Our personal remote working experiences and advice:
There have been many many business and working individuals that have experienced the joys of remote working since the pandemic hit in 2020. ZenZero Agency is among the countless businesses that were started during lockdown and have remained remote ever since.
So, why did we start ZenZero Agency a pandemic and why are we still working remotely? You’re about to hear it all right here. Consider this an exclusive insiders interview with the ZenZero team with bonus content on how to make working remotely work for you and your business.
Why and how was ZenZero Agency started?
“ Things at work got slow, my job sent us all to work from home because of COVID and many of our clients paused their projects during lockdown, so design work was few and far between.
I got bored, and I wanted to start improving my skills. So I started experimenting and researching websites and figured I might as well try it out as a way to side hustle. I started trying to freelance but knowing nothing at all about business, I didn’t make any sales. My boyfriend at the time (now husband) decided he was going to help me out with the businessy stuff and the freelancing developed into a conjoined side hustle which has subsequently developed into a fully fledged agency. We now have 5 full time employees and have managed to grow with everybody working remotely.”
- Kayla Manfredo – Head Designer and Co Founder of ZenZero Agency
Why does the ZenZero team love working remotely so much?
Well first off we don’t have to wear masks in and around the office! Now we’re by no means bashing masks, we see their value in protecting us and those we come into contact with. But not having to sit and work with your mask on all day is a serious win and we’re taking it!
Working from home also means being very (maybe a little bit too) close to your fridge. Feeling peckish? Grab a snack. You ran late in the morning and couldn’t have breakfast before you clocked in? Just take a walk on over to the kitchen. Working right next to your kitchen also gives you more control over what you eat, so you don’t have to get the cheapest takeaway or the meal of the day from the cafeteria. And we’re all about that healthy lifestyle. (More insider information on this later).
Now this is a biggie! Say goodbye to the daily commute! There are honestly so many benefits that come with this one; you can wake up later, you save on petrol costs, you’re home earlier after work – which can mean anything from more family time or drinks with friends to just having a breather before you have to make dinner and get the kids ready for bed. It might not seem like a lot, but some people have long commute times and working from home can really give them a better work-life balance. (This is definitely a team favourite).
Another team favourite is being able to do chores and housework throughout the day! Use a dish, wash the dish. Washing piling up; throw in a load while you’re working – just be careful your clients can’t hear the washing machine whizzing and whirling during your zoom meeting ;). (Speaking from personal experience)
Your furry friends will probably love the extra company! Our doggos certainly do! If however, you have a cat, well the kitty is probably quite annoyed that you’re impinging on it’s me-time and would much rather you go back to your nine-to-five and give it some damn space! Come on human!
Are you one of those people that need music to keep you concentrated or you just like listening to some tunes throughout the day? Well, when you work from home you can listen to whatever you want without annoying your colleagues. And even better, you don’t have to get annoyed by your office neighbour who exclusively listens to EDM (you know the one).
This next one is particularly favoured by one member of the Ginger Bug team, and no we won’t reveal who you nosy buggers! You can use your lunch break to take a much needed nap. Half an hour nap, half an hour lunch. Now that’s just an unmatched remote working perk!
What is everyone’s FAVOURITE part about working remotely?
Fine, okay we’ll tell you!
Kayla – Head Designer and Co Owner of ZenZero Agency
– Business on the top, pj’s on the bottom
I am all about comfort, (even my wedding dress and shoes were comfort above all else) so when we got the chance to work from home I JUMPED on the PJ’s band wagon with both feet in! Now In the morning I change out of my “Night PJ’s” and put on my “day PJ’s” Less thinking, less colour matching and my toosh thanks me for it.
Mary-Ann – Client Manager
– Healthy and cost-effective eating
I love being able to eat healthier and cleaner, and I mean this literally. My inner OCD and germaphobe gets happy feet at the idea of eating food I know did not fall on the floor and was immediately char grilled with sandy shoes. It’s easier for me to eat healthier at home and as a 3 times a day discipliner – it’s cost effective.
Mirko – Sales Manager and Co Owner of ZenZero Agency
– Being close to my wife
In my previous position I spent a minimum of 13-14 hours away from home every day. I hardly got any time to spend with my wife and my family. So, being able to work from home without having to commute and spend so much time at work really is a blessing for me. Since working from home my relationships have improved – with my family, with myself and with my doggies!
Gwen – Office Administrator
– you can get 24/7 dog therapy
There’s nothing quite like the joy that our pets bring us! When people get annoying or work is getting a bit stressful I just get some lovin’ from my dogs and I’m good to go again. I also get to vent to somebody that thinks that everything I do is just wonderful, and ensures me that I’ve done nothing wrong!
Kaitlyn – Client Manager and Copywriter
– I can fit in a workout in the morning without having to wake up at an ungodly hour.
Not sitting in traffic at peak hour every morning or worse – getting up super early to miss the traffic takes a big chunk out of a person’s day. Exercise is a priority for me – it keeps me healthy and really just makes me feel good. Working from home means that I can wake up at 6am, do my hour workout and be ready and working by 8am! Which leaves me time after work to just wind down and spend time with my loved ones or grab dinner with a friend.
– Advice from the ZenZero team
First off there’s the obvious and broad benefit of saving a lot of money. When your staff are working remotely there is bound to be a lot less overhead – you’re not paying rent on an office building, you don’t have to dish out money for repairs or for cleaning supplies. You can even have fewer staff because you don’t need to employ someone to clean an office. Even the little things like tea and coffee can stack up and when you’re a small business or a startup every cent counts!
Another awesome perk of remote working is not being limited by location! You’re in one province and you found the perfect candidate for the job but they live in another province? Hire them anyway! You’ll get quality work out of someone who is well suited to the job and have the added benefit of having a spokesperson for your business in a place that you can’t be.
If, like us, you’ve got a lot of clients then having meetings via zoom or other video meeting applications is such a great way to engage and have a personal touch. You may be able to get all the information you need from clients through email or phone call, but if you had an office you might invite your clients in for a one on one meeting and a cup of coffee – so we highly recommend letting your client see your face while working together.
Remote working also allows you to have back to back meetings without moving from one location to another which is amazing in and of itself!
A lot of businesses have gone remote because of COVID-19, and let’s be honest, it really is a great COVID control method. So even if COVID isn’t the reason your business works remotely, the prevention is surely an added bonus!
If you’re running a remote business you have got to be sure that your online systems are in tip top shape! Your employees need to know what’s going on 24/7 and know what they need to do next. You can’t have your staff sitting around thinking “well what do I do now?” – then you’re just wasting everybody’s time. Apart from your systems keeping your staff on track, working remotely and online gives your business a continuous push to become tech savvy and get with the times. Which is just going to benefit your business even further if you ever decide to move into an office.
Though all of these tips sound wonderful so far, it comes with a lot of work and as an employer you’ve got to be very careful about who you choose to hire. The people you employ need to be self motivated, because you’re not there to breathe down their necks to get their work done. It’s also important to get an idea of their home environment – if their home isn’t conducive to work then they may not be the right fit for your company.
It’s also super important to check in with your employees on a regular basis. You should be able to pick up on mood and productivity changes. Get to know your team, be in tune with their personal lives. You need to know a bit more than you would if someone was coming into the office every day.
As you can see, there are definitely both benefits and challenges to having your business function remotely. We definitely think the perks outweigh the difficulties but it differs from business to business and you’ll have to consider whether or not it suits your company.
You’ve been privy to some real insider information here, but it only raises more questions on the infamous ZenZero Team. Is the secret to Kayla’s great design in the pajama bottoms? Where did Mirko previously work for 14 hours a day? Does Gwen’s dog really give advice and who OH WHO is the team member that takes naps during their lunch break???