Over the last year or so, this pandemic has taught me a lot. It’s taught me how many days is my limit for not washing my hair, it’s taught me just how much FaceTime with family is too much and, above all, it’s taught me grace, resilience and faith. I’d like to think that almost every situation has a silver lining. With the pandemic, I’ve managed to find quite a few, like being able to move back home and be close to my parents while still getting my degree. Another big one has been the ability to work internships at renowned companies from the comfort of my bedroom. Much like many other College Fashionista community members, the experience has taught me (and said members) a whole lot. If you’re in the same boat and you’re either gearing up to start a remote internship or struggling to stay organized while currently working one, I’ve rounded up some of the best tips to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that may come with working in an untraditional environment.
Use a Planner to Keep Track of Your Tasks
With everything being online and having your inbox brimming with emails, it’s more common than you think that people forget to accomplish certain tasks. While to err is human, you always want to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward at an internship––especially if it could lead to a job––and that means staying on top of all your duties and tasks. College Fashionista community member EnJanae’ Taylor, a student at Louisiana State University, swears by her planner to stay organized. “I use my planner religiously every day!” she says. “I seriously can’t function without it. It helps me remember everything I need to do for the day and keep up with all my tasks.”
Set up a Calendar to Ensure You’re Punctual
While you’re at home and not physically in the office, it can be easy to lose track of time or forget you have a meeting scheduled since you’re not physically watching everyone walk towards the meeting room. This is where using a calendar will save your life. College Fashionista community member Taya Coates, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, used her calendar religiously while she was getting used to her job. “I added all my shifts to my phone calendar and set alerts so I would have ample time to prepare and log on without a rush,” she says.
Asking questions can be scary and intimidating. You don’t want it to seem like you don’t know what you’re doing or like you need an extra hand, but it’s important to remember that neither of those are bad things. Asking questions is always better than doing a task wrong which may be a waste of both time and effort. Taya’s tried and tested this during her remote internship when there were things on the backend of her company’s website that she wasn’t familiar with. “I asked lots of questions—at least a couple a day during my first week. I feel [like] speaking up really strengthened my relationship with my boss because I showed that I was eager to become a team member,” she says.
Designate a Workspace (if you can)
This is something I feel super strongly about and it’s for more reasons than one. I do my best to never work while in bed unless I’m in pain or have had a really long night. Aside from making you more productive and alert, not working in your bed helps make that distinction between comfort and your career. Working in bed can also reduce your sleep quality because your body will begin to associate being in bed with working and therefore prevent you from fully relaxing––which you definitely don’t want. Your bed is your sanctuary, protect it! EnJanae even recommends trying to work somewhere other than your house/apartment if you can! “It helps me focus and stay on task when I’m in a space strictly for work,” she says. “If you do stay at home and don’t have a separate office, try to at least have a [makeshift] office where you can work and focus.”
Keep Your Work Files Handy
The easiest way to make your work life easy is by organizing all the files you need on a daily basis. For me, I tend to use files on my Google workspace a lot so I’ve bookmarked the ones I reach for most frequently and all I have to do is click a button when I want to open one. Taya, on the other hand, has a folder on her desktop for important documents such as her intern handbook and things she’s working on. This is also super helpful for when you’re in a meeting and need to refer back to something! There’s nothing better than looking prepared and on top of it all.
At the end of the day, as long as you put in the work and do your best –– it’s pretty likely you’ll have a good experience with your remote internship. Remember to take breaks, stay hydrated and take care of your mental health through it all. While it’s great to be an amazing intern, you’re a human first. A life motto I tend to live by is don’t work more than you live. That being said, good luck with your internship —I’m sure you’re going to crush it!
Featured image by @emsoen