My remote internship journey at Appical in times of corona
Like many masters or bachelor students, I was obligated to find an internship placement that would complement my final master thesis. In my case, it had to be in an international company, including international stakeholders, as I am a Slovak student of International Communication master’s program at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. Plus, it has always been my dream to live in Amsterdam. Therefore, I decided to find a company suitable for my internship there.
When I was physically still living in the Netherlands, I got into contact through LinkedIn with the HR manager at Appical. Soon I got invited for an interview at Appical's headquarters in Amsterdam. Everything was planned and I was busy preparing for the interview when the government in my country advised all of its inhabitants to come back as soon as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It felt like my dream, which hadn’t even started yet, came to an end, and I had to say goodbye to Appical and my life in Amsterdam.
My remote journey and onboarding
After some time of being at home in quarantine and considering the world-wide situation, I made the decision to postpone my internship to September hoping that the situation would be clearer after the holidays. However, I received an email from the HR department. This email included an invitation for an online interview regarding my internship, as Appical decided to adjust to the current situation immediately and that I would start, as discussed on the 1st of July, but remotely.
That was rather unexpected and upon telling all of my classmates and friends of the exciting news I was met with pure surprise. Especially when I told them that my company is still hiring, and in this instance everything would be completed virtually.
Although I was excited to begin my placement there were concerns about whether this would be the most memorable and insightful experience while being conducted entirely online. Alongside, I felt a bit insecure about engaging within the team when I could not be physically there. Not to mention delivering satisfactory results, and getting along with my colleagues through virtual platforms.
6 learnings from my remote internship
However, fears aside, that was how my online internship experience started. I can honestly say along the way, I learned a lot but 6 key things stood out for me that made my remote internship as productive and efficient as possible. Following these steps, I believe, could help you to find the right balance between being at home and working remotely.
1. Using a digital onboarding platform
All of my concerns disappeared once I’d downloaded the Appical onboarding platform, Slack and started to interact with my colleagues. Thanks to the unique onboarding platform as Appical is, I got to see my future colleagues and their positions before my first day. I also got to know a little bit about the background of the company through some interactive quizzes. Then my journey continued by signing up with Slack and interacting with my team.
2. Find a quiet environment to work in
Working from home, especially when sharing a household with your parents or other roommates, can become quite distracting. Find yourself a space that suits your productivity the best. Try to look for some hubs in your city or quiet cafés. I sometimes work from home when no one is around to disturb me or from local café spots.
3. Have a routine
Set yourself a routine. When you introduce a daily routine as though you were at the office, you will easily overcome that initial laziness of being at home.
4. Organize to-do lists
Start by creating a to-do list for the day in the early morning. Including only those steps ensures you’re able to finish that day so you can feel productive.
5. Ask for a video meeting when needed
If you’re unsure about anything regarding your tasks, don’t be afraid to ask for help and make sure to schedule regular catch-ups with your colleagues. This way everyone has clarity in what needs to be done.
6. Coffee dates!
Last but not least, take into consideration that communication is what mostly creates your first steps during the onboarding phase (and what better way than over a coffee!) Schedule yourself as many meetings as possible with your colleagues to get to know them better and learn about their responsibilities at different departments. When you get a general overview of your team members, together with the other departments, you will feel more engaged within the organization.
After you overcome all of your fears and concerns, you will never regret such a decision. Working remotely is slowly becoming the new norm that we all have to adjust to. Therefore embracing this change and adapting to it would make this whole process easier.
Especially when using a remote onboarding platform, everything seems to be smooth and almost just the same as being physically at the office. Therefore I would highly recommend having a good set of onboarding programs that make every remote employee feel welcome and engaged from the very first day. Last but not least, love the job you do no matter where you do it and it will bear its fruit.
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