How to make the most of your digital work experience.
This week marks the half-way point of my marketing internship at SAS. Truthfully, this wasn't how it was supposed to be. Like the rest of us, my life has made a huge digital transition thanks to coronavirus and instead of commuting to my office in Cary, I'm commuting down the hall from my childhood bedroom to my home office in Davidson. Despite the change in plans, the last six weeks have been nothing short of fantastic and equally challenging.
During my time at Carolina, I have learned the importance of adaptability. I've heard over and over again that companies are looking for employees who know how to "go with the flow." Admittedly, this is much easier to hear than to do.
Well let me tell you, Gen Z has the learned skill of adaptability locked down. After this, there is nothing we can't adapt to, personally or professionally.
While I could use this article to talk about the amazing experiences I've had at the start of my #sasinternlife. I wanted to share some of the things I've learned with the hope that these tips can help you tackle a digital work or internship experience.
While I am in NO way a pro at working from home (more like an infant), here are some tips that have helped me make the most of my summer thus far.
Put in the effort to make friends.
Making new friends is hard. Making friends from behind a screen is even harder. Don't let this digital hurdle stop you. Everyone is in the same boat and community is vital. All it takes is a short message or even an email to meet someone new. Work is so much better when you have friends to share it with. Schedule a digital lunch date or take a few moments to share details of your day with a friend in a different department.
Make use of the informational interview.
Networking shouldn't stop just because you aren't working in person. Working from home means there's even more time to chat. Be bold and ask as many people as possible to spend 30 minutes telling you about their professional journeys. Landing an internship is a huge opportunity and it's up to you to use your time wisely and meet as many co-workers as you can. Who knows what great advice they'll have for you.
Take avid notes.
Staring at a screen all day can make your week feel a little like Groundhog Day. Now more than ever, meetings run together. This self-propelled insurance plan will not only show your co-workers that you value their time but will help you keep everything straight in your own head.
Organize yourself the same way you would in the office.
Organization is different for everyone. Whether you make lists, use sticky notes or print schedules, don't lose those learned habits just because you're working from home. Make every day productive by sticking to your office or school work habits.
Don't be afraid to ask for advice, even if it means sending another email.
Working digitally can make asking for help feel near impossible. Remember that no one expects you to have all of the answers and sometimes that means sending more than a few emails or requests for clarification. It's not like you can pop your head into your boss' office to ask for assistance. There's nothing wrong with needing a hand.
Take a break and move your space.
Sitting in the same chair all day is less than healthy OR productive. Give yourself the breaks you need and don't be afraid to take five minutes to move your workspace. A change in atmosphere is a great way to remotivate yourself mid-afternoon.
It can be tough to remain professional while working from home. Try and remember that you are still in a work setting and should treat every day like an interview. If this is something you struggle with, remind yourself daily with a sticky note on your laptop or the wall in front of your workspace.
Use your resources.
Use this time working from home to make use of your company resources. Whether that means utilizing LinkedIn Learning or spending some extra time on your company webpage, there are countless tips, tricks and digital classes available to you as a member of the work from home family. Before you let yourself get digitally discouraged, make sure you've done your research on what you can do to combat your challenges.
There are plenty of resources out there about working from home but few of them address the segment of the population working formally for the first time. This change is not easy for anyone. No one saw this coming and no one expects you to be perfect from the start. I am extremely thankful for my company and for the work that has gone into making my internship as meaningful as possible. More than anything, we have to rely on our professional networks during this time. If there is anything I can help you, personally or professionally, you know where to reach me.
Oh, curious about the M&Ms? Let me know, I'd love to share this SAS tradition with you, too!