When I was offered a summer position as a trainee at Faulhaber Communications in February 2020, I could have never imagined the experience it would soon turn out to be. I was ecstatic to be joining this work team and couldn’t wait to have a seat in the gorgeous Liberty Village office. I pictured myself having fun office chats, going for lunch with the other trainees, and meeting all of the friendly FAULHABER faces.
While COVID-19 definitely threw a wrench in everyone’s plans, I am grateful and happy to report that becoming Faulhaber’s first virtual trainee was an amazing experience.
I had some nerves before my start date wondering how it was all going to pan out. The fact that the trainee experience and the work itself were now all virtual added another layer of unknown. Unknowns tend to be uncomfortable for many people, including me. However, as soon as I started my trainee experience, I was met with nothing but support and open arms from the entire team. From one-on-one training video calls to a virtual group orientation, FAULHABER prepared me extremely well for the current “new normal” work life.
Through my personal experience and the collective experience of our community during this unprecedented time, I’ve become more comfortable with unknowns. Learning how to survive, adapt and take challenges in stride – as best you can – are some of the key takeaways from my time at Faulhaber Communications.
While I didn’t get my original in-office plan, my time was nothing short of a rigorous, inclusive, and fun work experience! My personal favourite memory definitely has to be our office-wide video call wearing face masks and discussing the riveting world of reality TV.
And now, as the end of my time as FAULHABER’s first virtual trainee is nearing, here are my top 5 tips to get the most out of a virtual trainee experience:
One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I started my trainee experience was to overcommunicate. Overcommunicating serves people well – especially in the virtual workplace – because it makes it clear you’re on top of work, you care, and that you’re asking the right questions. Even something as simple as responding to a question in a group call will allow you to have a presence. Just sitting in a meeting no longer suffices. Speaking up helps you stand out and build connections in the virtual world.
As a trainee, don’t be afraid to take initiative and reach out to colleagues first when it comes to work. Being proactive in your communication will build trust. Showing that you can think ahead and make the effort to be efficient is crucial. It’s the small things that make a big difference.
Understand there isn’t a one size fits all approach to WFM
What works for someone in their WFH set-up might not work for you, and that’s O.K! There might be a slight learning curve in understanding what helps you work best. Awareness of how you feel and how you work will help you get the most out of your virtual experience.
In the real world and in the virtual world, patience is a virtue. Video calls might get glitchy and your Wi-Fi might be slow. Accepting that things aren’t as perfect as we might like and having a willingness to adapt is key. Everyone is in the same boat.
With patience, it’s also important to approach this experience with positivity. It’s no secret that a positive outlook can sometimes be challenging but seeing the good in the bad or unexpected is helpful right now. A virtual trainee program might not be what you planned, but there is still so much room to learn, grow, and contribute.