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Fee’s experience: 3 golden tips for an unforgettable internship during these difficult times

Fee’s experience: 3 golden tips for an unforgettable internship during these difficult times

The Covid-19 pandemic has substantially changed the work experience of many employers and employees. As an intern, this exceptional situation is quite challenging as well. When I agreed on my internship at Great Place to Work Belgium a year ago, I surely had a somewhat different experience in mind. But different does not have to equal less!

Despite everything, I got off to a pretty normal start in September working part time from the office in Leuven. Unfortunately, one month into my internship, a new lockdown in Belgium was announced. An internship at the office was replaced by an internship at home. Luckily, this switch went smoothly as I could count on full (digital) support from my team. Nevertheless, after several weeks working from my home office, I am already longing for the moment I can meet my colleagues in real life again, back at the office, instead of through a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Regardless of current difficulties, my responsibilities as an intern at Great Place to Work remain interesting. The challenging tasks I get involved in give me a lot of opportunities to learn and develop myself, even from my home office. The coming month of December will be a busy one when it comes to going through the different Culture Audits© coming in. I am glad that as an intern I was able to follow a training on the underlying model of the Culture Audit© and how the scoring of such a report works.
I am by nature a very curious person. Going through these Culture Audits is therefore a task that suits me perfectly as I get to know all the ins & outs of companies from different sectors.

In the past months I have learned a lot about HR topics such as recruitment and selection, remuneration, diversity and inclusion, communication and much more. The many warm initiatives that companies undertook this year to make the corona crisis a little more bearable for their employees have really touched me. By getting familiar with many current HR practices and original Best Practices, it becomes increasingly more fun to help provide recommendations for the future. I hope that many companies will consider my suggestions and that in this way I can contribute to creating better workplaces.

An internship during lockdown has both advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage for me would be that I don't have to travel from Ghent to Leuven every day and that this allows me to snooze a few more hours in the morning. During the lunch break there is now also time to have lunch with a friend, do an errand or go for a short walk. I will not lie: that's where most of the benefits stop. A high degree of independence and discipline are needed to work efficiently from home. As many will recognise, my productive days and less productive days alternate.

Despite everything, I am relieved that even in these difficult times my internship can still take place without major adjustments. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to going back to the office soon to experience the atmosphere of Great Place to Work even more!

My 3 golden tips for an unforgettable internship during these difficult times?

  • Stay in touch with your team. Call each other several times a week. Not only to go over your to-do list, but also for a social chat.
  • Get yourself involved in different projects. This way you get loads of learning opportunities and you quickly get to know the functioning of the company. Moreover, it provides you with a lot of variation in your daily tasks.
  • Use your lunchtime wisely. As tempting as it sounds to watch some Netflix, I prefer to clear my head during a short walk outside. A refreshing break makes my afternoons much more productive.