On expectations of working from home as an intern

By Nurin Najmina Zaidi

GOMBAK, 13 December 2020: A webinar titled “Intern Working From Home: Expectation Vs Reality,” held on Saturday (12 December) focused on the reality of working from home as an intern during the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharing his experience working under the present situation, Head of Transformation (Strategy and Programme) Group Finance, Abdullah Mapol, said that his company was first reluctant to go digital as they were not familiar with the technology and always had been working traditionally.

After the company went digital, there was a lot of administrative work that was no longer there. For example, usually, the secretary was required to manage the boss’s calendar. Now, they would not have to use the secretary anymore because they can look at the calendar at anytime.

“As an intern, this is the first kind of task that you are being exposed to. It teaches you how to manage your time, get to know the people and the organisation. However, during the pandemic, this kind of opportunity may not be there anymore,” Abdullah stressed.

The sharing session held from 2.30p.m to 4.00 p.m continued by dwelling on the general challenges during the internship.

Abdullah further spoke about the specific challenges during the internship especially when working at home. “Because of the distance where the workers have to work from home, the intern would not be able to know how the organisation environment works.”

“Secondly, virtual interns are not around other people. Therefore, it is hard to build rapport or a close relationship between the workers, network, and to get the essential management skills.”

Next, he said, it is difficult to administer intern’s commitment and communication which requires timely feedback, as the intern has to do the task and needs to be on time and also faces logistical constraint.

While the challenges seem to look daunting especially to be an intern in the midst of COVID-19, he added some tips to get the best out of that situation.

The first one is to be clear and to align with the goals by themselves, in meeting the supervisor’s and the organisation’s expectations. He also reminded them to be clear about their work expectation, and the expectations of the supervisor and the university and what the company wants.

Then, he emphasised on the preparation. He encouraged the interns to ask what the meeting is all about or be prepared beforehand on the topic that will be discussed.

It is also important to bring a notebook whenever they go for a meeting. They are also expected to be proactive by setting a clear expectations for yourself and others, be open-minded, and be resilient as all experiences are learning opportunities.

He further said that if someone gives a task, try to be an expert by doing that and try to improve. “This is a foundation for management skills and working principles. On top of that, simplify the job with integrity and ask for feedback consistently and timely.”

It is important for interns to be confident but not arrogant. He told the audience, “You have to be confident enough that you are a learner. You come to the organisation for you to learn. And learning comes with failures as a first attempt in learning.”

“Expect for you to fail, expect for you to make mistakes. The more you make mistakes now and learn from them faster, the better person you will become in the future, and a better leader,” he highlighted. ***

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