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Summer trainee blog: The cornerstones of digital work at Neste: Courage, Collaboration & Communication

Forget the idea of digital work being scary, inefficient or lonely. From coffee breaks with colleagues to holding workshops for large audiences, it can all be done virtually. You really only need three things: courage, collaboration and communication.

How do I know this? Well, this summer I have had the pleasure of working at Neste in the Digital Workplace team. Being part of a team that provides Neste employees with everyday tools has taught me many things about IT and digital work. Lucky for you, these are not secrets I wish to keep for myself but rather share with everyone, so keep on reading.

We know that courage is not about taming lions

If we think courage is only about saving people from burning buildings or taming lions, very few of us are courageous. At Neste however, we have courage when we dare to learn new things and change our ways of working when needed. As one of our core values, courage is always present in our work.

I myself have gone out of my comfort zone this summer. Being the kind of person who looks for perfection before showing anyone anything, it has required courage for me to be able to share my unfinished work with others. Learning the art of co-creation and asking for continuous feedback has made working more efficient and fruitful. Courage can be about being open to others’ comments and ideas too.

We encourage each other through collaboration

It’s a two way street: we might need courage to collaborate but we also gain it from each other. At Neste, we encourage one another and work towards shared goals. A modern working environment is built upon working together, which is why the idea of remote working might have seemed scary.

Surely, remote work could’ve left us banging our heads to the wall, trying to come up with ideas alone. Fortunately it didn’t, thanks to the people. The selection of digital tools is broader and better than ever before, but it’s the people and their attitude that counts. When we are open-minded, we can find the best tools for us.

We communicate openly to reach our fullest potential

Lastly we get to communication, my personal favorite of the cornerstones (wonder why a communications trainee would say this…). Surprisingly, remote working doesn’t seem to have decreased communication, quite the opposite. Surely it’s different from “normal” but it feels that people now appreciate each other and social interaction more than ever. They take the time to attend digital coffee breaks and spend time with their colleagues, which I heard didn’t happen so regularly at the busy office.

This brings me to what I love about our team: we are encouraged to have cameras on in meetings. To show the untidy rooms behind us, our messy hair or our faces without makeup. There is something warming in seeing your colleagues’ children or pets running around in the background. It might seem too personal or unnerving to share this much, but the more openly we communicate, the better we work together.

Video killed the radio star - or did it?

It may seem silly, after having raved about digital working for a few hundred words, but I still think nothing wins good old face to face chatting. The great thing is that it’s not going anywhere. Just like video didn’t kill the radio star after all, digital work won’t kill traditional ways of working. It’s digital tools that give us the possibility to choose the best way for us. So have courage to try new things, collaborate as much as you can and communicate openly.

Maria Karesoja works as an IT Communications Trainee in the Digital Workplace team. She is about to start her third year studying information and service management at Aalto University School of Business. In addition to her major Maria takes interest in communications, politics and languages. Outside work she enjoys spontaneous summer adventures with friends and family.