Remote Work Across Time-Zones: An Insider Interview with Maxi, Engineering Manager at Indicina
Insider is an interview series that delves into the personal journeys of our exceptional talents at Indicina. In this episode, Adeola speaks with Maxi, an Engineering Manager at Indicina, about the thrill and challenges of working remotely from a different country.
Adeola: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your role at Indicina?
Maxi: My name is Maximiliano Cruz, and I’m an Engineering Manager here at Indicina. Mostly, I work in the engineering team. Actually, I was managing Decide until just about one month ago. Now I manage the engineering team in general, and I work fully remotely from Argentina.
Adeola: Nice. How long have you been working with us at Indicina, and what initially attracted you to the company?
Maxi: I’ve been with Indicina for two years. I was attracted to the opportunity to continue working in the FinTech space, as I have a lot of experience working there.
I also loved the thought of building something new in Nigeria. I mean, in Nigeria, there is not much credit infrastructure. So, building it from scratch, and connecting to different banks, different organisations, different data providers, sounded interesting to me.
I also enjoy remote work and wanted to take on a management role.
Adeola: Right, thank you very much! I think one of the things that also attracted me was the opportunity to work remotely. I think it just makes everything easy.
Maxi: Yes. There’s no hard schedule and you’re more free to plan and manage your time.
Maxi’s Background & Indicina Story
Adeola: Yeahhh... I’d like you to share highlights of your career journey leading up to your current position at Indicina.
Maxi: I started as a front-end engineer in a small startup in the FinTech sector. Then I became a full-stack developer and eventually started leading front-end and back-end teams. After that, I joined a large software company called Mercado Libre, where I gained experience in managing issues at scale and transitioning to remote work.
Eventually, I wanted to work outside of Argentina. So, I started looking at different proposals and then Indicina came in. I thought about all the reasons that I mentioned earlier and then decided to move.
Also, I knew it was a startup. Moving from a large organisation to a startup also has its challenges, but I was happy to take on those challenges.
Adeola: I see you enjoy a good challenge.
Adeola: What do you enjoy most about working at Indicina, and how does the company culture contribute to your experience?
Maxi: Indicina has a great remote culture, which I appreciate. People adapt well to different situations, and even newcomers make an impact. The company culture also promotes a positive and fun atmosphere, even in chat conversations.
How Maxi Works Remotely
Adeola: What unique challenges do you face working remotely from a different country?
Maxi: The challenges include adapting to different time zones, ensuring effective asynchronous communication, and working in English as a non-native speaker. Documentation, self-management and transparency have been very important to overcome these challenges.
Adeola: You mentioned the different time zones as one of the challenges. How do you manage this and ensure effective communication with your teammates?
Maxi: I think that how I manage it is by trying to provide as much transparency as possible, in terms of what I am asked and what I am doing. So that’s key, I think transparency is key to that.
And also self management, being able to plan. I mean, not only managing the resources in a team, but also managing your own time, being able to plan your day, and providing visibility on what you’re working on.
Also, agreeing on response time frames, clear and specific communication, preparing for meetings, and promoting collaboration, whether synchronous or asynchronous, are very crucial.
Adeola: So, when working remotely, I think one tends to spend a lot of time working, because you’re not leaving your space. How do you manage that and maintain a work-life balance?
Maxi: Well, to be honest, I have implemented some practices that I saw in a course some time ago.
One thing I’ve always done is keep a separate space for work. I have my office at home, a dedicated room where I go and work. The rest of the home is for all kinds of things. This helps me maintain balance because when I’m in my office with the door closed, my family knows that I’m doing something important and they shouldn’t disturb me. The same applies when I leave my office. I know that I’m at home, but in a different space. By having all my work-related things in one place, it helps me separate work and personal life.
Another practice I follow is planning my day. I review my calendar in advance, plan what I can achieve, and focus on those tasks. Once I’ve completed my planned work for the day, I step out of the office and engage in other activities. I try not to worry about the next day until it arrives.
It’s important to understand that even when working from home and having a separate office, life still happens. Sometimes my daughter is not at school or she requires my attention when she arrives before my workday ends. I accept that these things may happen and that I can come back to work later. Embracing these unexpected situations and not stressing about them is an essential part of working asynchronously and from home.
Adeola: Yes, I agree with you on keeping a separate space for work physically and mentally, and I think it also helps to plan your day well.
Maxi Outside Work
Adeola: So, speaking of things outside work, could you share a fun or interesting fact about yourself that most people at Indicina may not know?
Maxi: Oh wow… Let me see. Does it have to be fun?
Adeola: Well, something interesting.
Maxi: I think it’s the fact that I’m a fencer. I really like the sport. It helps me reduce stress. If I don’t engage in physical activity at the end of the day, I may have trouble sleeping. So, I enjoy staying active. Additionally, I’m a perpetual philosophy student. I study philosophy for fun.
Adeola: Do you watch football or any other sport?
Maxi: Lately, I haven’t been watching much football. I used to watch it more when I was younger. Nowadays, I really enjoy playing sports myself. I play hockey, and I find great joy in it. Occasionally, I still watch sports, but not every day.
Adeola: So, for my final question. In the last quarter, the company has been big on improvement, development, learning, and taking courses. Are there any areas of professional development or skills you’re currently focusing on to further enhance your career?
Maxi: Right now, I’m primarily focused on management training. GitLab, one of the largest remote companies, has an entirely remote workforce and a comprehensive handbook that outlines their practices for delivering value and maintaining high-performance teams. I’m studying their approaches and also taking remote management courses.
Closing the Curtains with Maxi
Adeola: Awesome! Thank you very much for that. I think that’s everything I have for you. Do you have any questions for me?
Maxi: I don’t have any questions. Maybe, if you get some insights in the course of your interviews, on things that we can improve, if you can share, I’ll really appreciate that.
Thanks for the interview, and I hope it was successful.
Adeola: Yes, It was! Thank you!
That brings us to the end of our conversation with Maxi, an Engineering Manager at Indicina, where he highlighted the importance of effective communication, time management and adaptability, as he works remotely from Argentina.
We hope that this interview has provided you with valuable insights and practical tips for working with colleagues from different countries and diverse backgrounds.
Now, we would like to hear from you! If you have any ideas or suggestions for Maxi regarding working from a different country, we encourage you to share them in the comments section below. Your thoughts and experiences can provide additional guidance and support to Maxi as he continues to excel in his role.
Additionally, stay tuned for our next interview in the Insider series. Feel free to let us know if there are areas you will like us to cover in our future interviews.