Many RBC interns completed their internships completely remotely in response to COVID-19 this summer, in response to COVID-19. We sat down and chatted with a few of them and asked them to share some of their WFH tips. We spoke with Jayden (a private banking summer associate working virtually from Edmonton) and Maria (an RBC Career Launch Associate working virtually from Halifax) to get their perspective on working from home and how they created work life balance.
Q: What does a typical WFH day for you look like?
Maria: I wake up at 6:45am (or 7 if I hit the snooze button). I do some yoga, get in the shower, and then make breakfast. Around 8 I’m at my desk and make sure I have a clean space. That’s really important. I use that time to clean my desk and to get everything organized. At 8:30 I start work. The first hour and a half of my day is for professional development, which is part of the program. This involves online courses or reading articles, depending on what skills I’d like to develop. After that I start to answer emails that I’ve been assigned. I take my lunch around 12:30pm and work until 5pm. After work I go to the gym for an hour, then relax for the rest of the evening.
Q: What are your home workspace tips?
Jayden: I like to have plants nearby to liven up the room and open windows to get fresh air in. It’s also important to have a comfortable working environment and having space to move around so you don’t feel like you’re confined. There’s [also] always tea and my water bottle nearby, and trail mix to snack on while I’m working.
Q: How has RBC made your work from home experience easier?
Maria: We actually have virtual meetings about working from home. Last week I was in a meeting about leading and working virtually, and another meeting that was organized by the mental health committee on how to take care of yourself as a remote employee and creating boundaries. I like that my manager and mentor check up on me. It’s a good feeling knowing that RBC cares about our well-being and that I’m not on my own here. It’s weird but I’ve never felt more like I’m part of a team than now.
Q: Is it easy to get help from your managers or colleagues virtually?
Jayden: Oh, yeah! I’m in multiple chat groups within my teams through Webex Teams and there’s constant communication. If I have a question I can post it in the group chat and someone from my team will reach out to me. If they don’t have an answer they will connect me with someone else who might.
When you’re in an office setting you just can walk over to someone but you can’t do that when you’re working remotely. There’s an option in my chat where I can share my screen so a colleague can guide me through a process or help me if I’m having issues with something. I’m receiving the same help as if they were standing beside me in-person, looking at my monitor.
Q: What skills have you developed during your virtual experience?
Maria: The biggest would be virtual networking. I wasn’t huge on networking before so virtual networking sounded intimidating. But I’ve been joining in on meetings, sending messages to people, connecting on LinkedIn, and it feels more comfortable to me. I’ve gained more confidence in myself to approach people and start conversations. There are over 100 Career Launch Associates across Canada and we have an RBC Connect group for us to get to know each other, which makes it easy to meet people.
I’ve also developed many soft skills. In my professional development, I’ve been able to do so much more than what I thought was possible. With the RBC learning platform there are courses around data management, communications, and presentation skills. There are so many courses I’ve been able to access in my daily professional development hour and it’s available to all RBC employees.
Q: What were some of the learning opportunities during your internship?
Jayden: Twice a week we would meet as a group virtually. On Wednesdays, all of the Private Banking Associates across Canada would meet and our instructor would train us on a different topic, like credit cards. Our Friday meetings were a bit more relaxed. Sometimes we would have a guest speaker from different departments, like private banking or capital markets, to give us an understanding of what other roles are like.
[To connect better as a team] one Friday we had a “Bring Your Dog to Work” day. We brought our dogs on camera and introduced them to everyone. It was a fun way to end our week and get to know one another.
Q: What advice would you give to other young adults who are or will be working remotely?
Jayden: Build connections with your team. Reach out to your team and get to know them. Talk to them on the phone and ask questions. Go above and beyond for people and they will do the same for you. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. When I’m put in an environment that I don’t feel comfortable in, I view it as a chance for me to grow, learn new skills, and unlock new potential.
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