How to Successfully Work Remotely

WFH. These three letters allow employees to move from the desk-bound constraints of a 9-to-5 office and give them the freedom to work from the comfort of their own home, a coffee shop, a collaborative working space or anywhere in between.

In recent years, the option to work elsewhere has seen a surge in popularity. According to a survey by AfterCollege, 68% of millennial job seekers say an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers. Furthermore, a survey from OwlLabs found that employees who work from home at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive at work, resulting in 25% less employee turnover than their non-remote work offering counterparts.

Here at Dittoe PR, we offer the opportunity for our team members to work from home a half-day each week. Whether that’s a morning where getting out of bed just isn’t going to happen, or an afternoon where a change of scenery is crucial, this perk encourages us to take some time and work from wherever makes us happy.

Wherever you choose to set up shop, consider these four tips for the most productive outcome:

Dress for success.
Trust me, I know how incredibly tempting it is to throw on pajamas or sweatpants when you’re working from home. However, when you wear pajama pants to bed and sweatpants to lounge on a Saturday afternoon, you’re not in the right frame of mind to physically work.

Mind follows body! Separate your work outfits from your weekend outfits, and dress for the job you have. If you’re in clothes you’d go to work in, you’ll be less inclined to lay down on the couch or zone out for an hour or two.

Set up a workspace.
Similar to dressing for success, it can be tempting to wake up in bed, open up your work laptop and stay there until night falls. There’s a reason our employers keep us upright facing a screen at the office. Get out of bed (it’s harder than it sounds), situate a new desk space and work in that location. Find a place just uncomfortable enough to keep you focused.

Establish clear boundaries between your workspace and your home life. This separation reduces unintended stress and will provide you with enough energy to not only finish your work but keep you from hating your bed or couch when your day is done. No one wants that! 

Reduce distractions.
Sure, your office has its fair share of distractions. When you’re at home or elsewhere, however, those distractions are heightened. Think about it, if you’re at home, what else is there? Dishes to be cleaned, a comfortable couch with Netflix calling your name, Instagram notifications on your phone, that leaky faucet you swore you’d get fixed…the list goes on.

In short, multitasking doesn’t work. The American Psychological Association found that switching between tasks results in a 40% loss of productivity, especially when those tasks involve combining your actual work with scrolling through your Twitter feed. Treat your home – or wherever you choose to work from – as your own office when working remotely. You wouldn’t turn on Game of Thrones in the middle of a meeting, would you? Okay, don’t answer that.

Make a to-do list.
Even if you’re not a fan of the coveted to-do list, making one for your day at home will ensure you stay on track. Utilize Dittoe PR’s favorite list-making app Todoist, or simply put pen to paper with all the tasks needed for the day. As always with to-do lists, if you aren’t able to cross everything off, that’s okay! It’ll still help to keep you on track and remember what needs to be done the following day.

Schedule a few breaks, too. You don’t want to experience burnout at home of all places. If you plan your to-do list hour-by-hour, incorporate brief 15-minute breaks to allow your mind to recharge. Go outside, take a walk, walk your cat, walk your turtle, follow your hamster in its little ball, anything to boost your energy levels in between tasks.

When you spend your time wisely and efficiently, it’ll be like you never left the office. Now you’re ready to go forth and WFH, WFCS (work from coffee shop) or WFWYLHD (work from wherever your little heart desires)!

Interested in a career that lets you work remotely each week? We’re always accepting applications for consideration. Send your resume, cover letter and three writing samples to Ashley Eggert at ashley@dittoepr.com.  

How to Prepare for a Post-Grad PR Job

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, I’m not talking about a certain red and green holiday, I’m talking about graduation! Earning your college degree, decorating your cap, walking across the giant stage, taking countless photos with your friends and family, the crippling anxiety of starting your first real-world job…okay, maybe that part wasn’t so great.

Going from college life to the real-world can be tough. There should really be a “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your First Job” book on the shelf. Personally, I was a mixed bag of emotions when it was time for graduation. While I was excited to see what this new chapter had in store for me, I was absolutely terrified about what being a “real adult” actually meant.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – I didn’t have a job right out of college. It took me three months post-grad to find an internship in this industry (thank you, Dittoe PR). If you find yourself in a similar position, it is okay! You’ve got this. 

Whether you’re still in college and planning ahead for graduation or you’re a recent grad still looking for the perfect fit, with these four tips in mind, you’ll be a #PRpro come your first day of work.

Create a 90-day plan.

90 days might seem like a lifetime, especially when you’re starting your first post-grad job. However, the first 90 days are crucial to both you and your employer. By planning out your goals for the first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job, you’ll have created your own vision of what success looks like in your role.

Include smaller goals within your first 30 days, such as getting to know your co-workers or understanding your company’s vision. By 90 days, your goals can shift – how will you step up in your new role during this period? With goals set and visions in mind, you’ll be able to track your progress every step of the way. Thinking in the short-term keeps long-term stress at bay and makes everything a little more manageable.

Fun fact: At Dittoe PR, our fabulous office perks (half-day work from home, flex hours and unlimited vacation) start at 90 days!

 

Get skilled.

As PR pros, we’ve got a myriad of tools to help us throughout the day. Take some time between graduation and your first day to familiarize yourself with a few of PR’s most beloved measurement tools such as Critical Mention or Cision. You could even take a few weeks and earn your certification in Google Analytics – you know your PR professor would want you to!

Try to learn a few additional skills that will help you stand apart from your peers, too. Consider navigating through a design site such as Canva or teaching yourself Adobe Photoshop. You might not have needed these to land the job, but they’ll certainly come in handy throughout your career and show your employer that your love of learning did not end with your diploma.

 

Research. Research. Research.

You probably (hopefully) looked into your new company prior to your initial interview. However, just because you’ve been hired doesn’t mean you should stop researching your new digs. Prior to your first day, be aware of your company’s mission, their current clients and what they’re all about. This will no doubt impress your new leaders during the orientation and onboarding process.

Dig through the company’s “about us” tab for a glimpse into the organization. If the company has a blog section on the website, read a few of the recent posts to gain additional insight into their work culture before you step in on your first day. You should also follow the company on any and all social media platforms, engaging with their content to better understand just who you’ll be working with on a daily basis.

 

Live it up.

You’re hired. You just got your first post-grad job, so enjoy it! Bask in this moment – a college degree took you three, four, maybe even ten years. Celebrate your incredible accomplishment with friends and family before your first day on the job. Your loved ones will be sure to help boost your confidence and spark your joy prior to starting your career. In short, it’s okay to be proud of yourself! I promise.

Now, as they say in cliché movies and TV shows, go get ‘em tiger!    

 

Interested in becoming a PR pro with Dittoe PR? We are always accepting applications for consideration. Send your personalized cover letter, resume with references and writing samples to Greta Snell at greta@dittoepr.com.

5 Tips for Wrapping Up Your Internship

Completing an internship is essential to gaining hands-on, real life experience and skills that you otherwise wouldn’t get in a classroom setting. In fact, a majority of Dittoe PR employees started their PR careers as interns here – including me!

 

Like all good things, an internship must come to an end. If you’re currently interning somewhere, are you prepared for the final chapter? These key tips will help you end your internship on a high note, and, hopefully, guarantee success in your future career-related endeavors.

 

End on a high note.

The end of your internship is just as important as the start. Don’t let the allure of a semester ending distract you from finishing strong.

 

Inevitably, workflow decreases as the semester comes to a close, but don’t let that seep into your productivity. Instead of online shopping for the next interview blazer (that you’ll only use once), show initiative and ask for more assignments. Someone is bound to need help, and the impression you’ll leave on your team is invaluable. Showing commitment to your role could even help to land you another internship or a full-time gig!

 

Leverage your relationships.

It’s not against the rules to ask about potential job openings at your company. If you are having trouble finding your next opportunity, take advantage of the professional network you’ve been building! Especially if you made a great impression, that commitment shows your initiative and dedication.

 

Prepare a list of your contributions during your internship and reasons why you would be a valuable asset to any growing team. Then, talk your mentor or internship director for next steps. Even if you don’t get to stay, they may be able to reach out to their industry peers and find a good fit for you, make an introduction or even provide a recommendation.

 

As a matter of fact, I showed my interest for staying on permanently at Dittoe PR two months into my internship and look where I am today!

 

Create an online portfolio.

In today’s digital age, an online portfolio is crucial to demonstrating your abilities as a professional and standing out against other qualified candidates. It can be as easy as updating your LinkedIn profile with verbiage about your professional roles thus far. Consider uploading completed projects that you are proud of, so recruiters can easily see your samples, and sharing measurable results (i.e. the number of media hits or social media analytics that resulted from your work).

 

Want to go the extra mile? Design your own online portfolio by utilizing easy-to-use tools such as Weebly or Wix. Include your resume, writing samples, letters of recommendation and more to show off your professional prowess.

 

Seek out feedback.

As you approach the end of your internship, it is important to ask your mentor and peers for feedback. Seeking out feedback shows that you want to improve and learn from your prior mistakes. Chances are your colleagues have been in this field for a while – they know a few things!

 

Be sure to schedule an “exit interview” with your internship mentor or director. Take the opportunity to gauge your progress throughout the internship. Pick his or her brain about your strengths, weaknesses and where to go from here.

 

Stay in touch.

No one likes to be ghosted. Especially your internship coordinators or fellow coworkers. Just because your time at the company is over does not mean it’s the time to completely distance yourself. If you maintain contact, whether it be via a professional networking site such as LinkedIn or taking the time to send out a monthly update to your internship mentor, it shows that you care. Your internship is a stepping stone into getting a full-time position, don’t let it go to waste.

 

If you’re considering taking that next step and applying for a full-time position, be sure to do all the necessary research first. What is required of you to apply? Which writing samples would be appropriate to send? Gather all of your materials first, then communicate in-person with your company’s hiring manager to discuss next steps.

 

Like they say during finals week – finish strong!

 

Interested in applying for an internship at Dittoe PR? Contact Vanessa Staublin at vanessa@dittoepr.com to learn more about our Summer 2019 internship program.