Smooth workflows across 7 time zones

  • By Phyron
  • Aug 31, 2022
  •  – 4 min read

How do you maintain effective workflows, intense tech development, rapid growth, and exceptional customer service? More to the point, how do you do that in a small, sharp organisation spanning three continents?

To find some answers, simply ask somebody at Phyron. Ask John Benedict Castillo, a hardworking software developer located near Manila in the Philippines, seven time zones away from the head office in Stockholm Sweden. Every working day he interacts with tech and customer success teams at the company’s hubs in Stockholm and Dubai. And the business continues to expand across North America ...  

Hi John. First, how on earth did you get involved with a company halfway across the world?

In 2016 I was recruited by one of Phyron's founding partners to work at their international tech hub in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Later I came to spend more and more time with the Phyron development project, and now I work for Phyron full time. Earlier this year I moved back to the Philippines for family reasons, but that doesn’t really affect my routines much.

It doesn’t? What about the time differences?

I work between 2pm and 11pm, local time. That’s the same as my schedule in Dubai and that is the time where most of my colleagues in different time zones are also working. Most of our people are in Europe and North America. This works fine for me because I'm not a morning person anyway. I am much more productive in the afternoon and into the evening.   

What’s your job with Phyron about? What do you actually do?

My main job in Phyron is as an integration developer. Phyron delivers a software solution for automated video to around 1,500 car dealers, car manufacturers, media and software partners in some 15 countries. Each customer is unique, and our solution is designed to work smoothly with each one. That’s what’s it really about.

In practical terms we receive data meaning text, logotypes and images etc from our customers and partners in different ways and in different formats. Before a video gets generated, the data must first be added to our system. First, I check that the data from the client contains all the required information. Then I create scripts that will read those data and add them in our system for video rendering. But I also help the clients in their implementation of our videos, if something is not working, I find what the problem is and fix it. 

So, you’re working both with tech people and the customer success team?

Yes, I mostly work with the customer success team to make sure that I can deliver what the clients need, like a video demo or a customised CTA in their videos. We deliver huge volumes of customised videos without problems, but occasionally I also need to collaborate with the tech team to address issues that may prevent us from delivering the videos.  


How do you communicate and interact with your team?

All the tasks that they want me to do are logged in Jira, a project tracking tool that helps everything getting organised. Then we have a regular weekly meeting via Google Meet to discuss the updates on the client, what tasks that need to be prioritised for the week,  or for any other concerns. There's also an occasional email, but the most common way of communication is via Slack, sometimes a quick huddle, but most of the time through chat.

Once in a while I get the opportunity to meet colleagues in person, “IRL”. And recently I had the pleasure of joining the annual Phyron kickoff. It was arranged in the beautiful archipelago a few miles outside Stockholm. Meeting all the people that I work with in person was great, and the information about ongoing product and business development was very exciting. One guest speaker also talked about remote work and mindfulness, how I can become more effective when working remotely and how to de-stress just by a simple breathing technique. 

But it’s not only about efficiency. it is really nice to have an opportunity to talk to my colleagues of topics that are not related to work, you know, about life, families or even politics. It helps to know each other better, and makes work life more enjoyable. And somehow, even if the distance is still the same, it doesn't feel that far anymore.