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The impacts of COVID-19 have been felt in all areas of life and for many it's made school and work life completely virtual. Suddenly young Canadians are finding themselves trading commutes for the kitchen table, and conference rooms for group video chats.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of change, and for many of us school and work is completely virtual. We’ve traded our commutes for the kitchen table and might have even traded in a blazer for some athleisure

Whether you have work experience or are just starting your career, this new normal calls for changing routines and adjusting to challenges that come with working from home. Many RBC summer students completed their internships this summer completely remote. In this series we chat with a few of our summer students to get their perspective on working from home, and how to separate work and life when they’re both happening in the same place. In this installment, we are sitting down with Jayden, a Private Banking Summer Associate working for the RBC Calgary office (but virtually from his home in Edmonton).

Name: Jayden

Title: Private Banking Summer Associate, RBC Private Banking

Location: Edmonton (working for RBC Calgary office)

Started: May 2020

Q: You’ve been working from home for a few months now. How is that going?

Halls: I really like it. My biggest concern when starting was never having met my co-workers. I’ve only met my two managers but no one else on my team. I don’t even know what most of them look like!

I was worried that I wasn’t going to have the same connection with my co-workers compared to my last summer working at an RBC branch but it’s been absolutely amazing. My managers will check up on me three to four times a week, ensuring my mental health is good, making sure I know where resources are that I can access if I need help, making sure I’m taking breaks and not working through lunch.

Q: What were some of the learning opportunities during your internship?

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: Is it easy to get help from your managers or colleagues virtually?

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: How do you practice self care working from home?

I like to go to the gym, for a bike ride, or take walks outside. Anything that gets me moving for an hour in the morning. During the day I make sure to take mini breaks so I’m not sitting at my desk all day. I’ve made a good habit of going outside for lunch, whether that’s to go for a walk or take my dog out. Also, I never forget to eat during lunch!

Q: What are your home workspace tips?

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: What advice would you give to other young adults who are or will be working remotely?

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.