Patrick K. is a product designer working remotely from his home in Toronto. Hear what he has to say about joining Meta in a remote role, what his job is like day-to-day, and any advice he has for others interested in working remotely for the company in Canada.
What led you to Meta, and what is your role?
I previously worked at Meta in Menlo Park until 2018 when I came across an opportunity to come back to my hometown, Toronto. I joined an urban innovation company at the time. The pandemic rearranged a lot of things in my life, and thankfully that included coming back to Meta. I returned to the company in August 2020 to work on the “Remote Presence” area within Messenger. It's a great privilege to be able to “telecommute” to places like San Francisco, Seattle and New York, but be home in time for dinner.
Patrick works from his home in Toronto
I work on the remote presence team within Messenger where we help people get together when they can’t do it in person. It’s very interesting to be using remote presence products as well as designing them. Of course, work use cases are different from family use cases, which are different from gaming for example, but I get to wear those different hats and bring insights to the work.
What was the interview process like?
Interviewing was a set of meetings and sessions with my future teammates. During the sessions it was helpful to get to know the people I’d be working with everyday. Personally, I find interviewing a great forcing function for reflection. In that process I get to make sense of where I’ve been, where I’m going, and have some slides to look back to. The recruiter helped me understand what was coming, what to expect, and ultimately to onboard successfully. Everyone was very supportive, responsive and understanding.
What concerns did you have about joining the company remotely?
My main concern was not being able to hang out with people after work, or catch up in the hallway. In some ways, this hasn’t been an issue because everyone is at home. It takes time to feel like a part of a team, and get to know anyone, so I don’t think that’s any different. But I’ve also had to make time for it in an explicit way. Another concern was sitting at my desk all day, but I take walks in some of my meetings and join with audio, so that’s nice to simulate a walking one-on-one. A third challenge I imagined was the timezone. I work in EST, most of my team is in PST, and we’ve just grouped up with another team in GMT. Despite this, all the calendaring software and internal tools make it easy to meet when we need to, but also easy to comment when something can be done async.
How have these concerns been addressed since you joined?
The whole company, industry and world is dealing with this new challenge of remote work. Some specific things have been limiting meetings, extending work time, encouraging people to take PTO, or offering home office setup help. Process-wise, pre-reads before meetings have helped and any other asynchronous communication. Figma is a tool that has completely changed the way designers, product managers and engineers work together; it's amazing to see people’s cursors and talk through a file both in real time and offline.
What do you enjoy most about working remotely?
The most enjoyable part for me is that I don’t have a commute. I take a walk around the block or to a local bakery, but my time is truly my time now with no barriers to get to work, or to take a break. The best part is being close to my family, embedded in my neighbourhood, while connected to a team working on bringing the world closer together.
What do you enjoy least about working remotely?
There’s definitely a benefit of seeing the same people day in and out. Even being a bit of an introvert, I need to fill that social time with friends and family now.
What are you most excited about when it comes to your work?
I’m very excited about charting new paths on ways people can connect in real-time remotely. I think new developments in games suggest different ways to connect. Audio is a big thing, spatial presence is a big thing, VR has a lot of promise. I get to touch a bunch of areas because Meta’s reach is so large and has best-in-class talent working on some of the most future facing technology.
Where are the members of your team located?
Most people are in Seattle and San Francisco. We just added people in London too, so we’ll be spanning a few different time zones.
How do you stay or feel connected to your team?
We arrange time just to chat. There are also different events like happy hour or gaming time. I enjoy getting to know people by collaborating on something. I get to work with a lot of folks across products, so design sprints have been a nice time to step back and envision some product developments.
What do you do to stay balanced in your life?
Walk. Sketch. Play Starcraft. Build some mini web games. Watch Netflix. Of course the biggest way is to hang out with friends and family. I like bringing my kid around to different parks around Toronto on my bike.
What advice do you have for your fellow Canadians who might consider joining Meta remotely?
Main advice would be to join. There’s so much to do at Meta. From VR, to messaging, to video, to events, you can help folks with all kinds of problems. Also, there are a lot of Canadians here, so you’ll be right at home eh!