With the second outbreak of COVID-19 in India, offices are shut for safety of employees as per the protocols and most students are now applying for virtual internships. Despite its many advantages, sometimes you can find yourself stuck when it comes to virtual internships. So, how do you handle it? How can you make the most of a virtual internship? Here are 6 internship tips to help you with that.
Learn about your organisation
Learning about an employer’s workplace culture and norms is an important and interesting part of an internship or project, but it can be more difficult in a virtual position. Think about how to achieve this in an online environment. Start by doing some research on your own on the employer’s website or on their social media account.
Maintain proper communication with your supervisors.
Having clear expectations is foundational to a successful internship. With a virtual internship, you’ll want to be even more explicit with your supervisor or team around communication patterns, group dynamics, and project plans. If these details aren’t laid out by your employer at the onset of your internship, be sure to take initiative and ask. It’ll make your life easier (and theirs) if you know the company’s expectations on how quickly you should be responding to their email, how you should engage in team or client meetings, and what role they expect you to play on various projects
Set up a workspace in your home
Before your first day, find a quiet corner of your home where you can set up a professional workspace. Choose a location where you can have limited interruptions. Pay attention to what is visible behind you when on a video meeting and opt for a neutral background.
Establish “office hours” for yourself based on the scheduling requirements of your internships. Work hours for internships can vary by company. It’s possible for your internship to have a set schedule, a set number of hours to complete in a week with no pre-set schedule or even be project-based. Communicate about this schedule with your family and friends, so that they understand why don’t you have time for them during the day.
Test your tech
Before your first day, consider testing out the following technical equipment and software
- Video conferencing platform
- Messaging apps
Be curious and ask for constant feedback
An internship is an opportunity to learn. Your supervisor does not expect you to already know all the answers. And it is okay to be the dumbest person in the room. Ask your supervisor how they prefer to receive questions (e.g., by email, phone or chat). Encourage your supervisor to provide feedback after a presentation or an assignment so they know you’re interested in growing. If they don’t offer it directly, ask for it.
Take care of your physical and mental health
Remote work can be tough on your mental health under any circumstances. A pandemic only compounds it. Take care of your mental health during a virtual internship by:
- Talking to a therapist online.
- Meditating with YouTube tutorials or apps like Headspace and Calm.
- Going outside for fresh air and sunshine.
- Decompressing at the end of the day through exercise, journaling, social media, reading or something else relaxing.
Getting exercise and moving around is also helpful for your mental health, just as much as it is for your physical health.