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Working from Home with the Wollondilly Council Trainees – Part II

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 two of our Q&As with the Wollondilly trainees – get to know Annalise and Erin!

Annalise Blayden – Events Trainee

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

My experience working from home was challenging in the early stages. I struggled to stay concentrated, but as time progressed it became easier to manage my time and projects at home.

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

The challenges I’ve faced working from home are not so much the actual working from home situation, it has more been the waiting for COVID-19 updates on whether or not the events we were planning for months have to be postponed further or even cancelled altogether. It’s been challenging trying to keep suppliers and stallholders informed when we’ve been in such an uncertain time.

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

Working from home has given me a newfound appreciation of what used to be my everyday life at Wollondilly Council. I definitely took all the little things for granted. For example, my 30 minute drive to and from work through the gorgeous hills of the Dilly every morning and afternoon, walking into the office to see all the smiling faces, being greeted and actually sitting with my team who are always so helpful and have continued to support me throughout this tough time. I’ll definitely be grateful when I can go sit back in the office again!

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

After completing all my work of an afternoon, to keep myself happy and entertained I’ve been progressing my fitness levels. Before COVID-19 I would struggle to walk up the 20 stairs at work without huffing & puffing for at least 10 minutes after. Now I go for runs every afternoon or during my lunch break, hit at least 5 kms each time and I feel amazing. I’ve also been rearranging my house just to keep myself busy and of course online shopping and waiting for packages to arrive has kept me pretty happy and excited too!

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

My advice for other trainees/young people in this crazy time would be to look after yourself, physically and mentally. Take time out of your day to be ‘selfish’ for once. If you have a pet, go outside with them, play or give them a cuddle. Remember not to lose focus of the bigger picture. Keep working hard and better times will be here soon.

Erin Whiley – Employee Relations Trainee

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

So far my experience working from home has been an interesting one. The transition into operating from my home environment was a strange, yet easy transition to make. Being new in the council workforce, I don’t have much experience being in an office, but in saying that, I also lack experience in working from home. So either way there was a learning curve.

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

One of the challenges I faced when transitioning to my home work environment was making sure my workspace was practical, ergonomic, and free of distractions. This was more challenging than I had anticipated due to the fact that my younger siblings were attending school remotely and I oftentimes had to share my workspace. From my experience, a good way to overcome this was to set clear boundaries and ensure I was practicing good time management.

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

What I’ll take away from this situation is definitely the skills I have learnt. As a result of this experience, I have learnt quite a few useful skills that can translate into everyday working life. This includes adaptability in regards to my work, specifically my work environment, how my work is undertaken, and adapting to different requirements for my position. Additionally, due to the higher workload given the current situation, I have started exploring the fundamentals of project management and task prioritisation.

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

During this working from home period, I’ve noticed that it can be difficult to maintain a balance between my work life and social life. The main things I have started doing to help maintain that balance is go for a walk after I finish so I can clear my head. I have also taken up cooking for my family as a hobby, they enjoy it and so do I (thankfully no cases of food poisoning yet!). I’ve also focused on maintaining regular exercise to ensure my physical health is being upheld as well as my mental health.

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

The advice I have for other trainees in the same position as myself, would be to find what works for you. This working from home period will be unique and will often be accompanied by a period of trial and error. It is important to ensure your schedule and environment is suited to your workplace requirements to ensure you are performing to the best of your ability.

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