Working from home is not a new concept for a lot of us. But for some of us, who are used to working in an office, a library, a school, etc. we’ve been compelled to change our ways of making a living by working from home in the best way we can. This has become the new normal. Suddenly, we’re having Monday zoom meetings with our colleagues in our PJs or balancing home chores with work assignments, and the entire experience has definitely had its challenges and its rewards.
To all you home-bound heroes out there, we salute you! We’re in the same boat as you are, adapting to the best of our ability to continue creating fantastic works of literature for your pleasure.
Let’s take this moment to check in with how our devoted team members are holding up, shall we?
Q: Thanks gang, for taking the time off of your busy schedule to answer a few of this blog’s questions! To start off, how has your work at home atmosphere been like for you?
Najla: Working from home is definitely tougher without the rest of the design team with me. For the first few weeks, a lot of the tasks had to fall on to me because the files were too big to share. So, I worked longer hours! Thankfully, to help with the workload, Me and Nada decided we should move her workspace to my place since it’s easier on both our workloads.
It’s so much harder to get off work because there’s always so much to do. But a little discipline and a firm talking from my husband about health and food (lol), helped! But I think I've almost got the hang of it.
Nada: At first it was a struggle. The space I created when I got home from work every day was sacred. It was a space for me to unwind and reflect. And when I brought in my iMac, that space was disrupted and I was struggling to balance between both. My energy was super off for a while. Until Naj and I decided that we both need to be in the same space to access the server and get our productivity up. So eventually, I moved my workspace to Naj’s home so it’s almost like I go to work every day and I’m sort of back in our usual work routine!
Jenn: Noisier, for one. I live in a farmhouse in the woods in an extended-family setting. With everyone forced to co-exist together, it made our space seem a lot smaller. But I also had extra help keeping my 4-year-old occupied, which always helps ;)
Q: Now that you’ve experienced working from both your office and your home, which option do you feel fits you best? Or do both options have their pros and cons?
Najla: The office! There’s just something about the togetherness of a team that’s determined to reach a higher ultimate goal that is just so much better. Plus, the more hands on deck to help us out, the better.
Nada: The office is definitely better. I’m a spiritual kind of gal, so I believe in the right energy and atmosphere to achieve our work goals. The workspace we’ve created at the QDM HQ is perfect. We’ve got fast wifi, server access, and everyone is together. That comradery with the team is something I miss sometimes.
Q: Talk to us about your work routine.
Najla: I’m usually up around 6:00 AM. I start my day doing a few chores while I wait for the water to heat up for my Chai. Chai in hand, I settle down on my computer by 6:30 AM and turn on some nature sounds or calming meditation music (helps with my anxiety lol).
I sift through my emails, removing spam, assigning tasks for the team. From there, I make sure to do urgent work first, before I begin my brainstorms then my preliminaries scheduled for the day.
As soon as all that’s done (by noon), I begin replying to emails. This usually takes me forever depending on how heavy the graphic work each email has. I’m usually ready to clock-out by 5:30 PM or 6:00 PM every day when my head starts producing poop! Haha!
Nada: Since I head to Naj’s place to work, it’s like I’m back in my usual work routine but more relaxed. Once I get in front of my screen, I check my emails for pending projects, send out a few reminders on bookings, then head over to Naj’s email to check if there are any video and design work that needs to be done or emails that need my input or drafting.
Then, by the grace of God, if there is time and my creativity is still spiking, I work on some in-house designs and projects we’ve got pending. Breaks are usually just 15-20 minutes for lunch then, we’ve got mini-breaks to ponder while we make tea or change playlists on Spotify or YouTube.
Jenn: I settle in with my laptop (hopefully somewhere I find space), often with headphones, and dive right in. Some days I take breaks when it’s my turn to do “home-preschool” with our boy. Others, I take a break to go for a walk on our land and clear my head.
My work involves a lot of mental juggling, copious notes, and music to carry me through. David Bowie is my go-to happy place while working. And, inevitably, my kid’s day-to-day overlaps mine. So I typically am surrounded by stuffed animals or legos at some point!
Q: What has been the most surprising aspect of working from home?
Najla: How much more anxiety it gives me. It’s a bit of a struggle with my chronic anxiety. I used to work from home the first 7 years of my career, which included a house-move, office-move, and a lack of a proper office-room at home.
I’ve clearly forgotten how to separate work from home a bit. Haha! But I’m slowly getting there. Once the newness of everything settles down, I should be good to go! Funny how ‘going’ to an office is less anxiety-ridden than staying at home.
Nada: For the time I did work from home, I enjoyed the aspect of taking a pause for a bit and checking in on what the family is up to. It’s a bit of a distraction but it’s fun coming out of my cave and bothering my family for a bit before crawling back into work. Lol.
Jenn: How much I absolutely love it. I worked in an office before working with the Qambers, and I haven’t looked back since. I love being accessible to my kid most of all. He sees me working and he even loves to peek over my shoulder from time to time, to see our current #Kidslit WIPs on screen. He’s also the perfect test audience ;)
Q: What do you miss the most from working with your teammates and why?
Najla: The good mornings, team lunches, and catch-ups, and of course, I miss scaring everyone randomly when I’m on a tea break. LOL!
Nada: Two things. First, turning around and bothering the team by just standing next to them silently. LOL. Second, having lunch together and just talking about either work or having a quick catch up.
Q: Do tell us, what does your work station currently look like?
Najla: It’s a mess! I rarely notice my surroundings when I work. But essentially, I have my Chai, water bottle, headphones, Wacom tablet, iPad (for more in-depth drawing), some random pens around, and lots of scrap paper I don’t use. Oh! And the most essential thing is the window behind my screen, so I can yell at birds to get off my property. Kidding!
Nada: It’s a bit messy and visually not appealing. I’ve got my headphones (bless the noise-canceling), two essential wires to charge my devices and a Kindle to keep handy when testing out the ebooks we format.
Jenn: Silence, hot tea, and space! Today is a lucky day since a lot of bans have been lifted in our state. I am the only one home at this moment, besides my Great Dane.