Natasha Carlyle outlines her experience of the virtual marketing internships that became the norm during COVID-19.
The first time I applied for a remote working internship, I was excited. For me, the remote working element provided a world of new opportunities.
I was living in an area were marketing internships were few and far between and I’d had to pass up many previous opportunities because of impractical commutes.
Now, where I lived was no longer a set back, working remotely meant I could apply for positions all over the world.
I was fortunate enough to land the job. My previous internship in an actual office had come to an end and with COVID restrictions coming into place while I was living with vulnerable people, the timing couldn’t have been better.
The first few weeks of the internship were great. I had always liked the idea of being able to work remotely, from anywhere in the world. The idea of being able to travel while pursuing a career was something that suited me perfectly but unfortunately lockdown restrictions had made the travelling element impossible.
Being stuck at home constantly meant I began to experience remote working internship burnout.
Struggling with Work Life Balance
Not being able to leave the house meant maintaining a work vs life balance became difficult.
It wasn’t like there was a commute to work to break up the day to get me in the mindset to work. There were times I’d wake up 10 minutes before I was due to start and simply open my laptop and start working from bed. It was difficult to know when to ‘switch off’.
I found my concentration started to lag at times.
Working in a house with two retired family members meant that our day-to-day lives were very different. Often I’d hear the noise of the vacuum cleaner while struggling to listen to an important conference call and it made completing tasks difficult.
I found that days would often go on for longer than intended. Instead of stopping work at the time I was supposed to finish, I often felt the need to carry on and finish tasks that took longer than expected just so my employer didn’t think that I was ‘slacking’ in any way.
Looking back, I may have been experiencing a form of impostor syndrome – not being in an office or ever meeting my employer face-to-face meant that I had been given more ‘trust’ than I had been used to having and I was afraid to abuse it in any way.
Within a few weeks I had started to experience burn out. My bedroom had become my office and I spent my lunch breaks in front of my screen as I was afraid to be seen taking ‘time off’. It soon became apparent that this would have to change.
I set about creating more of a routine for myself.
Instead of the daily commute I was used to, I started taking my dog for a walk before work hours to try and break up the day a little. I made a point of eating lunch in the kitchen and logging off after giving my employer an update at the end of the day to do something that didn’t require sitting in front of a screen.
Things got even easier when I moved into my own apartment – although not the most spacious, I was finally able to designate an area to my work which meant that ‘switching off’ in the evenings was possible.
I still couldn’t leave the house much but at least the area that I worked was not the same area which I slept and relaxed in.
My advice to anyone struggling to adjust to working at a virtual internship would be to create a routine for themselves in place of their usual work commute. I found that it really helped with my mindset and got me ready for the day.
If possible, I would also recommend having a separate area for work as it really helps with separating your work life from your home life. Creating a schedule can help keep you focused and on task. Click here for a free work from home schedule.
Now that I’ve put those measures in place, I’ve really started to enjoy remote working and and the flexibility that comes with it.
About the Author
Natasha Carlyle is a Marketing Intern at The Future of Marketing and current Business Management student at the Open University.
Having completed a degree in Business Economics at Queen’s University Belfast in 2016, Natasha spent a number of years working abroad in various PR and Event Management Roles before deciding to return home and pursue a career in Marketing.
The Future of Marketing is developed by BlueSky Video Marketing