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How can I remain productive while working remotely?

Remote work should still be taken as seriously as working in-person. As jobs continue to approach a hybrid format, it is easy to become too comfortable while working outside of a typical work environment. Read on for tips on how to stay on task and making the most of your remote experience for a job.

  • Have your own work space
    • Designate a dedicated space for you to do work. A “home office” is ideal, but not always possible. We recommend you avoid using lounge areas like a bed, and instead approach places with a table or stand.
  • Stay organized
    • Staying on task is one thing, being organized is what helps you stay efficient. Make to-do lists to check off what you complete, create email subfolders, and keep a journal to help your work categorization.
  • Recharge
    • Sitting in front of a computer can and will become a strain. Get some fresh air from outdoors, try some stretches, or even have a chat with friends/family.

Working remotely means amplifying the following skills. Underneath each skill are some tips on how to engage these skills with actions you could take:

  • Asking Questions
    • You can get clarity on what is expected of you
      • Speak with your supervisor regularly, whether to check in or update on work status
      • Ask questions about what projects you’re assigned to and tasks to complete
  • Self-Discipline
    • Stay in control.
      • Remove distractions (as much as possible), create and meet goals, make healthy habits, take a break if you need to, or and stay active throughout the day
      • If you’re on a call, keep your camera on as a reminder to pay attention and to be aware of what could be distracting you
  • Routine
    • Make a routine and stick to it. Small things like getting up consistently at the same time and changing out of your bed clothes can make a big difference in your productivity.

Remember, communication is key. Its okay to be unfamiliar, and asking for help is important. Talk to your supervisor and colleagues if you need assistance.

Regarding Internships

The Magner Career Center recommends that students complete at least two internships before graduation. Virtual internships are often less costly, offer more flexibility, and are accessible to a wider range of students and employers. When considering interning virtually, it is important to evaluate whether you will receive a meaningful internship experience through this format.

The tasks you are expected to complete may not be as different as the duties you would fulfill in an in-person situation. With that in mind, here are some tips for how you can be as productive as possible while working remotely: 

  • Remember to check your email as frequently as possible. It may benefit to check your email before or as soon as you clock in to anticipate what may come up later in the day
  • Maintain a good work station, and keep yourself organized
    • Keep a backup of any important files 
  • If you are in a video conference, it’s a great idea to keep your camera on. As such, you should still remember that your appearance matters. Maintain a business casual appearance (especially from the top), and make sure you are paying attention  
  • Remember to check with your supervisor regularly. A productive and engaging intern is what can bring the best feedback and even cement a recommendation/reference from a supervisor
    • Keep connected and ask your supervisor if they use programs like Slack or Microsoft Teams 

Interning allows students to gain entry into prestigious organizations, obtain exposure to professional contacts, receive full-time offers upon graduation, and expand on their skill set. As many internships are now remote, it can be confusing to understand the dynamics of your internship through this format. 

Do you have a virtual interview coming up and aren’t sure what questions to ask your interviewer to make sure you get the best experience possible? Here are some questions that can be brought up in your interview with an employer:

  • How can I make the most out of my virtual internship experience?
  • Who could I contact if I am having technical issues?
  • Are there opportunities to connect with industry professionals or will there be a coach or mentor?
  • How would you measure success in this role?
  • Who could I connect with if I am having issues with my tasks?
  • What tools and systems does the team use?
  • Will you provide training and how is that delivered?
  • How often will I be in contact with other team members?
  • Do you plan meetups for remote team members or other ways to socialize?
  • Am I required to visit the office or travel to other locations in this role?
  • What equipment/systems/apps will I need to perform the role remotely?
  • Do you offer continuing education and training?
  • Do you provide general IT support for remote team members?
  • In terms of equipment (computers, webcams, etc.), will this be provided?
  • How do interns tend to track their goals? Is this something interns individually do?
  • What are some best practices for communicating in the virtual environment?
  • How has this organization/company worked to overcome some of the challenges that come with remote work?
  • How is feedback typically provided to remote employees?
  • What percent of the team is remote? Do some employees work from the office?
  • What opportunities for growth does this company and, in specific, this position provide? 
  • How does the organization/company involve themselves with effective communication? Are there weekly team meetings? Workshops? 

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