Preparing for your internship during a pandemic

29/11/2021

Are you ready to start your internship during the pandemic? Find out what you can expect, and get tips on how to survive your internship during the pandemic!

This blog is about what to expect if you are an intern in the Netherlands while we are still in a global pandemic.

Let's start with the positives:  

Less travel time  

Most internships will be partially online, if not fully online. This means that you work from home and do not have to travel to the office as often. This saves you time and energy travelling long distances. (It also means more time to sleep!). This also makes it possible to do internships at interesting companies that are a bit further away (in agreement with the company).

More concentration  

Working alone at home can be boring, but there is no one to disturb you while you are working on your tasks. Therefore, you can concentrate better on your work and tasks. Tip to make working alone more bearable: put on your favourite playlist while you work to create a fun and enjoyable working environment. It will also help against the noises you hear outside that can disturb you while working. But what if you need help and you are sitting alone? If you don't understand your task, just call your supervisor! He or she will be happy to help you. Supervisors are also busy with their work, so they can't check in with you every minute. Make sure you take the initiative and call them when necessary!

Schedule

Often you can schedule your own tasks and work at your own pace. Make sure you meet your deadlines and, if necessary, inform your supervisor of what you have planned for the day. Also ask your supervisor which tasks are given priority in order to meet the deadlines. You can plan the remaining time with your own tasks. In this way, you can, for example, tick off the tasks that you dislike first.

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to working from home.  

First, there is the start of your internship  

When you start an internship, you first get to know the company. You get to know your colleagues and you get to know the workspace and the basic daily tasks. Normally, you will be under supervision when performing such tasks, but during the covid period, it will be more difficult for the supervisor to monitor you. Therefore, you must take the initiative to get the most out of this internship by being much more proactive! Indicate what you are doing well and what you seem to be doing less well. Ask for tips or arrange a time during the day to have a general look at your progress and remarks.
If you are not proactive, you will get bored after only 3 weeks of your 20-week internship. So roll up your sleeves and take action!

Communication  

When you are at home, you will have less and harder contact with your colleagues. The reason for this is that people will not always respond to your messages as quickly as they should. My tip for this is to communicate by (video) calling them. But calling them every time can sometimes be annoying or inappropriate. Writing messages can sometimes be misleading. The context in your message can be unclear if you write short messages. Therefore, you should make sure that your messages are easy to understand. Some companies already use a daily/weekly moment to catch up with the team. Does such a moment not yet exist at your internship company? Then initiate it. This does not have to be an hour-long meeting at the beginning of the week. But for example a virtual Friday afternoon (virtual) drink after the working day, so that everyone can choose for themselves if they want to be present. A start of the day at the beginning of Monday with the team or your supervisor can also be nice, in which you discuss the first 15 minutes of the day how everyone is doing and what your plans are for the working day. In this way, you can still keep in touch during this non-contacting period.

For more tips on working from home, please read our earlier blog 'tips for home workers'. This blog is written in Dutch, but can also be translated into English via the button on the bottom left!

Stay healthy, stay safe.