Virtual Walker: Reflecting on My Fully-Remote Internship
When I first learned about Highwire, I was drawn to the amazing office culture and one of Highwire’s core values – collaboration. Fast forward to my start date –which was one week after shelter-in-place orders had just been announced due to COVID-19 — and I had to rewire and adjust to working from home, all while onboarding and learning the ropes of my new remote internship. I was nervous to “e-introduce” myself to people I had never met and had a lot of questions without being certain who I should ask.
Thankfully, Highwire has helped me seamlessly adjust to remote work and has made me feel like I belong. Within my first month, my fellow Highwire Walkers reached out to me to set up 1:1 meetings and happy hours, and Highwire’s mental health awareness discussions, and Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging trainings allowed me to connect more deeply with my colleagues.
Now I’m more than halfway through my remote internship and have been reflecting on what’s made me #AlwaysWired and #AlwaysWinning. I hope that through my experience, I can empower other remote interns and new hires by sharing my own challenges and positive experiences.
Drinking a ton of “virtual” coffee
A sense of belonging is one of the most important parts of joining any company, and I’ve had to get creative to form connections with my colleagues while we’re all remote. By connecting with my teammates outside of our weekly calls, I learned how they like to work, their communication styles, and what they love about PR and Highwire. In tandem, I’ve connected with colleagues and management for online working sessions and interactive trainings to mimic the hands-on experience of working at the Highwire office. I love talking about what to pitch next and which new targets I can add to our media list, but I’m also so grateful to have conversations about what podcasts to listen to, new places to visit around SF, and how to be a better ally.
Sharing challenges and taking action
I felt a shift in my performance at Highwire once I began to share what I was struggling with. It was easy to think to myself “I should be better at this” and get into a negative mindset without actually reflecting on how to improve. Highwire’s culture is heavily focused on real-time feedback and radical candor, and I found that candidly sharing my challenges and listening to actionable advice from my managers and colleagues helped boost my confidence, not hinder it. I collected all of my feedback and created checklists before submitting an assignment — now I can mentally go through that checklist without needing to pull up the document. Taking constructive feedback is challenging for a lot of people, but I was constantly reminded by my colleagues that everyone is still learning.
We hear this one a lot at Highwire, but I’ve grown to rely on overcommunication to feel successful in a remote internship. I constantly check my teammates’ Slack statuses to see what they’re working on and update mine whenever possible. I’ve especially enjoyed the fact that Highwire Walkers that use their Slack to set an intention, goal, or fun conversation starter. In addition, if I’m working on an assignment and struggling with it, I use Slack to ask a quick question or to jump on a quick call and walk through the problem.
While everyone has their own work style, I hope my experience has shown the silver lining of starting a new role remotely. I’m thankful that Highwire has used this unprecedented time as an opportunity to check in with employees, recommit to belonging, and let all Highwire Walkers know how much value we add to our agency.