What role do you play in your remote team and what does your remote company do?
I am a Program Recruitment and Partnerships Associate for East Africa at African Leadership Academy (ALA). I’m the main point of contact for ALA programs and partners in the region. My work involves creating awareness about the academy, identifying talent and creating and managing relationships in the region.
African Leadership Academy is a pan-African institution in Johannesburg, South Africa that brings together young African leaders from all over the continent, develops them through unique programs and connects them to a powerful network of opportunities and other young leaders who will work together to address Africa’s greatest challenges, achieve extraordinary social impact, and accelerate the continent’s growth trajectory. We believe that these young leaders will be Africa’s greatest generation.
How and why did you start working remotely?
When the COVID pandemic hit back in 2020, my then employer decided to send everyone home for a few days as we awaited further instruction. Our assumption was we would be back in the office in less than a week. Over 2 years later, I’m still working from home!
What do you like most about working remotely?
I’ve always valued freedom and autonomy in my work and even with the previous system of work, where we all had to commute every morning to the office, I knew I wanted something different, I just wasn’t sure what it was then.
I love the fact that I don’t have to wake up early and commute to work every morning. This has been a game-changer for me. Nairobi traffic is no joke and most days I’d get to work already tired from the commute so my productivity and self-drive were not at their best. I remember, a week before I started working remotely, I was about to quit my job because I felt overwhelmed by it all.
I also enjoy being in charge of my working hours. I could start working at whatever time, as long as I get everything on my to-do list done before I clock off. Working from home is also very quiet and peaceful especially if you live alone or have a secluded home office. I get a lot more work done in half the time it previously took me.
One challenge I faced with working remotely was starting a new job in a new company based in a different country and not having a physical team with me through the onboarding process. This made learning and adapting to the new role a lot harder but being a disciplined, fast and focused learner got me through it. I also have a very supportive team that made sure I got all the help I needed albeit virtually.
In your opinion, what’s the best channel one can use to find a remote job?
LinkedIn is my go-to job search platform mainly because the app picks up on your job preferences through keywords on your profile and regular use. I’ve also found job boards (like Indeed) and company websites very useful. However, I’m slowly transitioning to tapping into my network for job opportunities. I’ve learned that this is how you get those top-paying jobs that don’t get publicly advertised.
As a remote worker, what apps or websites can you not work without?
Currently, it’s the entire Microsoft Office package, Toky, Pipedrive, Active Campaign, Zoom, Sage Intacct, Actus, ESS and Box.
In my previous job, I relied mostly on Google Drive, Slack, Zoom and Asana.
How do you personally manage work-life balance? (We feel it should be life-work balance and not the other way round )
To be honest, I struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance and working remotely has blurred the line between life and work even more. Once I sit in my home office, I could go for hours without a break. It’s something I’m currently working on with the help of my work wellness counsellor.
I’ve started making strict daily to-do lists with only 3 priority items (mostly those that will get me closer to my goals). I handle these during my morning focus time then save the afternoon hours for meetings, emergency tasks and rest.
I’ve also gotten back to reserving the first 2 hours of my day to get ready and pour into myself. I exercise, meditate and read/listen to an audiobook/podcast. I set some time for myself in the evening as well and for this to work, I’m trying to clock off by 6 pm every day.
What are the biggest benefits of working remotely?
Flexible working hours especially if your job does not constantly require you to work in teams.
Better productivity because you don’t waste a lot of time and energy commuting to and from the office.
You save more because you barely leave the house so all transport and food expenses are reduced. At least this is true for me.
What advice would you give to remote work job seekers?
Work on your discipline; you will need it on the days when you wake up and feel like doing nothing all day.
Set aside a special section in your house where you will work from. Get a comfortable chair and desk and make sure nothing work-related leaves that section. This helps you set healthy boundaries between work and life.
It’s very easy to find yourself physically inactive while working remotely. Make sure you’re getting your steps in.
If you have no idea where to start looking for remote jobs, Google is your best friend.
As you prepare to secure your first remote job, start teaching yourself how to use the most commonly used apps and websites by remote workers. This will add an edge to your resume.