Life at Activus: Balancing Ph.D. Studies With Full-Time Remote Employment

In this new series of articles, we shine a spotlight on our Ambassadors and other essential team members as they share their personal stories and describe their experiences on the job with Activus Connect.

Our first lucky contender is Sofia Alemany (25), a self-confessed workaholic and a human resources Ph.D. student based in Puerto Rico. Sofia has been working with Activus since December 2019, when she started as an Ambassador before quickly becoming our Business Support Specialist the following month.

Within her role, Sofia is responsible for a diverse range of tasks. She handles time-keeping for one of our client projects, manages our internal Ambassador request log, and oversees our voluntary benefit system that enables Ambassadors to cash out their wages whenever they need them. She also handles onboarding paperwork for new hires, as well as performing some marketing activities.

A Day in the Life at Activus Connect

Sofia’s typical day starts at exactly 5:55 AM when she begins her morning exercise routine. After a quick shower, it’s juice and breakfast time, leading her perfectly into her workday, which kicks off at 7 AM.

“First thing’s first, I always say good morning on the chat,” she laughs. “In a virtual environment, it’s important to act as you would in a physical office setting as it builds camaraderie and reminds people that they’re part of a team.”

Once she’s settled into her home office, Sofia tackles all the necessary reports and support logs for the day, followed by an inbox purge. It’s then on to marketing tasks like researching for potential campaigns, reading recent industry news, or firing out updates on social media. After lunch, Sofia attacks any more action items left on her to-do list, before clocking out at around 3 or 4 PM, but she’ll often stay on longer if her fellow employees need support.

With work out of the way, Sofia hits the books, spending around an hour or two on homework and studies for her Ph.D. “Then I’ll grab dinner and maybe read something, spend time with the family, run some errands, or watch a movie,” she explains. I’m really an indoor person at heart, so this job is ideal for me and my lifestyle.”

Finding The Right Fit

Sofia is motivated by accomplishing results, meeting deadlines, and achieving her own personal goals. She loves learning new things, getting out of her comfort zone, and challenging herself to push her limits.

“I’m always inspired by passionate people, new opportunities, giving back and spending time with my family, and Activus covers all of that,” she explains. “People are obviously passionate about their jobs and love what they do, and there’s always an opportunity to learn more and take on new tasks if you want to. I enjoy that because I get more work experience and discover new things about my skill set every day.”

Before joining Activus Connect, Sofia was a human resource administrative assistant for a company in Puerto Rico, where she gained a lot of the experience that is helping her excel at Activus today.

“It was a part-time job that didn’t really fulfill me, professionally, so I was already looking for something different when Activus came along,” she recalls. “I applied immediately after seeing their website—it was clear that the company’s values, social commitments, and dedication to its employees was far better most others. It was honestly mesmerizing. I love that Actuivus gives us time to give back to our local community, even paying us to help the people around us.”

Remote, Work-at-Home Lifestyle

Like most of us, Sofia hates the long, slow commute to work in endless traffic. To make matters worse, it’s impossible to park in her town and used to eat up several hours. That was before she joined Activus.

“In my previous job, it would often take me over an hour just to find parking,” she recalls. “That’s an hour of loss—you’re not working, you’re not getting paid, and you’re wasting money on gas. After the commute, my “part-time” job ended up being a six-hour day. Now, in my full-time role, I know that exactly eight hours into my shift I’ll be done, with no wasted time either side of work.”

At home, Sofia loves being able to make her own healthy meals, without the urge to eat strawberry cheesecakes—her go-to “pick me up” at her last job. She even has more time to exercise thanks to the flexibility of her schedule. Still, she has some advice for people who are new to the work-at-home lifestyle.

“Working from home requires you to motivate yourself, so work to a schedule, every day,” she says. “Even with the flexibility to clock in and out freely, it can sometimes feel like the day is longer, so sticking to a set time really helps. Also, get into the mindset of working—if you wake up and stay in your PJs, it will never really feel like you’re ready to be productive.”

When it comes to engaging with Ambassadors, Sofia thinks that Activus does a great job. She highlights one of our internal, chat-based platforms, which allows people to interact with each other, discuss out-of-work topics, and enjoy a virtual water-cooler environment with the rest of the team.

“Even in a virtual setting, the team has been so welcoming,” she says. “It feels like a really big family, which is very welcome when you work from home. You know that you’re valued, that they care. I honestly couldn’t be happier.”

Future Professor in the Making

With two years completed already, Sofia only has three more years to go on her Ph.D. and plans to continue working with Activus while she finishes it.

“I’ve always believed that it’s important to work on education continuously because once you get into the workforce it’s much harder to go back to school,” she says. “Sometimes I dread doing my studies because it’s more fun to learn on the job than write 20-page reports on a topic. Still, I’m grateful that my work gives me the freedom and opportunity to continue my education while simultaneously boosting my skills.”

From all of us here at Activus Connect, we’re rooting for you, Sofia, and we’ll be there to celebrate when you become a professor!