This is part two 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.
But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
Name, job title and location?
Nadeem Khaled, Senior Production Manager. I live in Cairo, Egypt.
How long have you worked remotely?
One year exactly! I started on July 5th, 2017. [And this interview was conducted on July 5th, 2018!]
Is Bunny Studio the first remote company you’ve worked for?
Yes. It’s also my first full-time job. Before this role, I was a freelance architectural engineer for 6 years and a freelance voiceover artist for 10 years. I still do voiceovers in my free time.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I start work at 9am and I wake up just before that. When you work remotely, things take less time in the morning. I basically wake up, quickly shower, get dressed in comfortable clothing and I’m ready to go.
In the morning, between 9am and 12pm, I answer any messages that came in while I was asleep. I also work on team targets and special projects. This is the quietest time of the day as most of the issues do not require immediate action, so I use it to get a head start on things.
The first peak of the day comes at around 12pm — more projects requiring attention start coming in then and messaging with clients picks up. I spend the time between then and 3pm mainly answering queries and responding to live chats.
Now after that, at 3pm, is when things really start to pick up. While the work day on my side of the world is winding down, the Americas are starting their work day. This includes the rest of my team in Bogotá. This is the time of the day when I interact with colleagues the most.
Between 4pm and 6pm is when things are the busiest. I attend meetings, close up the day’s projects and delegate things that are yet to be completed.
I stop working at 6pm. Now, I will readily admit to being dedicated to my job and working long hours sometimes. I enjoy my work, what can I say? After eating dinner and that sort of thing, I usually log in one more time before bed for a short while. I use this time to get ahead on work for tomorrow and pass on anything urgent to my colleagues.
This helps me, of course, with getting ahead of work. But it also helps my team. By checking right before I go to bed, my team and I Iower our response time and make sure our clients are happy with the service they are receiving.
Like I said though, I’m definitely passionate about my work. Not everyone checks in right before bed, and it’s definitely not expected.
What does your workspace look like?
Let me show you…
[Nadeem gets up and points the laptop camera towards the couch he was sitting on. There’s a butt-shaped imprint in the couch cushion. He sits back down on top of the imprint.]
I sit here everyday. You can tell.
No, but really, I do. With my laptop in front of me, facing the TV. I get up every hour or so, to not get too frozen in place.
Some people go to coffee shops or co-working spaces or places like that. But I like working from home. Sometimes I have a voiceover to record during the day, at which point I’ll go to the recording studio that I built in my house, but most of the time I work from this couch. It’s comfortable.
I also work better from home. When I was in Colombia last October, for the yearly company retreat, I found it hard to work from our co-working space. I loved being with my colleagues in person for the first time, that was wonderful. But I also found being in an office too distracting. I work better and smarter from home.
How does working remotely benefit you?
The main benefit, I think, is that working remotely allows you to meet so many different types of people. People from all over the world; from different cultures and faiths and backgrounds. That’s a privilege and we’re lucky to be part of a community like this.
Looking at a problem with different mindsets means new, stronger, better solutions. Being a remote company allows us to look for and cultivate those different mindsets.
Also, working remotely allows me to work from anywhere with an internet connection. I mean, come on, I can just take my laptop and go. Not being tied to one place is a great benefit.
What challenges do you face when working remotely?
Working remotely can be lonely.
I was the first successful remote member of Production Management from such a faraway time zone. [Bunny Studio is based in Bogotá, and Nadeem is in Cairo.] The guinea pig half a globe away. I was, and still am, separated from most of my colleagues by seven hours, which is a big-time difference. That, along with working from home, can lead to feelings of isolation.
If you’re going to work remotely with a big-time difference from most of your team, you need to be mentally strong. You need to be able to motivate yourself and keep yourself engaged when you’re alone for most of the day.
Your team will be there for you, of course. I have video meetings with colleagues throughout the week and message with them daily, so I don’t feel disconnected from them. We all support each other. But make sure you see people in-person, too. Moving away from the computer is important.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about making the change to remote work?
Yeah, two things.
Like I said, you need to be mentally strong in order to be successful at this. Working remotely can be isolating, so prepare for that isolation. It’s easy to not interact with another human being in real life for days. I’m fine with that, but other people might not be.
Also, make hygiene a priority. People aren’t physically with you, so you could not shower for days and no one would care. But you need to keep your hygiene up for yourself, so you don’t get ill. Yeah. Just keep yourself clean.
Did your life change when you started working remotely? If so, how?
Yes, the biggest change is the lack of separation between work time and rest time. Other people can leave work at 6pm and not have to think about it until the next day. But when you work remotely, work is always just at your fingertips. Not having that division means that it’s up to you to leave work. If you have workaholic tendencies, doing that can be hard. So manage and compartmentalize your time well.
Thanks so much! Anything else you’d like to add?
While working remotely can be hard sometimes, it’s also a huge privilege. If you work remotely, thank your lucky stars. You get to work from anywhere and you get to meet people from all over the world. You’re better off and have more freedom in your work than the majority of the world’s population. That’s a great thing.