Transitioning to Telework During COVID
Back in March 2020, millions of Americans transitioned to remote work. Working from the comfort of your own home almost sounds too good to be true and in certain aspects, it is. Many began working from home for the first time and had to learn how to cope with a whole new set of challenges.
When working remotely, it is easy to lose work-life balance as the two slowly blend and a clear-cut routine collapses from the picture. Distractions can become more noticeable, lack of physical interaction becomes routine, and overall satisfaction can decline.
One of Highlight’s employees, Desiree Reynolds, described to Highlight Inspiration her experience transitioning onto Highlight’s SBA remote loan processing team. After securing her position, she stated that “[my] position was what I had been dreaming about since completing my bachelor’s degree.”
Ms. Reynolds transitioned from being constantly surrounded by people in the fast-paced service industry to teleworking independently from her home. She recounted how she transitioned from being on her feet 10-14 hours up to 7 days a week to SBA’s structured 5 days a week from the comfort of her own home. In addition to so many others across the nation, this world of remote work was a struggle that required new thinking, and new coping mechanisms to face the transition.
Ms. Reynolds utilized a few different techniques to help with her new work environment. She took up daily journaling to help ground her as “there is something about getting pen on paper that creates a calming effect on my psyche.” She also mentioned the positive effects of exercise through daily walks which helped “break up my day and facilitated the rest of it go that much smoother.” She also turned to short dance breaks to songs to get her pumped up for her meetings or the workday. Ms. Reynolds leaned on her significant other and team chats to get human interaction during the day.
Realistically, not everyone knows how to manage the effects of teleworking on their own. Highlight wants to ensure every employee feels comfortable working and cope with their individual workday during this remote experience. Highlight is dedicated to providing important and useful resources to our employees to help with this transition.
Highlight has created company-wide channels to allow our employees a space to communicate and participate in activities. Our Communities of Interest channels allow employees to share information and discuss for those interested in specific career development/related topics. In addition, Highlight has rolled out Special Interest Groups, providing a safe space to employees to discuss topics such as wellness, being a working parent, diversity & inclusion, and specifically coping with working from home. Highlight has also rolled out a weekly meditation group for employees to promote mindfulness and stress-relief during COVID. To help employees with interaction, our Human Relations and Internal Communications team has also held a variety of virtual team events, and held employee contests to promote employee engagement, team building, and interaction during this challenging period. Highlight understands when struggling to cope and facing new challenges many individuals benefit from professional assistance and advice. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential access to professional counseling services and a 24/7 hotline. The EAP is also intended for immediate family members of employees at Highlight.
This year has been a unique challenge for everyone. Working remotely is not a welcomed transition for all, however, at Highlight, we are happy to provide tools and activities to our employees to ease the transition. As Ms. Reynolds said, “the transition [to teleworking] was not an easy one at first, but one that I am incredibly grateful that I made. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself mentally and physically regardless of the position that you are in.”