No one could have expected a global pandemic to swoop in and disrupt all of our lives. The COVID-19 quarantine has left many of us working and learning remotely, and for me it began shortly after I started my marketing & operations internship at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC). Thankfully, I finished my onboarding and training process before we were notified to work from home.
I’d like to start by saying this experience has given me a huge appreciation for being employed during such a hectic time. I’ve had family members lose their jobs due to this pandemic, and I hear more stories about COVID-19 related business closures, lay-offs, and furloughs everyday. All of this has made me extremely grateful for my work and the professional lessons I continue to gain, even from home.
Learning to manage my time in quarantine took some genuine effort. I’ll give you my top three tips for battling quarantine with an internship:
- Go throw out your old routine; it’s time to create a new one. I had to completely change my old routine, which included a commute to work and on-campus classes. I needed to create a new process for productivity from my apartment. My Modified Quarantine Routine looks like this:
- Wake Up Call – 6:30 AM
- Morning Self Care Routine
- At Home Workout Breakfast
- Internship from Home – 9 AM through early afternoon
- Outdoor Walk
- School Work and Virtual Classes in the afternoon
- Virtual Yoga at Night
- Nighttime Self Care Routine
- Mastering virtual communication is key! Since we aren’t in the office together, virtual communication has become essential. We are all handling this pandemic differently, meaning our schedules and routines will vary too. If I have an exam to study for or I’m taking a break to grab groceries, it’s important that I communicate that with my supervisor. Here at MassTLC, we use the virtual communication tool Slack. With this, I’m able to update my team members instantly about any breaks, projects, or schedule changes. On top of our instant messaging communication efforts, the entire MassTLC team meets every morning at 9:15am for a virtual “water cooler” to connect as a group and communicate any big company changes. I’ll also virtually meet with my supervisor once a week to go over my personal projects. These virtual communication techniques are crucial to master during any remote internship; it keeps employees motivated and accountable.
- Be proactive with the projects you want. How does a remote intern ensure that they will continue learning new skills and getting projects when everything has moved virtually? By being proactive. My weekly supervisor 1-on-1 presents an opportunity to add to my work load. This can include asking for new projects or expressing interest in other programs. On top of my ongoing weekly assignments, my supervisor and I will brainstorm new areas I can help the team out with. Additionally, I was able to solicit mentorship from the Growth and Talent Community Manager by simply expressing my interest in her community initiatives. Being proactive with my supervisor has resulted in a successful workload that leaves me feeling satisfied with my contributions at the end of each shift.
Overall, much of what’s needed to have a successful internship has not changed, but interns do need to adjust their routines, communication, and interactions with colleagues and managers. Once this pandemic ends, we’ll all have to go back to work. Following these tips can set you up for the easiest transition possible!
If you’re a current tech company intern or a student who might have lost an internship opportunity due to COVID-19, check out MassTLC’s program which is moving virtual this Summer: Battle of the Interns, offering professional development, skills training and mentoring opportunities in virtual workshop and webinar format. Learn more.