COVID-19 has changed the way we all work currently, and the ongoing impact for 2020-21 will continue to challenge us all to adjust and adapt. Starting a placement (or new job of any kind) is daunting at the best of times, but what will it be like to start work from home? Daniella, an International Management student, recently started a new placement in Luxembourg…..from her front room in the UK! Daniella shares her experience below, a reassuring demonstration that the ‘new normal’ way of working is achievable for us all!
The Careers Service thanks School of Management and Daniella for this excellent blog and wishes her all the best in her future career.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many internship programs being cancelled, and those that are still going ahead have for the most part been moved online. As someone who is currently undergoing an entirely remote 4-month internship with a company in Luxembourg from the UK, here are some of my experiences.
Even though my internship at the company is focused more on the finished deliverables for my project and less on the hours I spend, I still try to make an effort to structure my day like I would in an office. Setting aside a dedicated time and workspace for my internship work helps me to meet work objectives, and generally makes me more productive and communicative with my managers.
Another suggestion I would recommend when first starting your placement remotely is to arrange virtual 1:1 meetings with as many of your team members, managers and directors as possible so that you can begin to develop a comprehensive overview of all the different roles within your team and your department. This will also benefit you in that it will demonstrate your drive and your interest in learning as much as you can about the company and industry you’re working in and it will make a great first impression on your manager. I was really fortunate in that the company onboarding process is extremely structured and well-managed - I was actively told to set up these meetings. However, in many other companies this is probably not going to be the case and so I encourage you to be proactive in networking and not wait for colleagues to reach out to you.
The aspect of starting my internship remotely which I am probably finding the most challenging is feeling connected with my manager and my team. In my past placements, when I had a question or I needed guidance, I would be able to simply turn around and ask my manager or my team-mate who would be sitting near me in the office. This obviously isn’t possible when working remotely and so when I need help I am forced to send many messages and emails – something that I don’t like to do as I feel like I’m constantly bothering people who are busy. This is definitely a mental block that I need to work on, and I have received repeated reassurance from my manager as well as others that I am in no way an inconvenience to them and that I should never hold back from reaching out when needed.
All in all, I’m still really enjoying the new opportunities and challenges of my internship with the company despite the complexities of virtual onboarding and working from home. There’s no reason why starting your placement remotely should hold you back from any of the advantages of a traditional work environment. I know that this situation is far from ideal, but I am also sure that you will still be able to find many ways to make a great impression on your colleagues, take advantage of all the learning opportunities you are presented with, and have a good experience overall. Best of luck!
Daniella - BSc (hons) International Management, School of Management