Due to COVID-19 forced closures, the Sirocco Fan team is now working from home, developing new online content, interactive web features, and essential products like hand purifier and face masks. They've also launched a brand new loyalty program as well! But what else has the team been up to? Keep reading to find out...
Walk us through a typical day of working from home
Abdul: I am usually up by 9 or 10 am, I have breakfast and then jump on to my laptop to touch base with Ayaz and Lucas and answer emails. I tend to work anywhere from 6 to 10 hours a day with periodic breaks throughout. I will either go for a run around in the afternoon or exercise for an hour a day. I usually make dinner around 6 or 7 pm — I've have been really into cooking lately. After I eat, I'll watch a movie or a show.
Ayaz: My nephew is staying with me and he wakes up around 9 am, so my day begins when he says so. I would love for my day to start with breakfast, but I have a habit of going through my emails and messages first thing in the morning — it helps me figure out what my priorities are for the day. After that, I’ll touch base with Abdul and Lucas on our group chat, and then I shift into heavy work mode for the rest of the day. You’ll typically see some late-night Sirocco Fan activity from me.
Lucas: It has changed every week since the start of my quarantine. At first, I would wake up in the morning around 9 am, and then hop on my computer and check my emails, and start working on what I needed to work on that day. Now I get up and take time for myself before starting work. I shower, make breakfast, and try to go for a quick walk. When I get back home, I start working on my PC and catch up on what I need to do. I think this is a great time to put more emphasis on self-care and trying to better myself. I usually take a lunch break around noon and try to turn off my computer by 5 or 6 pm. In the evenings I like to make dinner with my girlfriend and watch TV.
How do you stay focused + productive while working from home?
Abdul: I'm really motivated to keep our brand moving and relevant through this time so staying focused isn't an issue. I actually find I'm more productive than before the pandemic started. But I still have bad days and it is quite frustrating to be in a situation where none of us know what to expect. I try to block out the noise and to stay active and eat healthily, which helps with overall focus and motivation.
Ayaz: In terms of being focused and productive, I don't feel like things have really changed. When you run your own business, your mind is always active and it’s naturally in fight mode. We obviously weren't prepared for this, no one was, but we’ve always been the type of people to tackle a problem proactively. I consider myself quite lucky and blessed to have business partners who are like-minded and don't dwell on things. We have always had the mindset of “what can we do differently and how can we move forward”.
Lucas: Staying focused was pretty hard at first, but what has helped me is to actually get ready for work. Being at home doesn’t mean you should let go of your self-care routines. Each morning, I like to take the time to shower and shave and actually get dressed for work instead of sitting in sweats all day. If I find I am losing focus, I’ll get up and walk around or grab a snack quickly to recharge.
Are there any apps or methods you use to track your time or stay on course?
Abdul: Not really.
Ayaz: No. It would be nice to have a set schedule but it’s really hard because every day looks a bit different.
Lucas: I use the app Notion to organize all my work projects. It has been very helpful so far. For personal goals, I am thinking of putting up a whiteboard so I can have a visual representation of them, and also so my girlfriend and roommate can hold me accountable.
How do you separate your working hours/space from your non-working hours/space?
Abdul: I don’t. As much as I want to it is what it is. I usually just go with the flow and try to get outside, weather permitting, for some fresh air at least once a day. You just have to make the best of the situation and accept the reality that we live in.
Ayaz: Honestly, I don’t. I am usually on phone checking my e-mails or working on something Sirocco Fan related. The number of times I've been threatened by my friends and family to never be invited out anymore is not something I am proud of. A really good tip though, which I try to implement, is to schedule “non-working” time into my calendar.
Lucas: I’ve started making lists of everything I need to get done for work. If I lose focus I separate myself from work temporarily to recharge and then get back into it. When I am finished working that day, I make sure to close every tab on my computer. That way I can disconnect from work for the night and spend time talking to friends and family and working on my personal goals.
What are some things you do for fun or to boost your creativity?
Abdul: Cooking and going for an hour-long run have been hugely effective. I like listening to podcasts and books while I run, it helps break up the monotony of being home and opens my mind to new ideas. I also try to keep in touch with friends so I spend a lot of time on FaceTime and House Party, or binge-watching Netflix.
Ayaz: I miss my friends. After this situation is over, I am never going to turn down an invite ever again. I'll be the first one there and the last one out. For now, I’ve been working out with the help of online trainers. I’m not motivated to workout unless I have someone dictating and guiding me. Normally, I don’t watch TV but since I’ve been stuck home I’ve been watching home remodeling shows.
Lucas: Mostly, I play video games mostly. I have a group of friends that play every day so it's a way for me to stay social, which is pretty ironic. Other than that I really enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes and watching movies. My goal for the next month is to try and get back into playing guitar. As for creativity, walking has helped tremendously. Now that the weather is warming up, it's a perfect time to go for a stroll on your own. I put my headphones in, open up Spotify and shuffle my music. It's really peaceful. Just make sure you are distancing yourself from anyone else that is walking outside.
Do you have advice for Sirocco Fan readers that are working from home for the first time?
Abdul: I think this is a good time to learn new things and immerse yourself in your work. There aren't a lot of distractions so try and get into a routine. Go to bed at a decent time, get a lot of rest. Eat well. Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and break up your activities.
Ayaz: Continue your routine — get ready in the morning like you usually would for work and schedule breaks. Take this opportunity to focus on projects and activities you didn’t have time for before. Learn something new, register for a masterclass or watch HGTV.
Lucas: Make time in the morning for yourself. Make your bed, eat a good breakfast, get dressed, and plan the day out starting with the easiest and quickest tasks. That will help keep you motivated throughout the day and you’ll feel much more productive. Also, keep your workspace clean and tidy and take breaks anytime you are feeling overwhelmed.
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