Before I started my remote internship with General Motors this summer, I was very skeptical about working remotely, especially a corporate nine-to-five from my childhood bedroom in Massachusetts. I vividly remember the night before I started my job — pacing around my room a nervous mess stressing about how this summer was going to turn out. While I undoubtedly had some uneasiness starting such an important job remotely, I quickly adapted to, and even enjoyed, working remotely this summer. Remote work may seem intimidating, especially as a people person like myself, but I found there to be quite a few unexpected benefits of remote work. With my summer complete, here are four unexpected benefits I experienced while working remotely.
You Can Work From Anywhere
Sometimes you just really want to work from your warm cozy bed, or even your favorite couch. When you work remotely, you can easily do that whenever you want! On days where I knew I had a lot of writing to do, I would find myself periodically navigating to my bed to work. While I preferred to work at my desk, since it felt more like an office setting, it was nice to have the option to move somewhere a bit more comfortable.
With remote work, not only are you able to work from the comfort of your own bed, but you can even travel. During the summer, I bounced around between my house in my hometown and my friend’s apartment in Amherst. Not only did this provide a much-needed change of scenery, but I found myself to be even more productive with people around. While it is important to travel safely during this time, I was grateful to spend some essential time with my friends — something that I would not have been able to do if I had to work in an office in Detroit, where General Motors is headquartered.
The amount of time I saved without having to commute to work was wonderful. Last summer, I worked in Rhode Island, and spent at least two hours each day commuting to and from work. While I love driving, I hate traffic just as much as the next person. Now that I no longer had to drive to work each morning, I had significantly more time back in my day, which was an awesome perk of working from home. You do not realize how much of your day is eaten away by commuting until you no longer have to do it.
More Time in the Day to Spend Doing Things You Love
Now that I no longer had to commute to and from work every day, I had a lot more time in my schedule to do things that make me happy. One thing in particular that I enjoy is working out. Now that I did not have to drive to work, I used that time to work out in the morning. I loved being able to start my day with some movement, and I truly believe that it helped enhance my productivity at work. Similarly, when work was over, I was already home so I could jump right into spending time with my family, cooking, playing video games, and just about anything else I enjoyed doing. It was so refreshing to not come home tired and exhausted after a long commute. Just being able to buy back a bit more time in my day very much improved my overall happiness and well-being, a huge perk of remote work.
One of the biggest benefits of this remote experience was the professional growth opportunities. Since General Motors is such a large company with many different offices around the world, if I were in office this summer, it would be nearly impossible to network with others who were not located in the Renaissance Center in Detroit — like I was going to be. As a virtual intern, I was able to network with both full-time employees and interns from across the company located in many different parts of the world. Some of my most meaningful and engaging conversations were with people in the company that I would have likely not have had the opportunity to work with — let alone connect with. Being virtual pushed me to expand my networking opportunities with the power of the internet, something I greatly valued during my time at General Motors.
Aside from networking, as a remote intern, I was able to develop my adaptability, leadership, independence, and teamwork skills. Being remote, it was extremely important that I was on top of my tasks and stayed connected with my team as if I were in the office. This experience pushed me to quickly adapt to a new way of work and working in a new company, grow as a leader, learn independence, and how to effectively work with my team as a remote intern, all skills that I likely would not have developed without this remote experience.
While working remotely does come with its issues, there are a lot of great benefits that come with this work environment as well. If you are willing to take the challenge, why not try looking for a remote internship opportunity in the future? It might just surprise you!