08 May 5 Tips and Insights for Working Remotely
What to do when recruitment is on hold
As nations tackle the COVID-19 epidemic, a rapidly increasing number of employees across the world are working remotely as part of the efforts to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. Countries worldwide have enforced a full or partial lockdown and major firms have put recruitment on hold. Nonetheless, students and recent graduates can still show employers that they are willing to gain professional experience and a pandemic will not hold them back.
Absolute Internship offers Remote Internship Programs to give young professionals the opportunity to kick-start their professional career from anywhere in the world. Although remote work can seem intimidating, it definitely has its perks. In fact, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, numerous employees had already said goodbye to the long commutes and had started working remotely. Now, technologies such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts Meet and Slack have given us the ability to get the same job done no matter where in the world we are.
In light of the global shift to remote work and internships, we have interviewed Sara Bresciani, a self-employed freelance copy-editor that has shared some tools and strategies to boost collaboration and productivity from home.
Ms Bresciani has been working from home for over two years. Her job consists of editing academic articles for several agencies in the fields of art, philosophy and literature. She occasionally also edits journalistic articles and collaborates with translators to ensure they are translating texts and novels correctly into English.
“I establish my work schedule as far ahead as I can,” Bresciani explains, “When I first started working remotely Google Calendar was my best friend, my most useful tool that helped me organise my time accordingly.”
The perks of working from home
According to the European Environment Agency (2020), since 2014, greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector in the EU have been increasing drastically. However, as the world has turned to full-time remote working amidst the coronavirus pandemic and there has been a drop in traffic volumes, carbon emissions have started decreasing. Thus, undertaking an internship from home avoids unnecessary commutes and helps reduce the carbon footprint.
Ms Bresciani points out that working remotely not only helps the environment, but also helps you develop new skills. Self-discipline is one of the most important skills you can develop since you will need to resist the urge of many distractions that can occur at home. You will not have anyone watching over you, making sure you are doing the work so you will need to create a work schedule and follow it, demonstrating independence. In addition, your communication skills will also improve since you will need to clearly articulate the projects you are working on and the doubts or questions you might have to avoid any misunderstandings.
Lastly, even though for extroverts working from home can be a challenge, introverts might benefit from remote internships.
“I am not the biggest extrovert and I find offices with many people overly stimulating,” Bresciani explains, “Being around people all the time can be tiring. Since I started working at home, I realised I value my free time more and I can decide when and who I want to spend time with”.
Finally, working remotely does not always mean working from home. If your government relaxes the lockdown measures, you can work from a coffee shop or from a park, while you sunbathe.
Mitigating the downsides of remote work. Every problem has a solution
Distractions & Overworking: your worst enemies
Your home is full of distractions: your flatmates asking if you are up for a drink, your dog barking every time the postman rings the doorbell or your younger sibling coming into your room without knocking. However, if you have a dedicated office space, preferably not in your bedroom, and you let your friends and family know your working hours, you can successfully reduce the amount of distractions. Bresciani explains that separating your relaxation space from your working space also benefits your mental health since it’s important to know when to stop working or to take a break.
“The space where you sleep, eat and socialise becomes where you work, Bresciani explains, “I used to constantly overwork until I designated a clear working space that I associated with my job and left this space when I was off the clock.”
Missing out on socialising
Working from home makes you miss out from the socialising aspect of work. Many people thrive off human connection and look forward to their morning coffee in the office with their work colleagues where they chat about what went on at the weekend or even vent about the workload. However, working remotely does not necessarily put an end to socialising. Besciani is part of The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, a non-profit body with freelance editorial professional members that also work remotely. This organisation arranges events in different cities so self-employed freelancers can meet professionals that work in their same field.
“You need a support network to discuss certain aspects of your job or bond over a new project. Maybe you can’t see this colleague in person but you can always reach out. Be ready to schedule a call with a new work colleague or have a beer over skype after work!”
If you decide to undertake a remote internship, you can create a WhatsApp, Facebook or Slack group with other interns in your program to ask for advice on a certain project or just get to know each other. Don’t be afraid to overcommunicate! You still have the chance to work with people from different nationalities and learn about different work ethics and customs.
Accepting a challenge shows independence and courage
Undertaking your first internship online is definitely a challenge. However, this is what employers will value the most: people who are not afraid to try something completely different, who dare accept a challenge and who are independent enough to work without daily supervision.