I have worked for AIS for a year in September and this has been my first experience working from home. In the past I have not just worked alongside employees but I have also always worked a customer facing position. When I first began I had the privilege to begin with a 2 day training that gave me a feel of the personalities I would be working around. Besides training days and weekly meetings you don’t really get to talk with others about their personal life and interests. Although we don’t get much time together outside of work activities, I still get to learn something new about someone everyday. Experiencing my first yearly in person trip was a learning experience as well as a great time for bonding. Getting to see people that you have worked with remotely is so surreal.
As we pulled up on the beach to the house for the week my stomach was turning, nervous to meet everyone in person for the first time. As soon as we entered the house the nervousness went away and the hugs began to flood in from everyone as we got to connect and all were in the same space! I expected there to be an awkward period on the first day going from the transition from seeing each other on occasional video to spending an entire week together, but it was as if we had worked together in person all along. There was no need to feel uncomfortable or nervous around each other. After the first night of checking out the house and the pool (and the bar of course) we began exercises to further our knowledge of each other and ourselves both in a professional and personal way.
I was able to work with some of the women that I look up to the most at our company on an exercise where we each shared 10 traits we saw in each other off of a list of words. It was really empowering to see people that I look up to on our team show vulnerability and share their anxieties/struggles they have overcome within their positions and our company. I think that it is very special to show that side of yourself and you never know how it could impact others to hear about it. As someone who has been trying to work through anxieties and confidence building, it’s important to remember and see that no one is perfect and everyone struggles to get to the place that they want to be. Something else we worked on that pertains to that is the exercises we did that relate to how others see you.
Something that was really eye opening for me was a really special exercise that I had the ability to work with a partner on our team. We were writing down and sharing traits and strengths that we see in each other as well as what we feel that person could improve on to become the best version of themselves they can be. It was really special to hear their kind words and realize that even if you feel you make lots of mistakes or are very hard on yourself, that isn’t always perceived by others. It’s not always the end of the world as it feels. It was confidence building and an act of self love to accept their words and take them to heart. This is just one example of the many exercises we did to help build each other up.
As the week came to an end it was very hard to leave my friends and colleagues and come to the realization that it will be a year until I get to see them again. We got very comfortable with each other and I think we all agree it would be nice to see each other in person more often. To be able to hold a friend while they are sad, to see their smile as they see something they love, and to share more special memories together. We exchanged lots of hugs again and some tears as we finally said goodbye and till next year.