Telum vox pops: What do the interns have to say?
We've heard from Regional Heads, Founders and CEOs on Telum - but what about interns? Telum caught up with four interns from PR agencies across SEA to hear what they've got to say on the valuable skills they've learnt and how they were supported through their experience working in a pandemic.
Sharah Athyde, Intern at Redhill Singapore
The most important skill that I have learnt during the pandemic, and in life more generally, is to rest. As has been documented, working from home presents challenges - it is harder for one to maintain boundaries between work and personal life, and easier for one to work beyond hours or at length without sufficient opportunity to rest. Learning to take breaks when needed, and to step away from the screen after a long working day has been imperative in helping me to maintain balance and a healthy mind for productive living.
Here at Redhill, during our Monday morning global team “scrums”, the importance of mental health is often a topic of discussion. Employees are encouraged to voice any difficulties that they may be facing with their BU Head, or with any other teammate that they feel comfortable speaking to. Working from home, and during a pandemic, is certainly difficult, but the company remains open to discussing challenges and crafting solutions so that everyone remains happy and well.
Avifa Khairunisa, Intern at Edelman Indonesia
Working fully from home has taught me a lot of skills and the most important one is working in a fast-paced environment. I learnt how to make the best of my time in handling one client so that I can work on other projects the next day. Working in a PR agency like Edelman has allowed me to enhance my multitasking skills, to move from one task to another without burning out and feeling stuck. Therefore, I have progress on each task that I am assigned to. I also feel improvement in my writing and research skills, by taking part in developing proposals and concept notes where I need to understand the background of each client through research and construct it accordingly with guidance from the team.
Edelman has helped me a lot to adapt and work effectively through its flexible working hours. If I have some urgent matters during working hours, I can inform my team and ask for a short leave for my personal appointments and be back to work right after that. My supervisor also gives me clear guidelines on each task and fast responses if I encounter difficulties. Apart from that, the IT team also assisted me in setting up my work email and virtual meeting platform which helped me adapt to my remote internship. I’ve gained a lot of memorable experience here, and the support from the company surely has made the challenging environment more fun.
Jerelynn Tee, Intern at Archetype Malaysia
The most important skills that I’ve learnt are adaptability and flexibility. As an undergraduate student and an intern, I had to repeatedly adapt in navigating my way socially, academically and professionally through these times of uncertainty. First was the sudden transition to online learning, followed by working from home. Instead of being constantly caught up in routine, I have learnt to take things in my stride. Accepting that life is uncertain and being comfortable with uncertainty has really helped me to see the possibilities in unanticipated change.
Good mentorship is essential to help me grow my knowledge and skills set as well as develop a meaningful internship experience remotely. At Archetype, communication and engagement with my managers and teammates via Slack or Zoom was easily accomplished. In addition to receiving constructive and motivational feedback for my work, my team would often reach out to check in with me on non-work-related things such as how I’m personally coping with everything.
Sharmaine Sheen C. Tisoy, Intern at EON Group Philippines
One challenge that we continue to battle with is our time management. As a student, spending more time at home may appear as an advantage at first glance, but the reality is it is a struggle to resist procrastination. I’ve come to value the importance of time management skills, especially in the course of my virtual internship training. I believe having good time management skills makes way for effective learning. It allowed me to prioritise tasks, so I was able to complete them before their deadlines. Not only did it lift my burdens as a student, it also created benefits as an intern at EON. My internship was challenged through a virtual setup, but I was privileged to be in a company that provided me with a meaningful experience despite this ongoing uncertainty. I was able to develop my skill in chunking and prioritising tasks and reassess the use of my time whenever something new comes up. It helped that the company emphasises the importance of scheduling, so I was able to track my schedules for a meeting, webinars, and even deadlines.
The shift from the traditional internship to a virtual one has deprived interns of the opportunity to experience the office environment. Nevertheless, I was fortunate that EON Group Manila values breaking through these changes to provide this type of learning. I was with a team of smart and motivated people that was an enormous factor in coping with this adjustment as they value the essence of patience and communication. Having effective communication is crucial during this time to ensure everyone's on the same page. They supported and brought me into the real action of their work as well, be it in meetings and brainstorming sessions that further enhanced my knowledge. I had a meaningful and fun experience working in a prestigious institution with people that inspired me to go all out with my potential even in this challenging moment.