Navigating My Remote Internship at Google

 Like most internships over the past couple of years, I was working from home for the whole duration of the three months I was interning at Google last year (2021). Even though things are starting to “return to normal”, I think there may still be some completely remote, or hybrid internship situations going on this summer. So I wanted to share some of my top learnings from my remote business internship last year at Google.

#1. You have to be much more proactive with your communication

Obviously, conversations and learning opportunities are much easier to come by when in the office and surrounded by your colleagues, which means if you are remote you have to be much more intentional with all of your communication.

This could start with communication flows between yourself and your host manager. Ensuring that you have regular catch-ups in with your host is so important because they are not physically able to see how you’re getting on via both verbal and non-verbal communication.

My tips:

  • Have 2–3 catch-ups with your host manager per week and be prepared for these sessions with any concerns, questions, or blockers you have.
  • Put in meetings with your teammates in order to get to know them and build relationships.
  • Speak up and tell someone if: you are unsure as to what you’re supposed to be doing, don't have any work to do, or if you want to learn more about something specific — you have got to be the driver of your own internship!

#2. Learn to manage your time and emails

When your whole internship is basically via a laptop, it can get extremely overwhelming to receive endless meeting invites and emails. I remember feeling really anxious seeing my unread emails continuing to grow, and feeling like I had no handle on the situation.

My tips:

  • Use this ‘Organise your Inbox’ course to tidy up your emails and feel a sense of control.
  • Put dedicated focus time into your calendar so people know that this time is solely for you to work independently on your deliverables- Gmail has the ‘Focus Time’ feature!
  • Speak to your host about which meetings to attend if you are really getting swamped. They will be best placed to advise you which ones to prioritize if it's getting too overwhelming for you.

#3. Stay focussed on your main objectives

Interning at Google was such an amazing experience, there was so much going on and so much to get involved in. However looking back, I think I got a bit too overexcited and piled too much on my plate, to the point where I actually got myself stressed out because I was trying to focus on too much.

I had my own personal project to work on, as well as a group project — but then I decided to get involved in some other social groups too. I don’t regret doing this, but I would advise assessing how much time you really need to achieve your main goals, and then plan your extra-curricular activities around this.

My tips:

  • If you really want to get involved in an extra-curricular activity or social group, just choose the one you’re most passionate about to enjoy and focus on.
  • Tell your host you are getting involved with something outside your main project work — it is always best to keep them in the loop.
  • Speak up if things are getting too much and you need to take a step back from something — people are much more understanding than you think!

So now you’re ready to smash your virtual internship (and hopefully bag that return offer!)

Good Luck!

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