While many companies had to postpone their internship programmes, others have thought of innovative ways to manage the crisis.
An internship programme is a crucial turning point in a student’s career. It gives them hands-on experience in the real-world workplace and ensures them an opportunity to develop professionalism and relevant skills, and business etiquette. Internships are equally important for companies who hire freshers that can be channelized to the talent pool and recruit them as permanent employees in the organisation.
Generally, the months of April to July record the highest number of internships as most of the employers start their summer internship programmes. However, this year, the impact of COVID-19 has made some dynamic changes in the work environment prompting organisations to shift their offices to remote working that has slowed down the hiring process and acquisition of new talents.
While many companies had to postpone their internship programmes, others have thought of innovative ways to manage the crisis. Companies are now offering virtual internships to outreach fresh talents for their entry-level positions.
Virtual internships have gained immense popularity over the past few years. Companies have now learned to leverage the benefits of remote internships as it saves office space and other overhead expenses like the cost of equipment, supplies, internet connectivity, etc. It is also profitable for startups and small businesses with limited workspace or resources to hire interns to work part-time for the organisation. For students, it saves the travel cost and gives them a learning opportunity while working remotely from their homes.
So, are you planning for a virtual internship programme? Here is an easy guide to get started.
Six Tips to Succeed in a Virtual Internship Programme
1. Do your Research
Before joining an internship programme, do your homework properly. Conduct thorough research about the company profile and learn about their work culture, mission, and work styles. Learn about the company dynamics, team members, tasks, and responsibilities, and communicate your work goals with your supervisor. Working from home can often make you feel alienated. So, it is important to network properly with other employees and participate regularly in the office meetings and understand their work culture.
2. Set Work Goals
Working remotely can be challenging especially for an intern. At the beginning of your internship, be clear about your work goals and expectations. Discuss your future plans and your mode of work with your supervisor. Ask your supervisor about the company project and learn about their expectations and deadlines. In case you are falling behind, do not hesitate to ask questions and seek help from your supervisor. Keep a record of your performance to see how you are progressing towards your goal.
3. Prioritize Communication
Effective communication plays a critical role in virtual internships. As a virtual intern, you will be communicating mostly through video chats, emails, and phone calls. In the absence of in-person communication, it is crucial to maintain a healthy relationship with other company employees. During the first few days of your internship, you may face difficulty familiarizing yourself with the work culture. So, keep an open mind and encourage feedback from your superiors and others. Their feedback will be a valuable learning experience and help you evaluate your overall progress.
4. Set up your Work Space
Treat your virtual workspace like a traditional office and stay focused on your work. Even though you are working from home, keep a professional mindset. Set a timetable and jot down your day-to-day responsibilities and priorities and finish them on time. Politely remind your supervisor if you are taking the day off and give proper reasons. Always be prepared for your company meetings and set up a professional setting before going for video chats.
5. Be Proactive
Virtual internships put a lot of responsibility in your shoulders and you have to take initiative to complete your tasks on time, respond to messages and emails, and extend your support. Take your work seriously and complete your tasks before the deadlines. Always be keen on taking new job responsibilities and show your interest in new assignments. Extend your help to your team members or supervisor if they are stuck on any project.
6. Keep Work-Life Balance
Do not get overboard with work. Internships can be hectic especially for newcomers. Time management becomes crucial in such cases. Try to follow a work routine. This will save time for you to relax and do other things. While working, do not get distracted by social media posts. Don’t get anxious if your supervisor is not answering your email or phone calls. Wait for a day or two for him/her to respond. If your work pressure is overwhelming, communicate with your supervisor and take some time off.
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