Advancing professional skills and securing well-being while working remotely
Salla Vuolteenaho / 24 Aug 2020
About the Author:
Salla Vuolteenaho works as a summer trainee in the Simulation Engineering team at NAPCON. Born in Oulu, she lived almost all of her youth in Porvoo. A couple of years ago, Salla moved back to her native hometown where she is studying Process Engineering. The fourth year of her studies at the University of Oulu is about to begin in the autumn. Despite extraordinary times, the NAPCON traineeship has proved highly rewarding, facilitating her career plans to take concrete from.
When I heard about my NAPCON recruitment, my expectations for the traineeship were high. I was eager to spend my summer here in Porvoo, where I have grown up, and now had a chance to return and live with my parents for a few months. Even the new instructions about remote work due to the pandemic did not decrease my excitement. At that point, I did not know that the whole summer traineeship was going to be about remote work.
Despite exceptional working conditions, the traineeship has met my expectations and I have fully enjoyed my time in NAPCON.
Despite exceptional working conditions, the traineeship has met my expectations and I have fully enjoyed my time in NAPCON. I have found my tasks as highly inspiring, including an opportunity to learn to work in many projects at the same time and getting to know many people in different teams. Very soon, I started to feel that I am a part of the NAPCON work community.
Very soon, I started to feel that I am a part of the NAPCON work community.
It is true that working remotely has included challenges. During working hours, family members present at home are not the same thing as highly-skilled and supportive colleagues in the workplace. Limited face-to-face interactions with workmates has been hard sometimes.
Over time, however, the efficiency of my remote working routines has improved along with the development of my professional skills. I have enjoyed the opportunity to plan my days largely according to my own preferences. Even household chores can be surprisingly mind-refreshing during lunch and coffee breaks. On the minus side, it can be difficult to separate work and leisure when you spent most of your time in the same physical “office”. In part for this reason, I have occasionally travelled back and forth Oulu and Porvoo to work remotely either from my own place or my parents’ place.
While working remotely, it is easy to have morning coffee while reading important emails or having lunch while following a webinar. While this may sometimes enhance your efficiency, it is important to acknowledge risks of not separating work from leisure. Being continually concentrated on work-related matters can compromise your mental well-being and efficiency in the long run.
Exhaustion can be often diagnosed only afterwards, and recovering from it can take a lot of time. It is important to pay attention to one’s well-being before already suffering from stress. Planning up a schedule for a day and using prioritizing methods are helpful in ensuring that we are not excessively lengthening our working days on a continuous basis. Breaks and hobbies after work should be devoted to relaxation without worrying about work-related things. Securing enough sleep and physical exercising maintain one’s overall wellness and it is important to keep the time spent in front of the computer screen at a reasonable level.
All these arrangements are examples of caring about the well-being of the whole work community.
Wellness-maintenance tips provided by NAPCON have been useful for me and my team members while working from home. Days with virtual coffee breaks, team meetings arranged as walking meetings, and project meetings scheduled in a way that allows lunching outside between them, have been particularly rewarding experiences during my NAPCON traineeship. All these arrangements are examples of caring about the well-being of the whole work community.
In my experience, this exceptional time has offered an opportunity to understand better what influences our well-being in everyday life, both at work and outside of it. Most important of all, the exceptional time has shown us the real importance of communication with colleagues. All of us have had to find new ways to maintain mental wellness in an exceptional situation. It is hopeful that we will bring some of these newly learned skills with us when returning back to the office.