Five Minutes With... Dima Nehme
We spoke to Dima Nehme, Regional Sales Manager from the Middle East, a year on from the first lockdown to see how she adapted during the pandemic and get her thoughts on the future of the workplace.
How long have you worked at Bisley?
I’ve worked at Bisley for over two years, starting as Regional Sales for UAE, then after 3 months I took over more territories so now I’m the Regional Sales Manager for the Middle East. I’ve worked in the furniture industry for the past six years. Before Bisley I worked on the dealer side, but I love my job now.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to become a translator, I had the dream for about eight years and when anyone would ever ask me what I wanted to be, that’s all I would say. I also wanted to pursue dancing and ballet but in that world, if you’re a teenager then you are already too old! So I had these two completely different dreams.
I went to university to study interior design, which is a lot more aligned with what I do now, so all worked out in the end! As I was growing up my interests changed, and I was leaning more towards the arts, design, and product design. I wanted to do something that had many facets to it as I thought from there I can do so many different things. I worked in design for a little bit after graduation, but I figured that I enjoyed meeting and interacting with people so that’s why I went into sales. My background in interior design helps with in my job now, as I can connect with designers and it’s easy for me to talk about.
What does your normal working day look like? And how has that changed over the past year?
My normal day is usually scheduled meetings with dealers, consultants, or colleagues. I work on specifications. These are how my days look both pre and post covid. At the start and during the first phase of Covid there were more zoom calls rather than face-to-face meetings, so we saw a change there.
During Covid, I had a bit of a panic of how I would meet with my clients. I met with Peter (Kay, General Manager of Bisley Dubai) and we decided that we would try and do a tour with all our UAE dealers. This was during July and August when Covid was still very present, but everyone said yes! They came to the office (following strict regulations of course!) to see the new furniture and had breakfast or lunch. Those two months were completely hectic. We expanded our invitation to those directly outside of the UAE and did virtual tours with them over zoom too. It was really amazing that we managed to do all this during Covid. The pandemic has made us become more creative in how we engage with clients and with our presentations.
What to do you enjoy about working at Bisley?
I enjoy the challenges that we have. They can be related to specific products, meeting targets, or meeting with clients and designers that inspire you. It’s the overall aspect of my job that keeps me going. It pulls me towards it rather than away, which is how I prefer to feel. Having a nice, healthy working environment definitely helps me be productive too.
How do you think the pandemic has changed the way we think about the workplace? What do you think the future holds?
It has changed a few things; there have been different phases. At the begin everyone was scared. There was talk of going back to cubicles and segregating offices, as well as having lower capacity in office spaces. Everyone was enjoying working form home at the beginning but that slowly changed. People wanted to be social and be together again.
A few months later, we are now saying that we need more open and collaborative spaces with less desks and more room for hot desking, allowing people to not be too close to each other and feel at ease. The conversation changed as we all realised that as much as working from home is convenient some of the time, it’s not okay for all of the time. I think a lot of companies realised that time flexibility is important and I think they will be working in a smart way to adapt to this.
In the furniture world I think we will be having a lot more collaborative furniture options and solutions. Some projects that were on going before the pandemic have changed designs to suit Covid times, now including more open space and collaborative furniture with less desks.
It is beneficial as we, Bisley, are moving in that direction. I think we will have a good standing in that process.
I worked from home from March until the end of June. At the beginning, when we were first allowed back to the office I was scared and concerned, you get used and adapt to being at home. Once we got back in it took me a day or so, but then I was back on track with waking up and commuting to work. It made me appreciate not only the office, but working with other people. It’s not the same when you have a phone call or zoom call rather than being with them! If you need something you can just go and ask. You feel like you belong and are part of the team in the office. At home, you can feel alone and be sat on your laptop for hours.
What is your favourite piece from the Bisley collections? And why?
From the new products that would be Buddy. It is very versatile; it fits to all desks. A lot of businesses are moving away from pedestals, it’s a fact. I think Buddy is a great solution to that, it’s a real alternative. I love the colours, the size of it. It’s a very smart solution that we can all benefit from.
What do you get up to outside of Bisley? What does your usual weekend look like?
Well, the only restrictions in the UAE now are the number of people that are allowed inside a place but otherwise, you can go anywhere. I like to go out with friends, to the beach, do my training, cook, read. I am a coffee person however, so if anyone suggests going for a coffee, I’m in, even if it’s at night!