Tips for remote interns
Working from home, whether full-time or on a hybrid schedule, may have increased in popularity due to the pandemic, but this trend is expected to stick around. At Candid, nearly 40% of our team is remote, and those located near an office are often hybrid to some extent. If you’re an intern, like me, the percentage only increases, with nearly all of Candid’s fall 2023 interns working from their homes and schools across the country.
Interning at Candid for nearly a year provided valuable professional experience that will no doubt be of interest to future employers, including how to work effectively in a remote environment. As my internship comes to a close, I decided to ask my fellow interns at Candid what they’ve learned about working remotely.
Here are our five best tips and tricks for working from home as an intern.
1. Use technology to help you stay productive
When you work from home, it can be a little more challenging to stay on task and avoid distractions. There are a variety of online tools to help you manage your time, organize responsibilities, and prioritize your work.
For example, you can use a shared online notebook, spreadsheet, or a tool like Notion (one of my fellow remote intern’s favorite task management tools) to organize assignments and track your progress. Consider making a checklist of priorities to share with your supervisor each week. This will help you plan your workday efficiently.
Outlook and Google calendars can also be useful beyond scheduling meetings. Use your calendar to block off time to tackle specific projects or priorities. Also, consider setting reminders for time-sensitive tasks.
2. Seek virtual opportunities for professional development
Internships themselves are an opportunity for professional development. However, there are other opportunities to grow beyond day-to-day tasks. You can practice skills, such as presenting in an online setting, writing professional communications, and asking for feedback.
Learning how to effectively work remotely is also important since many jobs offer remote and hybrid options. In the nonprofit sector, 19% of jobs listings are remote and 38% are hybrid. Take advantage of the many virtual training and certification courses available to gain valuable skillsets while you work from home.
Like many other remote and/or hybrid workspaces, Candid offers online resources to support remote employees’ career progression, including interns, such as organizational professional development courses, known as Candid University, and access to Candid’s subscription and memberships to industry news and resources. Ask your manager what resources are available. Even if your organization doesn’t have internal training, they may be able to suggest external webinars or certifications.
3. Foster personal connections with virtual coffee chats
Although in a digital space, you can still network with coworkers over coffee. Try setting up 15-minute, one-on-one chats with your colleagues—along the lines of what may occur around the coffee pot in a traditional office setting. By building these personal connections, you’ll feel closer to your workspace and coworkers.
This is also a great opportunity to learn more about potential career paths. Ask people for resources on subjects you’re interested in and advice on how to grow professionally. They may even be able to help with further introductions and networking.
Come prepared with questions like how they got the job, what types of training they’ve done, and advice for someone looking to follow in their footsteps. This is valuable information that can further your career development.
If you’re not up for having a Zoom meeting, try Slack or other messaging tools to foster connections.
4. Avoid the productivity slump
Without the office buzz to keep you on your toes, it’s natural to experience the dreaded afternoon energy plummet that comes with sitting and staring at a computer screen all day.
It may sound counterintuitive, but taking breaks from your desk is good for productivity. Try taking a short walk during your lunch break to give your eyes a break from staring at a screen, get the blood pumping, and give your brain time to reset. When you come back to your desk, you’ll probably feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Sometimes we hit mental roadblocks that slow down productivity. When confronted with a problem, try setting a time limit. If you can’t find a solution within this timeframe, reach out to your supervisor for help or guidance. This way, you won’t get stuck on a problem for too long and can continue making progress on other work. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! You’re there to learn.
5. Celebrate your accomplishments
Throughout your internship, make sure to document your work and contributions. Keep a daily record of minor and major achievements in a spreadsheet or list. This will help track progress and demonstrate your growth.
By the end of your internship, you’ll not only have a record of all your hard work, but you’ll also have accomplishments to add to your resume. Be sure to add them to LinkedIn as well. (Even if LinkedIn isn’t your thing, it’s the second fastest-growing social media platform right now and could be the ticket to your first job).
If you’re interested in becoming an intern at Candid, check out our job listings here, and watch this short video for a glimpse into a day in the life of a remote intern (also available on Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube shorts).