“It’s better to fail while striving for something wonderful, challenging, adventurous, and uncertain than to say, ‘I don’t want to try because I may not succeed completely’.”Jimmy Carter
As a student looking for placement since the Covid outbreak, you may have seen many employers cutting out opportunities, and others adapting to create remote placements. It’s common to think that you’re unfortunate and that it’s better to go straight on to Final year rather than waste one year on a remote placement. However, I can tell you from my experience that remote placements are better than you think and certainly not a waste of time! Here’s why:
Why would you go on a Remote Placement?
1. You gain skills
I have to admit, I underestimated remote placements by thinking I wouldn’t gain as many skills as working face-to-face in an office. You are still expected to embrace responsibility, tackle challenges, and work collaboratively with your team. But there’s more: you will see that by not having your colleagues just a few feet away, you become much more proactive and independent. Many times, you can quickly find what you need on your own, which actually saves everyone time.
2. You learn how to work in a new environment
Of course, working remotely doesn’t mean you’re working alone – you can always seek help when you need it. Working in a virtual setting involves learning how to use a variety of online tools to communicate easily with your team. I’ve realised that being comfortable in this new environment is a great skill to have because you show flexibility, independence, and fluency with technology. Did you know that many businesses are likely to stick to remote working or combine remote work and face-to-face? Check weforum to find out more about the future of remote working.
3. It’s less daunting and less overwhelming
The first day working in an office can be slightly overwhelming, and that’s normal! During my remote placement, I was in the comfort of my home, which made the process of getting integrated into the team smoother, as I got to know people in the department gradually. A soft start to your first week of office work experience is welcomed!
4. You can achieve a better work-life balance
Obviously, working from home means there are no stressful mornings stuck in traffic and you have your favourite coffee and a tasty lunch at hand. Seriously, I think it’s a huge advantage! Working remotely means saving a lot of time. I find that it’s easier to schedule my week and I can enjoy more time with friends and family. You also don’t have colleagues popping in for a “quick question”. How many times have you been distracted by the people around you? Countless, I’m sure! The virtual office is a synonym for fewer distractions because when you start getting into the routine, you learn to avoid being distracted by your laundry.
How to make the most of working from home?
You might argue that the virtual office is much more lonely and that it’s harder to build relationships with your team. However, that’s not necessarily true. Interactions are easy with coffee breaks over MS Teams or Zoom. I’ve learned that it’s up to me and my colleagues to decide how much social time we spend during the week. In fact, not having people around makes me more aware of the importance of staying in touch, so when we do, it’s more effective and I appreciate it more.
It’s easy to have rough days, especially given the global circumstances. My recommendation is to be positive! As cheesy as it may sound, looking at the bright side does make you happier. My team and I often use emojis and GIFs when chatting online and it simply creates a better work atmosphere.
Finally, I haven’t forgotten about the unspoken consequences of spending too long in front of a screen. Here are six tips that have helped me to avoid a backache and eye fatigue at the end of the day:
- This first one is quick and easy: adjust the intensity of your screen and turn on the Night Light.
- If you can, sit in front or near a window, it will help you get as much sunlight as you can. I avoid eye fatigue by changing from looking at my laptop to looking out the window.
- Have a dedicated space for work – it can be a corner if you don’t have a separate room! I like to think, “You are only there when you’re working and you are only working when you’re there”.
- Get a comfortable chair. You might think that you will only be working from home for a few weeks; it’ll probably be longer. And even if it’s not for long, believe me, you want to avoid any pain.
- Creating a routine is essential to avoid mixing work with life. Some suggestions are to clearly distinguish working time from breaks and to wear different clothes for work and leisure time. Hanging my office ID card from a lanyard around my neck works for me.
- Get your heart rate up a bit! Take a walk around your back garden, or go up and down the stairs a few times. Normally, you’d be moving around in the office, so why not incorporate that at home?
Hopefully, this blog opened your mind to consider a remote placement or reassured you about the benefits of working from home. I trust you take useful advice to help you make the most of your time working in a virtual setting. All the best and see you in my next blog!
Written by Alba