By Brittany Loeffler
Being a college student during a pandemic means you’re probably doing a work from home internship. Working remotely has become a positive trend and more people are realizing that it’s not only easy to do, but is also environmentally and economically friendly!
Although, there are some challenges and difficulties to overcome when you have a work from home internship. Interns lack interacting with the staff and don’t get as much hands-on experience, which can be frustrating at times. There are some ways to still have a successful internship while working from home that gives you the experience you need to land that full-time job when you graduate, though!
Set goals for yourself
Before you even start your work from home internship, set goals for yourself. Think about what you would like to accomplish in your role and what you would like to take away from it. With any internship, you should make a list of goals, but especially when working from home. This will help you to stay focused and on track while interning. It can be easy to slide by, doing the bare minimum behind a computer screen, but a goals list will help you to hold yourself accountable.
Communicate as much as possible
It’s important to make connections with people you work with while serving your internship. Normally, this is done by being in the office every day and gathering near the water cooler to chit chat or in meetings. Making connections and building relationships with coworkers while working from home proves to be a major challenge.
This can be accomplished in a couple different ways.
The first is to have consistent meetings with your supervisor or mentor. Schedule a weekly, or daily if necessary, meeting to talk about projects you’re working on and to build a relationship together.
Participate in your team meetings when you can contribute something important or meaningful. You can even master the art of small talk so you know that your voice is being heard by every colleague. It’s admirable for a young intern, especially one who works from home, to speak up.
Lastly, you can participate in any team-building exercises or social events the company puts together. Since working remotely has become the new normal, companies are trying to come up with activities that help coworkers bond together even when they aren’t face-to-face.
Some people struggle to create boundaries when working from home. As a college student, you already know what working into the long hours of the night looks like and studying during your lunch break. When completing a work from home internship, it’s important to create boundaries so that you only work during the certain hours required of you.
This can be done by creating a daily schedule and to-do list. Block out hours of your day where you will only focus on your internship. It’s easy for these assignments to creep into your study hours.
Also, find a designated workspace where you can complete your internship. Dress as if you are going to the office and set up your desk as if it was in the office. This will help motivate you to view your work from home internship as more formal and official.
A work from home internship is an invitation for distractions! You’ll sit at your desk and all of a sudden remember that you have to fold your laundry or do the dishes. These distractions can decrease your productivity, leaving you working more hours and focusing less on what needs to be done. Learn to increase your productivity and optimize your working hours so you meet deadlines for your internship. This is also a very valuable skill to learn!
Incorporate office culture
It’s important to feel like you belong when working at your internship, but working from home can cause you to feel isolated. Try to learn the company’s culture so you can feel like you’re part of the company and your team or department. The best way to learn a company’s culture is to just ask. Ask your coworkers and supervisor about how things are done and the mission the company has set. Adopt these habits and mindset and you’re good to go.
Ask for feedback
The point of an internship is to gain experience and to better prepare yourself for finding a full-time job. Ask your supervisor if they have feedback for you about your performance during your internship. Use any critical feedback to improve your habits and work performance. It’s always good to become aware of what you should work on.
Get the most from a work from home internship
Even though you’re working from home during your internship doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the great experience you’ve been handed. You’ll learn lifelong skills like productivity and communication along with skills to succeed while working remotely.