When COVID-19 became a global pandemic earlier this year, no one could have expected the magnitude of the disruptions that would affect every aspect of our daily lives. Whether you were a high school or university student, recent graduate, or an experienced professional, everyone reacted in the same way: despair. Despair at the prospects of their plans for international travel, internships, and jobs being plagued by uncertainty due to the unprecedented nature of COVID-19. It seemed that life as we knew it would come to a standstill for an indefinite amount of time until we could finally go back to our schools, campuses, and offices again.
While the outbreak of COVID-19 has created a plethora of new challenges for the workplace, it has also been seen as the ultimate test of resiliency for an institution to adapt. There has been a new-found sense of determination with companies thinking of innovative ways to get back on track, shifting to online meetings and work-from-home arrangements using a wide range of online platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams to collaborate across remote teams. The same applies to universities across the globe, switching from in-person classes on campus to online Zoom classes, making the most of digital technology so that students still have access to education.
Remote work has become the new normal of 2020, for start-ups and multi-national companies alike, and seems like it is here to stay even post-COVID. According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte (Deloitte Millennial Survey 2020), over 60% of respondents responded positively to the option to work remotely after the crisis, and to the increased use of video conferencing tools. With the digital transformation seen across many companies with their transition to a remote workplace, this article will tell you why you can, and should, follow the 2020 remote working trend and consider undertaking a Virtual Internship during COVID-19.
Internships provide invaluable work experience that that is essential in helping you prepare for your next step of life after graduation. Undertaking an internship, virtual or in-person, provides further industry insights and commercial awareness in your selected sector – simply from interacting with more experienced colleagues or gaining access to tools or reports that are used. A remote experience will help prepare you to adjust to this newly-embraced work environment. It also opens up the potential to work with international companies to experience intercultural communication and gain country-specific knowledge if you have an interest in working abroad in the future.
Skills such as digital communication, proficiency of remote working applications, and time-management skills without being under the watchful eye of a manager are crucial in an increasingly-connected virtual world. Whether it is in business development, competitor analysis, honing your presentation creation and delivery skills, market research, digital marketing, or financial modeling, a Virtual Internship can provide the opportunity for you to learn and develop various skills that will help you in your future career path. You may also think that working remotely takes away any networking opportunities, but think again! It is still possible to make valuable, relevant connections while interning virtually. Think of your internship colleagues and supervisor as industry experts who can either help you develop certain skills or knowledge, or introduce you to someone in the industry who can!
Another advantage of undertaking a Virtual Internship is the added work-life balance with the flexibility it offers in terms of office hours and duration. With a Virtual Internship, working remotely means you can decide when and how you work instead of having set office hours. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, you can set your own schedule, provided that you are attending online conferences and meeting work deadlines set by your manager. Traditionally, in-person internships are generally undertaken during the months aligning with university vacation time, when students tend to have more availability to complete an internship. The flexibility of a Virtual Internship means that you can opt to undertake a remote placement simultaneously while studying or working part-time, so you can fit it to your own personal schedule!
Travel, time, and costs
If we take a pragmatic approach, one of the most obvious benefits of a Virtual Internship is that it saves time and money on associated costs with commutes to the workplace. There are additional costs with flights and accommodation when you consider the options of interning in another city, or even in a different country. With a Virtual Internship, this concern is removed so you can focus fully on your professional development. This also means that you are no longer limited to interning in your home city or even home country – as long as you have a solid internet connection, you can intern for any company, anywhere! This means you have the potential to work with an international company and team – a guaranteed resume/CV booster!
A test of character
Finally, undertaking a Virtual Internship during a global pandemic speaks volumes of your character. Instead of sitting at home during the lockdown with a pessimistic outlook, your decision to become a virtual intern shows future employers that you are a pro-active, resilient, and resourceful individual. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to learn new skills and use new programs to undertake your remote work, which helps you build experience. This means that even while you were staying at home, you managed to add to your resume/CV profile, increasing your desirability to potential employers. During such uncertain times where redundancy levels are at an all-time high, a Virtual Internship will help you stand out from the crowd!
At Virtual Internships, we understand that doing a remote internship is just not the same as physically being in the office or having a coffee break with your manager and colleagues. But, when life gives you lemons, you make lemon sorbet! Despite the closure of offices and travel restrictions, it is still possible to develop professionally and advance your career development all from the comfort of your own home. Our mission at Virtual Internships is to ensure that global events, distance, and time zones do not prevent university students and young graduates from accessing quality professional development opportunities across the world. We do this by delivering tried and tested programs to students across the globe and connect them with dynamic host companies worldwide across 18 different career sectors. All of this while providing business webinars and internship coaching for tailored 360-degree professional development support. What we can learn from this is the importance of remote work for future generations, and that virtual internships are the future!