Hi Josh, tell us a little bit about your background and how you landed at Auror.
In 2013, I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) and immediately began working as a software engineer for a Christchurch NZ-based crime-fighting software company. After about 18 months, I decided to become a Business Analyst. My background in software engineering proved helpful for this career pivot, as it gave me a strong foundational understanding of technology and allowed me to more easily communicate across technical and business teams. I continued to pursue my passion for crime prevention and eventually secured a role as a Product Manager at Auror in mid-2021, where I was the first fully remote member of the Product squad.
How did you navigate being the first remote person at Auror?
I have previous experience working remotely, so the transition to fully remote was relatively smooth.
One of the benefits of working at Auror is that everyone uses the same tool for all internal communication. This made it far easier to catch up on, and stay across, everything that was happening, especially compared to previous roles where communication was spread out across multiple platforms. I certainly don't miss internal emails! If I didn’t understand something or was missing context, I could often get the information I needed by simply searching for it, and being able to easily find context and history was a massive help while I found my feet.
During my first two weeks at Auror, I had informal 15-minute catch-ups with everyone in the company (which was admittedly far easier to do when we had fewer than 50 people!). As Auror has grown, we have implemented a program called "donuts" to help keep everyone connected. This program books 15-30 minute chats between two random Aurors, twice per week (once across the entire company and once across the Product squad). This has been a great way for me to stay connected with people that I may not have otherwise had the opportunity to interact with.
Have there been challenges for you working remotely?
Working remotely does have its challenges. For example, it can be easier to feel disconnected from the wider team. One of the ways I deal with this is by visiting the Auckland headquarters roughly every six weeks. This visit always comes along quickly, and I try and align it with company-wide events, typically staying for 3-4 days. This gives me ample time to connect with folks in person. I’ll also typically plan my schedule to have as much open time as possible during those days.
The great news is that as Auror has expanded, our Christchurch-based team has grown, so I’m no longer the only Auror in town. We have a shared co-working space here and make a point to co-work roughly once per week to stay connected.
Do you have any tips for those who are in a remote-only role?
One high-impact tip is to spend time and effort optimising your office environment to be as free from distractions as possible, and to emphasise productivity and efficiency. It’s also important to have a bit of fun with it - you need to love your workspace in order to be able to do your best work and feel energised.
Also, it’s helpful to set appropriate boundaries so that you can more easily wind down mentally and re-focus on home life when you step away from your work. This could include establishing a clear start-finish routine, taking regular breaks away from the computer (and phone!), and muting notifications in the evening.
In your opinion, how would you describe Auror’s culture?
I think that Auror is extremely inclusive and fiercely collaborative. Everyone is encouraged to contribute. I love that I can always reach out to just about anyone to co-pilot something with me, even if they are in another squad. When we hire, we look for people who want to work directly with others and who know that teamwork in an inclusive environment is key to producing great outcomes. This focus on collaboration makes it so much easier to do good work, and is a source of motivation for me every day.
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