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Given the increased need to work from home, I was wondering what sort of factors should I keep in mind while finding/working in an online/virtual internship?

I'm specifically interested in finance, consulting, and non profit work

#internship #finance #consulting #nonprofit #COVID-19

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Sherri’s Answer

As a professional working from home for over 20+ years, here's some tips to on managing your day effectively:

1) Keep a routine, it's easy to get distracted and off course without a set guideline.

2) Turn your ringer and alerts off on your mobile devices, otherwise it's too easy to be distracted.

3) Make a "to-do" list of things that must get done done by the end of the day to keep yourself focused.

4) Keep your desk organized!

5) Take 30 minutes to walk away and exercise or get some fresh air.
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mary’s Answer

Hi there,

First off, I would consider time management and giving yourself a workspace that you'll be able to be engaged in. As for finding an online/virtual internship, you should be aware that not many people will get back to you as quickly. By all means, you should continue to apply and network during this time. Remind yourself to not be discouraged!

In between internship hunting, take the opportunity to brush over your resume, CV, portfolio, etc., - make sure it's updated and is a current reflection of the experience you have. Good luck!
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Anne’s Answer

Christie, this is a great question. Regardless of whether you are working remotely or in person, stay engaged and complete your assignments in a professional and timely manner. If you have the opportunity to meet your managers or co-workers in person, take the opportunity to connect with them remotely via chat or a phone call to continue the relationship. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. Your manager will appreciate your desire to learn more about the job and your interest in being a proactive employee. Also, understand the value of saying thank you or congratulating someone else for their work or accomplishments. People will remember that you are a gracious participant and collaborative co-worker. Finally, I suggest connecting with your colleagues on LinkedIn so you can maintain an on-going relationship with them once the internship is over.
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Syed’s Answer

Hi Christie,

In the consulting space, you'd want to consider the following things:

1. The pre-COVID 19 stance or attitude around WFH: The more the company has engaged with WFH in the past, the more likely they are to sustain it now (IBM has a great WFH culture and infrastructure, for example)

2. Digital tools used by the company to stay in touch - Think Slack, Zoom, Whatsapp, etc. - You don't want to be out of sight and out of mind

3. Level of online training available: You won't have an in-person training to rely on, so online training is critical. At IBM for example, we had a YourLearning portal with 1000s of hours of content in very broad and also very niche subjects

4. "Online" Hours: Depending on what type of work/life balance you're looking for, you have to know the expectations around when to be online. Typically, consultants are online all the time anyway. However, some firms are more conscious of family/personal time than others.

5. Level of client exposure: In consulting, the client is king. The more you can create value for a client and flex your skills, the more likely you are to get a return offer. Unfortunately, you won't be able to do this in person. Make sure the consulting company has a plan for how to get you in front of clients and working on client-facing activities while remote.
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Tina’s Answer

WFH or taking classes and internships online is the new normal now. However its good to keep few points in mind to keep the productivity going and getting best results.

Keep networking in the form of talking to to your fellow colleagues, attending meeting and talking to your seniors.
Always keep a to-do list for the day and prioritize your work.
Keep a schedule ready for the day. Always keep sometime as break for lunch hours and coffee.
Take regular feedback to keep your productivity high
and above all stay motivated.
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Vera’s Answer

Take as many breaks as you can to unplug from your laptop. Drink lots of water and stretch as well to keep focused. If you need to take time away, do so.
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Tammy’s Answer

To add to the multiple comments above, I would like to add that you have to set a schedule because there are days when the day can run into the evening and you can tend to work more hours. It is important to always maintain a good work/life balance. I am more productive when I can take a pause.

And lastly, my moto, if you will, is your year end performance review is based on what you produced or completed through the year, not how many hours you sat at your computer. I recommend you remain flexible and find how you can be most productive.

Good luck.
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Phillip’s Answer

Hi Christie,

Here are a few things to consider when working in a remote environment:

- Continue developing your work relationships/network. Communicate in ways other than email. Develop personal touch points.
- When comfortable/available, use video chat. This adds a personal touch in a remote environment.
- Reach out and talk through issues or questions when possible. This saves plenty of time for everyone involved. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
- Find ways to remain focused and balance work and home life. Communicate any flexibility you may need in your schedule to hold yourself accountable.
- Make time to take care of yourself. This environment can be draining, so take time to exercise, eat, meditate, etc. Protect your "you time" in any way you can.
- Set an end time to the day. Try not to lose control of your schedule.
- Create a comfortable workspace. Items like an office chair, desk, and desktop monitor are worth the investment if it makes you more comfortable and focused on the job.

Hope this helps!
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Emma’s Answer

Hi Christie,

I would look for companies that have existing technological capabilities. Through the interview process ask questions around how the business has managed the transition to WFH with their staff. Also, after speaking with people at different companies reflect on how easy it was to develop a rapport with them and your level of interest in the company post the discussion.

Most importantly, focus on companies that you are passionate about and excited about.

Good luck!
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Michele’s Answer

This is a great and timely question. I think there are two parts: 1) the personal work from home experience and 2) the industry/business experience. On a personal front, when working from home it's important to do the following to manage a work from how experience:
- Keep a dedicated workspace
- Maintain a comparable schedule
- Use a combination of audio and video conferencing
- Don't just work virtually - socialize virtually as well like you would at the office (coffee breaks, lunches, virtual networking - all are critical)
In choosing an internship or opportunity, the industry you consider and the specific assignment may be affected by other considerations and policies, but the biggest might be privacy concerns. Companies have a responsibility to carefully control and protect personally identifiable and private information of their customers. For that reason, working remotely outside of a company's brick and mortar space or outside of their computing firewall is fraught with risk and has to be carefully managed by a company. Some assignments and roles may not be able to be performed remotely, and that should be a big consideration in pursuing assignments.
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Jodi’s Answer

Hi Christie!

Many people have already answered this question but my short advice would be to:

1. Have a morning routine- similar to how you would have one if you left your house or apartment for work each day. Get dressed, make your coffee, watch or read the news, go for a walk etc. It is important to keep your routines, even at home!

2. Set boundaries between work and personal life. I do this by blocking time in my calendar during the day, where I can workout. This is protected time for yourself!
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Dianna’s Answer

Hello Christie,

Regarding working from home, I think a good gauge would be if you are able to successfully complete classes on line, then a virtual job may work for you. It requires self -discipline and working autonomously. In most large organizations, new employees often have to work at a physical location until they have proven their abilities and then have opportunities to work from home. Regarding non profit work, I agree with the above post, most non-profit organizations are not remote positions. I would first identify the nonprofits you may be interested in and see if you can set up time with someone in their HR department to find out what type of intern opportunities they have .

Hope that helps.

Dianna recommends the following next steps:

Identify nonprofits that interest you
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Tara’s Answer

Have an open mind, embrace turning on your video to connect and put yourself out there! Make the most of networking and meeting people.
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Barbara’s Answer

Hi Christie,
I work virtually.
1) Let people see your face and eyes on whatever online meeting tool you use, so they connect with you.
2) Set up your lighting so that when you are online people can see your eyes and connect with you.
3) As an intern, set up meetings with your boss at a pace (weekly?) where you can communicate what you've accomplished, get feedback, and set the next set of goals.
4) Track all you're accomplishing to add to your LinkedIn profile and resumes.

Good luck!
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Betsey’s Answer

As a new grad who recently transitioned to virtual work for the foreseeable future, I find it helpful to almost "over-communicate" in this environment. My manager and I message back and forth on Microsoft Teams several times per day. By building a relationship of open (virtual) communication it not only makes me more comfortable asking for help, but also shows my manager she can quickly and easily ask me for help or bring me on to new projects when needed.
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David’s Answer

The most important thing will be time management. This can be done by setting yourself a strict schedule that you must follow. Another important thing is to make sure you have a camera for any online meetings so you can show your co-workers/interviewers that you are engaged in what they are saying.
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Alexandra’s Answer

Hi! One additional thought is to brush up on techniques that create impact during virtual meetings. Being virtual isn't the same as being in person in many respects. Understanding the differences and knowing tips and tricks can really make you stand out in a virtual interview. For example, if you are sharing materials, make sure the text and visuals are simple and easy to read on a small laptop screen. Also, have a plan B if your wifi goes out so that you can continue the interview without too much interruption. I typically have my phone's hotspot ready as a backup when leading a virtual meeting. Hope this helps!