mornings on focused work before the rest of the world wakes up and my meeting-packed afternoon starts to ramp up. I wasn’t sure I would, but I really love working cross-globally, and Canva is particularly good with empowering folks from different time zones to unplug at an hour that makes sense to them.

Liat’s home office with a view

Of course while staying connected with your team is important in any role, it takes a bit more intentional effort as a remote worker. Below are a few of the things I’ve found helpful, plus a few things we do at Canva to ensure we’re always connected and collaborating — no matter where or how we each choose to work.

Create Balance Throughout Your Day

We all know living a balanced life is really important for your physical and mental wellbeing, but it also has a major impact on your productivity while working remotely. I’ve been focusing on dividing my days into four parts; carving out time for work, socializing, hobbies, and movement. This helps me feel balanced and recharged as well as more present with my team — so remember to get outside for a walk and chat with someone who’s not on a screen!

Make the Most out of Collaborative Tools

When you’re interviewing for a hybrid or remote role, make sure to ask about what tools are used to collaborate and communicate remotely. We use Canva for just about everything when it comes to collaboration and our day-to-day work, but we’re also big fans of Slack and Zoom for communicating without needing to be in the same room. It’s also handy to have weekly recurring team meetings to check in on work and life, as well as running docs that outline priorities, actions, and where support is needed for the week.

Invest in Building Relationships

While it’s easy to hyperfocus on day-to-day projects as you’re working and collaborating remotely, it’s really important to make time for relationships and friendships. The good news is that this can also be done remotely. My team has run a whole bunch of creative virtual activities from cooking classes, to trivia and tea parties, where we’ve all had the opportunity to get to know each other outside of our day-to-day work. If you don’t have a team event planned, now is a great time to put one on the calendar. Small things also make a big difference — starting meetings with icebreakers and newbie presentations has helped our team to build rapport, even just asking “how are you?” and really meaning it when meeting with a teammate virtually.

Virtual cooking class

Make Time to Visit Your Closest Office Hub

It’s also important to embrace opportunities to connect in person from time to time. I’m lucky to have a fellow product marketer in San Francisco, so we try to meet regularly for coffee and a ‘walk n’ talk’. We also have monthly meet-ups with everyone at Canva who is based in San Francisco where we catch up for things like themed lunches, drinks, or picnics.

If you’re lucky enough to have an office in your city, making the effort to visit can go a long way. Even if you don’t have any of your own team members located there, it’s a great way to get outside your bubble and get to know someone you don’t work with directly. Canva has just opened a shared office space in San Francisco, so I’m looking forward to heading in from time to time.

A San Francisco meet-up

How Canva Supports Remote Working

Last year, Canva introduced its model for the future of work focused on balancing flexibility and connection, which means we’re only required to visit our local campus eight times a year. And while there are times when in-person collaboration can be the most practical option, I really value how Canva recognizes the importance of flexible working practices.

We also have access to an annual allowance called ‘Vibe and Thrive’ which supports us no matter where or how we’ve chosen to work. I’ve used the allowance for pilates classes, but we can use it for things like sprucing up our home office, a gym membership, books, dinner with a teammate, or educational resources - pretty much anything that will help us to thrive.

Coffee catch-up

There’s so much to learn as the future of work continues to evolve and I’m grateful to work for a company that balances flexibility and connection. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about hybrid work over the last year, so I hope some of these tips were helpful for you.

If you’re thinking about a hybrid role, or if you’d like to join the Canva team, we’d love to hear from you! You can explore all of our open positions here.