News

Working from Home with the Wollondilly Council Trainees – Part I

Posted in Business Administration General Traineeships

We have several trainees hosted to Wollondilly Shire Council, and each of them have been working in a different environment during the COVID-19 situation – from home.

Here is part one of our Q&As with the Wollondilly trainees – meet Harrison and Tahlia!

Harrison Abela and Tahlia Hildred
Meet Harrison and Tahlia! Photo: My Gateway.

Harrison Abela – Finance Trainee

How have you found your experience in working from home so far?

I have had very mixed feelings while working from home. Despite saving a 45 minute trip to and from the workplace every day, the first few weeks presented lots of challenges as I got used to working alone without assistance just steps around me. Those first few weeks of working from home saw stress levels rise a little as a busy workflow got even busier. However, changing my mindset to just focus on how much I can get done at home allowed me to become more efficient and relaxed. At this point in time, I feel quite relaxed while working from home and I have taken a lot of positives away from it.

What challenges have you found from working from home and how have you tried to overcome them?

The first few weeks presented many challenges as I, as well as other co-workers, were getting used to the sudden adjustment of working from home. I was experiencing lots of internet and VPN issues. I certainly wasn’t the only one facing these issues, however our IT team were a great help to all of us as they were able to make changes that would diminish these issues.

Another big challenge that I have faced is not having sudden face-to-face communication with my co-workers. It certainly took some getting used to having to wait for co-workers to respond to emails and arrange phone calls or meetings on Microsoft Teams. One way of overcoming this challenge has been learning the most effective and quickest ways of communicating with certain people. Although communication has been a challenge, it has also been a positive as what would normally be phone calls in the workplace have often now become face-to-face meetings on Teams so I have met a lot of new faces.

Other challenges include simply getting used to working from the comfort of my own home. It can be very easy to get stuck into my work and sit there all day with very little breaks because I want to get stuff done. I have made effective changes such as taking more time to walk around and keep my body moving, eating healthy meals and also focusing on my wellbeing and taking my mind off of work related things that I have to get done.

What do you hope to take away from this experience of working from home?

I hope that once I’m back at the workplace I can appreciate how lucky I am to be surrounded by great co-workers who are not only very helpful but very friendly and funny people to have normal conversations with. I’m also keen to hang out with the other trainees during my lunch breaks again.

The early wake ups can be painful, but I do also miss the drives to and from work, being able to throw an album on and take my mind off of things each day.

Harrison Abela working from home

What hobbies or activities are you doing during your downtime to stay happy and well balanced in this situation?

At home we have bought some gym equipment to keep ourselves active, which has been something to look forward to every afternoon once I finish work. Walking the dog every afternoon has also been a great way to take my mind off of things.

I have also been able to spend more time playing guitar which has been awesome.

Any tips or advice for other trainees/young workers in the same situation as you?

  • Continue to remind yourself that there is only so much that you can get done while working at home, so don’t stress if you have a heavy workflow, it will get better at some point.
  • Make sure that you are taking time each day to focus on your wellbeing and take small breaks away from your work area.
  • Look for ways to stay active, stay hydrated and eat healthy so that you aren’t developing bad habits and are able to work more efficiently.
  • Write down notes that will benefit you with balancing out your workflow. It can be tough staying organised at home so make sure you take a certain amount of time to work on different things you have going on.
Tahlia Hildred – Governance Trainee

How have you found working from home so far?

Working from home so far has been alright. It was quite an adjustment at first. I have never experienced working from home and never thought I would, but I have been working from home for nine weeks now, so it’s become the new normal and I am more than settled in. It is going to be very different when I start transitioning back into the office.

What challenges have you found from working from home and how have you tried to overcome them?

One of the only challenges I have found from working at home was not having that normal daily interaction with everyone that I normally would being in the office. I am very lucky to be in a team that is very social with each other! It was an adjustment but we have a few zoom calls a week so that makes up for it! Also not having my supervisor sitting next to me all the time but again I am lucky to have a great supervisor who is always ready to help when I call.

What do you hope to take away from this experience of working from home?

My working from home experience has taught me how to work more independently than I already did in the office, and I hope that I can continue that when I move back into the office.

What hobbies or activities are you doing during your downtime to stay happy and well balanced in this situation?

Whilst being at home I have tried going on daily walks or bike rides with my dog. It not only makes me feel better but my dog enjoys it too! I have also tried to start baking more which has been fun!

Any tips or advice for other trainees/young workers in the same situation as you?

The only advice that I would give to another trainee or young worker is just embrace the change and know that it isn’t just you going through the change and everyone is finding it hard to adapt to it.

RECENT NEWS

Receive news from My Gateway straight to your inbox