Voices of Remote Work
4 min

How to Be Intentional About Work-Life Balance | Zeeshan Majeed of EA Games

Nicole Henry
Spot Walking Coach

When working from home, it can be hard to disconnect and take a break. Even the most structured employee wellness initiatives can fall flat or become overlooked. But sometimes, it just takes a manager to lead by example and remind their team to step away from their desks and recharge. Spot Walking Coach Nicole Henry spoke with Zeeshan Majeed, a technical lead at EA Games, about the importance of maintaining connection with your remote team and how to create a healthy work-life balance. 

Nicole: Hey Zeeshan! Tell me a bit about yourself. 

Zeeshan: My name is Zeeshan and I'm a software engineer and tech lead over at EA, where I support one of our game development products. This has been a really fun experience because I grew up playing a lot of video games and it’s always been something that I’ve been really passionate about. Now I get to work on them and, you know, kind of make my childhood dreams come true.

N: Tell me a little bit about EA, is it a remote company? Are you in-person? What does the workplace culture look like?

Z: We’re a global company with offices all over the world and there are several work style options depending on what works best for you. Some people like working remotely and some people like working in the office. We've seen through the pandemic that remote work has a lot of positive benefits in terms of work-life balance and flexibility. And for some people, like myself, I think there's a net productivity increase from working at home. It's great to live in a time where there are opportunities for folks to choose the work style that is best for them. 

N: I know in technical roles it’s quite difficult for people to step away from their screens during the workday. Are there wellness activities or ways in which you’re trying to cultivate better work-life balance for yourself?

Z: Especially as a gamer, I'm often at my computer all day for work and then at the end of the day when it's time to disconnect, I’m still at my computer playing games or doing something that is keeping me connected to a screen. I definitely recognize that breaks are really important and taking time to take care of myself and getting out in the sun is really beneficial. Going to the gym and things like that are really important as well. For me, a lot of my breaks happen with my dog. I take a lot of breaks to walk my dog to just get outside and disconnect in some way. I encourage my team to do the same by making sure that they're taking time to disconnect and finding ways to not remain so sedentary. So I think it really comes down to making intentional decisions.

N: How are you staying engaged and connected to your team when they’re currently choosing to work from home? 

Z: We have daily check-ins where we discuss our blockers and anything going on that I can help or support them with. We also schedule time where we can all sit down to maybe order some food and hang out. We can catch up away from work and connect in that way, and I think that's been really helpful. 

N: Yeah I think it was tough for a lot of people to find ways to stay connected at the start of the pandemic. How did the transition to remote work help your team? 

Z: The pandemic initially started and everyone began working from home. I think it was kind of a shock and drastically changed the way we work. But it also put everyone on an even playing field - it didn’t matter if you were a senior engineer or if you were a junior engineer, everyone was kind of starting from scratch and had to figure this thing out together.

N: What are some of the most successful tools and practices you have seen implemented from companies or fellow managers to help build trust amongst the team?

Z: I have worked in quite a few industries for more than a decade and I’ve reported to many managers. So I've really had a chance to experience different management and leadership styles and the most important practice I've seen prioritized is self-care. One thing I’ve noticed is that as a manager, you set the tone for your team and how they view work-life balance. Like, if a manager never takes time for themselves, never takes time off, never prioritizes their health, that behavior really translates to the team. I think it goes back to this theme of being intentional and making sure that people are aware that you're taking time for yourself, you're taking time to disconnect, and encouraging your team to do the same thing.

Are you a leader in the remote work space with a perspective on employee wellness for remote teams? Then we want to hear from you! Book time with a Walking Coach here.

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