By Kylie Nishite, Account Coordinator, FSB Public Affairs
I never envisioned I would start my first post-graduate job during a global pandemic. I knew the change from being a college student to a full-time professional would be an exciting and rewarding time, but never did I imagine I would be doing it all from the comfort of my home. Having only stepped foot in our company office a handful of times, I have learned how to build relationships, be adaptable and attentive to colleagues and clients and be resourceful in a remote work setting.
Build relationships with your colleagues and clients.
Building relationships with your colleagues and clients can be difficult when e-meeting them is your first interaction. I’ve found there are easy ways to connect with people when meeting them through video communications platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Awkward silence can be one of the many struggles of video calls. Asking questions or making general conversation on work or everyday topics has helped me get to know my colleagues and clients better. It shows your personality and character while developing a relationship beyond just business. You want to enjoy who you work with and provide great client service simultaneously.
Be adaptable and attentive.
Working in a remote setting requires you to be adaptable and attentive to your colleagues and clients. It’s important to check your communication channels, be responsive and follow up when needed. This should always apply to your work ethic in a professional environment. You need to be willing and able to adapt to changes as you receive an abundance of information on company protocols, new software platforms and client work or tasks. These have been essential skills that have contributed to my transition into a remote professional setting.
Research is fundamental.
If there is one thing I have learned in these past few months, it is this: research is the foundation that lays the path to successful work. Research has been a key element in learning about my company and clients or answering general questions since I’m unable to ask my colleagues in the office. Depending on the company or client related task, my colleagues have provided guidance via Zoom shared screen to show me how to search for content and what I should be looking for to help meet a client’s specific needs. This has allowed me to refine my skillset for future work and be more effective for our clients. Whether it’s a simple as locating contact information, or a more complex task like stakeholder and grassroots mapping, everything starts with research.
Success comes with support.
There are many things management can do to help ease the transition even from a distance. While my education has helped prepare me for the working world, there is still so much to learn. FSB Public Affairs did not expect me to have all the answers, but rather found ways to support and educate me in my growth as a communications professional. Trainings were one of the many things that were organized for me to learn about the industry with focused topics to help improve my writing, virtual events and client service skills. While there are many small components that assisted in my smooth transition to remote work, the most valuable resource provided to me is a mentor. This person is your go-to for all your questions, they train you on how to do the big and little tasks, and above all helps guide you as you navigate this new experience. Although adapting to a career during a pandemic has been unusual, I know the skills FSBPA has taught me will set me up for success in my career in public affairs.