31 August 2023
Company8 Minutes, 9 Seconds read

Meet the remote team at Stitch

This month, we caught up with some of our remote team members to find out more about their experiences working outside of the office, and their tips for staying productive and connected despite the physical distance. 

Lucille Wilcox, Content Marketing Manager

At Stitch, we prioritise attracting, retaining and nurturing the best talent – wherever they are in the world.

Being a remote team doesn't come without its challenges, but it allows us access to a wide pool of talent that we know might not necessarily be found in one place. We're proud that our team is made up of a diverse group of people living in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Togo, Portugal and even Mauritius.

One of our core values at Stitch is 'Stitches Matter'. Between regular, virtual, company-wide meetings, remote-friendly team-building events and our annual offsite that brings the whole team together for a few days in Cape Town, we're always working to ensure everyone enjoys a connected team experience.

This month, we caught up with some of our remote team members to find out more about their experiences working outside of the office, and their tips for staying productive and connected despite the physical distance. 

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Stephen Mutua (Solutions Architect) in Kenya

I first started working remotely in 2020, and the ability to continue doing so was one of the factors that drew me to Stitch.

I enjoy working from home because I find it enables me to really pace out my day and work at the rate that’s comfortable for me. It also helps me be more available to my family, and I’m lucky to be able to say I’ve been around since the first day my daughter was born.

At Stitch, remote workers are incredibly supported in a few ways. We have an allocated budget for team members to use should they need extra equipment for their home office. We also encourage having our cameras on during meetings as it’s more engaging to see who you’re talking to, and there’s an emphasis on heavily documenting everything to ensure there’s always a reference point.

Biweekly calls with the whole company serve as a means to share key business updates, and the remote Kenya team is also encouraged to regularly meet up outside work for some team bonding.

In terms of staying productive at home, I recommend taking regular, short breaks to stretch and disconnect from the screen. This can take the form of watering the plants around the yard or taking a short walk. Blocking out my calendar helps me focus on specific tasks, which is very important for me as I’m in a client-facing role. Conversely, I also have a specific day of the week when I focus solely on client work.

Thea Sokolowski (Head of Marketing and Communications) in Kenya

I live in Kenya, which is an hour ahead of South Africa. This is great because it gives me some time to collect myself / read emails / read the news and get a workout in before jumping into calls or meetings.

I chose to remain in Nairobi because I've built a really strong community out here - many of whom also work in the tech space. The ability to work from Kenya was definitely a factor in my decision to join Stitch. I enjoy visiting Cape Town and spending time in the office with the team, but it can also be distracting at times. It's really helpful to be able to take time away, focus and also get exposed to another market on the continent.

I find Slack a really helpful tool to remain connected, and the team has really learned to use it effectively and answer promptly, which makes it feel like we're not so far away. The ability to also come together in person throughout the year, especially getting to experience some really thoughtfully planned team events, definitely brings us closer. 

Sola Moore (Head of Legal, Regulatory and Compliance) in Nigeria

I’ve been working remotely from Lagos in Nigeria since I joined Stitch in May last year – and this played a role in my choosing to work for Stitch.

I mostly work from home where I have my dedicated workstation, but we also have a team office in a co-working space. One of the most important things about working at a company that supports remote work is the flexibility it offers me to balance my personal and professional life. I really enjoy the freedom it affords me to structure my work day in a way that best suits me. I also appreciate not having to commute to and from work on a daily basis as this saves a lot of time that I can channel into more productive things. At times, though, it can be challenging to unplug from work at the end of the day.

Working remotely also allows me to meet and connect with professionals from around the world. This expanded network exposes me to diverse perspectives and allows me to experience different cultures and lifestyles without being limited by geographical constraints.

I think Stitch supports remote workers well in the way we replicate company-wide events across locations where the remote team members are based, but I’m looking forward to catching up with the team and meeting new folks in person at our annual retreat at the end of the year. 

Henry Msiska (Full Stack Engineer) in Mauritius

I have been working fully remotely from Mauritius for about seven months now, whereas before, I was in more of a hybrid scenario for a few years.

The idea of being a digital nomad appealed to me from the perspective of becoming a global citizen – an unshackling from a location and the opportunities it offers, as well as being able to travel/live in different environments over time. The ability to do this was pivotal in my decision to join Stitch, and I no longer think I could work for an organisation without that option (well, never say never… but that would have to be a heck of an offer).

Being two hours ahead also helps with flexibility in how I plan my days, and my team has been awesome and very accommodating of the time difference. Being on Slack and the regular video calls, as well as the genuine interest in my well-being has helped me feel connected to the team, and I think it’s the small touch points of empathy above and beyond the day-to-day work that I appreciate.

Ephraim Waithaka (Product Analytics and Data Lead) in Kenya

I’ve worked remotely for 3 years now. I find working remotely far more productive, especially when you consider being able to eliminate the daily commute, which takes up lots of time and energy that could be spent on actual work. On top of work productivity, I get time to interact with my little one and be part of his growth.

Working remotely helps me have “more hours” in a day – time that can be spent with family, and exploring hobbies and interests – which helps to promote a healthy work-life balance. I wanted to maintain the flexibility that comes with working remotely, and I would hardly consider a position that is not remote-friendly considering this is a way of life now. But we are social beings, and with remote work, you don’t get a lot of in-person social interactions with team members which can impact productivity. 

Désiré Afewou (Full Stack Engineer) in Togo

I have been working remotely for the past two years – with a year of that time at Stitch. I spent eight years away from home finishing my postgraduate and working abroad, and after that, I realised I wanted to come back home and settle here. So being able to work at a company that supports remote work is very important to me as it has enabled me to be back with my family and continue doing what I like: solving problems.

I think Stitch supports remote work well by ensuring all of our meetings are remote-friendly, and from time to time, we receive Stitch swag, which makes us remote workers feel connected and not far away from what’s going on in the office. Checking in with remote workers and implementing feedback is something I also think Stitch does very well.

Morning standups help the team stay connected, on top of our one-on-ones, and pair programming sessions. Outside of work, we have online gaming sessions which I really enjoy. 

Akin Morakinyo (Full Stack Engineer) in Nigeria

I’ve been working remotely for the past 10 months. I really enjoy having a personalised workspace, and the ability to work for a global company whilst remaining in my home country. Sometimes, though, not being able to get the immediate feedback you would if you were able to walk up to someone and talk to them makes things challenging. We use Slack, the Huddle feature and Around to stay as connected as possible.

My tip for staying productive is to set aside dedicated focus time and take short breaks in between.

Stitch does a good job at organising remote-friendly events that help us get to know each other better. But I’m really looking forward to the break-out sessions and the ability to get to know my colleagues more at our end-of-year event. 

Miguel Da Costa (People Operations Lead) in Portugal

I’ve been working remotely for just over three months in the Western European Summer Time zone, where I usually work from a co-working space, as I start to get cabin fever when I work from home for too long.

Working remotely allows me to balance my professional and personal life more effectively. I can tailor my work schedule to accommodate personal responsibilities, thereby reducing stress and enhancing my overall well-being.

For Stitch, embracing remote work widens the pool of potential talent. The company can attract skilled professionals from various regions, backgrounds, and perspectives, enhancing diversity and innovation within the team.  As remote work becomes more commonplace globally, companies that offer this flexibility remain competitive and adaptable to evolving workforce trends. This positions the company as a forward-thinking and attractive employer.

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