7 Ways to Stay Engaged During a Remote Internship

October 1, 2020

 Remote positions pose many pros and cons to consider. While students are missing out on the ability to learn hands-on and speak face-to-face with their peers and mentors, the limits on where they can apply are reduced. A student that goes to school in Ohio, but lives in Seattle might previously only consider those two locations when applying for internships. Today, that same student can apply to any remote position that is offered and still manage to save money by living at home.

Although some opportunities have been opened, many doors have also closed. Internships and post-graduate full-time positions have been cancelled altogether. According to Glassdoor, an online career search engine, internship opportunities dropped 49% since last year while full-time positions fell 27% 

This summer, Duet brought on a few new interns in areas like Business Development, Product Design, and Engineering. While most of these interns are all undergraduates or recent graduates, they reside all over the country, and even internationally. 

While Duet focuses on Choice, Connection, and Community in our daily output, these themes are central to keeping a positive and efficient work environment internally. There are many different ways the interns and other team members can work collectively to ensure we all stay engaged, so here are the seven that we believe make the most impact.

1. Monday Check In

Every Monday begins with a check-in for the interns with our Duet co-founder Michael Cesar. The majority of these check-ins cover the goals for the week. One by one, each intern will explain what projects they are working on for the week, and then continue to list any deliverables for each day to have a documented form of accountability moving forward. There is a lot of motivation that stems from sharing each other’s goals and projected successes for the week, and in this, we keep each other eager to get our work done. 

The first five minutes of these meetings is crucial. Everyone is on a different time schedule, and everyone has their own personal issues to deal with on a daily basis. In order to be mindful of possible aggressions that are under the surface, we begin each Monday check-in with “Lights”. By acknowledging whether our current state is either a “green light”, “yellow light”, or “red light” we can give our team members the opportunity to become aware of our eagerness to work hard that day or perhaps our irritability for the particular moment. Without in person conversation, it is often difficult to read how a person may be feeling. This is an important way to determine how to address a team member in an appropriate way. 

2. Tuesday All team meeting

Duet is split into multiple departments, so it is important to widen the scope and understand what the company is working on as a whole. The aim for our Tuesday meeting is to have everyone on the same page in terms of our overarching goals, and understanding what each department is working on. Because of differing time zones and outside scheduling conflicts, meetings are usually later in the evening at 8 pm PST, so it is imperative to keep everyone focused. A powerpoint is created beforehand and each individual has an opportunity to add a few bullet points or a slide to help explain their ongoing projects. 

Spruced throughout that same powerpoint are a few different slides that help bring some lighthearted fun into the meeting. Some of these slides include; A Moment of Mindfulness from Raghav, Spence’s Color Corner, Salad Tips by Pearl, Lucas Hu’s Wholesome Happenings, Stephanie’s Professionalism Corner, or Rhys’ MCAT Science Fact of the Week.

3. Wednesday Lunch Discussions

Wednesday lunch is a quick, thirty minute conversation between the interns and our co founders Rhys Richmond and Michael Cesar. Everyone involved will have received a link to one or two videos that we must watch before joining our lunch meeting. The point of the meeting is just to get some conversation going about what everyone thought about the video. With remote work, people usually only converse with each other on work related items. It is important to schedule time for everyone to just be themselves and talk about an array of different topics together. Some of these topics have a direct relation to Duet, and others could not be further off. 

Whether it be a TedTalk titled “To Help Solve Global Problems, Look to Developing Countries” or a Youtube video titled “Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder”, these talks are considered one of the fun perks of the week. You can also find the recordings of our Wednesday Lunch Discussions on our Youtube channel! 

4.One on Ones

As an intern, it can be easy to fly under the radar and just keep work functions to a minimum; a ‘get in, get out’ mindset. With possibly only a few months with this company, Duet aims to fulfill each and every work experience and make way for each member to make it their own. 

Every other week an intern can schedule a specific 30-60 min period of time with a co founder. This is the time to talk about any questions that need to be answered, task specific updates, or even just life itself. The one on one atmosphere provides a more in depth check into the projects for the week, as well as the head space that each other has been at. In this session, it is common to talk about how you have been feeling through the pandemic, if you have anything you have been worried about lately, or if you need a sounding board on a task you have recently been assigned. 

5. Friday Check Out

Mondy’s start the week off with a Check In, so Friday’s end us off with a Check Out. The weekly check out goes over Monday’s check in deliverables and see what got done, and where there were any roadblocks. It is a Friday meeting, and includes a small send off into the weekend. Skribbl is an online charade/pictionary type game where we guess what someone is drawing. Competition can bring a team together in ways that we often forget. This helps us go off into the weekend happy about what we achieved that week, as well as a playful mood after a fun game with coworkers. 

6. Basecamp Professionalism

Remote work can be messy. Duet uses a platform called Basecamp. As it alludes to in the name, Basecamp is a home base for everyone to view their involvement with the team. Below is a screenshot of a Basecamp Homepage. 

With a home page titled “Duet HQ”, you can message the whole team, see what projects have been uploaded, and post any links that are important to the work you are doing. Duet separates itself into a few different teams. For picture reference, the Business Development team includes every member that has a business-related position such as sales, marketing, or finance. The Marketing team includes our marketing coordinators, graphic designers, and founders and is where all collaboration on social media and email marketing goes on. Any specific projects or campaigns are listed and include anyone that is working on them!

The functionality of messaging with an entire group or just directly to one member is incredibly helpful. Emails can get lost and are incredibly messy when it comes to having ongoing conversation with large groups of people. This keeps our Duet work in one space. 

Basecamp is also an incredibly user-friendly application. Having the app on your phone is a handy way to keep work as flexible as you choose, like going for a walk or having your morning coffee out on the porch away from your computer.


7. Staying active 

The final way that the Duet team stays engaged includes accountability for our health. Quarantine can have so many effects on mental health, so it is very important to stay active and safely get out of the house when possible. Many Duet members use an application to track their exercise and share their progress with one another. This Nike running app has a sharing capability which makes it easy to send it off as a message in Basecamp. Corepower has a great array of free online classes that people will often highlight in a check in or post a link in message for other Duet yogis to try it out!

These seven ways that Duet has implemented to keep each department engaged, involved, and on-task have been a tremendous benefit for times like these. Staying in touch and finding the perfect balance between professional and personal connection can help maintain the internal Duet community that we also externally strive to provide for others. With a global pandemic and international and economic turmoil, Duet must always be putting in maximum effort to get people the help and supplies they need.