Do special rituals before the working process. Treat it like art, like meditation. For example, take a cup of adrenal tea before working, or practice deep breathing. No rush.
As a part of our series about the things you need to successfully work remotely, I had the pleasure of interviewing Antonina Fedorova.
Antonina Fedorova is a serial passionpreneur from Russia. She knows firsthand what it is like leading various lives, because her professional story is a fascinating journey starting with a career in academic science, and evolving to roles in banking, show-business, event production, and culminating today as a startup founder. As Anybe’s Chief Experience Officer, Antonina is a thought leader in social and psychological experiments. The unique Social Teleport she has created serves to push the boundaries of your social constructs, and add richness and color to your experience of life.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I’ve always been juggling lives, that’s how I am. One-course path is the antithesis for me, in different periods of my life I shifted from a science-obsessed student to banker, to a rock stars’ manager, to a socialité, to a show-business event producer and more.
Practically, what I do is I consciously and deeply ask myself “do I still feel like it and do I want to live this life?”, and if the answer is positive, I keep going. And I start transformations whenever I understand I need to go in another direction. The key is I always go full-on, not lulling in half measures.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Anybe seeks the most extraordinary leaders in different niches. Usually, my team in Moscow finds them remotely and makes all negotiations, and it works. But we have faced one challenge that you can’t manage if not on the spot: that’s involving homeless people into our community for sharing their mindset. There’s only one way to go about it, so I go outside and communicate with them myself. Now I’m a specialist in it.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I ran a business with the same idea in Russia, working with a VIP audience. They all wanted a really high-end experience, like being a famous artist, a chef of a fine dining restaurant, or a private jet pilot. When I just started doing business in the USA, I used to have the same approach, but it soon turned out that the high-end audience in California seeks really simple things: like being homeless for a day, being a farmer, a winemaker, or an army ranger…
So, the lesson is to be open and ready to start from zero, do not compare, and do not rely on your previous experience.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees thrive and avoid burnout?
I recommend paying more attention to the individuality of a person who works with you. We are all different. I facilitate a personal approach to motivate everyone. Working remotely just amplifies this issue.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Working remotely can be very different than working with a team that is in front of you. This provides great opportunity but it can also create unique challenges. To begin, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main benefits and opportunities of working remotely?
The greatest thing is literally its remoteness. Working from any part of the world; working in a business based anywhere, isn’t it a dream? In the end, it doesn’t matter where you do work that you are passionate about. It’s all about love for what you’re doing, not location. And believe me, it is not just a cliché!
The second good about remote work is that I can do tasks when I feel like doing them, choosing those I can do at a certain moment. It helps keep psychological balance and distribute my mental resources as I wish.
Another major advantage is having more time to yourself. Whatever I spend it on, it is definitely more beneficial than spending it commuting or flying to another country for a business meeting. The toughest trick here is to learn to set time limits between work and the rest of your time.
Can you articulate for our readers what the five main challenges are regarding working remotely?
- Keeping focused, ignoring distractions.
- Overworking, erased boundaries between working and personal life.
- Occasional need to get dressed to go out for socializing.
- Snaccidents happen.
- Missing my extremely social lifestyle. As an ex-show-business producer, I am used to be always in public.
Based on your experience, what can one do to address or redress each of those challenges? Can you give a story or example for each?
1. Do special rituals before the working process. Treat it like art, like meditation. For example, take a cup of adrenal tea before working, or practice deep breathing. No rush.
2. Feel your body and your brain, be sensitive to your own voice. I don’t feel it is right to allocate certain hours for having a rest. Just try going with a flow and don’t break it when you catch it.
3. Go out to some places few times per week, connect with new people, explore new places. Don’t stay at home all the time.
4. Make “snaccident” as joyful as possible, don’t judge yourself and pay 100% attention to all snacks and coffee during your working day.
5. Invite friends, stay social when you feel that you need it. Sometimes I don’t feel that I want to be social, in this case, I just enjoy being alone.
Do you have any suggestions specifically for people who work at home? What are a few ways to be most productive when you work at home?
I recommend mixing working hours and going outside, it can be anything — sport, meetings, walks. It reduces possibilities of emotional burnout and helps stay positive and full of energy until you don’t forget to keep your schedule diverse.
Can you share any suggestions for teams who are used to working together on location but are forced to work remotely due to the pandemic? Are there potential obstacles one should avoid with a team that is just getting used to working remotely?
I suggest having a group online experience with colleagues, like online excursions or watching a lecture together with following discussion. If possible, try making an offline day together once a month. The biggest obstacle is that in the current remote mode it is much harder for teams to bond together as they did before the pandemic — during coffee breaks or simply finding themselves in a collective atmosphere of an office.
What do you suggest can be done to create an empowering work culture and team culture with a team that is remote and not physically together?
I offer to organize a day for employees out of their bubble and comfort zone. For example, IT guys can spend a day being a farmer or a winemaker. Then, most importantly, let them share their impressions, pictures in a group chat, let them discuss what they experienced. This can be a new kind of team building during remote working.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’ve already started this movement! My startup Anybe. I want to spread the idea of psychological tourism around the world. Putting oneself for one day totally out of one’s comfort zone, Anybe experience acts as a magic pill for emotional burnout or existential crisis. We increase empathy and bring inspiration, generally — Anybe gets people unstuck. I think that’s the most amount of good that I could bring.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Attached to nothing, connected to everything”.
That’s my motto, it allows you to be free in your actions, move fast and be aligned to the mission.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Anybe website: https://anybe.com/
My musings: https://antonina-anybe.medium.com/
Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success.