Many of the aspects students most look forward to about an on-site internship can be replicated in a virtual environment. As your company continues to pivot to meet virtual workplace needs, we have more specific tips curated for managing interns in a remote environment.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
- Maintain strong connections to your interns by creating a regular schedule of communication.
- Weekly check-ins, either via phone or video conference, indicate to interns that they matter to the organization.
MENTORS ARE VITAL
- Mentorship is an important part of an intern’s experience, and the role of mentors in a remote setting will not be significantly different than in an on-site internship.
- Assign a mentor that the intern can trust as a safe space to bring questions and concerns, and for help navigating the organization.
- Mentors can also assist in coaching the intern through the nuances of remote work and productivity in a virtual setting.
WHEN YOU ASSUME, YOU… (we all know the ending, right?)
- Don’t assume interns have expertise with common corporate software, like Microsoft Outlook.
- Interns may need hands-on guidance learning certain digital tools that are relevant to your business, but this presents the opportunity for professional development and skills training, which is a large part of why they look forward to internship opportunities.
AND SOME IDEAS WITH FUN IN MIND
- Schedule ‘cool downs’ on Thursdays or Fridays to talk about successes or hardships for the week. The goal is to create a social point of connection interns can look forward it.
- Keep in touch via chat apps, like Microsoft Teams, Slack, or GChat, which provide an informal platform to connect on as an alternative to email.
- Include remote interns in larger company-wide meetings. When interns are remote, it might be easier to include them in non-sensitive company-wide meetings. This helps give them a sense of company culture, teaches them about the bigger picture at your organization, and keeps them involved beyond their individual projects.