I’m no stranger to remote work. Between online classes and extracurriculars, as well as requirements for past jobs, I was fortunate enough to enter my internship with ScoutComms last fall with skills that would help me be productive regardless of the environment I worked in. During my first few weeks with the company I worked partly in the office and partly at home, which gave me the opportunity to quickly build relationships with team members. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the quirks of the ScoutComms team in person, from jokes made in our weekly meetings to anecdotes about midwestern hometowns, and when the company transitioned to working fully remote, I was confident in my role. The face-to-face time I’d had with the team gave me the resources and experiences I needed to be successful in a remote internship.
While my past jobs have required some limited remote work, this internship has been my first taste of fully-remote responsibilities. Although I miss some of the day-to-day interactions with my teammates—like catching up on Mondays over a cup of coffee—I also enjoy the flexibility (and lack of commute) that remote work offers, especially during this time of increased uncertainty. Having the options to take a short walk on a sunny spring afternoon or pick up prescriptions while the pharmacy’s less crowded are perks I’m very grateful for. Along those same lines, the ability to step away from work and decompress for a bit is a significant advantage of working from home that I’ve found is essential to keeping stress at a manageable level. I’m immunocompromised and at a high risk for the flu, let alone the coronavirus, so the option to take a break from work when I need it has been key to handling the stress that comes with a global pandemic.
The ScoutComms team has really been ahead of the curve on social distancing—for months now we’ve been fully remote and I think we’ve gotten pretty good at it! As a team we’ve certainly progressed past the somewhat awkward phase of learning to use online conferencing systems and getting used to trading direct messages instead of collaborating in person. We have scheduled weekly meetings for the whole staff as well as specific teams, and that consistent meeting routine has been very helpful for me in providing predictable times when I can check in and have contact with my teammates. I’m very grateful that our team uses our meeting times to connect with each other on personal levels as well as discuss business; it’s frankly heartwarming to hear teammates swap bread recipes and stories of daring grocery store exploits! The ability to successfully collaborate online has also allowed us to build a team that spans the East Coast—in particular I’ve had the pleasure of working with (and learning a whole lot from) Florida-based Dr. Kiersten Downs, and as our team members shift locations as life requires, our work can continue unabated.
There’s truly no end to the lessons that come with remote work. There are significant opportunities for self-growth and -discovery on a daily basis. While I was able to apply skills to this internship learned from previous remote work, I’ve also cultivated new skills and knowledge about my abilities suited to the particular tasks required of my role. For instance, I’ve gained experience with software including Qualtrics and HubSpot, I’ve developed a distraction-free environment where I can work from home, and I’ve gained new insights as to the assistant skills that puppies bring to the table. Ultimately I wouldn’t be nearly as successful in this role if it weren’t for the patience and support of my teammates, who have been incredible mentors. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with during a time like this, and I look forward to what the coming months bring for ScoutComms.