This week we wrap up our series on working from home with an interview from Gonzaga University alum and former Career & Professional Development team member, Shelby Wells. Shelby is a Peer to Peer Fundraising Manager for Children’s Miracle Network in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. Children’s Miracle Network is a North American non-profit organization that raises funds for children’s hospitals, medical research, and community awareness of children’s health issues. 

Portrait of Shelby Wells, smiling for the camera.How long have you been working from home?    

Shelby: 1 year as of March 1 

What are the biggest benefits to working from home?    

Shelby: There are many. I find that I am more productive. I don’t have to dress up, there is less commute and less environmental impact. It taught me a new way to work in that I learned how to communicate well, be more comfortable with new ways of communication (zoom, phone, etc.), and learn how to connect with people in a different way when you don’t see them in person every day. Working from home makes me appreciate time at home, and helps you stay on task because you want to get it done and have free time in the evenings. Plus, I get to be with my dog. 

What are the most challenging aspects of working from home?    

Shelby: No water cooler banter – you have to work harder to form relationships with colleagues and work harder to maintain because you aren’t in same place. Easy to take work home because it is always there. Her job allows her to travel with helps her to occasionally see her colleagues in person. Sometimes you have to justify what you are doing from home – ex. Weekly report to keep track of what you are working on and hold self more accountable so don’t get questioned about what you are doing. Learning all the technology very well and checking all of them (slack, zoom, email, etc) 

What three tips do you have for individuals who are new to working from home?

Shelby: I actually have five. First, take a break in the middle of the day (figure out when your most successful hours are and plan breaks around that). Second, Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone (or zoom) to feel connected to your team that you might not have otherwise. Third, separate your work (have a place where you do your work and don’t leak it into the rest of the house). Fourth, have a transparent conversation with your boss about what working from home looks like. Set clear expectations.  Fifth, set a reminder at the end of the day to wrap up work so that you are ready to be done working 

What technology platform(s) do you find especially helpful to as you work from home?    

Shelby: Zoom and Slack. Also use dropbox to manage all shared documents internally and with external audiences.  

How do you create community with your work colleagues without actually being in the same location?    

Portrait of Wally, a french bulldog with brown fur and black ears and nose. He wears a red bow tie with white polka dots.

Wally is an excellent co-worker.

Shelby: Pick up phone and call. Video is a huge asset because you can see people, and I prefer that because it helps to remember their faces. So much happens in the office when you spontaneously connect, but when you work from home you have to be intentional about creating those moments. Check in on people who you might not always connect with (not just your best friends). Slack channels help because you can create channels for fun stuff (dogs, etc.).  

Do you find it helpful to create a dedicated office space to use as you work from home or do you change your work locations throughout the house through the day?

Shelby: I find it beneficial to stay in the same spot, but some days I need to move around depending on the type of work I’m doing. Some people find that really important, but you may not always have the space to do so. If you do go to a coffee shop or something, be cognizant of sound.  

Do you usually dress for work or comfort?  

Shelby: Comfort – sometimes I will dress nicer if there is a meeting with high levels, but otherwise I dress for comfort. 

 

We really enjoyed catching up with Shelby, and hearing all about her experiences as a remote worker. This wraps up our series on Zags Working Remotely, but rest assured that Fired Up Fridays will continue for the rest of the semester. Check out our previous Fired Up Friday features by visiting our webpage (https://my.gonzaga.edu/student-life/career-services/career-planning-tools-resources/fired-up-fridays), and stay tuned next week when we focus on digital networking.