This is part ten in a series about how we work at Bunny Studio. We’re a remote company, so we’re based all over the world. We live different lives and come from different cultures, so our ways of working are unique. This is a place where we talk about the challenges of working remotely, as well as share our experiences.
Want to learn how to work remotely? We don’t have all the answers, but here’s how each of us makes it work for us.
But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
How long have you worked remotely?
For just over a year — I joined Bunny Studio in October 2017.
Is Bunny Studio the first remote company you’ve worked for?
Bunny Studio is the first company I’ve worked for, ever. This is my first job and my first remote work experience! After I finished my postgraduate degree in Sweden, I moved to the UAE with my husband for a year, then to Saudi Arabia for two years, and found it very difficult to find a job as a fresh graduate with no work experience. Three years later, though, after a lot of hard work, I started working at Bunny Studio and I haven’t looked back! For example, when my husband’s job moved us back to Dubai, it was no problem to continue working here. If I had a more traditional job, one that is tied to one physical location, this would have been very difficult. I’m very grateful and happy to work here. It’s the best company to work for in so many ways.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I’m a morning person so, because of that, I start my daily shift quite early — at 6:30 am. This is what works for me, though not everyone starts their shifts that early! But I wake up motivated and start working. The first thing I do is clear any incoming tickets on Zendesk that may have arrived after my teammates’ shift in Colombia, and then I head to my team’s Trello board. This tool allows us all to stay on top of what needs to be done. Given that we all live and work in different time zones, this is super important.
After about an hour, the Trello board is usually clear, so I take a break to take my son to daycare. After that, I head back to work, although not necessarily at home. Usually, I go to the gym and continue working before or in-between gym classes. My gym has a good wifi connection, which makes this really easy. If I’m not in the gym that day, I go to a cafe or someplace like that.
Around 1:30 pm, I pick up my son from daycare and we hang out together while I finish the last hour of my shift. By 2:30 pm, I can take a lunch break at the end of my shift and I’m totally done! Starting my shift so early means that I have the afternoon free for myself and my family — we can go to the beach, run errands, hang out with friends, spend time together. I mean, how excellent is that? By having the freedom to schedule my work as it suits me, everyone benefits — my work gets done during the time of day where I work best, and then I get to spend time with the people I care about.
Finishing work way before the sun goes down also really helps with my mood and enthusiasm for work. Previously, I used to work a more “traditional” schedule, from 8 am to 5 pm, and I ended work in the evening. It was fine, but by then it was dark and the day was ending. So, I talked to my colleagues and I switched my shift. This has been really great for me and for my team as a whole, as we now can provide more in-person service during a 24 hour period. I feel like I get so much more done during the day now, plus I’m so much happier. That’s one of the great things about working here and about remote work — as long as you are responsible and fulfill your job, you can make your work schedule fit your life. How to work remotely is all about making sure you work responsibly, but also have time to live your life outside of work.
What does your workspace look like?
Well, I do have a desk set up at home for when I work from there. And on my desk is a framed photo of all of us taken during our retreat! That being said, I definitely prefer to leave the house to work. I mean, I have to get dressed to take my son to daycare, so I may as well leave the house, you know? With the type of remote work I do, all I need is my laptop, which is portable, and a good wifi connection, which I can find easily in Dubai. With that, I’m good to go! Plus, if I work from the gym, I get some exercise in most days, which is always a great thing.
How does working remotely benefit you?
Remote work is perfect on all levels, honestly. If life happens, say my son gets sick and can’t do to daycare, I can stay at home and work from there. I can also work from just about everywhere. This means that I can go to the gym or a cafe, yes, but I can also take a trip back to my home country of Jordan to see my family and not have to take a vacation. I just connect from there!
Having that freedom is really the best. It comes with the responsibility of keeping on top of what I need to get done, obviously, but the liberty that I receive in return is so worth it.
What challenges do you face when working remotely?
Living and working from where I do, can, at points, be a bit lonely. Although we have people working from all over, there are fewer people working from this side of the world than in the Americas. My colleague in Production Management, Nadeem, lives in Egypt, although because of the time difference and my schedule, our work hours don’t overlap much. So, throughout most of my shift, there isn’t anyone around to physically talk to in real time — no one to share stories or music suggestions with. That can, at points, be tough. The time difference also means that I compromise family time one evening per week in order to have meetings with the rest of my global team.
Despite that, though, working from a more isolated time zone is not a hardship. It just means that I need to keep myself accountable and make an effort to stay connected with everyone, as well as not give in to the temptation to work after my shift is over. That being said, I have great colleagues and they are always understanding and supportive. So, even though I might be on the other side of the world, I don’t feel alone. Sometimes, if I’m missing everyone, I sign into our Slack channel and interact with people past my working hours, just for fun. Everyone who works here is great and we are friends, as well as co-workers. So taking some time to connect as friends beyond work, even if it’s virtual, is something I put effort into.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about making the change to remote work?
Connect with your team members as much as possible. Not just about work stuff, although that is obvious. I mean, keep them aware of what is happening on your side of the world. Since we are from, and we live, all over the place, our lives are very different. Sharing those differences, and the stories that result from them, brings everyone closer together and fosters understanding.
On the whole though, if you’re thinking of taking a remote job, go for it! It’ll be the best decision you will ever make, I can guarantee that. Time passes really quickly when you’re having fun and keeping busy, and that is my everyday. I’m happy, so happy, with my work and the time it gives me to live my life beyond it.
Did your life change when you started working remotely? If so, how?
Oh yeah, it totally changed! I mean, after not having a job for three years, I hit the ground running with this role. And I’m so lucky that I did. I’m so much more productive than if I worked in a traditional office.
Bunny Studio’s company culture is also a perfect fit and it’s the best company to work for, at least for me. Since we’re 100% remote, communication is especially important. This company is super flexible though, and we all have our independent lives that we mutually respect. For example, a few weeks ago during my weekly team meeting, I was cooking dinner while attending the meeting, as it was held during the evening my time. And that was totally okay! I mean, it would be impossible to do this if we were having the meeting in a physical office. That level of understanding and empathy is super important in any job, but especially in remote work.
Thanks so much! Anything else you’d like to add?
Yep, one last thing. Slack is such an important tool for our communication! Being able to instantly message anyone in the company, including our CEO, means that communication flows much more easily than through, say, email. So that’s something to keep in mind if you’re new to the world of remote work. While communication may not happen in a manner that you’re previously familiar with, the tools we use help keep us connected. And that is the most important thing.