If you found yourself transitioning into an entry-level position or internship during the pandemic, you were most likely on-boarded remotely. Working from home has its perks – like wearing pajamas or waking up ten minutes before needing to be online – but remote work also presents a set of challenges that many of us are facing for the first time. Each company handles remote work, on-boarding, and team building activities differently, making it quite the adjustment from the in-person work or school environment we previously knew. To address this, our two summer interns, Jennifer and Madison, have compiled a set of tips that helped them transition smoothly into the realm of remote work.
Get Comfortable with Video Calls
Whether you love or hate Zoom calls, it’s time to accept them and make the most of it. “Zoom fatigue” is real, but there are ways to combat it. First, keep yourself engaged by taking notes to absorb as much information as possible. Also, “sitting in” on calls or meetings will help you learn the lay of the land quicker and pick up on jargon/terms you may not have known. Finally, asking colleagues if you can record meetings or share notes is a great way to make sure you understand the details that they find most important.
Do Research During Down Time
Before being on-boarded to a new client, project, or your team, take some time to do research on the topic. Peruse the client website, research key personnel, and dive deep into recent news coverage. Taking this initiative will allow you to go into your meeting prepared and with questions and ideas that are impactful. Once your meeting has ended, don’t be afraid to ask to set up one on one meetings with your team to go over information you don’t fully understand. This is a skill that is especially important to establish at the beginning of your career. The industry is constantly evolving, so there will always be new skills or information to learn! Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Who knows, maybe your question will cause your colleague to think about things from a new perspective too.
Ask for Phone Calls or Video Chats When Getting Feedback
Sometimes, asking for feedback virtually is difficult. It can often feel unnatural and less casual. To avoid this feeling, try hopping on the phone or scheduling a video call. Both options allow you to hear your colleague’s voice and explanation instead of deciphering an email full of edits. Although working remotely eliminates the ability to walk up to someone’s desk or office for immediate in-person feedback, video calls can be especially valuable to provide the opportunity for visual learning through shared screens and “face-to-face” conversation.
Connect with as Many Colleagues as Possible
There is no doubt that it is easier to ask for work and meet coworkers that aren’t on your team when you are in a traditional office setting, but it’s still important during these times to try to get to know as many people as you can through video chats, participating in company events, and reaching out to people you don’t talk to everyday. This will help you foster authentic connections throughout the duration of your internship and allow you to feel more comfortable as you start growing within your position.
It can be easy while working remotely to feel disengaged from your office or work, so finding ways to keep yourself engaged throughout the day through research or taking notes, is a great way to combat that and be a closer, more productive team member. It is also important to remember that the best way to feel comfortable and confident while virtually on-boarding is to be as authentic and transparent as possible. Put in effort to get to know your team even though you aren’t able to get lunch every day or casually chat in the office; this will make transitioning onto the team much smoother, while also building your connections for when everyone returns to the office.