As millions of people in Africa and around the world are forced to work from home indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects, we talk to professionals and entrepreneurs in various industries to learn how they are adapting to this new reality.
This week on How I Work, Nifemi Akinwamide, the head of marketing at Kudi, a fintech startup, shares his routines and tips for staying productive while working from home.
Current role: Head of Marketing, Kudi
Current computer: MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy Note 10
Describe what working in this pandemic is like, in one word: Meetings.
Tell us briefly about what you do and what your job entails?
I lead the marketing team at Kudi — Kudi is a fintech company working on the easiest way to access financial services especially for the underbanked and unbanked communities through our agent network. Primarily my work revolves around our customers who are agents across the 36 states in Nigeria.
My job is to make sure we are top of mind in terms of accessing financial services, that our customers see the value we provide for them, and also gather enough data through market research that helps the business make better decisions. This revolves around working on marketing campaigns and strategies based on market research with my team. Also, giving our customers a great customer experience across all touch-points.
Is this your first time fully working from home?
No, I worked from home in 2015 when I was head of communications at FourthCanvas — a visual design agency. The only difference was that I was working from my father’s house at the time. Food and other basic amenities were at my disposal so I didn’t have to worry a lot. So much for growing up and having independence!
Walk us through a typical workday since you started working from home (like a diary of a recent day)
I sleep very late, but no matter when I sleep I wake up by 7 a.m. The moment I wake up, I check Slack and my emails (personal and work) just in case I have something urgent to respond to. While I am still in bed, I catch up on articles and what has happened to the world while I was asleep.
By 8 a.m., I am up doing my normal activities — praying, brushing, and bathing. I get to work almost immediately and I start by checking on Todoist and Google Calendar for my To-Dos and scheduled meetings. Because of my role, I have to work on documents/presentations to explain certain strategies at virtual meetings, so I work on that based on my schedule. I also check up on my team members and get updates from them depending on the tasks at hand.
I have my first meal at around 12 p.m., that is if I am not in another meeting or discussion on Slack.
This cycle can continue until late in the evening around 5 p.m. when I take a break to catch up on what is going on in the world, then I either watch some Netflix or take a nap.
I resume working again around 8 p.m. on the most important activities of the day. I spend my time gathering data and looking at different dashboards to understand how we are doing as a business. I also get to work on documents because this is the time I work best. I do this late into the night most of the time.
What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
Meet – Virtual meetings
Slack – Messaging/quick calls
Gmail – Emails
Todoist – To-dos
Having to work from home, how do you allot your time for work and personal things?
So, I never work from my bed for any reason. I shutdown from work once I am feeling tired mentally and take a walk or catch some sleep. I don’t think I have done a great work of separating personal time and work. You can reach me at any time on Slack.
Do you live/work alone? If not, what’s your living condition like and how do you avoid/cope with distractions?
Yes, I live alone and that has made things easy for me. Apart from the challenge of fixing myself food to eat, I think I love working from home. I am the only distraction, and I can control that.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I try to sleep or watch Friends on Netflix. Though I have seen the series several times, it helps me calm my nerves.
What’s your biggest challenge with working from home and how are you trying to solve it?
I think my biggest challenge is not being able to visit our customers during this period due to the lockdown. I typically would have cause to visit our agents but that can’t happen now. What my team and I have done is to organise Zoom events with our agents online to interface with them and understand what they might be going through at this time. This is one of the ways we have tried to solve the problem.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
At the moment I am reading Hooked, Decoded by Phil Barden; Marketing Insights from A to Z by Philip Kotler; The Story Engine by Kyle Gray; and Customer Success by Nick Mehta.
On Netflix, I watch my favourite series Friends and How I Met Your Mother.
What piece of advice would you give someone trying to adapt to working from home?
My advice would be to draw the line between work and your personal life by working with schedules. Don’t work from your bed, it doesn’t pay you; create a workspace you can work from.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Yinka Adewale, co-founder and CEO of Kudi; Wale Akanbi, co-founder and CTO of Aella Credit; Debola Williams, CEO of REDAfrica; and Tobi Eyinade, co-founder of Roving heights.