Making my Remote Internship work; 7 Little but Effective Tips

Making my Remote Internship work; 7 Little but Effective Tips

Written by: Saida Belaatel

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, our marketing and communications intern at Roots, Saida Belaatel, had to leave South Africa and head back home to Germany, where she’s now continuing her internship online. It’s her first time working in a home office setting, and she shares how she’s tackling the challenge. Her tips might come in handy for anyone in the same situation.

I am the person who studies in the university library or at a coffee shop instead of home. Sitting alone at home was never really my cup of tea, firstly, because I’m a social person and I like to have people around me, and secondly, because I’m good at procrastinating. As you might have read in my last blog post, my internship is going more than well. I am as productive as I was in the office in Cape Town. However, it wouldn’t be possible for me to make my internship work without some little tricks.

1. Waking up early

It really is a game-changer. Waking up as early as you would when going to the office adds a sense of normality and routine. It also means you finish earlier in the day, which gives a feeling of accomplishment. I start my day with coffee, which of course not is for everyone, but I need it as a productivity booster. Fueled by caffeine, I get as much as possible done before lunchtime, so that in the afternoon I have enough time left to plan my next work day, and then start the evening in a relaxed way.


Remote Internship 

2. Video calls and mails

Having check-ins with my supervisors is absolutely crucial for me to get my work done properly. We have a virtual meeting several times a week, during which we update each other about our work, discuss new tasks, and get on the same page with things. It’s definitely necessary to keep the motivation level up, avoid misunderstandings, and set mutual goals. In addition, we have daily email contact for work-related details. This regular contact makes me feel like part of a team, despite the distance of over 10.000 kilo meters. I’m really starting to appreciate virtual working and see the benefits.

3. To-do-list and deadlines

To get myself going, I need a list. Or two. I write down my daily tasks, always with pen and paper because the feeling of crossing out a point on the list is highly satisfying. On another list, I write down what I want to achieve in the near future. That one I do on my laptop, because priorities can always change and new small tasks can be added everyday. On the second list, I add deadlines. Some are given by my supervisors and others I set myself in order to be more productive and avoid procrastination. I strongly believe that achievable goals for the day or the next two days are of great importance.

4. Save the best for last

Another approach of mine is to get the least interesting work done first. Let’s say my supervisor gives me the following two tasks for the day: edit the website and write an article about environmentally-friendly internships. Of course, the second task is a lot more fun (for me at least, I don’t know about you). And old-me would start writing the blog right away. But I did learn how to avoid procrastination and that means starting with your least favourite task. Getting to the task you were looking forward to feels like a little reward.

5. Breaks and fresh air

Focusing on what I am doing includes putting my phone away and not having tabs open on my laptop that don’t include work-related content. However, it’s key for me to reward myself with breaks. As soon as I lose concentration, I realise that my brain says that I need a little break. During my small breaks, I either stretch a little and have a snack or I have a coffee in the sun on the balcony (yes, my quarantine isn’t that bad). During longer breaks, I always go for a walk or run in the park near my house. It’s definitely not a myth that fresh air boosts concentration and relaxation. Running and other workouts reduce stress. So running as well as doing home workouts make the home office easier and more successful!

Remote internship

6. Music

Here’s a tip that probably won’t apply to everyone. Some people work best when it’s totally quiet, others like the humdrum of an office or coffee shop noise around them. Similarly, some people’s productivity is boosted by music, while it’s a huge distraction for others. I fall in the first category. My brain works well with music most of the time. I’ve heard from many people that listening to classical music is conducive to concentration. This definitely works for me. Check out the Spotify playlist that I listen to when I need to focus.

7. Rewarding myself

To keep in a good mental space, I reward myself. For example, I make myself a big fresh juice after having finished that social media post or I call a friend that I am not allowed to hang out with after having published a blog post. When I feel that I was very productive in the morning, I take some time to cook a big, healthy lunch that makes me happy.

Sticking to these “rules” is easy and very rewarding. In these weird times of my (or everyone’s) life it’s a blessing to be healthy, productive and to have something to focus on and put energy into. I can only recommend starting a remote internship to make this isolated time somehow meaningful.

Read another virtual internship – related blog: A forced (but still great) remote Communications Internship