I started my job in a pandemic #2

Following on from our piece asking Jack how he has found starting a new job in a pandemic, we have also spoken to Danielle Ward and Martina Kocuri as they have both recently joined the Space & Time team, still working and learning remotely.

Danielle Ward

“My role with Space & Time led to a lot of firsts. It was my first marketing role agency-side rather than inhouse, and my first job in a pandemic. Having learned first-hand the challenges of furlough and redundancy, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on my former job, to say it was daunting is an understatement as I prepared to fly back to London to start my first day at Space & Time, having returned to my family home in Ireland ahead of the lockdown period.

Thankfully my first day was in person, so while the Reigate office was largely empty, it was reassuring to meet colleagues face to face and have an induction to my new role before working from home for the foreseeable future. At home I found it helpful to establish new routines to break up the day. Putting my laptop away, making sure I took my lunch break and turning my notifications off after hours made it easier to mark the end of the workday.

Video calls have been invaluable. Having daily morning calls really helped as we could talk through our plan for the day and easily ask questions, rather than beginning and ending each day without speaking to anyone. Screen sharing when going through tasks is useful and almost as good as face-to-face learning. I also got to know my colleagues much better as we would also chat casually, (and have a bit of a laugh!) and I found video beneficial for building rapport with both clients and colleagues alike.

Starting a new job in the pandemic led to many mixed feelings. On one hand I was relieved to find a new job, and on the other it was upsetting to see many more people continuing to lose their jobs through no fault of their own. While adjusting to my new job in uncertain circumstances, I was lucky to have the support of friends and colleagues in making the transition smoother. The company culture at S&T still comes across virtually and everyone I have spoken with has been really friendly and helpful which made things so much easier!”

Martina Kocuri

“As a graduate taking my first professional step in the business world during COVID-19 has been an interesting journey, it was challenging to adapt to a new way of learning and working. At university, the learning process was entertaining and straight forward as students and teachers could discuss the work face to face, this can take place through a Teams call as well but it is different in how you create a connection as it has a different dynamic when in the same room.

Having little experience of working from home, one of the main obstacles was the lack of face-to-face socialising with co-workers. When present in an office, it is easier to understand the culture of the company and what it stands for, but it gives the opportunity to converse and get to know colleagues who may not be part of your team but share the same working space.

Adapting to the new conditions takes a bit of time but a practice that helped me feel closer and as part of the team was having morning meetings, or at any point of the day. During the calls, we take part in casual conversations but also support each other by talking about the challenges that we are facing with client work and our personal growth. Although socialising at the workplace is good it is also important to be aware of the time spent on the call and ensure that it will not affect the efficiency of the work.

There are some benefits to remote working, one of the factors that I valued the most was the lack of commute. This means that I have an extra 2 hours a day to spend on a wide range of activities.

Since now most people in the UK are working from home, it has become even more important to find the right work-life balance. Although I am fortunate enough to not have to share my bedroom with my office it was difficult to put work aside and relax at the end of the day.

Productivity and efficiency are some of my highest priorities when completing tasks, but one of my biggest takeaways from remote working is to ensure that you take some time to recover because by balancing work and time off it is more likely to become consistent in the work assigned and avoid burnouts.”