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Tips & Guidelines for Employers to Create a Remote Internship

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Why Offer Remote Work?

The Covid-19 situation poses challenges for companies regarding workforce management, business continuity, talent acquisition, and campus recruiting. Yale's Office of Career Strategy is encouraged by the number of employers who have advised that, while adjustments may be needed, they are fully committed to both their current employees and their new hires, and are working to ensure students have enriching experiences this summer.

In support of both students and employers, OCS has curated tips and tools for creating and supporting remote internships. We hope you find them useful, and our Employer Relations staff is available to take your questions.

Even prior to the current situation, many companies believed that the future of work would involve more remote work. A recent Gartner, Inc. survey of 800 global HR executives revealed that 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home. Companies that support remote work may be at an advantage for attracting top talent as the landscape shifts. By offering remote internships today, organizations can continue to recruit a diverse group of capable interns who will become tomorrow's full-time employees.

Benefits to Employers of Remote Internships
  • Competitive hiring advantage
  • Diversity of candidates
  • Fresh ideas and willing to share them
  • Build capacity
Examples of Remote Internships
  • Quantitative Researcher - Finance
  • Research Associate - Think Tank
  • Summer Associate - Consulting
  • Marketing Intern - Events & Entertainment
  • Fundraiser - Non-Profit
  • Mobile App Developer - Technology
  • Data Analyst - Finance

OCS' Top Tips on Remote Internships

FAQ: Yes, the work can be asynchronous.

Encourage two standing check-ins to build rapport, review projects, ask and answer questions, and provide feedback. A check-in on Monday to start the week, and another on Thursday or early Friday will help structure the week. Communication should not only happen during these two meetings, though. Consider other chat tools your office uses for quick questions or check-ins throughout the week.

FAQ: Consider involving the intern with other departments.

As the intern will not be there in-person you may find some of their proposed work no longer feasible. To accommodate this, speak with the intern about the possibility of other projects to replace those that cannot happen; check in with your colleagues to ask about any projects they would like assistance with.

FAQ: Help the Intern with set-up. 

Since the remote intern is not working in the office, set them up with a company VPN log-in, or identify a way to share files, such as Google Drive or Box.

FAQ: Focus on project-based work. 

While this may mean shifting some of the work originally agreed upon, project-based work is often best suited for remote internships. Consider: writing copy, design projects, social media management, data entry and analysis, market or policy research and reporting, app development, producing a podcast, SWOT analyses, web creation/design, and more!

FAQ: Set a time for the intern to engage with others in your field. 

Help the intern set up informational interviews with your colleagues or, if possible, others in your field. This will help the intern continue learning and hopefully connect with others in your city and country.

FAQ: Give clear instruction.

Know what you want, when and how. Clarify priorities.

FAQ: Identify the communication tools that work best for you. 

Consider what it is you are communicating to the intern and what the best method for communicating your message is. Here are a few that were identified as being helpul in communication and remote work: GSuite, MS Office Teams, Trello, Basecamp, Ring Central/Glip, Zoom, Go to Meeting, Google Hangouts, Join.me, Skype, Google Calendar, Drop Box, Google Drive, Canva, Slack. Please note: Yale does not endorse any specific resource.

FAQ: A Learning Plan can keep you and your intern on track.

A Learning Plan is a document that allows the intern and supervisor to develop and articulate goals, how they will be achieved and evaluated, and the structure of supervision. Such a document is especially helpful in remote work to structure check-ins, provide feedback, and stay up to date on projects. This document can serve as a guide and can be re-evaluated mid-internship.

Consider specific professional skills and knowledge the employer can provide, and the intern can learn, and the tasks/projects to achieve these. Interns may also wish to include personal goals regarding attitudes and values (e.g. being more patient, being able to adapt quickly in changing environments); the employer can discuss ways they can mentor the intern in these areas. Use the Office of Career Strategy’s Learning Plan Template to get started.

FAQ: Measure progress.

Evaluate the intern on results-oriented metrics; but don't forget to evaluate on passion, commitment and determination!

Curated Resources on Remote Work

OCS found the resources below to be helpful in considering remote work:

Remote Micro-Internships

Employers can post a micro-internship to Parker Dewey. A micro-internship is a 10-40-hour project that can be done remotely. This allows employer to offer short-term, professional, paid work experiences to current students. Through Micro-Internships, students can demonstrate their skills, explore career paths, and develop their professional networks. Not only does this help the students, but it allows employers to get immediate support on tasks that may not be the best use of their (or their team’s) time. International employers can post projects on the site if it's a multi-national organization that has a U.S.-based location.

Employers can learn more and see examples through Parker Dewey’s OCS landing page. When ready, employers can create a profile and post a micro-internship (access through the “See Examples” link).

Testimonials and Best Practices

Many employers and students have found success in remote work opportunities. 

Quote: I hired two students remotely to help research potential grant programs and other funding opportunities. Though one was in Germany and the other in Colorado, they each did a phenomenal job and completed their tasks ahead of schedule. - Tara Falcone, Yale College '11

Do you have a success story on hosting a remote intern?