Case Study - Apprenticeships and Virtual Working
Mariam Shaikh, Business Administration Apprentice
How did you find starting your apprenticeship virtually?
I was quite nervous to start my apprenticeship, especially when the approach to working has changed completely. It was already nerve wracking to start a role in an office environment which I have never experienced but having to work from home for a few days when starting new was confusing at times. However, I was given all the support that I wanted, and I would have regular catchups with my manager to make sure that I was getting on well and if I had any questions. Having a good support system is very important, and I was always offered a helping hand when I needed it.
Whilst working in a blended environment (split in the office/working from home), what has your experience been like?
My experience of balancing both working in office and working from home has been very positive; it has allowed me to work out the most productive ways that I work, and in many ways it has also given me a better work-life balance. Going into the office a few times a week gives me the opportunity to speak with more people, who I would not usually work closely with. I think this is important especially as a new apprentice within an organisation, as talking to different people in the workplace enables you to network with more people and generally makes you feel much more confident and comfortable within the office space. Being in the office also makes you realise that there are people wider than your team that are willing to help and support you when needed, and socialising with more team members is a healthy way to settle into a new role. Working from home, I am able to be more productive as I am not spending time commuting; and working virtually also allows me to fit more meetings into my day. I also use the time it would take me to commute into the office to work on my personal goals, such as going for a run before I log onto my laptop.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I would always start my working day by creating a schedule of tasks I would need to get done for that day just to make sure I don't miss anything out and so I can prioritise what needs to get done first. Having an established working space is also extremely important when working from home, so I make sure I have a clear and comfortable desk space. I would also usually turn my phone on silent so that I am not easily distracted, and I would stick to the same timings I would follow in the office. For example, I would have my lunch break at the same time, and I would also create a regular routine that I should stick to every day. Whilst being in the office, I would make sure that I have my tasks prioritised so that I do not feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. Having a list also helps with motivation as accomplishing everything on that list helps to make you feel satisfied with the tasks completed and it also helps productivity.
Do you enjoy working from home?
Working from home has been a positive experience for me, and I think it has worked quite well. I am offered all the support I need, and my organisation makes sure that their staff are happy and that we are all connected. We regularly have catch ups and social activities via Microsoft Teams, and I also have a mentor who I can go to whenever I feel is necessary.