Managing remote interns can be tricky. You want to give them the right amount of guidance and trust, but how can you mentor someone thousands of miles away? Setting your remote intern up for success with these best practices is crucial.
Who would’ve thought that something as wonderful as remote internships could come out of 2020? Now everyone’s opening up their doors to international remote talent, and you really should do the same!
Finding a talented, eager remote intern is all well and good – but how are you going to manage them?
Having Zoom and Slack doesn’t quite cut it. Managing remote interns is about strategy and finding out the best practices fast. Believe me, I was a remote intern last year!
1 – Trust
When you can’t sit at someone’s computer to guide their hand, it can be hard to give a complete newbie trust in your small business. But this trust is essential if you want your intern to thrive.
It can be hard to trust an intern with the success of your company, so I’d recommend taking baby steps, screen sharing when there are issues and mostly leaving them to it!
When you leave your interns to manage their own time, you’ll be amazed at how they perform.
So introduce your interns to their daily tasks and let them get on with it!
This can be hard for any micromanagers among us, but it’s valuable. You’ll see more independence, creativity and ownership from your interns – these are vital skills they’ll need in their next role.
2 – Mix up the tasks
A quick way to make your interns hate their job is to give them all the bad tasks.
Remember, internships are supposed to be a two-way street. You want to give your interns some valuable training and experience for their CVs.
A good way to keep things engaging and not soul-crushing is to mix up the boring admin tasks with project work. Maybe they can help you create an email campaign, source leads or write articles.
3 – Encourage them to speak up
When working at your first ever job – let alone your first ever remote job – the learning curve can be steep.
Going from the craziness of university to the mundane world of the 9 – 5 can be a bummer, and when your first ever job is remote, it will be even harder.
And one of the most difficult things to handle is being alone. When you work remotely, it can be easy to forget that you’re part of a team. Once you’re out of that morning Zoom call, it’s just you and your dusty laptop for six hours.
So as a manager, please use these meetings wisely!
I’d recommend trying to encourage your interns to contribute to discussions and chatter from the very first day. We use the stand-up meeting format to give everyone the chance to speak.
4 – Plan in social time
On the note of pesky Zoom calls, I’d recommend scheduling in some team social time if you haven’t already!
A Friday afternoon game session, Wednesday lunchtime tea break or a mid-afternoon natter can work wonders for your team.
You’ll get to catch up with each other more and get to know any newbies.
And if you’re going to be working remotely for the foreseeable future, this stuff is essential to get right early on.
So if you want to make your remote interns happy, social time is essential.
5 – Communicate better
No matter who you are, you can always work on your communication skills.
Bold statement, I know, but I really believe it!
We’ve all heard the saying communication is key, but I think that overcommunication is key.
So please, over explain yourself. Type a long message in Slack, make a Zoom call last 10 mins longer than it should, send eleven follow-up emails with more info.
It’s better to be annoying than to be vague!
Your intern is looking to soak up all the knowledge they can, so the more you give them the better.
How we can help
If you’re looking for some help managing remote interns, be sure to consult the experts. citrus HR can help you manage the technicalities of onboarding new interns with expert HR Support and powerful Software so you can get to the good bits, like getting to know your new hire.
And if you’re ready to find more talented interns to work with, check out DigitalGrads. The recruitment platform has been built to help startups find the junior talent they need to thrive.