Beth Burka’s job as a Visual Designer at Wärtsilä was set to begin 1 April, but a few weeks before, all her new colleagues were urged to work remotely due to Covid-19. This is the first part of Beth’s diary, describing the beginning of her Wärtsilä journey under these unprecedented circumstances.
From childhood, Beth Burka looked up to her big brother. Following his footsteps, Beth decided to develop a career in IT and moved from Ethiopia to Finland to study at the Turku University of Applied Sciences. After graduating, Beth gained work experience first in the Netherlands and then in Germany.
However, she discovered her true passion only later – even if design had always been in the back of her mind. In 2016, Beth decided to return to Finland and take a leap of faith towards her true interest. In early 2020, Beth noticed an open position at Wärtsilä that aligned nicely with her previous design work experience. She got the job – and her start date was set as 1 April in the Wärtsilä Helsinki Campus.
When walking to Wärtsilä’s head office in Salmisaari on this special Spring day, I’m full of excitement; Wärtsilä will be a new journey for me, and I will make it my own kind of journey.
I’m also feeling eager to meet again with my new line manager, Piia, who is waiting for me in the office. Discussions with her were a major reason I decided to join Wärtsilä; I prefer working with passionate teammates, and I sensed these kinds of motivating vibes already in our first discussions.
When walking around the eight-storey office building, it looks empty. It could feel like an April Fools’ Day joke if I didn’t know that everyone was working from home. However, Piia and a few other colleagues – IT team members and receptionists – help me to get started.
This first day, we focus on practical things, like downloading various tools on my laptop. Even if I’m not able to meet many teammates face to face, I get to have a warm welcome in our joint Teams meeting.
During the day, I take some breaks with Piia. I also meet my other colleague, Mikael, who orders us lunch, and during the coffee breaks, they show me around Femma which is a working café on the fifth floor. With so many exciting corners and the breathtaking views in Femma, I think I will make good use of this space in the future.
As the office has flexible way of working, I’m also introduced to new software that allows you to search for colleagues and check free workstations and meeting rooms on a map. Now due to Covid-19, the map even shows a purple circle around my avatar, the personal space I need to maintain, if I get too close to someone – quite impressive.
Today is my first remote day here in Käpylä, Helsinki where I live with my boyfriend. I’ll have my work spot next to the window, as I prefer looking outside. There are only a few people outside, but it’s nice to every now and then see a dog owner having a walk with a puppy.
Workwise, this week is all about first things first – meaning I won't have any tasks related to my role as a Visual Designer. My main goal is to familiarise myself with the induction materials, documentations, and communication platforms to understand the structure and work history of my team. I will also study the organisational structure of Wärtsilä to complete my understanding and take some mandatory e-learning classes on important topics, such as the code of conduct and security training.
Today, after work, I’ve planned to repot my plants – it’s super to have time for these low-key projects now thanks to societal restrictions! In addition, I’ll probably continue reading a book about typeface, Think with Type, by Ellen Lupton.
Looking back at my first working days, I feel very positive. I think there are a lot of new things for me to learn about Wärtsilä, and I must listen and learn about the businesses from our experts.
Now as I’ve had a couple of meetings with my teammates, I am starting to understand the dynamics and spirit in our team. I see my new colleagues talking to each other in a very friendly manner, and it reminds me of a family.
Thanks to our team’s Slack channels, I am also able to catch up with all the memes – which is of course crucial.
After the first week, I feel confident working from home. I have experience working with a remote team in the past, and this way of working feels fairly normal. I believe time management is smoother than if I were in the office. Here are my top 3 tips for remote working:
1. Have only few items on your work space.
2. Have a lot of snacks.
3. But avoid eating on your working table.
Despite a somewhat peculiar start, it seems that Beth’s first week with Wärtsilä has gone well – thanks to our well-oiled HR processes, and proper onboarding preparations by Wärtsilä’s User Experience Design team, which welcomed her.
Next week, we will continue following Beth’s first steps with Wärtsilä. The second part of her diary will be published here soon. Sit tight and watch this space.