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Remote College to Remote Work.

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Authors: Courtney Hedges and Madison Hall

July 7, 2021

There is a unique group, a class if you will, transitioning from college to work during the pandemic. Their last semester or even last year was spent attending classes online, missing out on vital in-person work sessions and collaboration, and, instead, spending hours behind a screen. What’s even more unique is for many of these students, they entered an internship or virtually stepped into their first job in a fully remote setting as well.

A computer mailed to their house, a virtual welcome lunch, a list of online meetings to be introduced to the team. What a stark difference from the rest of us starting our first job. We spent time picking out apparel for the first day, arriving prepared with your work bag, and planning lunch with new colleagues on your first day. 

Courtney Hedges, LiveArea Area Vice President of Performance Marketing, met with LiveArea newcomer Madison Hall, Account Executive in LiveArea Client Services, to ask her for insight into her experience finishing college remotely and joining the LiveArea team in a remote setting.  

Courtney: What was most challenging about your transition into your role?

Madison: In both remote college and remote work, I can certainly say that it can be hard to focus. Even with great motivation and being very driven, remote work can be hard on your mental health. I’ve talked with so many of my friends who really have struggled at school being so secluded. 

In addition to college and work, I went through a year graduate program virtually as well. So going from my last semester remotely to a remote internship to a remote graduate program to remote work. A lot of change in a year time. The exciting piece of it though is that virtual has made it all possible – I can do more and be more productive. The downside though is I’m spending a very long day in front of my computer.

Courtney: What about your onboarding?

Madison: Onboarding into your first role can be hard, but remote onboarding is harder. Trying not to be a bother but asking colleagues to jump on Teams (LiveArea’s collaboration tool), constantly chatting with them for answers. Something as simple as a stop by the desk to ask a minute question now can be a 10-minute online chat.

Courtney: How do you think the remote aspect of work affects your day today?

Madison: I miss personal connections. Not having relationships with the team. I never was able to see the pictures on their desk or ask about their family in person. Sure, we chat for a minute here and there but it’s just not the same as it would be in person.

It’s also hard to know what physical presence does for your ability to learn your job. In a normal work environment, you can look around the office and know – am I working a lot, am I keeping up, am I meeting expectations? All these things are more challenging in a remote environment. No matter how many calls you have.

Shadowing in-person is also something I think we used to take for granted. Being able to sit next to someone while they work and explain a process or talk through the why. It’s easy to take demos, watch training videos and read documents, but that in-person element helps put the pieces together. 

Courtney: What advice would you give someone entering their first job remotely?

Madison: Overcommunicate about what you are doing, how you are tracking deliverables, what you need to be successful. Try where possible to form good connections with the team you work with.  

As we mark a path forward on what is normal for work culture, we can’t lose sight of the importance of relationships. Whether bonded through a screen or in-person elbow to elbow, forming relationships keeps us working toward the same goals and improves our happiness in the work we do.

Authors:

Courtney Hedges is LiveArea’s Area Vice President of Performance Marketing.
Madison Hall is an Account Executive in LiveArea Client Services.

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