Going Through COVID-19: CI&Ters in Asia Share Their Remote Working Experience

by: The CI&T Team

Insights from our CI&T Teams in Asia about Working From Home
Posted on Apr 21, 2020

Hiroaki Kawabuchi, CI&T Japan Customer Success Leader

Hiroaki "Bucci" Kawabuchi

Customer Success Leader, CI&T Japan

What is it like to completely move to remote work? 
It's been more than 6 weeks now, at first it was very interesting, but also tiring. You have to deal with many differences. You might end up sitting the entire day, taking calls one after another, dealing with family distractions.

What has been the biggest challenge working 100% remotely and what has been the biggest surprise/benefit you’ve come across working remotely?
The challenge is to manage yourself more. Understand what your stress is, and try to deal with it in a productive way. A surprising benefit would be of course much more time with my family, and I also started to run nearby which is getting me in better shape.

Has working remotely changed your daily tasks and how you tackle them?
The situation is forcing me to be much more focused--smarter in how I use my time and better my task management, which also helps with team communication and productivity. Text communication is also important. I try to show more emotion in each message or try to make it frank and casual.
 

Arissa Nakamura, CI&T Japan Scrum Master

Thais Arissa Nakamura 

Scrum Master, CI&T Japan

What has been the biggest challenge working 100% remotely and what has been the biggest surprise/benefit you’ve come across working remotely?
Not being able to interact with people is overall is the hardest part for me. Apart from that, I saw many small benefits, mainly related to how I can spend my time. During lunchtime, I'm able to take power naps which would not be possible if I wasn't working from home. And after finishing work I can instantly go for a run and enjoy the sunset time (my favorite time). If I could choose I wouldn't do full-time WFH though. These benefits can not replace the pleasure of working on-site with my team.
 

What tools have you used more often than before?
I've been accessing CI&T University (CI&T's internal program that provides content for professional development, through the sharing of knowledge) Also, Spotify has been helping me to break the silence at home. I'm already curious to see their throwback at the end of the year, where they say how long you have listened to songs during the year! Zoom is also a new tool I've started using. Previously I was mostly Google Hangouts and WebEx.
 

How are you keeping in touch with family and loved ones and/or how has the pandemic impacted you and your family? 
I'm happy to say no one in my family was affected by COVID-19. My family lives in Brazil and I'm living in Japan, so I can only communicate with them via social media (Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook), and it didn't change much. We are having more audio and video calls.
 

As a personal experience, I can share my friend's case. She was in Japan for 6 months for an exchange study program in Kyoto, since September last year and her flight back to Brazil was scheduled to be in early April. She spent her last 2 weeks in Japan at my place in Tokyo, so I followed closely how difficult it was for her to get a flight confirmed. We needed to reschedule it 4 times. In the end, she made it back to Brazil, and then I was hit by the loneliness of this quarantine state.
 

Kimmochi Eguchi, Project Manager, CI&T Japan

Kimmochi Eguchi

Project Manager, CI&T Japan

Do you find yourself more productive working from home or about the same? 
Yes, I find myself more productive. 

In addition to this question, I also ask if my Japan team members are stressed working from home now, compared with when we started working from home on 25 February 2020. I ask these two questions on a weekly basis either Thursdays or Fridays, at the end of the week rather than the start. 

Moreover, I ask my team members for 5-10 minutes to chat every once in a while. It’s a lot of work for me to connect and disconnect Google Hangouts every time; however, I can sense whether my team members are ok or tired by listening to their voices very carefully. If my team members are ok, then it’s ok. But if I hear words that lead to stress, then I need to spend extra time with my team members to identify problems and develop contingency plans/suggestions and report it to the company. This may take some time.
 

How are you keeping in touch with family and loved ones and/or how has the pandemic impacted you and your family? 
I have the opportunity to share CI&T celebrations (like our monthly Cake Time) with my daughter. I can also have her join me in some meetings when my wife desperately needs sleep. I can spend more time with my daughter that I don't otherwise get to, like when I take a break during lunchtime.

Sakurako Baba, CI&T Japan QA tester

Sakurako Baba

QA Engineer, CI&T Japan

What has been the biggest challenge working 100% remotely and what has been the biggest surprise/benefit you’ve come across working remotely?
Usually, the biggest challenge is waking up in the morning for my commute to the client's office, which is about a 30-minute train ride. That pressure to get ready to look decent, get on the train on time was what woke me up every day, but now there’s no pressure. My workplace is 3 footsteps away from my bed. On the other hand, no commute time is a benefit. No squeezing inside the crowded morning train and I can start my day without being exhausted. The same can be said for the train ride back home.

Has working remotely changed your daily tasks and how you tackle them?
After starting to work 100% remotely, we noticed that information management is harder than before. It could have also been a particular phase of our project. We found ourselves scheduling more meetings so everyone is informed of new updates and is on the same page, but still, some information slipped away. We are trying to create a centralized document instead of relying on each other’s memory. After all, we learn from trial and error.

What’s been keeping you occupied when you’re not working at home?
Netflix and books. Recently, I have read books related to democracy. Due to the pandemic, governments are expected to restrict people’s movement. We have to closely monitor the proportionality and the new measures to be introduced.
 

Weynham Zheng, CI&T Japan Developer Master

Weynham Zheng

Developer Master, CI&T China

What is it like to completely move to remote work? 
It feels different and advanced. I have more uninterrupted and continuous-time to finish something, a better-organized schedule, and improved self-discipline, shifting the time spent on the commute to be with my family instead. With remote work, people need to be more self-driven and self-disciplined to get the job done, which eventually leads to better individual growth.

Of course, remote work certainly posed a new challenge to the management team, but I strongly believe this is one of the important parts of lean digital transformation--how to motivate employees instead of supervising, what metrics and tools can be used to measure the performance and productivity, etc.
 

What has been the biggest challenge working 100% remote and what has been the biggest surprise/benefit you’ve come across working 100% remote?
I guess the biggest challenge is for the family -  sometimes, it is not just me who needs to adapt to the new routine of WFH, the family also needs to adapt. Elder people in China have a very strong mindset that "at work" means "outside", at home means not at work. It takes time for the family to get in sync with the new WFH routine, but it is not a difficult task.

The biggest surprise is that my 4-year daughter learned how to use a keyboard by watching me typing.  And also I could be part of her life to witness her rapid growth. I can see how she struggled in learning new words and how happy she felt when she mastered the new words, both in English and in Chinese.
 

What tools have you used more often now than before the pandemic?
Of course, the most used tools are remote communication tools, especially Google Chat and Google Meet, then the screenshot tool for making communication easier.


Cnoolon Zhou

Jie Zhou

Project Manager, CI&T China

What is it like to completely move to remote work? 
Not bad actually, although I never thought about this situation before the outbreak and I was initially afraid it might risk project delivery, but after a few weeks, I saw things were moving well.

What has been the biggest challenge working 100%remote and what has been the biggest surprise/benefit you’ve come across working 100% remote?
Challenge: at the very beginning, it took a while for me to set up the whole workspace properly, which caused some trouble to my workflow.
 
Benefit: after I got used to the new workspace, I felt it was actually more proactive in some cases like I can stretch when I felt tired and breathe fresh air on the balcony, which gave me some time to reflect and think of new ideas.
 

Do you find yourself more productive working from home or about the same? 
Yes, without spending time on the daily commute, I can run in the morning as often as I can and which makes me be more energized for the rest of the whole day.