What Recent Graduates Need to Know About Remote Work

By Katie Navarra August 11, 2023

Navigating the job search to find the "right job" is both thrilling and challenging. As the demand for remote positions continues to grow among new graduates, understanding the nuances of remote HR roles is essential to landing the job that matches your career aspirations.

Flexibility is often identified as the biggest perk to working offsite. But remote jobs require planning to maximize success. A remote role requires a productive workspace, a specific mindset and effective communication skills. Here's what you need to know to make the most of a remote position.

Fit First, Remote Second

The flexibility of working remotely can sound like a dream come true. For Grace Coulter, SHRM-CP, it has been, although it was an unexpected benefit to her role as the human resources staff associate at Innovative Employee Solutions (IES) in San Diego. IES provides remote and contingent workforce solutions specializing in global employer of record, agent of record, and independent contractor compliance services.

Over the past three years, Coulter has been able to define what success in the role looks like from her perspective and contribute to the organization's transition to a primarily remote company. Most importantly, her success has been supported by the company culture.

"During the recruitment process, do your research and ask necessary questions that will allow you to envision what it would be like to work there," she said. "Make sure the company is the right culture fit for you and that you are accepting the role for the right reasons, not just because it's remote."

Be Honest with Yourself

Remote work is not for everyone. Some people gain motivation and enthusiasm by interacting with colleagues face-to-face and flourish with impromptu opportunities to build relationships around the "water cooler." Others feel more productive and fulfilled without the inherent distractions of onsite arrangements.

"It's important to evaluate the pros and cons based on your preferences and the type of environment you thrive in," Coulter said. "Self-discipline is a must to maintain consistent productivity and meet the expectations of supervisors and peers. However, the key to synergy is keeping a constant line of communication open with your manager and team."

Create an Official Workspace 

Once you land a remote role, spend time planning and arranging your work area.

"Be intentional with your workspace setup," Coulter said. "Ensure it is functional and comfortable, and try to create separation between work and life. This is an investment in long-term role satisfaction and happiness."

Prepare for the Challenges of Remote Work

Remaining interconnected can be challenging, Coulter added. With team members located across the country or around the world, cultivating and sustaining interpersonal relationships can be difficult. 

"There may be fewer social events in a remote space, so forming connections within the company is more so up to the individual," she said. "Managing a work/life balance can also be a struggle, learning how to disconnect and switch gears from professional to personal mode. The lines can become blurred if you are working from home."

The variety of job duties assigned was also surprising, according to Coulter. Tasks ranged from payroll to recruiting, onboarding, benefits, HR policy, employee engagement, compensation, training and development.

"It took time to become accustomed to pivoting and multitasking under pressure, but it allowed me to learn many HR areas quickly," she said. "The fast-paced work environment also came as a surprise. I depended on the structure and marathon mentality of being a full-time student. As a result, there was a learning curve with transitioning my academic work ethic to my professional role."

Find Success in an Onsite or Remote Role

Remote and onsite work arrangements offer growth and professional development opportunities that can help you achieve your long-term career goals. In either scenario, Coulter encourages soon-to-be and recent graduates to stay curious, ask questions to learn the "why" behind the process, and be a sponge soaking up and retaining information.

"Remote or not, companies value professionals who have minimal experience to bring a fresh perspective to the table and help pinpoint areas of improvement," she said. "Success in a remote role varies by the company, position and individual. Maintaining momentum in a remote role is attributed to your attitude and the effort you contribute."



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