Intern life in a pandemic…

COVID-19 has meant that internships this year have had to be remote. Over the summer we had the honour of four interns join team TAKUMI. We wanted to find out first-hand what their experience was like interning during a pandemic and the upsides and downsides to being a remote intern.

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Oli Adams — Project Manager Intern

What has it been like to start an internship during a pandemic?

It’s certainly been different! Finishing off my degree during the start of the pandemic offered a glimpse into remote working but being remotely introduced to an entire team was a whole new kettle of fish. Having said this, everyone was welcoming right from the get-go and I was given the chance to meet with members from all areas of the business from day one. It didn’t take long for me to feel like part of the team!

What is something valuable you’ve learned from your internship?

Apart from learning loads about the influencer marketing industry as a whole and how TAKUMI fits into it all, I think a really valuable skill I’ve learned is how to successfully do remote working. The term ‘new normal’ is being thrown around a lot at the moment and, although I don’t see working life becoming entirely remote anytime soon, there will certainly be some big changes that I now feel much better equipped for.

What is the biggest barrier to working from home?

It sounds cliché, but I’d say missing out on the general buzz of the office. Be it through overhearing conversations or catching up with people at lunch, it’s nice knowing what everyone outside of your direct team is up to and seeing how it all pieces together with the work you’re doing.

What advice would you give someone who is starting an internship whilst working from home?

Having a good workspace is the big one for me, preferably somewhere quiet and away from the rest of the household. Oh, and working outside at any opportunity! We had some cracking weather this summer and getting work done whilst topping up the tan is a win-win.

How did you build relationships with the team whilst working remotely?

Zoom calls became second nature pretty early doors, but they’d always have a business-related agenda and be in large groups. I found that organising quick catch up calls with no particular plan was a good way to hear what people were up to and to chat one on one.

Lucy Bacon — Marketing and Client Service Intern

What is something valuable you’ve learned from your internship?

It is hard to narrow it down to just one thing, I have learned a huge amount while working at TAKUMI. It has been fantastic to learn about what goes on behind the scenes of big marketing events and talks. I have also really enjoyed helping to create content that we have used to launch some new initiatives at TAKUMI such as TAKUMI X and the TAKUMI Female Collective.

What is the biggest barrier to working from home?

I think the biggest barrier working from home is that it’s harder to build relationships with your colleagues. I am quite a chatty person and I missed being able to talk to people during the day about work and what was going in their lives. However, I think TAKUMI did a really good job of giving us all opportunities to still bond while working remotely with 5 o’clock wind down on a Thursday and our Monday morning meetings.

What advice would you give to other interns?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your team to ask for help or advice. It’s can be daunting asking people for help when working remotely as you can’t just pop over to someone’s desk to ask a quick question. But you don’t need to be scared, people are more than happy to jump on a quick call with you to go through things.

How did you build relationships whilst working remotely?

I was very lucky and was able to attend two in-person socially distanced team get-togethers in the park which was a great way to start building relationships together. However, I did have an awkward moment when I went to the first get-together as it was in my first week so I didn’t really know what anyone looked like so I wandered around the park for about 10 minutes looking very lost!

Leo Kerrigan — Client Service Intern

What is something valuable you’ve learned from your internship?

Whilst working at TAKUMI, I’ve been taught the inner workings of what it means to advertise on social media. I think that this is a valuable knowledge to hold in the modern world that we live in, particularly now considering most of the adverts we have seen are on screens during quarantine.

What is the biggest barrier to working from home?

I find that the biggest barrier with working from home would have to be staying motivated. We have been taught that the workplace is the ‘place of work’ and home is our sanctuary from that, so to try and get into the working motivational spirit was hard at the start, but towards the end, I got very used to putting away distractions and becoming a hard worker.

What advice would you give to other interns?

I would definitely recommend writing things down in a notebook beside you, as much as calendars and timetables help, it’s really efficient to write things down to help you remember and keep a physical copy of what you’ve done if you ever want to look back on it.

How did you build relationships whilst working remotely?

Honestly, I found the zoom calls and slack texts to be just as socially fulfilling as face to face conversations. The weekly catch-ups and brainstorming conferences really helped me to get to know my coworkers.

Millie Gogarty — TAKUMI X Intern

What has been like to start an internship during a pandemic?

It was very unusual to be working from home; I enjoy an active day of going to and from places and meeting people in real life, so meeting everyone I was working with on Zoom was a bit of an adjustment!

What is something valuable you’ve learned from your internship?

I’ve worked on being pro-active in my job role; when working by yourself all day it is a struggle to keep motivated, however by continuously asking my co-workers what needs to be done or getting on with tasks myself, I’ve stayed productive and focused during my internship.

What is the biggest barrier to working from home?

Initially, it was a challenge to be working to a schedule again; I handed in my last piece of university work at the beginning of June, so to go back to a work schedule after some time away from that was something I struggled to get used to again.

What advice would you give someone who is starting an internship whilst working from home?

Stay active as much as you can! If you have time during your lunch break, go for a walk and spend some time outside. This will really help to keep you energised throughout the day and focused on tasks for the rest of the afternoon!

How did you build relationships with the team whilst working remotely?

Regular (virtual) meetings with the TAKUMI X team helped me to build relationships with the team, as meeting regularly meant I was invested in what we were doing and wanted to communicate any ideas I had. The team I was working in was friendly and approachable, so that really helped in building good relationships as well.

Thank you guys for all your hard work over the last few months! We have really enjoyed having you as part of our TAKUMI family and we can’t wait to see what you do in the future!