Internship Kick-Start, Part Four: Managing Interns in Remote or Hybrid Settings

Understanding younger employees’ connectivity needs offsite can keep them actively engaged with the team.

‌This is the final entry of our internship series. Check out day one, on why associations should consider internship programs; day two, on what internship programs need to succeed; and day three, on managing interns effectively.

Generally, when an intern starts a role at an association, it is likely their first or second job in a real-world workplace.

In earlier times, that role would have naturally been in a shared office. But increasingly, odds are that, like you, they might be fully remote or coming into a physical office only once or twice a week. With that in mind, we offer today’s tip: How to manage interns in hybrid or remote settings.

Understand the Differences

Never managed a remote intern before? A good place to start is to look at the strategies that companies that have always been remote have taken. One example is GitLab, which has been a no-office company since its start in 2014.

The software firm offers a useful guide for hiring interns who will work remotely, including questions about how they worked on projects with remote teams in school, their work habits for freelance projects, and their activity in online communities.

“It’s important for organizations to remember that remote interns are essentially learning two fundamental things: the job itself, and how to work well with no office,” the company’s Darren Murph explained. “In turn, it’s important to calibrate expectations and what is measured.”

How to Fight Loneliness

This transition can be a tough one, even after years of pandemic-driven work and education. One of the biggest risks: a sense of loneliness that young workers may not be used to.

GitLab recommended offering an always-on video room in which another person is always working in the same spot, which can encourage both parties to be more productive—and, depending on the nature of the work, to connect in other ways as well.

But there’s also room for strengthening cultural elements. Sarah Sladek, the founder and CEO of XYZ University, suggested a good starting point might be to increase the number of activities that your organization hosts, along with frequent check-ins to ensure remote and hybrid interns feel included.

Sladek also recommended leaning on tools such as Slack to keep everyone—including interns—in the loop throughout the day.

“Connectivity is really important for all teams, especially going forward in a hybrid virtual environment, but it’s gonna be really important for Gen Zs who are just literally wired to be connected to other people,” she said.

(Associations Now Illustration; Vadym Pastukh/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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