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  • Erin Greenawald 9:36 pm on October 5, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , cowokers, , Editor, , , working virtually   

    The Good, the Bad, and the Gchat: On Working Virtually 

    As I mentioned last week, my work for The Daily Muse doesn’t usually involve fun times with my co-workers—or any time with my co-workers. My work usually looks a little more like this —>

    Admittedly, this picture was taken during a day that I did get to spend at our co-working space in NYC, but you get the idea. Just me and my computer, getting chummy. Starting last August, I have worked 10—and now 20—hours a week virtually, in various locations and states of dress (read: I don’t always look that cute).

    There are a lot of things I love about working virtually. The biggest perk is that it’s continually given the the opportunity to work for a company I’m really excited about, but that is unfortunately not in the city I’m living in. When I first applied to The Daily Muse, I was a week away from moving to Copenhagen for a semester. I was worried they would turn me down because of my international situation, but they were completely on board. (Thank goodness.) Plus, I can pretty much work whenever, wherever, and wearing whatever I want. As your typical way-too-busy AU student, this is key.

    But as great as it sounds not to have to show up in your best business casual every day, there’s a dark side to working virtually, too. The hardest thing for me has been not having face-to-face interaction with my co-workers. As I learned over the summer when I did get to work in person with them, my co-workers are pretty awesome, and face-to-face time leads to a lot of great things: socializing, brainstorming, coffee breaks, collaboration, happy hours, joking around, more coffee breaks. My managing editor and I try to mimic it by sending each other links to Editor Real Talk or pictures of cute puppies over Gchat, but it’s just not the same.

    So, now that you know the best and worst of the matter, here are a few other things you should know if you’re thinking of picking up a virtual internship:

    1. If you aren’t a self-motivator, don’t do it.
      No, your boss won’t be watching you work over your shoulder, but that doesn’t mean you get to slack off—if you don’t do your work, your boss will still know. Take yourself to super-star intern level by regularly communicating the status of your projects to your boss, even if they aren’t due yet. It’ll make her life easier knowing what to expect from you (and reminding her that you’re doing good work never hurts you either).
    2. Get ready for an email explosion.
      All the assignment check-ins, quick questions for your boss, and little conversations you would have in the hall? Get ready for them all to be in your inbox. Long emails that replace presentations or team updates, short emails with quick questions about a project, just-in-the-subject-line emails for quick need-to-knows. We recently adopted a team chat service called HipChat that has relieved our inboxes some, but the amount of email you send and receive as a virtual worker is pretty absurd.
    3. If you can find a way to meet the people you work with, do it.
      Whether you can afford to take a trip to go meet them all, or Skype is the best thing you can do, find a way to spend a little time with your most immediate co-workers face-to-face. It’s kind of hard to really get to know someone over the internet, to get how you vibe with them. I worked with all of my co-workers over email and the phone for nine months, but didn’t feel like I really got to know them until I met them in person—and now I feel like I can interact with them all much better virtually. It’s nice to have a face, voice, and personality associated with the person on the other side of the email chain.
    4. Don’t be afraid to have a little virtual fun.
      When all your work is done via email, it can be easy to feel like every email you send has to be business related. News flash—it doesn’t. You have to find some way to virtually replace the break room (in fact, most of our breakroom content stems from the jokey emails and chats we send to each other). Obviously, this will depend on the level of professionalism within your organization and how well you know your co-workers—and you don’t want to spam people’s already crammed inboxes—but a fun email every now and then can be a good way to give everyone a quick break.

    That’s all I got for now! Do you have any questions about working virtually, or tips from your virtual work experiences?

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    • Julia Beyer 4:59 pm on October 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for these extremely useful tips about working virtually, Erin. I am highlighting this in the SOC Spot Newsletter.

  • Erin Greenawald 8:24 pm on September 28, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Editor, , party, ,   

    Put On Your Professional Party Faces 

    Hi, I’m Erin and this is me at work! (I’m the curly-haired gal in the middle.)

    Now, usually my work is not quite as glamorous as having my celebrity shot taken at a party with my lovely co-workers. In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, “me at work” usually involves me sitting on my couch/somewhere on campus/in some random coffee shop squinting at my computer screen for hours on end. But this week—this week was special.

    I work as an Associate Editor for The Daily Muse, an online magazine geared towards young, professional women (though we like our dude Muses too!) where you can go to get the best advice about your job search and career. As an editor, my weekly duties include working with my wonderful columnists to fine-tune their pieces, putting out our three weekly e-newsletters, coming up with new article ideas for the site, and writing when I find the time. So, lot’s of computer time. Oh, and I work virtually so even my interactions with my co-workers are predominantly over chat, with a few scattered conference calls.

    But as I said, this week was a very special one. Our bi-coastal team was all brought together in NYC to celebrate our 1-year birthday as a company. While it was certainly a big week for the company, it was also a big week for me personally. I’ve been with the company since almost the beginning, so it was a chance for me to celebrate one year working for a company (and still going strong!). That feels like a pretty big deal at this stage in my life.

    The party itself was a great success. A bunch of our investors, advisers, and partners in New York were there, as well as some of our writers and staffers who I haven’t gotten to meet before now. We all enjoyed sponsored food and drink, networked like pros, and made a big announcement about what’s next for the company (more on that to come). It all felt very glamorous. Besides the party, we also got to spend some time all working face-to-face in our new New York co-working space, and doing some team learning activities.

    There will be plenty of internship musings to come (pun intended), but for now I just want to welcome you to the next few months of my Daily Muse adventure. So, new friends. Prep the disco ball, put on your professional party faces, and get ready for a good time. The Daily Muse is ready to rock your career and mine—and have fun doing it.

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  • Erika Sentz 8:44 pm on September 26, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Editor, house of sweden, , SACC, Sweden   

    Tjenare! 

    My name is Erika Sentz, and I am a freshman at American University. I am currently pursuing a B.A. in CLEG – Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government.

    But wait, you might ask. What is a freshman doing interning during their first semester of college? Well, I was selected to be a part of the Washington Mentorship Program, and it is a requirement of the program to complete an internship two days a week, as well as a full load of courses.

    I am interning this semester at the Swedish American Chambers of Commerce of the USA, Inc. (SACC-USA for short) as their Editorial Intern. Two days a week I am lucky enough to work in the beautiful House of Sweden, right off the Potomac. I work alongside the President of SACC-USA, the Director of Trainee Programs, our Financial officer, and four Swedish trainee’s. Each trainee is here on a Visa for either six or twelve months, leaving me to be the only American-born worker in the office!

    The House of Sweden!

    It is my job to report on Swedish-American business news and the SACC network, proofread articles sent to be published by the SACC-USA Currents, plan and develop the monthly Currents, and help my co-workers learn English! I do hope to learn some Swedish along the way…

    I really enjoy what I do, and look forward to continuing this blog through my experience as a SACC-USA intern. Stay tuned for a post about the crayfish party I attended that was hosted by SACC-DC!

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  • Christine Edmond 9:10 am on March 3, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Editor, Purpose, Roles   

    Try something new and KNOW it all. 

    Listen Live!

    First, I want to try something new and add to my interning experience by applying what I am learning to these posts. Not only can you read my blog, but now you have the option to listen while you’re reading everything I’m saying!  (More …)

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