While we have been seeing a gradual return to the office over the past year, both employers and employees alike have still indicated their preference for flexible working arrangements - 69.6% of students said they preferred a hybrid model in a survey we ran with our users back in March! As such, lots of internship programs are still being offered in a virtual capacity only. While this definitely has its conveniences, it’s also tricky to navigate starting at a new company without all the benefits of connecting in person. We offer our must-knows on how you can make the most of your virtual internship below.
1. Set Up a Professional Workspace
You probably already have a set up for studying from home, but make sure that also translates into a professional working environment!
- Keep a clean and clutter-free desk area – remember, our surroundings can often affect our state of mind
- Consider setting up something like a second monitor to help maximise productivity – you can always reach out to the company’s tech team and see what they can do to help!
- Ensure you have an appropriate background set up for video calls – we recommend something neutral-coloured or enabling the ‘blur background’ effect
- Try and find a space that limits background noise or distractions
- Depending on the vibes of your company, dressing up professionally might also help you get in the working/office mood, even from home!
2. Set Achievable Goals
Just like any other internship, it’s important to set goals for what you want to learn and achieve during your time with the company.
- Chat to your supervisor/manager about expectations and what you hope to gain out of your experience
- Arrange key check-in dates so you can see how progress towards your goals are tracking during the internship
- If one hasn’t already been created for you, put together a daily schedule of tasks that you need to complete to make things more manageable and ensure that you’re making efficient use of your time
- Approach your internship with the intention that you’ll go on to join their graduate program or become a permanent employee!
- Treat tasks seriously and demonstrate that you have responsibility/ownership of projects
- Show that you won’t slack off just because your internship is virtual – being on time, proactive and enthusiastic are all key!
3. Communication is Key
Make sure that you and your supervisor agree on a preferred method(s) and frequency of communication.
- Whether it be Microsoft Teams, Slack or email, you should feel reassured that you have access to support and the platform to ask questions when you need
- Make sure you’re patient when expecting a response - working virtually means everyone has a more flexible working schedule – and you never know what might be going on over on the other side of the screen!
- If you’re worried about messaging too often, ask your supervisor whether they have a preferred time to chat e.g. they may arrange a call every two days so they can brief you on tasks and give you the opportunity to ask for feedback and more detailed questions
4. Connect Virtually
One of the biggest benefits of an internship is the opportunities you’ll have to network with colleagues from all business areas of the company. Don’t let yourself miss out on this just because your internship is virtual!
- Ask your supervisor for contacts from teams you’re interested in to reach out to and initiate conversation
- Invite colleagues for quick 15-minute Zoom calls to introduce yourself and start building relationships
- Ask for feedback from other colleagues you may have completed tasks for
- If feasible, don’t be afraid to schedule coffee dates with your supervisor/colleagues to meet up in person – things are always less awkward once you’ve established a face-to-face relationship!
5. Don’t Overwork
Working remotely also means that it’s much harder to step acknowledge when to finish up for the day compared to the in-office 9-5. But while it’s tempting to demonstrate your dedication to the cause by ‘staying’ overtime, it’s important to set clear boundaries for your working hours and know when it’s time to log off. Plus, you’re likely still juggling work and study – a task that isn’t easy and can get overwhelming! Make sure to let your supervisors know how you’re feeling about your workload and when you may need some extra support/schedule reworking.
Find out more about all the different types of internships here.
Looking for an internship? See current open opportunities here.