Starting a new internship remotely can bring many challenges. As someone who has just recently started a new internship remotely, I have learned many helpful pointers which I would like to share.
By following these tips you can learn to overcome these challenges, and start on the right foot at your new internship.
Remember do not forget that the company hired you for a reason. Make sure to give yourself time to get settled, to understand how they work and adapt to the strange environment.
Ordinary things such as planning your travel route or packing a lunch are no longer a cause for concern while working from home. Some things never change. However, for instance a good morning routine, dressing professionally (at least from the waist up) and turning on your laptop on on-time are still key.
Important things to get right include:
1. Contact Your Employer to See How They Work Ahead of Time
Starting a new internship can be very daunting, nerve wrecking and overwhelming. Consider reaching out before you start to determine what the process will be in your position and to see how they all work day-to-day, e.g. what platform they use for team meetings if they use any. Familiarise yourself with the software and platforms they use, try to avoid any surprises.
2. Get to Know Your Team
Whilst working from home there can certainly be a sense of isolation but there doesn’t have to be! Colleagues can’t just drop by your desk for a chat. Email your colleagues and ask for when they can meet to chat about what you need to do this week. Don’t miss regular catch-ups with your employer or team. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Write it all down. Organise yourself, try and be prepared throughout your internship.
It’s important to make sure that you have a dedicated work space where you are comfortable with good lighting and a plain background. Of course background filters are also available. It is important from the beginning that you find a room where you will not be easily distracted. Sit at a table or desk and get out of bed! Try and keep your home office clean and tidy to optimize the amount and quality of work you can get done.
4. Keep a Structured Plan
While working from home work can be much less structured. You are not as closely monitored by management and are left to do the work yourself in most cases. Keeping a plan and a To-Do List can be very helpful to stay on track. Make a list of what your internship goals are and give a time frame for them to be achieved, update this weekly. At the end of each day, take five minutes to note what you need to do tomorrow and in the next few days. Stay on top of it and don’t let it swap/overburden you.
5. Manage Your Time
In your structured plan, make sure that you give yourself clear breaks. Include your breaks with a time in your plan. Also include the time you finish in your plan and stick to it as much as possible. Know when to ‘log off’.
6. Meet with Your Manager Regularly
During your internship, actively try and meet with your manager weekly. Preferably these meetings should be 1:1. Especially with starting your new job and working remotely you will have lots of questions and sending email after email might not be the right way. Schedule a meeting and write down all your questions. Share your screen or ask them to share theirs so that everyone is on the same page. These meetings can also be the perfect opportunity to connect on goals, upcoming projects, daily tasks and asking for feedback on your work as well as outlining the progress you have made.
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