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Tackling WFH as a Communications Intern at VMware U.K.

Communications intern Isabella Burton joined the VMware UK team amid the first stages of COVID-19. Now almost seven months into her internship, Isabella apprises her typical daily schedule and recounts her experience hunting for a placement amidst a global pandemic.

The myriad of emotions, experiences, and revelations I felt searching for an undergrad internship is what I like to describe as a wonderland whirlwind. This was rendered even more challenging by the added personal and professional constraints we have all endured due to the global health crisis. My journey has felt reminiscent of Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole; confusing, nerve-wracking, and completely foreign. However, much like Alice, I have landed on my feet.

When I began searching for roles, I knew that I wanted to work for a creative company operating at the cutting edge of their field. I wanted a position that would be people-oriented and dynamic, where I would leverage my top skills. As a “newbie” starting in July, my knowledge of the technology industry and VMware solutions was utterly untapped. Now at the half-way mark, I wake up each day with the reassurance that I know more than I did yesterday – for that, I have my incredible team to thank.

A typical day in my life starts in my fuzzy cream dressing gown, a fresh cup of tea watching some rubbish reality TV as I give my mind the time to realize that oh! We’re awake now! Dressed and ready, I sit outside (with another cup of tea) and take in the morning air – greeting all the neighbors’ cats that like to parade across our lawn. I then head to my work-from-home office, a desk set-up with a couple of screens, an abundance of candles, some pictures of family and friends, and post-it notes e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

Each day starts with routine email checks and reviewing my One Note task tracker, essentially an over-the-top color-coded to-do-list that is my pride and joy. Usually, I have a meeting scheduled with some of the EMEA Communications Team. We discuss various projects, including organizing Exec media interviews, reviewing VMware’s CSR initiatives, virtual events planning, social media strategy (my personal favorite), and planning press releases. These meetings are married with long-term projects, a couple of breaks now and then to stretch and refresh, and several ad hoc tasks take me to lunch.

I tend to take my lunch break at 1 pm. As my parents work from home, the kitchen scene is so chaotic- similar to commuting to London at rush hour. Lunchtime is often spent on my sofa watching Netflix, chatting to friends via social media, looking at pictures of puppies I desperately want, and reading a book. At the moment, I’m watching The Crown, obsessing over Cavapoo puppies (trust me – have a Google, it’ll make you so happy), and reading ‘If Beale Street Could Talk.’ Once finished, after clearing up the inevitable mess I made in the kitchen to preserve my mother’s sanity, I’m back to work.

Recently my afternoons often start with a 1:1 meeting with a colleague. I have reached out to as many people as I can during my time here as VMware has so many fantastic characters. I love hearing about their journeys and aspirations! The rest of the afternoon is a combination of meetings, spreadsheets, written tasks, emails, and a few breaks. I commonly spend the last hour listening to some calm music and finishing off the last of my to-do’s as I begin the mental transition from work to evening relaxation.

Once logged off, I generally change into my fluffy comfy clothes, take off any jewelry and makeup, curl up on the sofa and relax. My evenings are spent with books, FaceTime’s with friends, virtual Netflix dates with my boyfriend, painting at my easel, and eating dinner with my parents. Then at 11 pm, I head to sleep, ready to do it again the next day.

Interning remotely has challenged me to re-evaluate how I can best achieve productivity and what I need to feel purpose and find happiness in my work. I have realized that I don’t need to be surrounded by glass walls and bustling business to feel part of a company. A successful company is measured by the ingenuity, genuineness, vision, and general humanity of its people and their work that adds value to make tomorrow better than today.

While I have my routines, I have found that a ‘typical’ day is not entirely available at VMware. My work is always changing and growing as I am given continuously greater trust and responsibility. My VMware is a place of promise and opportunity. While it may currently be operating out of my living room, my contributions and connections span well beyond those borders. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

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