Since the pandemic began in 2020, many companies have shifted to working remotely to compensate for COVID restrictions. Creating and utilizing new technology platforms such as Asana, Slack, and Google Drive has become second nature for those who once worked in office buildings. What began as a way to keep workers safe has quickly shifted to a new norm, and many businesses have remained remote despite restrictions being lifted.
Having experienced working remotely firsthand, can be both difficult and time-consuming while also beneficial and rewarding.
1. Adjusting to the Timezones of Other Co-Workers
Working at a remote internship presents many challenges when it comes to communicating with co-workers who may live on the other side of the globe. One of the biggest challenges faced is finding a time where your time zone overlaps with another person’s timezone, without it being a large hassle for either party involved. It is important not to notify co-workers of something urgent when they are asleep in their time zone.
Overall, the main issue that revolves around differing time zones is that co-workers must learn to respect one another’s time.
2. Technological Issues
Working remotely requires the use of technology in the form of a laptop or desktop and wifi. Depending on where your co-workers are located, it may be difficult to obtain the best network connection. In addition to network connection, a co-worker may experience technical issues with their computer, which will make them unavailable to respond and might set tasks that are due very soon back a day. Patience and understanding are important in these situations, and so long as someone actively works to resolve whichever error is occurring, the team can move right back on track in no time.
3. Time Management
Working at an internship, in general, requires spectacular time management, regardless of whether the internship is in person or remote. Co-workers may have outside endeavors, such as University classes, another job, or their own business. Once again, it is important to be respectful of your co-worker’s time and complete tasks within a time frame that is as beneficial as possible. Learning to balance all of your obligations is very challenging and important.
It is necessary to find time for each activity you need to complete, that way you can successfully multitask without one obligation taking time away from another.
4. Understanding What Has Been Communicated
Working virtually creates a large divide in how co-workers may perceive a task. Something that may seem simple to one co-worker may be highly difficult to another, and communicating how to solve that problem can be inefficient at times. Some solutions that have helped to address confusion are sending screenshots so your co-worker knows exactly what you are talking about, or meeting for a one-on-one interview where you can share your screen.
I have found that trying to communicate an issue through text/ messaging usually results in even more confusion, so explaining something visually has been the greatest problem solver.
5. Separating Personal Life From Work Life
Much like finding time to multitask with other obligations, separating your work life from your personal life can be very difficult. Working remotely provides a platform that essentially makes you available all of the time. Yes, you have tasks to complete each day, but if someone were to message you later than anticipated, you would still receive that message.
It is up to you to set boundaries in terms of which hours you can work, and it is up to you if you want to reply to that message that has been sent outside of your working hours. For employees to best make use of their time, they must stick to their boundaries and complete the work needed from them within these time boundaries.
As stated previously, working remotely requires you to be your own boss. This means you are also in charge of organizing your tasks so that they are completed within a timely manner. This also means organizing your work so that all of your obligations may be fulfilled, both inside and outside of the internship.
Keeping a calendar and linking all of your technology platforms can be helpful to stay on top of organizational issues. For example, if you have an interview or meeting with someone, it is important that this task be duplicated and posted to each of your calendars, so you will not forget.
7. Being Present for Meetings or for Completing Tasks
Along with time management, being present for certain tasks is very important and at times, very challenging. Adjusting your schedule so that you may be present and available for others requires meticulous planning and effort. Finding a window of time and sticking to that window is challenging, and making yourself available consistently when required of you is essential.
Additionally, when you are present in a meeting you must be both physically and mentally present. If you are sitting in on a meeting and not paying attention or not contributing to the best of your abilities, you are wasting the time of others while effectively wasting your own time as well.
My Personal Experience
“Interning remotely has allowed me to learn more about Human Resources while growing as a professional, but above all else, this internship has allowed me to learn about myself”
Working as an intern at AITJ has been my first remote working experience, aside from attending my University classes online. Interning remotely has allowed me to learn more about Human Resources while growing as a professional, but above all else, this internship has allowed me to learn about myself.
The most important thing to know is that when you are working remotely you have to be your own boss. Working without the physical office setting requires a great deal of self-motivation and you must hold yourself accountable to finish daily tasks all while making yourself available to other co-workers.
The Benefits I Have Experienced
Withholding yourself accountable comes a certain amount of freedom that cannot be provided by in-person office jobs. For example, if you complete your tasks earlier than usual or if you have fewer tasks than on a normal day, you can finish early simply by setting yourself as away and then closing your laptop. Additionally, Working within the traditional office setting requires employees to clock in and remain in the office until work is fully completed. With a remote internship, you can complete a certain amount of work and then take a break to complete other tasks such as laundry, working out, or cleaning the dishes.
Working remotely has allowed me to become more productive around the house because of these little breaks, and I feel as if I have more time to complete personal tasks.
Another benefit to working remotely is all of the amazing people that I have met from all over the world. During my time at AITJ, I have met other interns and interviewed applicants from all around the United States, India, Nigeria, China, and many more. It is amazing to feel connected to people from different places even if we are not physically in the same room. I would never have learned about the differences in culture of other co-workers or what someone’s interest might be halfway across the globe if it was not for remote work.
Remote Work is the Future
As remote work becomes more acceptable throughout society and companies continue to utilize online communication rather than office spaces, we must remind ourselves that human beings are capable of wonderful things. Somehow, we were able to continue working, meeting, and learning throughout a 2-year long pandemic. The world is ever-changing so it is important that we can adapt to and overcome struggles to keep on moving.
Overall, remote work has reminded me that change is inevitable, but change becomes better when you are more willing to accept all of the benefits and difficulties that come along with it.
A Challenge is an Opportunity
At AI Time Journal, we like to see the challenges as opportunities to grow, learn and improve ourselves and our professional careers.
Are you interested in learning how to face challenges and succeed in a global remote company?
Human Resources Intern at AI Time Journal