How to Ease the Transition When Interns Go Back to School


As the summer draws to a close, your organization’s interns are about to go back to college. Their departure often means less relief for admins in your office who have benefited from the assistance during the summer. How can you help your administrative team adjust to the change?

The end of summer always seems to sneak up on us. But this August, be proactive to help your organization handle the increased workload after interns leave. Here are four tips to alleviate the back-to-school blues for your administrative staff:

1. Pinpoint what needs to be covered

Start by talking to your administrative staff to find out exactly what duties will truly need to be carried on once internships are complete. Students don’t usually perform tasks that are mission critical, but you still need to know which areas are going to be impacted by their departure. A little forethought while you still have the extra office help will go a long way toward balancing the situation later.

2. Share the load

Common internship tasks that may need attention include data entry, email blasts and online research. Reassign those ongoing activities across several full-time employees, rather than weighing down one person. Distributing the administrative workload among various staff members can ease the back-to-school transition. If you encounter roadblocks in delegating those duties, think about whether your department is adequately staffed.

3. Research a work-study program

If the loss of summertime help will greatly affect the flow within your office, contact a local university to see if it offers year-round work-study programs. Often, companies or nonprofits can hire undergraduate students at a reduced rate to cover their Federal Work Study awards. For example, the University of Oregon’s program bills nonprofit organizations half of the participant’s Work Study wages.

4. Consider reinforcements

You can also bring in temporary administrative professionals to complete jobs that interns just didn’t get around to finalizing, or to ease the transition as workloads rebalance. A temp agency can evaluate your administrative needs and determine the best way to staff your office. Even if temps are only working during the back-to-school adjustment period, they can be a great help and morale boost. If all goes well, you may even decide to transition your temporary employees to full-time hires.

Interns are a valuable resource for administrative teams, and you may not realize how much you rely on them until they’ve gone back to school. Start planning now for the shift in workload to keep office life manageable for the rest of your team.

How does your organization handle interns going back to school? Share your strategies in the comments section.

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