Home Blog Graduates and Interns July 2020 How I'm staying connected while working from home

How I'm staying connected while working from home

by Maddie Sumner

Product and Technology - Graduate

We were already well prepared when we made the move to working from home back in March, thanks to Telstra’s All Roles Flex policy and the support from our leaders.
A few days before the lockdown stages began, our team conducted a test run of working from home, which enabled us to really live the experience and ensure we were set up for success. 
What I enjoy most about working from home 
Personally, I've found there to be a number of positive things:
  • For starters, I get to wake up a little later than usual. That extra hour of sleep makes my day so much better, especially when I have a lot of virtual meetings during the day.
  • No travel. I don't think I need to explain the benefit of not having to squeeze into a packed train twice a day... also, saving a little money on travel costs hasn't gone unnoticed.
  • Finally, as someone who leans towards the introverted side, working from home enables me to get more done without the day-to-day office distractions. 
Strategies for staying motivated and productive 
Now that I don’t have to worry about disturbing others, I’ve been staying motivated by playing my music freely and taking full advantage of being able to make noise, chat on MS Teams without earphones and tap along to tunes. 
Another thing that’s very important for both my physical and mental wellbeing is keeping up my exercise - it helps me to stay focused, especially when I am feeling restless. People across the company have been sharing ideas for staying fit and healthy and I’ve seen a few exercises suitable to do at home, which I’ll definitely be trying out.
I've also used this opportunity to watch a few more webinars and TED talks - something that's always been on my 'to-do but never got around to' list. Some days, just having a motivational speaker in the background, or in the 10 minutes between meetings, can really help. 
My experience settling into the ‘new norm’ 
As a team we’ve been combatting some of the challenges of working from home, such as feeling isolated, by having more frequent catchups, game nights and even ‘walk meetings’! I've also had a lot of fun with the background features on MS Teams.

Now that most teams have settled into the new norm, we're more mindful of new social and work-life balance challenges and everyone has been encouraged to take extra measures to look after their personal health and wellbeing. We’ve also been encouraged to check in with our friends and colleagues often and to have the self-discipline to shut down at a reasonable time each day to enjoy life outside of work! 
How Telstra is facilitating bonding activities during remote work 
Telstra has a company-wide All Hands livestream a few times a week that we join to stay connected and up to date with what is happening around the business.
We also have access to online learning and Telstra Labs also encourages further virtual learning opportunities, from which I now have more exposure to MS Azure, IoT and ML technologies.
I'm proud to work for a company that has handled the challenges of 2020 so well.

We are all learning from this experience. My own biggest challenge right now is shutting down at a reasonable hour - if I can do that, I won't mind spending more of my working life at home.
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