Working Remotely in College Career Services

By Mark Schappert posted 26 days ago


May 6, 2020

The Online Career Services Affinity Group will be hosting a series of virtual webinars. Details to come.

I know 
most of you reading this have been thrown into a remote work situation. 

I have been working remotely for Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Global Career Services for a little over three years now.  So for me, working remotely is not a change. 

My current position with SNHU is my second remote work experience.  Prior to coming to SNHU, I worked remotely for about three years with CSO Research, the career services software company. 

Like many people, I LOVE working remotely.  Obviously casual dress is a given but in a remote context, this can be taken to a whole new level! 

I also love my morning “commute”.  After stopping at my favorite coffee spot, my kitchen, my office is exactly five seconds away! 

With a 10-second total commute time each day, and zero time needed to figure out what to wear in the morning, I am free to work a nine-hour day and still put in fewer total hours than those who really commute and dress more “fashionably” every day! 
Now that you know why I love working from home I will share three tips related to doing so. 

Tip 1:  Find/Make a Dedicated Work Space 
I have heard regularly from people who do not or have not worked from home a concern about distractions.  I am sure that those of you who are working from home now, especially those with spouses and children at home, are challenged by this.  No doubt!  I have a very basic tip for you that I am sure most of you have figured out but I will share it anyway just in case of few you have not.  Find/make a dedicated work space outside of the main rooms in your house.  Even if you have to set up a small table in your bedroom, I suggest that it will be better to work from there than your living room or kitchen.  Of course, it is also important that the space be comfortable and ergonomically suitable.  

Tip 2: Connect with Colleagues on Video Calls 
My second and less obvious tip for working from home is to make time to connect with colleagues and work partners via video calls.  When working from home, feeling connected to colleagues and business partners is huge!  Both for your mindset and for your working relationships.   

I have made it a regular practice to connect with faculty and deans at my school with video calls through Skype, Zoom, or Ring Central.  Just because you are working remotely does not mean you cannot create great working relationships with others.  I have never let my remote work location stand in the way of reaching out and connecting with others at my university.  And though I use email, direct messaging, and phone calls, I try to use a video platform as much as possible. 

What I have experienced and learned from working remotely the last few years is that video calls make a BIG difference in the connection I feel with others, and I believe, the connect they feel with me!  

Imaging for a minute having a meeting with someone you never met before in a room where both of you keep your eyes closed the whole time, versus meeting and talking with your eyes open!  A huge difference right?  As communication experts have long asserted, non-verbals are a big part of communication and I would add, feelings of connection. 

Tip 3:  Use Video for Calls with Students 
I have found video calls/meetings with students much more powerful in terms of establishing a relationship with them, than regular phone calls.  You could be concerned that some students might find this uncomfortable.  In a message to students I succinctly note that I find video meetings very helpful for getting to know students. But if they cannot or do not want a video call, a phone call is fine. Most of the  time students agree to a video call.  After all, they too want to feel a connection with you just as you want to feel connected with them.