Working from Home: A New Hire’s Perspective

Dean PogasHello, I’m new around here.  My name is Dean Pogas, and I’m a first-year audit associate with Holtzman Partners. I’m originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, and made the move to Austin over a year ago. I earned my bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ball State University and my master’s of accounting from The University of Texas at Austin.

My experience as a full-time working professional began about three months ago. The remote onboarding process went well, but the feeling of having my desk just inches away from my bed as I began my professional career took some getting used to. There’s also nothing like attempting polite conversation with your new coworkers over a Zoom lunch while muting the sound of your chewing. It can be difficult for any person to manage the blurred lines of work and life during remote employment, but it is especially true for a new hire beginning a new career.

I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learned that have helped me adapt to this environment. 

Establish a Routine

Of the lessons I’ve learned so far, establishing a daily routine is the most important. When working at home, it can be tempting to not stick with this, however, having predictability in your day makes your work week much easier. Set specific times to start your day, take breaks, have lunch, eat dinner, etc., so that you will know when your work stops and your personal time begins. If you’re like me with your office in your bedroom, it’s imperative to manage these boundaries so you don’t feel like you’ve never escaped work.

Combat Zoom Fatigue

A big adjustment to working from home is the number of video calls you now have each day. According to Harvard Business Review, one of the reasons video calls are draining is because we must focus more intently for information to be retained, yet it’s difficult to process all this while staring directly at someone over video. I attempt to stay engaged in conversation and capture information by always having a pen, paper, or sticky note tab open to jot down notes. If I don’t understand something, I restate the main points and confirm what we went over before hanging up. These pointers might seem small, but they have served me well both working remotely and in person.

Limit Your Phone Usage

Phones are always a distraction at work, but when working from home it’s easy to not hold yourself accountable for the time you spend on your mobile device. There are a plethora of apps and features built into your phone that are designed to limit phone usage. “Setting app limits” and scheduling “downtime” away from certain apps are two features built into your phone that help limit screen time. My personal favorite is the inexpensive Forest app (downloadable for iOS and Android). It tracks the time I spend away from my phone and rewards me with points that eventually go towards planting real trees. There are, of course, other methods of limiting screen time available and I encourage you to find the method that works best for you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. While my experience is limited, I hope you were able to take something away from it.


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