Remote Internships 101: What You Need To Know

By Ashley Paskill on June 2, 2022

Several workplace policies have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including hiring interns. Companies are now deciding to hire remote interns instead of having interns work in person. While this is convenient for both parties, there are things you need to know about onboarding and prepping remote interns to work for your company.

Benefits of remote internships

You may already have a remote internship in place, or you may be in the process of setting one up. Either way, knowing the benefits of a remote internship can help encourage you to keep your program going. Having a remote internship allows you to be flexible with who you can hire, as these interns can work from anywhere. This also means that you are prepared for future outbreaks of COVID, especially after so many internships were canceled because of the initial outbreak of the virus. If your interns are college students, offering them a remote internship allows them flexibility and teaches them how to manage their work-life balance. It gives them a chance to see if remote work is something they may consider post-graduation.

Remote-friendly internship experience

While you may have an internship program in place, you need to ensure that it can be translated to a remote setting as well. If you have meetings at 9 am in your company’s time zone but the intern lives in a different time zone, it is crucial that you take that into consideration, especially if the intern is also a current student. Ask yourself if you have the software, communication, and time to reformat an internship program to be remote. If so, it will be easier for the intern to be able to come in and get to work. However, if you are figuring out the remote internship while onboarding the intern, they will be left with a lot of questions and a bad taste in their mouth. Fumbling to get things going can reflect poorly on your company, so it is better to have a remote internship set up before bringing in the intern(s).

Onboarding interns

Just like in-person interns, it is important to prepare your intern for success. This means introducing them to coworkers who will help them learn and grow as well as informing them about all aspects of their job. Let them know when meetings are held and how frequently. Make sure they are comfortable with the software and applications your company uses and ensure their login information works. Be sure to include them in meetings and tasks and avoid looking at them as industry “newbies.” Make sure you train the interns so they know what they have to do and are able to get their tasks done on time.


Keep communication open

As with having an in-person intern, it is likely they will have some questions, especially initially when they are starting out. Be sure to keep a line of communication open, whether it means a phone call, email, messaging website, or text. Feel free to check in with them throughout the day to see how things are going and see if there are any questions you can answer for them. Having remote interns makes it difficult, especially when you can simply drop in when you are in person. Remind them that you are available to answer any questions, as they are interning to learn as much as they can.

Along this same vein, keep opportunities for fun talk open. If you use a messaging platform such as Slack, have a channel that is specifically for fun conversation topics. This allows the intern to have a space to tell you and their coworkers a bit more about themselves and know they are welcome to have a space for fun, even in a work platform. Having this space mimics office small talk about each other’s weekends, side hobbies, and other things that happen outside of work.

Provide a schedule

As with remote work, having a remote internship can be challenging, especially with the desire to work outside of normal business hours. Encourage remote interns to stick to a set time schedule, and consider giving them a schedule of tasks they can do at certain times of the day. This will encourage them to disconnect from the internship and make sure they are taking time for themselves and their studies. Help them learn time management while on the clock so they know how to be productive when needed. Be sure to have them schedule their breaks so they are not working through lunch breaks. If there is a meeting scheduled, let the intern know well in advance so they can plan their tasks and work around the meeting and still get their work done.

Having a remote internship program may seem difficult, but there are multiple benefits and approaches you can take that will help you and your interns be as successful as possible.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Get College Recruiting News Monthly

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format