How COVID Has Changed the Viget Internship
Margaret Gerhardt, Former Recruiter
What can Viget interns expect from our Summer 2021 internship? Read on to learn about our transition to remote programs and what’s coming next.
Each summer, all of Viget looks forward to welcoming interns to our offices. We’re proud to be able to provide a strong training program that complements interns’ fields of study, and we enjoy learning from interns as well. They bring energy and new perspectives to our teams, and in addition to all the learning, it’s a fun time for everyone involved.
A Need for Flexibility
Although the program takes place in the summer, January through March is when the decision-making happens, which has made planning for this summer’s program a little more complicated than usual. We’re excited about returning to our offices in the near future and hope to do so before June, but we know we’ll need to remain flexible due to COVID-19. In order to get back to our offices safely, we’ll require that employees and interns working in an office have received the COVID-19 vaccination. Our current plan is to offer interns the option to work from one of our offices or remotely. Some advisors will still be working remotely this summer, and in those cases, interns will still have the option to work remotely as well or from one of our offices.
Making this summer’s program successful is going to take some flexibility and creativity, and we’ve had some practice with that lately. We’ve learned a great deal as we’ve adjusted to fully remote work as a team. In 2020, we also shifted to a remote summer internship and then offered a remote apprenticeship for the first time in the fall. Our Winter 2021 Apprenticeship is also fully remote. How did we do it, you ask? Here’s a look at some of the changes we made to ensure strong remote programs.
With everyone being distributed, we added a bit more structure to our programs than we typically do when we’re in our offices. We like to leave a little room for spontaneous walks to nearby coffee shops and bakeries, which allow interns and apprentices to get to know their coworkers outside of their discipline teams a little more easily. For Summer 2020’s remote internship, we matched our interns with full-time Viget “buddies” every two weeks to help foster connection, give interns a chance to learn about folks on other teams, and provide an extra resource to answer questions and share guidance.
Similarly, when interns and advisors are working in the same office side-by-side, shadowing on projects is a little simpler. We asked Advisors to consider ways they could offer their mentees more insight into their daily work routines and process through screen sharing and more frequent check-ins. It can take a bit more time and thought and some trial and error, but we think the result is worth the extra effort.
Offering Opportunities for Connection
We love being able to connect informally over coffee and midday for lunch in our offices, and we wanted to provide opportunities for connection, especially for new folks. We now host coffee chats on Monday mornings and Zoom “lunch tables” several times a week as well as a variety of optional virtual social events, including happy hours and trivia and game nights. We enjoy these kinds of activities when we’re together in person, and our virtual events have been fun, effective ways to build and maintain strong connections over the course of a difficult year.
Hosting Roundtable Discussions
Aubrey, Viget’s Employee Engagement Manager, organized a career-focused roundtable discussion attended by our Fall 2020 Apprentices and several of our apprentice alums. Past apprentices shared advice and perspective with current participants in the program. Using Zoom or Google Meet makes it easier for everyone to connect for valuable events like this whether we’re in-person or distributed, and we anticipate continuing this trend for future cohorts of interns and apprentices.
Listening to Feedback
We at Viget value feedback – it’s built into our personal goals and company culture. We use feedback from our interns, apprentices, and advisors to improve our programs over time. For example, we’ve adjusted our onboarding schedule so that new folks to these programs get all the information they need in a timely manner without feeling overscheduled or like there’s not enough time to settle in and get to know others from the beginning. As our programs evolve, we’ll continue to fine-tune them based on the feedback we receive.
The Viget Internship in 2021 and Beyond
Viget, like the tech industry in general, will become increasingly remote-friendly over the next few years. We’ll have remote employees who will want to mentor interns, and we expect to continue to see candidates who hope to participate in our program remotely. We’ve always had interns in different offices, so we aren’t daunted by virtual rapport building and collaboration, and we’ve had plenty of opportunities over the past year to level up our skills and strategies. What will be new is the possibility of having a hybrid program, where some interns and advisors are working remotely and others are working in an office. There are sure to be some adjustments in any case, but we’re ready to provide a strong program regardless of where our interns and advisors are located this summer. Ultimately, we want our interns to be prepared for success, and one element of that success is likely to be flexibility in working and collaborating in person and remotely.
This summer, as always, our interns will collaborate on a group project, leaving with a stellar portfolio piece. (If you’re curious what other intern cohorts have accomplished, check out some past projects.) They’ll have lots of opportunities for cross team collaboration and learning. And as I mentioned, the program is a whole lot of fun. We’re now accepting applications, and we hope you’ll apply! You can read all the details on the roles we’re offering and how to apply here.