Ways A Remote Internship Prepares You For The Post-Covid Workplace
If you are considering a remote internship, here’s everything you need to know before finding one.
The COVID-19 outbreak acted as a catalyst that led to more virtual internships being implemented by companies around the globe. Remote internships are good because they offer students and recent graduates the chance to engage with companies and colleagues from around the world. In addition, through a remote internship, you can develop various professional skills that can position you for success in the post-COVID workplace.
If you are considering a remote internship, here’s everything you need to know before finding one.
What is a Remote Internship?
The advent of network infrastructure and advanced digital technologies has allowed people to engage in virtual internships that occur mostly or entirely online. With a remote internship, you can work from anywhere and complete projects at a time that works for you. In addition, they provide the freedom a university student needs to find a balance between their work and study schedules.
Are Remote Internships Good?
Interns working remotely can participate in international internships that otherwise may not have been available to them. This can be good for people who are interested in international internship programs but don’t have the resources needed to travel to another location. Virtual internships are also great because they offer interns the chance to maintain a healthy work-life balance. With no commute required, you’ll have more time to focus on studies or other day-to-day activities.
Reasons Why You Should Consider a Remote Internship
Remote internships offer a suite of benefits that can make for a much more leisurely start to your professional career. Whether you choose an international internship or one that is local, you’ll notice that working online is quite different compared to in-person programs. These are some reasons why you should consider a remote internship:
No geographic limitations
With remote internships, you have the opportunity to work for companies that aren’t in your local area. While this may be possible in traditional internship programs, oftentimes you would be required to relocate to participate in the program. There are no geographic limitations for remote internship programs, meaning you have far more opportunities. With unlimited global access, your professional networking efforts are sure to be effective.
One of the best aspects of remote internships is that they are much more flexible than traditional internships. There’s no rush to beat traffic and arrive on time. Instead, you can work from the comfort of your own home at a time that works for you. While you are still required to check in with your superiors in the morning, this more casual routine can help you remain stress-free as you explore new professional opportunities through your remote internship.
Choosing a remote internship instead of a traditional in-person internship can lead to significant savings. Firstly, you won’t have to worry about spending money on your daily commute to and from the office. This could amount to hundreds of dollars in savings on gas costs and wear and tear on your vehicle.
Beyond the money you save on your commute, you can also lower your living expenses when working for a remote internship. Rather than living in the big city where the company offering the internship is located, you can live and work from a less expensive area. As long as you have internet access, you can even live in a rural town that offers a significantly lower living cost than the city.
Working from home can also lead to other savings. For example, people who work from home have more opportunities to cook meals instead of purchasing cooked food from restaurants. Similarly, parents won’t have to worry about paying for childcare if they are working from home.
Exposure to technology skills
Millions of people have been forced to shift from on-site work to remote work environments. With this transition, many of the world’s workers have been exposed to new technology skills they otherwise may not have learned. The rapid growth of video conferencing as the primary means of professional communication is a perfect example.
People who had never even made a Skype call became entirely reliant on video conferencing during the pandemic. Similarly, people learned how to collaborate using cloud tools like Google Drive. Well, now, you can engage with all of these technology skills during your online internship. Learning how to collaborate using digital tools will prepare you for the future of professional work environments.
While many of these changes to the professional ecosystem occurred due to the pandemic, that doesn’t mean these new trends won’t remain in the future. By learning how to work remotely, you can position yourself for success in constantly evolving work settings.
Increase the reach of your network
A remote internship can quickly increase the reach of your network by connecting you with other professionals from within your field and adjacent professions. In many cases, you’ll have the option to reach out to your co-workers and colleagues independently. This offers you the chance to build stronger relationships privately. Likewise, you’ll also be able to engage with your colleagues during organized events that your employer plans. These group events offer interns and employees the chance to have relaxed conversations with one another.
Some companies even offer virtual happy hours wherein people can log in to chat as a group. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone that shares some insights they’ve learned in their career. Networking with others offers the potential of allowing you to grow professionally without the need to ever leave your home.
Improved work/life balance
Remote internships allow for an outstanding balance between your work schedule and day-to-day activities. While you may be required to check in with your superiors at the start of any given day, you aren’t held to the same expectations as someone who works on-site. Your daily routine can be adjusted based on your needs and work schedule.
With remote internships, you can prioritize your productivity based on whatever suits you best. For example, if you prefer to get the bulk of your work done during the afternoon or evening, you can get your job done at those times. That is, as long as you aren’t on a tight deadline that requires you to submit work the same day.
Mealtimes and sleep schedules are also easier to manage with remote internships. You aren’t confined to a traditional schedule, so you can eat when you need to and potentially even take a nap during the day! Of course, this opportunity to listen more closely to your body is sure to improve your overall work-life balance.
Choose your work environment
Sometimes you may not want to work from a stuffy office. Remote internships give you the freedom to choose your work environment daily. For example, you can work from home or at a local cafe. Coworking spaces are also a possibility. With remote work, you can select a setting that works best for you.
You can even build your own home office—one that is perfectly designed for you.
Develop the ability to work autonomously
By working on a remote internship, you can develop the skills you need to operate independently. If given roles with unique responsibilities, you will learn how to act in those roles autonomously. Of course, you may receive some guidance from your employer, but you will quickly develop your ability to work autonomously in remote work. This occurs because you won’t have the ability to easily access your colleagues like you would in an office setting. While you will have the ability to reach them digitally, it’s not like they can come and help you directly.
Learn to set goals and priorities
Working remotely can help you get better at setting goals and priorities that you stick to. You won’t have a manager or supervisor breathing down your neck to ensure that tasks are complete, so you’ll need to manage your time independently. Goalsetting is a skill that can be very beneficial in the future, especially when you enter positions that require you to plan for your colleagues. Getting exposure to goal setting early in your career will help build a steady foundation for your professional career.
Avoid office politics
Unfortunately, some office settings are rife with office politics and drama. As an intern, you don’t want to be involved in these things, so it helps to work from home. With a remote internship, there’s no pressure to engage in office small talk that could become political. Instead, you can focus on the task at hand and only engage when necessary. This can save you from developing bad social habits that may compromise your career in the future.
Gain remote work skills
The ability to work remotely is uncommon. Many people don’t even have the technology skills needed to work from a computer. If you adapt your skillset so that you can operate autonomously from home, you’ll be more valuable in the job market. Through a remote internship, you will develop remote work skills that can allow you to stand out during the hiring process.
For example, if a position you are applying for requires collaboration with remote teams, you will have experience working remotely. This can make you a more valuable candidate than someone who has no experience working remotely.
The difference could be significant, especially in terms of communication. People who aren’t yet accustomed to virtual work environments may struggle to present or understand ideas shared via video conferences or project management software. You can ensure that you don’t hit this common roadblock by exposing yourself to remote work early in your career.
Improve your communication skills
Working remotely will also help you develop stronger communication skills. Since you don’t have the option to just walk to someone’s office and talk to them, you’ll need to develop strategies to communicate in the most appropriate way possible. There are different means for different messages. For example, an instant messaging platform may be the best way to present a quick update to a colleague, but longer, more detailed notes may be best shared via email.
Communicating via voice is also different when you are a remote worker. When conversing in a video conference or conference call, you must remain aware of the flow of conversation. This is similar to in-person communication, except it can be a bit more challenging to chime in on a topic when communicating online. Gaining experience with these digital environments can help you learn when it’s appropriate to talk and how to get your message across clearly.
By working remotely, you’ll even enhance your writing skills over time. You may be wondering how, well, you’re going to be doing a lot of typing! Of course, you should always push to communicate in a professional manner and with good grammar. Doing so will sharpen your skills over time, making you a better writer and overall communicator.
Learn new ways to network
The world of networking has evolved. People aren’t solely reliant on organized in-person meetups to find new people in their industry. Instead, they can engage with their peers via online engagements that their employer or other organizations host.
You’ll likely be reaching out to more people via social media when you get a remote internship. There’s a chance they’ll invite you to groups that allow you to engage with more peers. Always look out for opportunities to network, as you never know what could lead to a unique professional opportunity.
Is There a Downside to Remote Internships?
Remote internships are great, but there is something to be said of the loss of in-person interaction. While you may develop many virtual work skills, that comes at the price of being unable to learn soft skills that are essential in an in-person work environment. Since you never physically enter the office, it also can become difficult to “clock out” from a remote internship. As a result, many people feel obligated to work non-stop, even after they’ve completed a full day’s work. To remedy this, we suggest setting work hours that allow you to set time aside for yourself.
Interested In Remote Internships?
There are numerous benefits to working for a remote internship. If you are considering a remote internship, don’t be intimidated by the idea of operating virtually. Most companies are considerate to their virtual interns, and they will help you develop the skills you need to thrive in post-COVID workplaces.