The Intern Perspective: Making the Most of Remote Work
At Navigate, we continue to operate remotely, with members of our team across the country (and one in Canada). Our internship program is also fully remote and we strive to ensure that all those we bring onboard feel connected and included in our workplace.
As our summer internship program comes to a close, our Sales & Marketing Intern, Heather Ramirez, caught up with this year’s intern class to get their insight on what it was like to work for Navigate remotely.
Read on for Heather’s perspective, and to hear from the rest of the incredible group we hosted this summer as they describe their experience navigating an entirely remote internship.
Since the pandemic, remote work has become people’s new normal, including everyone at Navigate, but what is it really like to work completely remote? Before starting my internship at Navigate, working remote was something I was not very interested in. I remember trying to finish high school and start college all while being stuck in my house. I worried that with a remote experience I would not benefit as much as I would with an in-person internship.
However, after my time at Navigate, I now have a more positive outlook on remote work. I have enjoyed working from home this summer and give thanks to everyone at Navigate for making it such a positive experience. Navigate does a great job of cultivating a close-knit work environment despite not being physically together. To gain further perspective, I talked to my fellow interns and compiled their opinions on what their remote internship experience has been like.
What has been your favorite aspect about working remotely?
Charlie: My favorite aspect about working remotely has been not having to commute. It allows my days to be more productive and makes me feel like I’ve wasted less time. I have also enjoyed being able to spend time at home with my family while working for a company I love.
Billy: It has been amazing having the convenience of being able to travel while continuing to work. Since I am moving into a new place over the summer, it has been nice to be able to work relatively uninterrupted while living in two different cities over the span of the internship.
Marco: My favorite aspect about working remotely has been that I have had the opportunity to come home and spend time with my family over the summer.
Before starting your internship, did your impressions of what working remotely would be like align with how your experience has been?
Charlie: I have grown much fonder of working remotely since the start of the internship. I didn’t realize how easy it would be to stay on task remotely when I’m working on projects that I find interesting. I was worried that my motivation throughout the day would waiver, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised and very happy with the experience.
Miller: My impressions of working remotely and the reality have mostly lined up, while I wish I was able to get to know the rest of the Navigators in an in-person environment, the comfort of working either from my home or somewhere close by has been a welcome aspect of remote work.
Marco: Working remotely with Navigate has been an amazing experience. At times it feels like the interactions I’ve had with Navigators have been as if I had known them from spending time at the office. The culture is extremely welcoming, and they know how to form great bonds despite the barriers posed by working remotely. Overall, it has been better than I expected!
What about working remotely did you not expect (positive or negative)?
Charlie: I did not expect to feel so close with the Navigate team while working remotely. I knew I would have a lot of face-to-face time with the Navigators over Zoom, but I underestimated the relationships and connections I would be able to build. This has been one of the most positive takeaways from the internship so far.
Ashton: I didn’t expect to be as motivated as I have been at home or how little I really get distracted. If anything, I’m more productive remotely because I usually get distracted more by other people rather than my phone or similar distractions.
Neil: I did not expect to get to know all the Navigators as well as I have. Every Navigator I’ve talked to has been very candid and personable which makes it super easy to get to know each other even in a remote setting.
How do you stay motivated while working remotely?
Ashton: I think deadlines keep me honest and keep me on the ball. Plus, I really like the work I’m doing so I want to create the best work product possible.
Marco: I stay motivated by setting goals for each day and for the week. I listen to music sometimes and take short breaks when needed to refresh my mind.
Ella: I enjoy going to different coffee shops and working some afternoons.
Do you feel connected with fellow Navigators (including other interns) despite not being in person?
Charlie: Very much so. Our team has zoom calls very frequently where we get to meet each other, build relationships, and catch up. These connections make me look forward to each day knowing I’ll get to chat with multiple people on the team. I have been able to build strong relationships with multiple people in the company and everyone has been extremely welcoming.
Miller: I do feel connected with fellow Navigators and interns, which I would say is a testament to everyone’s understanding of the remote work environment and the effort that needs to go into creating and maintaining relationships in a remote space.
If you have had a previous remote internship experience, how is your experience at Navigate different from that?
Charlie: My experience at Navigate has included a lot more face to face interaction than my previous remote internship. Navigate does a great job of keeping the internship interactive and engaging by having many Zoom calls and group chats that make it feel as close to an in-person office experience as possible.
Marco: My experience working remotely at Navigate felt smooth and communication was constant and helpful. In my past remote experiences, the communication channels with interns were not as effective and I felt disconnected at times, but at Navigate, communication is not just frequent, but effective.
Ella: Navigate does a much better job than my past internships of fostering a positive and connected work environment despite being remote.
If you have had a previous in-person internship experience, how is your remote experience at Navigate different from that?
Ashton: It’s definitely a different experience because I was able to get closer with the other interns I was working with and the people I was working for. However, I don’t feel like the experience is worse in any way by being remote. I’ve honestly learned more working for Navigate remotely than I ever did at my other in-person internship.
Miller: My previous in-person work experiences have differed from Navigate in that it was very easy to duck into someone’s office and ask a question or get feedback. At Navigate, while Slack lets us do the same by quickly messaging or huddling, I’ve had to learn to adjust to that aspect of remote work.
Marco: My in-person internship experience has been great, but one of the advantages to working remotely at Navigate is saving time I would usually spend commuting to work and getting to invest that time in other activities.
Neil: The one main way my last in-person internship was different from Navigate is that I don’t have the ability to just turn around my chair to ask a question. The Navigators have made this not be as much of an issue however because they make sure to be available for questions and are always willing to help.
What tips do you have for incoming interns regarding working remotely?
Billy: Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and set up meetings to get to know people more. Everyone is very kind and willing to speak to interns.
Ashton: Be proactive about asking questions and asking for work. If there’s something you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask because it’s better to ask early on and get clarification than to have to do something over again. You aren’t bothering anyone by asking questions because they’ve all been in your shoes before.
Neil: I think the biggest tip I would have is to make sure to stay active and move around during the work day. It’s really easy to get stuck inside when working remotely and it’s important to get outside and get fresh air.
Madison: Try to have a set time in the day where you put the screens away and spend some time disconnected from work.
After talking to my fellow interns, I was confident that the remote internship experience at Navigate was unanimously positive. My three key takeaways are:
- Working remotely can give more flexibility to enjoy your life outside of work which is something that is very important to Navigate.
- Feeling connected to others is the biggest challenge with working remotely but this can be offset by taking time to really get to know everyone.
- Setting goals can help keep you motivated and force you to stay focused.
Although all the interns feel they have had a great experience, working remotely is not without its challenges. Navigate’s intentional investment into its’ interns and the internship program has made this summer a truly great learning experience for all of us. Hopefully these questions can help guide those who are interested in pursuing a remote internship in the future.
Many thanks to Heather, and the rest of our intern class for their time and dedication this summer. If you’re interested in learning more about our internship program, please email Ryan Nelson at Ryan@NVGT.com.
Interested in applying for a future internship position? Learn more here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/G5JTNJ9