One thing is clear, remote work is here to stay!
A recent Gartner survey of company leaders found that 80 percent of managers plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, while 47 percent will allow employees to work from home full-time.
A Lebanese dietitian turned creative copywriter
Oyster’s Remote Ready, a specialized training course dedicated to remote work best practices, is here to help everyone get on board with the “new normal.” This has certainly been the case for Mounya Sasso, a Lebanese dietitian turned creative copywriter.
Mounya graduated three years ago with a degree in nutrition from the American University of Beirut. After getting her license as a dietitian, she was ready to start work, but then COVID-19 hit.
It became difficult to find a job in Lebanon, and for Mounya nutrition no longer seemed like the right path. She says “maybe if I had done a master’s degree,” but with COVID-19 persisting, it seemed like she’d have to look for other options.
But she knew she couldn’t wait until the pandemic was over to transform her career. Mounya needed to figure out how to weather the storm.
Enter Remote Ready
Around this time is when she first hears about Remote Ready. After getting connected with Remote Ready’s Programme Manager Mohamad Chamas through a mutual friend, it didn’t take long for Mounya to start taking more seriously the prospect of working remotely.
“In the back of my mind, I was always like, ‘Is [remote work] possible? How do you work across time zones? How do you work in different countries? How do you work online in general?”
When asked what she hoped to get out of Remote Ready, Mounya had this to say:
“I was hoping it would open doors to me. Maybe I would meet someone that knew someone that knew someone that wanted to hire me, or I would just get to speak to people all across the world, which was also something that I was looking forward to. And I did want to learn more about how people work online. What are the different tools that they use? How do they actually speak to each other online and make sure they’re in sync? And make sure everything’s good. So that was what I was looking forward to.”
Soon after starting the Remote Ready course, she began seeing results in her use of remote tools and key remote working skills. As she recounts it:
“I think the [Remote Ready] program helped me. It helped me learn how to seek people in different time zones and how to coordinate with people online. Like you don’t have to be face-to-face.”
Looking for remote opportunities
After finishing the course, it suddenly seemed that remote opportunities were popping up everywhere. “I started to look for jobs on LinkedIn, and suddenly all the jobs that I was seeing were remote. Were they always there? And I didn’t see them?”
While she never anticipated to start working remotely so soon, Mounya stumbled into it in a way that just so happened to work with where she and the world were at the time.
Following her internship for her university degree, her first job happened to be as a freelance copywriter for about five or six months until December 2020, so she had some experience that helped her land her new full-time job.
Mounya the remote worker
Mounya currently works at a company based in Dubai that’s been working remotely for a couple of years now.
Mounya works there full time and frequently uses tools like Zoom, Notion, and Loom. When asked about the Remote Ready lessons, Mounya admits that the course helped her with mastering tools such as Notion. She also revealed that without it, it would have been difficult to prove her remote skills during work interviews.
She says one big bonus for working remotely was freedom of location. She candidly admits that she doesn’t see herself staying in Lebanon long-term. Because remote work opportunities do not tie you to one location, she would love to relocate at some point if the opportunity presents itself.
In her final remarks, Mounya says she very much enjoyed the Remote Ready experience, particularly because of how approachable it was. She told us that because of Remote Ready, companies are comfortable with hiring her in a remote role.
“I feel like they would have been more comfortable knowing that I’m okay working remotely, and I don’t need someone that’s watching me 24/7. If I’m doing my work or not, I don’t need someone to tell me how to speak to people, what tool to use, how to use Zoom, or how to use Notion. I know all of that. So, I do think a sense of comfort comes with that.”
Below is a full transcript of the conversation held between Oyster’s Content & Communication Manager Gabriel Kesseler and Mounya
Gab: Welcome, Mounya.
Mounya: Hi, thanks for having me.
Gab: Let’s start by hearing more about you and your career path.
Mounya: I studied nutrition at university and became a licensed dietician after I graduated. Then the pandemic happened. Everything in Lebanon shut down, and it was difficult to find a job. I felt like nutrition wasn’t really for me anymore. Then I started to search for freelancing opportunities, and I thought copywriting would be a good fit for me. I landed a job in December 2020.
Gab: Do you enjoy it?
Mounya: I do, and I’ve gone from being a freelancer to having a full-time job.
Gab: Did you intend to do remote work, or did you stumble upon it?
Mounya: Honestly, I stumbled upon it. Someone told me about Oyster’s Remote Ready training program. Before that, I didn’t think remote work was an option and I didn’t know which tools I needed to succeed at it. When I heard about Remote Ready, I said to myself, “Okay, this is the door. I’m going through it.”
Gab: Was there anything preventing you from remote work?
Mounya: In the back of my mind, I kept wondering if it’s possible. I haven’t worked across time zones, or in different countries. And I didn’t know how to work online in general. Remote Ready helped me learn how to work with people in different time zones and how to coordinate with people online. You really don’t have to be face-to-face to do your job well.
Gab: How did you go about finding your job?
Mounya: Once I did the Remote Ready program, I started looking for jobs online and almost all the jobs I was seeing were remote jobs. I wondered if they were always there, but I just didn’t see them previously.
Gab: What did you hope to achieve with Remote Ready?
Mounya: I was hoping the Oyster team would open doors to me, and I wanted to speak to people all across the world. I definitely wanted to learn more about how people work online: the different tools they use, how they actually see each other online, how they stay in sync.
Gab: What did you like about the structure of Remote Ready?
Mounya: The program is easy to understand. I didn’t get confused with what was expected of me. And I really like some of the tools we learned, especially Notion. Now I use it in my personal life, not just for work. You can do anything with it.
Gab: Do you feel that Remote Ready lowered the barriers to entry for you in terms of remote work?
Mounya: I do. It put me ahead of the competition because not everyone is ready for remote work.
Gab: What’s your new company like?
Mounya: They are based in Dubai. They’ve been working remotely for a couple of years now, even before the pandemic. People are from several different countries: Syria, other places in the UAE, and Lebanon. I like how easy it is for us to speak to each other, even though we’re in different time zones. We use a lot of different tools: Notion, Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Docs, for example.
Gab: Do you feel like your Remote Ready training will help you secure positions at different companies going forward?
Mounya: I feel like people are more comfortable knowing that I don’t need someone watching me 24/7 and that I know what tools to use when and how to use them. Employers can put their confidence in me, because I know what I’m doing.
Gab: If you had one tip of other remote workers, what would it be?
Mounya: The biggest thing is to set boundaries. If someone seeks me out at 6:00 p.m. when it’s not 6 p.m. their time, then I tell them I’ll deal with it the next morning. I won’t take on tasks when it isn’t during my normal working hours. Otherwise, people will continue to cross the line. It was really good advice that I got from Remote Ready.
Gab: Thank you so much for your time, and for sharing your experience.
Mounya: You’re welcome. I enjoyed it. I hope Remote Ready continues on for a long time, and others get to have the experience I did.
About Remote Ready
Remote Ready is a free online program that teaches skills needed to thrive in a globally-distributed team.
The program is part of Oyster’s wider goal of closing the geographic gap between great job opportunities and talented individuals.