Happy National Internship Day!
As we continue to navigate the ever-changing impacts and guidelines surrounding COVID-19, one thing is for certain: technology can make or break the success of a business operating in today’s virtual work environment.
If you are like me, learning how to operate new technology can be overwhelming and stressful at first. However, the regular use of virtual communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom has become a necessity for businesses operating in a work from home environment. This technology allows for efficient communication and has become, in a sense, the “glue” that holds everyone together. Now, instead of being a temporary solution to a global pandemic, many businesses are likely contemplating whether these virtual platforms could provide a more permanent replacement to in-person communication. However, if this is the case, how would it affect a business’ ability to hire new employees and conduct the training process that goes along with it?
I was hired as a tax intern this past January before the full effects of COVID-19 hit America. However, two months into my internship, we were asked to take our computers home and continue working remotely for everyone’s safety. I was in the unique position of having been an intern the year before, prior to any need for a virtual work environment. Looking back, it has been interesting to compare the experiences of both internships – one being traditional and the other virtual.
With my virtual internship came many new challenges. For example, it was no longer possible to walk down the hall and ask a quick question, and physical copies of client data were no longer directly accessible. However, the communication platform and technology set in place allowed me to continue to work and learn in this new virtual environment. It took some time to adjust, but I could not have made it through tax season without this technology.
With that being said, learning virtually was sometimes difficult as an intern. Trying to understand new concepts or software processes through chat messages, emails and other virtual communication methods proved to be a bit time consuming and challenging at times. While both internships undoubtedly provided valuable experiences, it is hard for me to ignore the additional benefits of an in-person learning environment.
Based on what I experienced, working from home may be a great option for those who have years of experience at their job, but it could possibly hinder the overall growth and performance of newly hired employees.
Intern or staff, we may still be working remotely but we’re still here to help. Feel free to contact your Henry+Horne tax preparer with any questions.