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How to succeed in a remote internship

You can foster great professional relationships even over Zoom!

Sarah Xu

October 11, 2023



Since Covid-19, remote internships and jobs have become prevalent, and even more preferred as a mode of work to gain valuable experience and advance their careers. Some may love the idea of remote work - being able to dress more comfy and work from the comfort of your home or from a fun coffee shop. Others might find it isolating and difficult to make connections. But as a student, many will actively search for remote or hybrid internships to allow for flexibility within the fast-paced and busy college lifestyle.

Remote work can be an incredibly rewarding and productive opportunity when approached with the right mindset and strategies. We’ve compiled a list of key tips (and important don’ts) to unlocking success in a remote internship that will not only help you excel in your role but also lay the foundation for a thriving remote career. Whether you're starting your first virtual internship or looking to enhance your remote work capabilities, this guide will provide you with the insights and tools needed to thrive in the digital workplace.

✅ DO’S

1. Establish a Dedicated Workspace: Create a comfortable and distraction-free area for work, and ensure you have the necessary tools and equipment.

2. Adhere to a Routine: Create a schedule that allows you to separate time between school work and professional work. Keep this consistent schedule and communicate necessary blocks of time you must be offline due to school.

3. Effective Time Management: Nobody’s looking over your shoulder in the office to make sure you’re actually doing your work so it is essential that you create techniques to manage/prioritize your tasks and deadlines.

4. OVERcommunicate: Maintain regular communication with your supervisor and team, and always use professional email and virtual meeting etiquette.

5. Documentation and Organization: Keep detailed records of your work, accomplishments, and any feedback received.

6. Stay Connected: Despite not meeting your coworkers and supervisors in-person, you can and should still build relationships with colleagues and fellow interns through virtual networking. Reach out to people in your organization for Zoom meetings!

7. Ask for Feedback: Seek regular feedback from your supervisor to gauge your progress, and use this feedback as a tool for improvement and growth.

8. Time for Breaks and Exercise: Regardless of in-person or virtual, it definitely isn’t healthy to stare at your computer for 8 hours straight! Remember to take short breaks to refresh your mind during the workday.

9. Minimize Distractions: We all know how it is to get sidetracked on your devices so turn off non-essential notifications on your devices and communicate your work hours to family or roommates to minimize interruptions.

10. Adaptability and Flexibility: Be open to changes in workflow or assignments and be cooperative in adjusting to different time zones if necessary.

❌ DON’Ts:

1. Procrastinate: Avoid putting off tasks or assignments until the last minute, as it can lead to missed deadlines and poor-quality work. Never fail to meet project deadlines or submit assignments late, as it can damage your reputation and hinder your progress.

2. Neglect Communication: Don't isolate yourself; maintain regular communication with your supervisor and team to stay in the loop.

3. Ignore Company Policies: Even though you’re not in office, there are still company guidelines to follow including cybersecurity protocols, confidentiality agreements, and code of conduct.

4. Lose Professionalism: A Zoom meeting does not equal a facetime with your friends! Maintain a professional demeanor in all interactions, whether through email, video calls, or chats, and avoid unprofessional behavior.

5. Neglect Self-Care: For many, it’s easier to ignore your mental health needs when you’re just working from your couch everyday, but it’s never right to neglect your physical and mental well-being; prioritize self-care and avoid overextending yourself.

6. Forget to Check-In: Don't forget to update your supervisor or team on your progress regularly; keep them informed about your work!

7. Disregard Feedback: Always take feedback seriously and use it as an opportunity for improvement; don't dismiss constructive criticism.

8. Fail to Adapt: Never resist change or new technologies; be open to learning and adapting to the evolving demands of remote work.

9. Dress Unprofessionally: Many overlook this crucial and small gesture! Dress appropriately for video meetings and maintain a professional appearance, even when working from home.

10. Become Disengaged: Stay engaged in your work and actively contribute to team discussions and projects; don't become passive or disinterested.

By avoiding these detrimental behaviors and seemingly small faux pas, you can maintain a positive and productive remote internship experience and build a strong professional reputation.

Success in a remote internship requires a combination of discipline, effective communication, and adaptability. By implementing these tips and strategies, you can maximize your productivity and make the most of your remote internship experience! 

For more tips and tricks on succeeding in the workplace, check out @homefromcollege on Instagram and TikTok, and more articles here!