Kelsey Farrell

Joined in: 2020

Job title: Internal Communications Executive

Kelsey joined Advanced in the midst of COVID-19. Joining during lockdown has its obvious challenges, but she spoke to us about some of the positives of starting a role remotely. 

With more people searching for new jobs, it is likely that many of you will find yourself in a similar position to me – starting a role while we’re unable to be in the office. I joined Advanced back in July, when all this was still pretty new to us. I had been interviewed virtually, my laptop was couriered to me and even after two months I had still not met anyone from my team face-to-face. There’s no denying this was a very different experience, and of course it had some downsides. However, some of the positives I have seen from my time so far show how starting a job remotely can still be rewarding.

Sense of Community

A particular surprise was how much I would feel part of a community, despite working remotely. The rise of video conferencing and regular team meetings meant that I quickly forged relationships, despite some colleagues being based all over the world. Some of the business formality that can be found in an office has dropped away, seeing people in their home environment has felt much more personal. And several meetings have been brightened up by the occasional (and very welcome) puppy cameo. Advanced has also organised a number of virtual events over the last few months including regular updates from the Leadership Team, fundraising initiatives, yoga sessions and quizzes which have really helped me to feel part of the organisation. The Great Advanced Bake Off has been a particular favourite and we had a wide range of people submit their bakes and bond over a mutual love of cake. People I had never spoken to were celebrating my rather limited baking skills, and it has become a really welcoming community.

A Supportive Team

I think that the people I work with have been very aware that I started my role in exceptional and challenging circumstances. My manager and other mentors within the business have been very supportive, checking in with me and always available for any questions or guidance. This has made a huge difference to my training and experience so far, ensuring I have felt part of the team and not working as an island. In fact, everyone has been so welcoming, going out of their way to provide assistance and taking an interest in how I am getting on. The people make a company – whether you are sitting in the office or at your dining room table!

Employee Wellbeing

Working within internal communications, I have certainly joined at an interesting time! My team has been at the centre of a number of wellbeing initiatives, and I am proud to work for a company that takes these matters seriously. We have run a number of mental health campaigns, in recognition of the challenges many people are currently facing. As well as resources provided by the company, colleagues have been really open in sharing their own mental health stories, such as the video project we did recently - ‘Raising awareness, removing the stigma’. Since I joined we have also begun our Diversity Champions scheme, focused on awareness, education and celebration, and it has been great to be involved in the launch of something I am passionate about.

Reward and recognition

My working from home hasn’t stopped me contributing effectively. In October, I received a spot bonus, having been nominated by a team member. This was something I had not expected at all, especially so early on in my career with Advanced, and I felt that my contribution had been truly valued.

Having a supportive team, collaborative technology and consistently interesting work has meant that my first few months at Advanced have been both enjoyable and rewarding. I feel lucky to work in a job that has transitioned to home working so well, but I am certainly excited for the future and I look forward to one day returning to the office!

Three top tips for starting a job remotely  

  • Enjoy and appreciate the benefits that come with working from home – later lie ins, a walk at lunchtime around your local park, and of course the lack of commute.
  • Get involved in all virtual team activities. It can be harder to form those working relationships without spending all day with each other, so make the most of every opportunity you can.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support if you’re struggling. These are really challenging times, and there is no shame in asking for help when you need it.