Reach new and diverse talents by offering remote internships. With a little planning and preparation, and these remote internships tips for employers you can build a successful work environment for interns—even when no one is in the office.
Remote Internships are internships in which a trainee works in a location other than a traditional office setting. Generally, this means working from home or somewhere close to home (coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, etc.). It allows you to recruit a diverse group of capable trainees on a global scale while they stay local. Many companies are exploring various options for bringing new talent into the business—and remote internships are a great way for them to do so. The communication and interaction between employer and intern take place via methods such as email, Zoom and telephone calls.
To ensure a successful internship experience for your trainees and your organization, you need to know how to train an effective remote supervisor for your remote interns and what you need to provide.
Establish a schedule that works for you and your trainee from the beginning. Work can be done asynchronously. Especially if your interns are living in another time zone or attending school or university at the same time, they might not be available during normal office hours. A fixed check-in meeting on Monday to start the week is important to communicate their weekly schedule and structure the week. To avoid unreasonable work demands on the student, define a fixed number of weekly working hours before the start of the internship.
For your remote internship program to be a success, it is necessary to over-communicate from both sides. In addition to fixed Monday meeting to touch bases, consider scheduling a regular email report to get updated on assigned project, tasks, and workflow. Rather than just assigning to-dos, communicate why the work is important. What is it contributing towards or how will this task contribute to the greater good of the organization?
While communicating about tasks and progress on projects is most virtual, do not forget to make time to get to know your intern’s interests and goals. Give your trainees the feeling of being a part of the team.
Some great tool to stay in touch with your interns are:
Project-based work is often best suited for remote internships as interns can finish it in a few weeks or months. It also will prevent you from overloading for trainees with many small tasks.
Avoid time-critical work. Great internship projects tend to be things which are seen as “nice to haves” by your staff. These are projects that would benefit the organization but are not on the level of priority necessary to demand your paid staff.
For the intern to become established and comfortable in their remote work environment, managers should plan for the intern’s first day in the company. It will also help your interns engage with your company culture from day one. Allow your interns enough time to get familiar with your company before starting and share information with them.
Think about what type of equipment and training they will need to be successful. Consider important tools, software, VPN-login, and access to files. You should also include a messaging app, video conferencing platform, and productivity tracker.
If possible, assign each intern an onboarding buddy, so they have a designated person to speak to when they are confused or overwhelmed. As a plus, they will socialize and get to know another member of the team.
As part of the remote internships tips for employers, you should provide the same level of support and instruction for a remote internship as you would if the trainees were working in your office. One of the biggest mistakes you could possibly make is leaving your remote interns to their own. You need to provide them with more than just setting the ground rules, giving them a list of things to do, and then sending them on their way. Your interns need ongoing online guidance and feedback. Check-in regularly throughout the internship to see if the interns are on track to meet their goals and provide examples when needed. Consider ways to deliver real-time feedback to ensure the trainees know what they are doing well and areas for improvement.
One of the greatest challenges is integrating the interns into your team. Your employees already know each other, but your interns do not. Your employees will invest in your interns’ success if you assign your new trainees projects that are visible to a large number of other team members. Motivate your interns to connect and involve with colleagues across departments or in your team about specific project needs.
Even if your interns work independently, you can invite them to your virtual team meetings or phone conferences. This will make the interns feel more connected to the office culture.
Remote internships can be a rewarding experience for both the intern and the employer. It is understandable that many employers are looking for guidance. If you found the blog useful about remote internships tips for employers, be sure to check out why you should hire remote interns.