Future of Work from Home Jobs in Public Health and Tips to Prepare

career development public health jobs remote work work from home Feb 28, 2023

Did you know that according to the US Census Bureau, the number of people primarily working from home tripled between 2019 and 2021? That’s a jump from about 9 million to 27.6 million people! It’s easy to see that this is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but projections show that this number is just going to continue to increase into the next decade.

What does that mean for job openings and the workforce? Sounds like work from home positions will continue to populate search engines like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, and more. At Public Health Hired, we’re seeing the same thing. A survey conducted by Upwork of 1,500 hiring managers found that due to COVID-19, 61.9% of companies were planning more remote work now and in the following years to come. Even Facebook expects that 50% of their workforce will be remote by 2030. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions into unemployment and others to transition to remote work, things were a mess, and many people didn’t know what to imagine; me included. In my experience the most difficult portion was removing the idea and feel of a “physical office”; fighting to find the perfect parking spot, hallway chats with coworkers, rushing to reserve conference rooms, and the smell of coffee machines in the breakroom on each floor.  

That office feel really added to the productivity for my colleagues and I, but in this new normal, what were the expectations? When should I start and end work? How could I remember everything when my hard copy resources were back at the office? How can I still put on an excited face and have some zest… from home? What do I even wear daily, will I run out of outfits? I knew who my frequent collaborators were, but they were no longer around the corner or down the hall; how were we to work together? You mean… I can work from home, every day?

Of course, these new questions are challenges in their own way but imagine adding an extra layer of navigating a totally new workplace, remotely. Talk about feeling like you’re at your wits’ end.

My name is Adam Johnson, and at the height of the pandemic I left my job to become a full-time, telework, Public Health Analyst contracted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. In my time working from home at CDC, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that may help you when starting an entirely new position remotely or even staying at your current one and shifting to remote work.

Indeed.com Career Coaches identify some key tips for starting a new job remotely. Tips like these helped set my personal expectations while shaping my new work from home experience. 

6 DOs and DONTs for Starting a Work from Home Job

1. DO – Prepare for your first day

This should be the case if it’s your first day working remotely at your current job or with a new one. You can never be too prepared; and so Indeed Career Coaches suggest reviewing online onboard instructions, testing equipment, and setting up work emails. I’d add that you should “look the part” and dress up a bit for your new remote position. Even if your top half is dressed to impress and your bottom half is still in pajamas, at least don’t look like you rolled out of bed.

2. DO – Show eagerness

This one may seem hard when there are so many video calls. Zoom fatigue is real, but try to smile, stay engaged, and be polite. I like to take notes on my computer when in meetings to produce high quality work. Finally, be sure to ask supervisors for any tools you may need or helpful contacts to bridge you to success.

3. DO – Make strategic connections right away 

When I joined CDC, I immediately looked at an org chart for my branch to see who was at my level and who was above me. This made reaching out a bit less intimidating, especially since I couldn't just walk over to someone’s office, knock on the door, ask my dumb question, and scurry back with the answer. Try to build relationships with your team and other teams connected to yours. This will show managers that you are eager (#3) and a team player.

4. DON'T – Try to know everything

Remember, you’re new or this new environment might be new for you! Show yourself some grace. The first few days in a remote setting can feel overwhelming. Indeed.com coaches recommend that instead of trying to know everything, just try to be coachable. Being a “student of the sport” helped shape my CDC experience and has continued to set me up for success. I can attest that I’ve been admitting to not knowing everything and in turn have been learning A LOT.

5. DON'T – Be overtly pleasing

Kinda the opposite to the last one, right? This is a tricky one especially when we remove the feel of a “physical office” and the culture that comes along with it. At a new workspace, it’s natural to be pleasing especially to strangers or superiors. Instead of visibly milking this, try to keep appreciations genuine while aiming to be respectful and kind to all. Indeed Career Coaches also say that this overtly pleasing attitude can sometimes be misconstrued for inadequacy, especially in a remote work environment so WATCH OUT! 

6. DON'T – Wait for people to get in touch with you

Many studies have questioned productivity and if people utilize their time wisely in a remote setting. In my experience, yes, there have honestly been many days where I feel like I’m doing, well…. nothing, or at least not much. This is normal and can be expected when working from home. By comparison, when you think of removing the hallway chats, randomly stopping by coworkers’ offices, breaktime coffee and replacing those with quiet time in a physical office, you find that you’d have a lot of idle time there too.

Try to fill those spaces by following up with coworkers on tasks or projects and offering yourself to be more helpful to others. Proceed with caution and remember that just because you’re not busy, doesn’t mean someone else is just as free. Indeed notes to take ownership of tasks that are yours and not wait for other people to get in touch with you but to essentially “beat them to the punch”. 

What Next?

How can you find these remote opportunities and put those tips to good use? Check out our Instagram at @publichealthhired for job alerts which are posted once a week on Instagram stories and connect with your colleagues across the nation and globally who have secured full time remote employment. We’ve connected hundreds of jobseekers to in-person and remote work opportunities alike and can do the same for you! 

Public Health Hired Contributor: Adam is an alumnus of the Georgia State University with a background in health policy and work experience in global health. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with Ministries of Health, National Institutes of Health, and other public health agencies in over 20 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, sub saharan Africa, and insular areas in the Pacific on public health program delivery and capacity building. He is currently working as a contract Public Health Analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention focused on policy analysis and partnerships to improve our nation's heart health and increase health equity. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn! 

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