Covid-19 has changed the way we work, making it hard for students to participate in internships. Learn more about how to make your virtual internship worthwhile!
Written by Ally Heyman and Josephine Redfern
Making the Most Out of Virtual Internships or Job Experiences During Covid-19
Hi! We’re Ally and Josey and we are the summer of 2020 Union Home Mortgage Foundation Interns. We started our internship at the beginning of summer...virtually. When we applied and were given this opportunity, we were looking forward to being in the office and interacting with the many other interns and employees. However, Covid-19 forced many companies to start working from home if possible. Virtual internships and jobs are new to us all. It can be difficult, but there are ways to make it enjoyable and productive. We have compiled a list of our favorite ways to work together from our computers!
Transitioning to virtual.
At first, we had a difficult time because working remotely felt impersonal and awkward. It was hard to stay organized and figure out a structure that worked for us. However, it became easier as time went on. Now we can look forward to video chatting our coworkers because we have gotten more comfortable with each other and the virtual platform. We have also been able to learn the skills needed to stay focused throughout the day. It was challenging, but it is possible to adapt and learn how to work virtually.
Video chat with your coworkers.
At first it can be kind of uncomfortable, maybe even awkward, but taking the time to video chat and get to know the people you're working with is important. It’s helpful when brainstorming for projects to have a conversation “in person” rather than texting or e-mailing. We video chat at least once a day about different topics. It keeps us engaged and makes our workday more fun!
Check in often with your coworkers and supervisors.
Talking to your coworkers and supervisors doesn’t always have to be work or project based. We’re all experiencing this weird time together, so it's nice to have extra support from the people you work with. It’s also great to over communicate with one another to make sure that you’re getting your tasks done, and to have extra clarity on instructions. It’s important to hold each other accountable, even while not in the workplace. It’s easy to get distracted at home. Our team holds a morning and afternoon “touch base”. In the morning we like to make sure everyone is clear about their tasks and projects for the day. During our afternoon meeting we like to discuss our accomplishments and ideas. This has been beneficial to us as we get to interact with our team as we normally would in person.
At the start of your workday try setting expectations of what you want or need to accomplish. It’s smart to keep a schedule and maintain it throughout your virtual work experience. Try taking your lunch at the same time every day, to keep your normal routine. We normally take our lunch at 12! Keeping structure throughout the day will make you more productive while working virtually. Minimizing your distractions and keeping a clean workspace will also make your time more effective. We find it helpful to write down our tasks and cross them off as we accomplish them.
Your organization may still be holding events virtually (in fact, our capstone project was to put together a virtual Intern Day of Service - check out how that came together here). We encourage you to attend these types of events to stay engaged and be involved. Engagement is crucial in order to continue to learn and grow from a virtual standpoint. Being apart is forcing us to be more creative with how we interact with each other. The campus recruiting team at Union Home Mortgage has done a great job of putting together virtual events. Our favorite was a 2000’s trivia event, where we got to work with a team of other interns!
Connect with coworkers outside of work.
This time can be very isolating for some, that’s why it’s important to foster our interpersonal relationships. We decided to meet each other in person, for the first time to get to know each other a little better. Remember to practice social distancing when seeing your coworkers and stay safe!
Keep the culture of the company you’re working with.
Culture is super important to Union Home Mortgage, as well as many other companies. To stay engaged and continue practicing the culture, exemplify your company's values, even while at home. This is a great way to not lose touch with the meaning behind your work, as well as a great way to stay professional. Union Home Mortgage’s code of conduct has help us to remember the values of our company and our goals as interns. Focus on the reasons behind why you chose to intern or work for your company, and don’t lose sight of the end goal.