Coming fresh out of college and into the daunting “real world” can be stressful and overwhelming at the best of times. Throw in the fact that after probation, you are now starting your first ever professional job remotely AND in the midst of a global pandemic, and things become even more complicated.
If you are like me, you were fortunate enough to be starting a job and the thought of being sent home for “two-weeks” to work was probably a welcomed one. Less time spent on the crammed bus/train into town is never a bad thing. However, once things became a bit more long-term, it became increasingly important to get into a good routine early-on and stick by it in order to stand any chance of succeeding in what was a unique environment to begin your profession.
One and a half years later, I have learned what works for me and what doesn’t. My biggest take away is that you should try your best to be proactive in normalising working from home, and when you’re new to a profession, be proactive in getting yourself into a position where you can add value to your employers.
Working from home creates a whole new dynamic of challenges that almost everyone now faces. Distractions in the house are probably the biggest and most important ones to remove yourself from. Finding a space (where possible) that reflects a work-like environment can be extremely beneficial. Fortunately for me, that has become an attic space where I can go about daily virtual meetings, calls, projects, etc. without the fear of family members appearing on the screen for my colleagues/clients to see. As tough as it can be to create a space like this, I do think it is essential if you are looking to create a space that you can comfortably work in on a day-to-day basis.
Probably as important as the space, you work in is the structure you put in place from home. Most likely this will take time and it will come from trial and error. Getting up 45 minutes to an hour before work starts has been the one that works for me. Rolling out of bed right before work gets you off to a bad start and almost always results in a reactive day rather than a proactive one.
Keeping a daily task diary goes hand in hand with being proactive. Working in an office for 6 months I found that dealing with any issues was probably a bit easier because there was someone beside you that could help right away. At home, it is easy to put something on the long finger, especially if you don’t want to deal with it and before you know it the week has passed, and you have forgotten to follow up on a small issue. A daily task diary has helped hugely in tackling that problem. At the end of each day, going back through the tasks/goals you had set out is a good way of tracking how your week has gone and eliminates the possibility of slipping up on responding to any issues that arise throughout any given week.
Communication with your colleagues/managers is probably more vital than ever right now. Working closely by talking every day and not being afraid to ask for help in any situation is always important and it will help you to learn into your role and inevitably you will add your own value to the company by doing this and picking up knowledge from those more senior to you.
Lastly, be patient. If I could give one piece of advice to everyone beginning their professional journey from home, it would be this. It is so important always to remember to be patient with yourself, especially when starting your first job in this environment. Everyone is learning what works best for us in a virtual environment and not everything one person finds useful will apply to you. Trial and error will most likely lead you to your most comfortable setting, but it will take time to get there.
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