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How to Manage Graduates Who Work From Home and the Office

For the first time, recent university students will graduate and start their new role in the same space, their homes. This is one of the new normalities that post-lockdown has created.

Yet, we must also recognise that not every graduate will find a remote position. From research conducted by Pareto, only 1 in 4 people are expected to work from home in the future.

Therefore, it is important to understand how to manage graduates who work both from home and in the office. Being aware of the challenges and differences they encounter will ensure that graduates can succeed in their chosen careers. 

University and professional environments are not as different as they seem.  

When looking at pre-pandemic student life, most graduates had a clear schedule. There were lectures to attend, assignments that needed to be completed at specific times, workspaces with equipment, academic advisor meetings, coffee shop breaks with course peers and social events. This schedule provided clarity and a plan for that day, week and month. 

As graduates enter the working environment, whether remotely or in person, it is helpful to recreate those settings as a way to ease them into the professional world.

Here are some tips to manage graduates who work both from home and in the office:

Friendly meetings 

When working from home, long commutes into the office are exchanged with long hours staring at computer screens. The lack of physical interaction can be discouraging for those transitioning from student to professional life.

A great way to ease recent graduates into their remote positions is to provide friendly virtual meetings that can occur once or twice a week. In an office environment, team members can also encourage a friendly chat to occur a few times a week.

This is a great way for the graduate and the rest of the team to get to know each other at a friendly level to discuss the latest shows, what everyone had for dinner the night before and create a welcoming environment.

Personal Buddy

It is not unusual for a recent graduate to fall into the imposter syndrome. Most people have experienced this when starting a new position. This emotion of feeling underqualified, not enough and not understanding what everyone else is doing can truly bring down graduates' confidence when starting their first job. 

However, ensuring that the graduate has a mentor or buddy to assist them with professional and personal support can be beneficial to dilute their imposter syndrome.

Such support could involve discussing the best dress code for client meetings, appropriate zoom backgrounds or learning how to email and communicate to clients in professional ways. 

This method can be implemented for both remote and in-office settings. It will ultimately ensure that the graduate has safe spaces to discuss such matters without feeling like they should know absolutely everything about the professional world.

Planning/ Scheduling

Working from home can seem like the most comfortable option until the line between home and work becomes blurred. This is what leads to work burnout. According to research conducted by Pareto, 58% of people have reported working for longer hours when at home. 

We must prevent graduates from falling into this trap by clearly setting out daily plans and ensure they are sticking to work time schedules.

In a remote setting, burnout can be prevented with the effective use of buddies. These will keep in contact with the graduate throughout the day, ensuring that they are following the daily plans. Similarly, in the office, graduates can be encouraged to go out for lunch breaks, follow a schedule and strictly logging off after work hours. 

Ultimately, like the rest of us, graduates will make a lot of mistakes along the way. Yet, reassuring them that their errors are not the end of the world can boost confidence and shape their development and future careers. 

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