Student Hannah Westwood, who is working with FCN as a Digital Marketing Assistant for the next couple of months as part of a placement funded by the University of Leicester, provides her top tips for joining a new team whilst working from home.
With the current job market being so unstable, it is great that the Farming Community Network has been able to offer a Digital Marketing Assistant internship for a current university student. I’m really grateful to have this opportunity to work with a major charity, albeit completely remotely due to the pandemic. Remote working presents a unique set of challenges that need addressing by both the employer and the employee to ensure a smooth transition into the team, and make sure that the internship is beneficial for everyone involved.
Remote working can be challenging during an internship, as it can be hard to feel connected to the team when you are there for a relatively short time, which is exacerbated by the remote setting. This means that it can feel difficult to learn from colleagues, or get involved in collaborative projects. It can also feel isolating to be working alone for the day, which can mean that it is hard to stay motivated when working on projects and tasks. However, there are definitely ways that these challenges can be addressed to make sure the internship experience is still great, despite the remote setting. Below are some of my top tips:
- Methods of communication
In an office setting, you are able to communicate with colleagues a lot more easily. When working remotely, it is vital to make sure that the lines of communication stay open, which will make sure you stay on track, and also help to combat feelings of isolation. Whilst email is a good option, I have found it is also beneficial to use Whatsapp to communicate when needing to ask a quick question as it is more immediate, which replicates face-to-face chatting in the office. Video calls are also a useful method as it is good to be able to put names to faces when working with different people.
2) Wear workwear
Whilst it might be tempting to stay in pajamas all day, getting dressed into office wear each morning can help to replicate the office environment at home and make sure that you stay motivated throughout the day.
3) Take short screen breaks
Working remotely means that everything you do will be in front of a screen, which can be tiring on the eyes and cause headaches. I find that taking short screen breaks every hour to go and fill up my water helps my eyes take short but regular rests throughout the day. This also helps me to stay hydrated and stretch my legs during the day.
4) Remove distractions
When working from home, it can be hard to separate work from other things, such as studying and relaxing. Especially given the current situation in which we are all home a lot more, it can sometimes be hard to concentrate on just one thing at a time. I find it is best to remove distractions such as uni work off my desk when working, so that I am able to focus. I also have a separate notebook for work, so that my notes don’t get mixed up and everything is kept separate and organised.
5) Get a change of scenery
It can be a struggle to be working and living in the same space, so I find it beneficial to change up where I’m working from time-to-time. Living in a student house doesn’t give many options, but I like to change between the desk in my room and the table we have in the kitchen. I usually work downstairs in the morning before my housemates are awake and then move up to the desk in my room later on.
Overall, remote working is definitely manageable, and can have its benefits as it cuts out the commute, leaving more time at the beginning and end of each day. I have definitely found that I am able to be more productive when it comes to working by implementing the above tips. I’m really enjoying my time in the internship so far, and it is great experience to be able to work with a national charity.