Internshala, as an organisation is familiar with the concept of working remotely, as we began with a team of virtual interns before we moved to our first office in 2012. Many other companies have also adopted the concept of remote working in their cultures. However, the concept of work from home is still new to a lot of organisations who are facing various challenges adapting to it in these testing times. If you are facing such difficulties, take a deep breath first, and then read on. Here a few steps that’ll help you address your issue of managing virtual interns –
1. Trust your interns – We know you are concerned that your interns are not getting enough work done, however, in times like these, it is extremely important that you trust them. If these interns are a part of your team, we are certain you must have seen something in them. So, you need to remember that doers will get stuff done, no matter where they are.
2. Stay communicated with the team – When working in-office, we observe the body language of our team members, and 9 out of 10 times, we can tell if something is bothering them. This is one of the major drawbacks of working remotely which makes being in constant touch even more important. A simple solution to this is spending a few minutes in casual conversation about work-related stuff. Make sure your team knows that you believe in them, and you would see an increase in ownership.
3. Reset your expectations – We agree that working from home is not an ideal scenario when it comes to managing a team; however, it has become the need of the hour. Hence, you need to reset your expectations from each team member and be mindful about the atmosphere they are currently working in.
4. Get a daily task list – We know you already know this one, but we still have to mention it. Ask your interns to email or text you a task list every morning before they start working so that you can help them prioritize their work.
5. Make sure you are approachable – You need to accept that your interns might hesitate before reaching out to you, so you must establish some rules of engagement. Make it clear to the interns how they can reach you and what is the most convenient time of the day for you. More importantly, make sure they are comfortable enough to reach out to you if they need anything.
Honesty Optimism is the best policy – Interns look up to their managers for a lot of things, including hope! Yes, you read that right. In difficult times like this, people might develop stress and start to lose hope. Hence, interns need to know that their manager is confident about the future because believe it or not, optimism is as infectious as the Coronavirus.
7. Assign a buddy to each intern – When you are managing a large team, you may not be able to give full attention to each member of your team. In such a case, you can create a buddy or peer system where you divide your team into pairs and every member regularly checks in on the well-being of their assigned buddy. This would not only help you keep a tab on every member but also help you identify who are budding leaders in your team. Even at Internshala, new interns are assigned buddies, from within their team, to guide and help them.
8. Watch out for exhaustion – While most managers are worried that their interns are not working hard enough, reality might be completely opposite. Are there any members in your team who might be working too hard and you cannot see the burnout because they are not sitting opposite to you? Avoid this by setting up maximum working hours and ensuring that your interns do not compromise with their meals, health, or leisure time.
Apart from the aforementioned points, you must understand that it’s only natural for efficiency to fluctuate while working remotely. If you feel the efficiency has dropped drastically, make sure you communicate with your interns and address the issues.
Now it’s time to refill your cup of chai because we are moving to our next segment – hiring and onboarding interns virtually.