The Remote Internship Handbook: A Working Agreement for Communication Standards and Expectations
By Mitra LeBuhn
Head of Global Partnerships
Many internship programs are going remote, posing challenges, as well as opportunities, unique from in-person internships. To better prepare you and your intern for a successful remote internship experience, our team at Symba has put together The Remote Internship Handbook.
The Remote Internship Handbook is a living document intended to support intern managers in articulating expected responsibilities and rewards to their intern(s), prior to the program start date. Use it to define responsibilities, the work schedule, and communication standards. Establish clarity from the beginning and maintain short feedback loops throughout the program to streamline intern management and allow your interns to shine.
Within this Handbook, we help you with the following:
1. Establishing key internship stakeholders
It is important for your interns to know who they report to and who they can reach out to for support. A remote internship requires more initiative in communication; it’s not as easy as stopping by someone’s desk or office. By clearly sharing names and contact information, your intern will know who to “ping” in moments of uncertainty.
2. Defining internship roles, projects, and goals
There should be no ambiguity regarding what kind of work your intern is going to do, before they agree to do it. Have a conversation about the duties and responsibilities you need from them, and the learning objectives from those tasks. Ask your intern what their interests are and the skills they hope to gain from this experience.
3. Setting the internship timeline
To facilitate collaboration, specify program start and end dates and decide with your intern when they will work. This allows your intern to track their working hours, build time management skills, and learn to set boundaries to establish work/life balance when working from home. It also helps you assess their punctuality and ability to follow through with time commitments.
4. Determining communication expectations
With no central office, you must create a virtual work-chat space. Email alone won’t cut it. Define which platforms your intern will communicate on, and the nuances of how your company uses them. This is a great opportunity to create a communication system that embodies your company culture. If you’re looking for a solution, Symba offers a comprehensive internship management software that accommodates for short feedback loops.
Use this living document to help establish expectations and practice clear communication from day one. By mapping this out before your internship program begins, you and your interns will be set for success!
By Mitra LeBuhn