On Our Way Back: A New Associate’s Viewpoint
This post is a continuation of a series this year from Hixson Interior Designer Julie Morgan on working from home, and the transition back into the office. For this post, Julie reached out to her co-worker, and one of Hixson’s newest associates, Allee Amstutz, to ask about her thoughts on the return to the office.
Like many 2020 graduates, my experience in entering the working world has been unique. I graduated from Ohio University in May – just as the quarantine period was ending – and accepted my position as an Interior Designer at Hixson a month later. The entire hiring process was virtual and so was all my onboarding: Learning all of Hixson’s processes and culture online was something I was quite nervous about and honestly never imagined how smoothly it could go. From my first day, Hixson and my department have made me feel welcome and I have learned so much in the short five months that I have been here.
From the beginning, my fellow Interior Designers Roselia Harris, Julie Morgan, and I quickly developed a very effective way of working remotely and their assistance was invaluable in getting me accustomed to the procedures and software at Hixson. Using technologies such as Microsoft Teams screen sharing and remote control were key to helping me onboard. Another crucial component in my onboarding was how inclusive the entire process has been: We must remember to make sure employees and co-workers feel included in times; something as small as looking at a finish and being a part of a decision process can make all the difference in a day-to-day setting.
Shifting forward, I quickly volunteered to be one of the first Hixson employees to return to the office in the first phase of the transition. Moving to a new city and starting a career during a pandemic was not the ideal way to begin my career: I really felt like I was lacking something with being at home during my first three months. Since being in the Hixson building, I feel more productive and like my days are more fulfilling. Meeting Tom Hellmann, the man who hired me, for the first time was a memory that I will always remember! How funny to be hired into an awesome firm but never meeting in person any of the people who 1) hired you or 2) you’ve worked or talked with every day for the last three months? Such a crazy concept!
I lastly wanted to note that since being back in the office I have had the opportunity to do research of my own on leading companies and the business practices they have adopted since the beginning of this pandemic. From this research, I have concluded that Hixson is leading and practicing these best practices within our own firm. During these ever-changing times, giving employees the choice and power to design their workday is so crucial to a successful business. My belief as an individual and as a designer is that the office will look different for many of us but the need for an office is an important concept that should not be left behind when the dust settles with COVID-19.
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