This isn’t Zoom University Anymore

Working from home can be challenging for all of us PR professionals, but it can be especially interesting for interns who are just starting out in their career. Forget coffee runs and lunch meetings, a remote or hybrid model internship focuses on zoom, skill building, and lots and lots of emails.  

We’ve rounded up a few interns to see how the remote intern process has been for them. 

 

Amanda Montini, Arizona State University 

What do you find most enjoyable about a remote internship?

I think the best part about having a remote internship is being able to work in a place you’re most comfortable. One thing that I’ve noticed about myself is I feel much more comfortable trying new things when I’m in the comfort of my own home. 

What are some challenges?

One of the challenges I’ve found is being able to communicate with team members the same way I would in an office. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember to communicate over email the same way you would in person. 

What can agencies do to ensure a successful remote internship?

In order to ensure a successful internship, I think it’s really important to build relationships with your interns. One of the things I really enjoy about interning with my agency is the relationships I’ve built over time. Having those relationships makes me feel much more comfortable going to my teammates with a question or professional advice. 

In your opinion, what would the perfect internship work experience look like? 

I think the perfect internship work experience should follow the hybrid model. From my experience, working from home makes me feel more confident in trying new things, but the days when I go into the office help me feel more connected to the team and also allows me to ask questions much faster than I do online. 

 

Taylor Scarver, Southern New Hampshire University

What do you find most enjoyable about a remote internship? 

The most enjoyable thing about a remote internship is being able to work from home or working in a more comfortable and relaxed environment than an office. I work better and focus more when I’m comfortable.

In your opinion, what would the perfect internship work experience look like? 

The perfect internship to me would be a hybrid internship so that I can actually come into work but also stay home and work if I need to. It would be hands-on and interactive. I would want it to have some networking opportunities and I’d also want to be able to intern or shadow someone who is directly related to the career path I want to follow such as social media manager or account executives.

What tips would you offer people who directly manage interns?

Tips I would give someone who directly manages interns is to check in often, give feedback and be prepared to train your intern in things/processes they might not know about.

 

Nacy Woods, Syracuse University

What do you find most enjoyable about a remote internship?

There are many benefits to remote internships, but what I’ve found to be most enjoyable has been the work-life balance, especially with the three-hour time-zone difference. I was able to clock full 9-5 eastern work days, while being able to spend my afternoons doing essentially whatever I wanted. I felt lucky to have such an impactful internship that also allowed me to take time for myself as a person. I found myself sleeping better, eating better, and getting more exercise, all while growing professionally. 

What are some challenges?

Although the benefits are great, a remote internship does not come without its challenges. Communicating constantly via Zoom and email can lead to screen fatigue, and the lost opportunity to be fully in-person, in an office, was a bit of a disappointment as a college student hoping to immerse herself in the industry as much as possible. However, after hearing about the remote internship struggles of my friends and colleagues, I am certain the employees at my agency went above and beyond to make my internship feel personal, meaningful, and enjoyable, even through a screen. I never felt as though any of my superiors weren’t consistently available to answer questions, clarify projects, or just chat about my future post-grad. Other companies should understand interns’ desire for professional advice from elder employees, and the wide perspectives interns with various backgrounds and experiences can bring to the table, even from 2,000 miles away.

In your opinion, what would the perfect internship work experience look like? 

If I could create the perfect internship experience, I envision a hybrid structure. Being in the office two days a week, ideally Tuesday and Thursday, would allow a perfect balance between the benefits of being remote and the benefits of being in the office setting. Minor things like workplace etiquette, professional dress code, in-person team meetings, and making personal connections with other employees are all factors I missed out on this past summer, all of which I believe would have contributed to professional growth in the long-run.

What’s one tip you’d wish you’d known before you started your internship?

If there is anything I wish I could’ve told myself prior to starting my internship, it would be to not be afraid to ask for help. At this point, asking questions is something I do with nearly any project, but at the beginning of last summer, I felt like I had to “prove” to the other employees that I knew what I was doing. At the end of the day, regardless of how much experience an intern has, starting a new position will come with a change of environment and a new set of expectations. I’ve learned it’s always better to ask 10+ questions about a project before doing it incorrectly. Constantly asking questions also allowed me to better connect with senior employees, overall making my deliverables and skills stronger than they were before. 

 

Isabella DiFronzo, University of New Hampshire 

What can companies do to ensure a successful remote internship?

To ensure a successful remote internship, I believe that communication is vital. Set zoom calls and emails with any questions to ensure everything is on track. Also, giving feedback and tips is highly beneficial to ensure a successful internship. Since an internship is a great learning experience, it is always crucial to take the initiative to ask any questions and feedback. 

What do you find most enjoyable about a remote internship?

What I find most enjoyable about a remote internship is the flexibility. I can go to class and quickly run home to start working! I also enjoy the work that I am doing and better understand the work that happens in a public relations firm.

What tips would you offer people who directly manage interns?

I would offer people who directly manage interns to take the time to train and teach and give quality feedback. Another tip is to have regular check-ins and to set goals to see accomplishments. It is also essential to be organized and have excellent time management skills. Being a full-time student and having an internship could feel overwhelming and stressful. Taking the time to create a balanced schedule that is organized will ease the stress of having too much on your plate.

 

Sophia Coville-Carney, Syracuse University

What do you find most enjoyable about a remote internship?

I find independence one of the most enjoyable parts of my remote internship. When I first started working remotely, I had to keep myself more responsible and accountable when tackling each task, which made me more confident. My remote internship made me much more digitally literate and helped me advance my learning and adapt to new digital mediums. 

What are some challenges?

The biggest challenge was finding a balance between work and home. Working and living in the same space was difficult for me because it started to blur the line between work and leisure. Having a physical separation between the two is much easier to build a healthy, sustainable routine. This challenged me to set boundaries for myself from working at home.

In your opinion, what would the perfect internship work experience look like? 

I think a perfect internship would be entirely in-person. I am a highly social person, and I value in-person communication to establish real connections. While I love remote working, I would prefer to be in the office every day to meet other employees and socialize through daily work and office events. Being physically in an office setting would also help me create a consistent work environment and schedule.

What tips would you offer people who directly manage interns?

My advice to those who directly manage interns is to communicate with them constantly. Whether through the phone, Zoom, or in-person, it is beneficial to the intern to have as much guidance as possible when navigating new tasks and situations. This is also a great way to build a bond with your manager/mentor.

 

Thank you to Kaitlynn Cooney and Brodeur Partners for sharing this insight from their current intern class.

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