By Heather Taylor
While nothing says “living the dream” quite like working a telecommuting internship, (No morning traffic! Free swag! Twenty-hour workweeks!), remote work is still work. If you don’t make a concentrated effort to treat it as such, your supervisor will take notice – or worse, forget about you. (You know what they say about out of sight, out of mind!) While you may not be able to bring your boss Starbucks every day, there are other ways to wow from afar.
1) Dress like a professional.
The pajama crowd might not like hearing this, but the clothes you wear reflect just how seriously you take the job. Dress to impress and to boost your own inner confidence. You never know when you might suddenly be messaged to join in a video conference – and I guarantee you that call will only come when you’re clad in ratty PJs with serious bedhead.
2) Communicate often.
Whether it’s through email, text, Skype, Google Hangouts, or Google Chat, check in with your team as much as possible while working remotely. Not only does this help combat feelings of loneliness (and you will get those from working day in and day out from home), but this also shows you’re actively and positively engaged, says Amera Fattah, Content Manager at JMJ Phillip Executive Search. You’re part of the team now, even if you are long distance. Keep it that way!
3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you’re confused or unsure of anything, don’t wait to reach out for help. Email your supervisor or see if you can schedule a Google Hangout discussion. Don’t be embarassed—asking questions is one of the most proactive things you can do in the workplace. Interns that do the best work tend to be the ones that actively communicate with their managers, notes Steven Rothberg, president and founder of College Recruiter.
4) Raise your hand.
As an intern, you need to be ready to dive into the company culture and leave your mark. There’s no better way to do that than by asking for an opportunity to prove yourself. “Keep an eye out for greater responsibilities you can handle and ask for them,” says Wes Higbee, Consultant at Full City Tech Co.
5) Remember that quality of work > quantity of hours spent working.
You were hired because of your talent, so it’s time to show the team what you can do. Once you’ve wrapped up an assignment, proofread it once more before submitting it to your boss. Same goes with your emails and messages – address everyone politely, make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors, and sign your name. Don’t add Emojis, funky fonts, or reply “K” to any emails. Rothberg explains: “Interns who perform the best are able to focus on the outcome of their work. They understand that it isn’t so much about the hours they put in but about the quality of the work they delivered.”
6) All caught up? Ask for more work!
Rather than use your extra time to play around on Instagram or Tumblr, ask for more work, suggests Fattah. “Don’t sit around and wait for someone to give you something to do,” she says. “Go above and beyond to show that you are working diligently.”
And ICYMI, asking for extra work, or even suggesting an initiative you’d like to take on and think would truly benefit the company, shows just how dedicated you are to the internship. Your actions may even set the precedence for the next interns to come!
If you haven’t read it, check out Ed’s Are Remote Internships Worth It?