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The Downside of Virtual Internships
Considering all these benefits, here’s where virtual internships often fall short.
Limited Interaction with Colleagues
Virtual interns miss out on many of the social and professional benefits face-to-face interactions offer. It’s harder to build strong relationships—or even connect in a meaningful way—when working remotely. For employers, it can be harder to get a bead on how an intern collaborates with a team.
Lack of Structure and Support
Without the same level of oversight that comes with working onsite, virtual interns may struggle to stay organized and focused—and often have a harder time getting manager feedback. In one survey, interns expressed a preference for brief daily manager check-ins, plus one 30-60 minute weekly meeting. For many managers, this is more easily and organically accomplished in person.
Limited Exposure to Company Culture
Since virtual interns aren’t physically present in the workplace, they may not fully experience the company’s culture or values. This can make it more challenging to integrate into the company later—while making it harder for both employers and students to judge if it’s a good match.
Getting the Most from Your Internship Program
Of course, there is a place in the world for virtual internships. But sticking with them simply because they’re easier to manage isn’t a valid business reason, given all the tradeoffs.
If that’s the real issue, the solution may be to simply outsource the administration of your internship program. UrbanBound’s internship solution handles all of the logistics for employers—relocation, housing, stipend disbursement—while helping interns navigate the process with confidence.
That frees both students and employers to focus on building a relationship and leveraging the intern experience—which ultimately serves them both better down the road.
For more insights on building a vibrant, rewarding internship program, visit our online library. No doubt about it: internship programs are a wonderful thing. Make yours as wonderful as possible!