This past summer, I had my first experience with a remote internship. I was a Communication and Social Media Intern for a non-profit called MitoAction, which involved writing patient stories, crafting newsletters, and creating social media posts. My internship was remote because this non-profit does not have a formal office. MitoAction is an international renowned non-profit and it is run by four women throughout the United States.
If you don’t already know, a remote internship is an internship that is completed, for the most part in your own home, on your own schedule. I know not everyone has or will experience a remote internship; however, many of the skills needed to tackle this type of internship are useful to many other aspects of life. That being said, let’s jump right in!
- Schedule “work” hours each day.
Over the summer I was always extremely jealous of my peers who were able to go to their internships, do their work, and come home and relax. I yearned for that stability. Having a remote internship means that you are responsible for doing the work on your own time. There are still deadlines, and still a mountain of work to get done, but because there are no set work hours in the day, it is hard to stay on track and focus. I recommend setting work hours each day that work for your schedule. Once I determined I would work from 10:00 AM to 3pm each day, the work load got a lot easier to handle.
- Stay organized.
Doing everything on your phone and laptop can be very hard to manage. It’s very easy for emails, social media posts, and articles to get lost in the jumble of your desktop. Create folders for each task, and save everything. You never know when you’re going to have to go back to the beginning of a project or make edits to an older draft. It is also beneficial to keep a copy of every article, social media post, and blog you create. It is useful to have a portfolio of you work to show future employers.
As students in COM we know how important it is to constantly communicate with your peers, bosses, and advisors. Just because an internship is remote, doesn’t change that idea. Every day with a remote internship is a challenge to communicate. Over the summer, I was on the phone most of the day, emailing clients back and forth, and texting my co-workers. I had previously heard that communication is key with remote internships, and that it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. It is important to reach out if you are confused, ask for help, and to keep talking to other people involved. A failure to communicate is a failure to learn.
Remote Internships can be very useful to have, especially if you live far away from the office, or if the company doesn’t have a set office at all. My internship taught me more than I could have ever imagined, and I learned everything in the comfort of my own room. I was allowed to make my own hours and was not limited or confined to a cubicle for the whole summer. I could go outside to write, or work on a social media post from my friend’s house. There are certainly benefits to remote internships, but it is important to recognize the downfalls in order to best avoid them.