Workplace Etiquette for Virtual Internships

If you are in college or looking to start your career, chances are you are familiar with virtual internships. Due to the past year, almost all internships turned virtual. There are positives and negatives to working in a virtual environment. Since we are all a little sick of working and learning from home at this point, I’m sure you are thinking of all the negatives. However, virtual internships do have some benefits. They open opportunities around the country that you may not have been able to experience due to location or travel. Regardless of your thoughts on working virtually, there is still one aspect of that can be tricky to navigate. And that is workplace etiquette in a virtual internship.

Working in a virtual environment is weird – you don’t personally know the people you work with, and you might never meet your co-workers. You sit in your house, or even your bedroom, and spend the day working alone. It can be difficult to follow the same work conventions that you would follow in the office. I think we all have attended a Zoom call wearing sweatpants and slippers. Of course, that’s not going to fly in an office. The etiquette around remote work can be hard to get right, and it can be especially difficult to navigate if you are just starting an internship or are new to the company. Below are some tips and tricks to thrive in a virtual internship, regardless of where you work or what industry you are in.

Tips for Success:
  1. Turn your camera on in meetings for the first week to allow team members to see you.
  2. Always send a message with a meeting invite detailing what you want to cover or why you are planning the meeting.
  3. If your camera is on, make sure you are wearing a business professional top (unless told otherwise) and have your camera positioned shoulders up.
  4. Use the IM tool for small asks or questions, but always send emails asking for longer or more detailed requests.
  5. Reach out to people in fields you want to learn more about! Most colleagues are happy to share more about their work and these meetings are a great way to expand your network.
  6. Send follow up emails to employees you meet with to thank them for their time and ask any questions that arose from your conversation.
  7. Set up a time weekly or biweekly to meet with other interns and to chat about things other than work.

While these tips might not all be relevant for your situation, implementing some of these tips into your daily virtual routine can make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd. These skills will be useful far beyond your virtual internship, since learning how to be professional in a virtual environment is more relevant than ever.

For more articles about skills and careers by Wiley Students Speak, click here.

Special thank you to Gillian Larsen for providing her advice on tips for a virtual internship.

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