Conducting my internship virtually has certainly introduced both benefits and hurdles, but overall I am extremely happy in the company where I am working. One of the hardest things about remote work is that, naturally, all communication and interactions has to be virtual. I have found this to restrict group problem solving; I can’t just pop into the office of a colleague or supervisor to ask them quick questions about the project, and I also try to avoid spamming their phone with emails every minute of the day. As a result, I end up having to condense a lot of my questions and comments into our periodic conversations. Also, being virtual means conversations have to be scheduled. Consequently, conversation about non-work related topics is slightly less organic.
That being said, virtual work has offered me a great work-life balance. Rather than being evaluated based on daily hourly dedication, I am evaluated on pace of completion. Although this distinction seems subtle at first, it does make a great deal of a difference in practical matters. In a normal office setting, it is considered odd and often unacceptable to simply not show up any given day. On the other hand, working virtually enables me to do a lot of work on one day and none on a day in which I have other matters to tend to. Orienting my internship in this way enables me to be both happier and more productive.
In addition, my internship has undoubtedly furthered me towards my goals to strengthen both technical and social skills. In academic contexts, I have total control over the direction of my papers, essays and projects. The success and failure is based purely on my planning and execution of tasks. This is not the case in my internship. My supervisors, my coworkers, and I all have our own opinions of how a project should proceed, so the outcome of any given project is driven far more on the ability of the group to coordinate their ideas and efforts, as opposed my own motivation of for any task I have for school. With this comes an entirely different set of skills. Rather than being able to quickly process information and arrive at a conclusion, much time is spent on articulating ideas and balancing concessions.
Additionally, I am finally becoming functional in Salesforce and Excel’s Power Query. It has taken a lot of trial and error, exploration, and informational videos, but I am now able to comfortably navigate and solve business problems on EMA‘s digital platforms. Given the nature of work in business and law, the technical and social skills I am learning will be crucial in any kind of work environment I may encounter in my future career.