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Written By Keano May

2020 was no fly-by year with its effects long still to be felt, we’ve seen huge shifts in the way we socialise, consume media, travel and, most importantly, work. Major employers like Mondelez, Nationwide and Barclays are opting to allow a significant portion of their workforce to work from home, with Nationwide allowing as much 98% of its workforce to work from home. This caused a shift from a model that for years, saw hundreds if not thousands of employees in one building.
As employers adjust to the thought of what office space really means, employees new and old are adjusting to what the future of being employed looks like.

Interning In A Remote World

As a post-graduate entering a world of work that has dramatically changed overnight (and having been fortunate enough to have exposure to the world of work pre-pandemic), I had a fixed idea of what formal employment and workspaces should look like. This idea has radically shifted as the “work-from-anywhere” trend continues to increase. Being in an office and working remotely are different experiences, there are some discrepancies worth noting when entering the job market as a Padawan (intern).
Here are a few I’ve noticed:
  • Time management is extremely important and using notepads as reminders is a bit outdated; it’s more efficient using software that helps you link tasks to your calendar to keep track of your “To do’s”.
  • As an Intern, you aren’t expected to know everything but a willingness to learn and take on tasks goes a long way.
  • You have control over your workspace set-up, try to find the space where you can be most productive.
  • Your workspace isn’t your only space, make time to move around and get the blood flowing. Not being in a formal office space allows room for home exercise routines.

The Positive Impacts of Remote Working

Companies like Capitec have reported fewer sick days and increased productivity from its 2000 Head Office staff and call centre staff since working from home. Other major employers like Shoprite and Dimension Data are aiming to have longer-term work from home policies, with a hybrid model likely to be adopted.
Personally, the positive impacts of remote working has been notable as an intern. As a graduate, new to the job market, I was concerned about getting to work and how much transport would cost. With remote working, a significant amount of time and money is saved on commuting.
This allows resources to be saved and reinvested towards achieving financial goals, improving ones physical health and much more. I have also noted an increase in work productivity – this is largely related to finding a work pattern that best suits me and having an employer that allows time for discovery.
The “New Normal” presents significant challenges for employers and employees and when entering as an intern, the challenge can seem very daunting. These challenges (however difficult they may seem) present unique opportunities for growth and development both professionally and personally. As an intern, currently in the thick of things, it turns out that things become less scary after the first time you’ve done it.

Keano May is an intern at dY/dX