Interns Ask Bosses: How do I make the most of working from home?
You’re on internship, but perhaps it doesn’t quite feel like it sometimes because you haven’t actually met your colleagues face to face yet.
With working from home (WFH) becoming part of the new normal, young adults reveal the challenges they face on their internships – some of them being unique to this season.
For this new series titled Interns Ask Bosses, we’ve also invited leaders to share their tips for those who are finding their footing in the workplace.
In this first article, Lewis, 24, a third-year undergraduate majoring in industrial design, tells us about his WFH woes, in particular the struggle of balancing work and rest.
WFH can feel quite mundane because I can’t see my fellow colleagues. It’s also hard to be mentored.
My current routine is to wake up, switch on my computer, attend my meetings and then just do work. I find it challenging to differentiate when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to work.
I’ve grown used to associating my school as a place of work and home as a place of rest, but now my space for work and rest is the same. There isn’t anywhere to go for a break except the fridge so it’s hard to disconnect – my mind is thinking about work even after working hours.
I wonder whether bosses also struggle with WFH, and if they have any advice on how to draw clear boundaries between work and rest? Do bosses have any routines they can share us with?
After completing her PhD in medicine, the 39-year-old made the switch from science and medical research to fashion when she became a full-time mum of three.
Dr Fock started the clothing brand in 2016 and is currently leading a team of seven. She has three children (10 years old and 8-year-old twins).
1. START WITH THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
I can totally empathise! As an intern, it must be difficult to work from home and away from the physical team, especially when you’re young, fresh and eager to go out there and learn in an actual working environment.
As bosses, we also definitely struggle with working from home, especially when balancing that with raising a young family. However, I also think it is a great opportunity and a gift to be able to work from home and still be present for the family.
For starters, I think it all begins with setting the right mindset and perspective. With the opportunity to work from home, you get to pick up other vital skills like time management, multitasking and initiative.
Go into your work every day with that right mindset – that God has placed you in this position at this exact time for a specific purpose. What can you go out and learn today?
2. GET YOURSELF A ROUTINE
When working from home, routine is key.
For example, waking up at the same time, starting your day with quiet time (on that note, an added bonus of WFH is you get to do QT in a less hurried manner!), starting your work at a fixed time, scheduling in your meetings and setting daily goals for yourself to achieve.
Try to break for lunch at the time you normally would if you were in the office, and keep strictly to taking a lunch break for that 30 minutes or 1 hour. Lastly, if you’ve finished your work and have met your datelines, shut down your computer at a fixed time and knock off work.
3. DEMONSTRATE INITIATIVE
This is also your opportunity to practise initiative.
I’ve worked with many interns over the years, and one big difference that sets the good interns apart are those who show initiative. They don’t wait to be asked, but instead they observe and find ways to help and contribute to the team.
Your bosses are probably handling many portfolios and managing many people from home, so they may not have the brain space to assign specific tasks for you. So if you find that your boss is not assigning you enough work, come up with ideas yourself to suggest to your supervisor.
I also think it’s good for interns to have specific projects they can work on – a tangible thing they can achieve and hand in at the end of their internship. So even in times when you don’t have specific tasks to do, you can work on that project.
You can also show initiative by asking the rest of the team how you can help them. Or if there is anything specific you would want to learn, approach the right person to teach you so that you also acquire new skills.
When you are involved in various aspects of the business and helping different people, you will automatically feel like a part of the team.
With flexibility comes the amazing opportunity for you to carve out something of significance for yourself that will also help you stand out from the rest.
In a nutshell, set yourself goals (however small), and create routines and an action plan.
A prayer you can say over yourself is: “Please give me grace to live for you, Jesus, so that I may one day hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23).
Have an intern struggle that you’d like us to address? Look out for the rest of our articles in this series or share your questions with us at [email protected]!
Additional reporting by Jewel Yu.
THINK + TALK
- What challenges do you face while working from home? Are there adjustments you can make to have a more effective routine?
- What are some possible new opportunities that working from home presents? How can you make the most of them?
- If you view your work as what God has appointed you to do for this season, does that change the way you look at things?