In this time of being apart from our friends and colleagues, innovation and connectedness have become integral to our mental well-being. That was the idea behind “Working Together Alone – Struggles and Advice for Remote Workers with our MBA/MS Students,” a discussion led by the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) at the Fox School of Business, as well as corporate representatives from Cisco Systems and NetApp.
Kathleen Williams, Janis Moore Campbell, Dilyara Kashaeva and Lynn Carroll represented CSPD at the virtual roundtable, while students from Fox’s MBA and MS programs took part in lively conversations about good practices for working from home.
“I have worked from home for more than 10 years,” says Williams, associate director of graduate professional development. “I think what, ultimately, the goal was, was to talk through some challenges. For a lot of people, it was their first time working from home.”
During the roundtable, Williams polled the students about their toughest challenges. Answers ranged from being easily distracted to having no office at home.
Felicia Watson, an human resources representative for Cisco Systems, knows a thing or two about virtual workplaces. Cisco owns products like WebEx, which provides telecommunication pathways for groups to meet online.
“I really hope the discussion encouraged everyone that has been forced to work in this new virtual capacity,” she said. “These are unprecedented times, and we are all adjusting to the new normal, so it is important for us all to operate in a manner of understanding and empathy towards each other. Most importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself!”
Around 30 students attended the event. One of those students is Peggy Rubin. Rubin, MBA ’21, likes to look at the bright side of working from home. While Rubin feels like her professional world has slowed down, her time at home has done wonders for her mental well-being.
“I get more exercise and have more time for school work without a commute,” she said.
Perhaps the best outcome of the event was letting students and other professionals know that they are not alone in this difficult time. While the world may feel like it has stopped, it keeps spinning, and the people on it are dealing with the pandemic in their own ways.
“The panel was great and left me with a sense of belonging, knowing I am not alone in this struggle,” Rubin said. “The panel had good suggestions, and I am happy to have the Fox team right now.”