Mark is our Canadian-Geordie Technical Lead. He joined Shoptimised in the early days coming from a background in PPC. Mark is based in Canada and he runs the technical department, in the trenches doing product feed optimisation work, managing budgets and making sure clients are performing.
In this post, Mark shares a little bit about his life in Canada and how he finds working with the Shoptimised team from overseas.
My 5-month-old daughter pretty much decides my wake-up time. Although my alarm is set for 6.15 am, I’m often up earlier changing nappies (or diapers as they’re called over here— I have adopted a lot of American and Canadian words since moving here).
My workday officially starts at 7 am, which I quite like as it means I finish at 3 pm (ideally). It’s quite an early start but I like to just dive straight into work as the day begins. The winter here in Canada is a bit different as I sometimes shovel the snow before my wife, who is a teacher, leaves for work. It can be pretty tedious and hard work to shovel a few feet of snow before 7 am, but at the moment it’s just an evening chore which is not bad.
Then, I generally have oatmeal bakes, or overnight oats for breakfast, usually prepped the day or night before with recipes my wife gets from Instagram or Pinterest! I usually eat at my desk while reading through emails with a morning coffee.
At the moment, getting up early for a morning work-out is more like a work-in-progress, but we’re getting there.
First, I set some time aside to go through my email, then I make sure I check in with the team through Ring Central which has been really great for staying in touch with each other as everyone is working from home too. I’ve gotten used to working remotely over the past 5 years so I’m still able to build relationships with my colleagues even from my current location.
We have just recently renovated our basement and turned it into a second living room with office space for me, so I have a full office set-up without any distractions. Well, one distraction, our dog, likes to go outside to play in the snow and it can be a nightmare trying to get her back in and often have to chase her around the garden in the freezing cold to get her in.
The Shoptimised team has been very supportive of me working from Canada, I have worked with John since 2013 when he hired me for my first job in the industry, so there were no issues with me working from Canada. Clients also respond well to me being outside the UK and are genuinely interested in the lifestyle differences and weather. If something urgent pops up before I start work one of the team will pick it up, and if a client has an urgent issue at 5.30 pm UK time on a Friday then I’m able to deal with that due to the time difference which seems to be appreciated by most clients.
Starting at 12 pm UK time I do sometimes come online to a bit of a backlog to emails, I generally deal with anything urgent that comes up there first – I try not to schedule any calls for 12 pm (7 am my time) so it gives me an hour to address anything urgent. Then for any calls with clients or the team, I try to arrange for 1 pm-4 pm UK time (8 am-11 am). Once client communications are done for the day, I’ll normally have lunch with my wife, and then I can crack on with product feed optimisation work fairly uninterrupted as everyone else’s workday in the UK is finished by then.
After work I usually take the dog for a walk and then I spend time with my wife and my daughter. We haven’t really done much recently due to having our baby and with lockdown but we do try and get out for walks in the trails near our house as often as we can. Being in Canada also means that what we do is also weather dependent, some days we can get a few feet of snow and the temperature can hit below -25 Celsius.
Aside from that, I’ve taken an interest in American sports, so enjoy watching basketball and I’ve even become a big fan of the Toronto Raptors!