Dart Scholars Christian Dyer, Johnathon Bedasse, Chloe DaCosta and Dominic Dyer participated in Work-X with Dart over the summer.

Dart's Work-X Programme: The home edition

By Chloe DaCosta

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people all over the world work, resulting in many doing their job remotely. It is no different for the Dart Scholars, including Chloe DaCosta, 2015 William A. Dart University Scholar, taking part in the company's Work-X internship programme. Read on to hear about Chloe's experience with Work-X 2020. 

Participating in an internship remotely has its good points and bad points. On the one hand, I enjoy being able to move at my own pace and schedule, but on the other, I miss out on the positive, collaborative environment of the office that I've enjoyed on my previous internships with Dart. Despite my virtual presence, the Marketing and Communications team has given me all the directional tools I need, with just enough creative freedom to deliver a notable outcome.

Being in the comfort of my own home has decreased the amount of anxiety surrounding the job. I have severe asthma and during this time of COVID-19 I am hyper-aware of the possible risks that a space with many people can bring. At home I feel that I can be much more productive and practical with my time rather than having to worry about picking up my mask and maneuvering through the office.

It’s easy to feel detached from the office at times. I’m a kinesthetic learner and when I complete a project, I want to physically go to my supervisor's desk to show and explain my findings. It’s a constant drive to attain immediate gratification to ensure we’re on the same page. However, online platforms have made communication much more seamless and inclusive, especially in those presentation and discussion times.

Working from home presented other challenges, as well. The home creates a sense of comfort and relaxation that can also be distracting during work hours. The refrigerator is dangerously close, and visits were frequent even if it was just to stare. I had to create boundaries and a set work environment that I could separate from the relaxing spaces. I also created an eating schedule and didn't allow myself to eat at my desk so that I didn't develop a bad habit of aimlessly putting food in my mouth while paying attention to the computer screen.

There were also benefits to working from home. Many times, I problem-solved for myself and was given the opportunity to take liberties with projects that may not have happened if I was sitting next to my supervisor. I completed an assignment for myself and was encouraged to make improvements through the back-and-forth collaboration and revisions. I enjoyed feeling like an important stand-alone member of a wider team and was in control of my own contribution to their overarching mission.

I was by no means the only Dart Scholar to experience Work-X remotely. Florence Allan, the William A. Dart University Scholarship recipient in 2016, is currently in the United Kingdom, working an internship remotely with Dart's Real Estate Sales and Marketing team. Florence has also experienced several Work-X internships with Dart and said it was difficult to be away from the office — especially in a different time zone — because of the disconnect from her team.

“I really miss being in the office and feeling like a part of the team in that way," she said, adding, however, that frequent calls back and forth have made her experience just as inclusive as previously.
Despite missing the feeling of the office, Florence said she's happy to get out of bed and start working without having to commute.

“Overall, I’m just really happy to be working at Dart for another summer and so grateful to have work during this time," she said.

Dominic Dyer, the 2017 William A. Dart University Scholarship recipient, said he has also been able to gain valuable work experience in his field during his summer internship despite the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I found myself to be equally as productive as I am in the office and enjoyed my time spent working from home," he said, noting that it was challenging to separate his workspace from his personal space.
However, one of Dom’s biggest challenges was staying focused during lengthy online meetings when he wasn’t participating. Despite spending a lot of his day online, Dom said he enjoyed being able to plan his own work schedule for the day and being able to exercise during his lunch break.

This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of the Camana Bay Times.