Working remotely helps me live my best introverted life
September 2, 2020
Rebecca Ramos is senior marketing designer at Shogun. She graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design. When she’s not running, making music, binge-watching “The Office” or drinking epic amounts of coffee, you can find her designing everything from web pages to landing pages for Shogun Frontend.
In this Q&A, Rebecca talks about her experience as a designer who’s worked exclusively in ecommerce — and remotely(!) — her whole career thus far.
Rebecca joined the team in December 2019.
Question: Can you share some background on your career path, pre-Shogun?
Answer: Before Shogun, I was a brand designer at an ecommerce startup that scaled to about 80 employees. That’s where I got started with all types of visual design, from package design for clients to brand systems for the company. I was also in school full time for design — so, there were a few years of learning at a very exciting hands-on pace at both school and work!
I’ve only worked at startups and all my work (freelance included) has been in the ecommerce industry, interestingly enough. Everything has also been entirely remote, which has definitely molded how I work, too.
A: It wasn’t intentional, but it’s scary how well it works with my lifestyle and personality!
I started my last job as an intern, so it was light remote work helping clients with ecommerce. Then, there was an immediate need for those clients to have nice visuals, so the role really blossomed into a full-time design role and eventually a brand design role once the company grew and went in a SaaS direction. I was able to stay remote even after the company got an office, though.
Working remotely has been great, honestly; I’m an introvert, I love being able to focus on deep work and I’m not crazy about driving, so it works well, haha.
Q: I’m curious: Have you ever wanted to work in a physical office space?
A: Not really! I feel like dressing up every day could potentially make me feel a little stiff instead of feeling comfortable and creative. But that’s my love for sweatpants talking, maybe. I do love the collaboration that can happen in person and the fluidity of sharing where you are in your process with someone.
Sometimes remote work is just more async by nature, which can be hard to get feedback along the way. Tools like Figma, Loom and Zoom are really narrowing that gap, though, and making it 100x more natural to work collaboratively — even from a distance — which has been transformative.
Q: Jumping off that point, how do you manage your time, take breaks and establish work vs. personal time?
A: I used to work in a super-artsy coworking space in Atlanta called Switchyards, but recently moved. Now, I have a dedicated office so I can live out my most introverted, happy life!
But, truthfully, attaining a balance has been hard for me.
I’m a workaholic and deeply enjoy designing. I also love having a project, so it was hard for me to strike a balance between work and leisure with so much overlap. What’s worked best for me is sprints. So, taking two hours to fly through a big design concept, then taking a 20-minute break to watch YouTube videos, take a walk, eat lunch — anything unrelated to the design. Then, I can come back fresh.
For bigger projects, I might come back the next day to be really sure I’m fresh. This helps me stay objective vs. staring at something for 10 hours until I’m too close to tell where to go next.
So, to recap:
I work in sprints. Again, I love them. They keep things fluid and I’m able to get all my ideas out in a no-pressure way.
I ask for feedback early in the process. This has been really helpful for me, too. Even from a friend or non-designer — I just ask for unbiased feedback. This helps maintain that non-ego-driven design for me and helps me stay objective.
I take breaks. Breaks are healthy and help me get away from my screen. I also try to log out for the day and turn off notifications. This helps me make sure I have the evening to relax and reset. Sometimes I can even think through a design solution on my run better than I could’ve in front of my computer.
I’ve learned that the time you take to rest is given back to you tenfold, even though resting doesn't always come naturally to me.
Q: Any tips specific to those also designing in a remote environment?
A: I love making Loom videos to explain my designs as I share them with others. Talking through things out loud is just helpful and gets me out of my own head.
As far as the environment, my advice would be to again take breaks and have boundaries between work and rest time. Also, coworking spaces are great if you don’t have a dedicated home space or if you enjoy being in a somewhat-social environment.
Q: I love how forthcoming you are about being an introvert and appreciating an out-of-office work setting. How does working at Shogun help you live your best introverted life?
A: It's so nice to have the support and communication of a team without all of the face time and distraction of an in-office setting. Especially with design — we have such a great team to lean on for invaluable feedback, but I'm also to really able to focus uninterrupted when we're not in meetings (which is most of the time). This helps me personally do my best work but also not get burnt out by switching gears or being "on" all day, which I really struggle with if I'm around people constantly.
It just works really well for me; I never feel like I need to decompress after work.
Also, those rare times that I'm feeling scattered, I can log out and come back later in the day, no questions asked. It's just really empowering and I feel so lucky that that type of balance and trust exists here.
Q: How does working at Shogun compare to your experiences at past companies?
Shogun is entirely different because remote-focus is a cornerstone of the brand, basically. I love how passionate leadership is about creating the best remote company out there. It really empowers us to lean into working remote, use collaborative tools and give suggestions to keep making our remote teamwork even better.
This remote blog itself is a testament to that goal of becoming the best remote team. And I feel like we’re on our way!
Each team member is trusted as an expert in their field. So, from the start, you feel empowered to do your best work and supported by having the resources to do so.
I truly feel encouraged to have a better work-life balance — which helps me be a better designer and a better real-life human, too!
Are you interested in joining our fully remote and globally distributed team? View the open positions at Shogun and apply today!
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