Five and a Half Benefits of a Small Office Internship

-Lesley Amy

I like cats, I like talking to people, and I love learning new things. I have a deep appreciation for all things goofy and strange, and pride myself on being a very well-spoken college graduate who has always been told I seem “very mature for my age.” I am someone who will observe my surroundings and then react accordingly in order to present myself properly in any given situation, and my mother has always described me as someone who can “bloom wherever I am planted.” I also forgot to mention my love of peanut butter, which is important.

Before I graduated from college, I was given the opportunity to work for a professional sports team during my first co-op at Drexel University. While that internship was a very, very awesome experience, my five weeks as an intern with Buchanan Public Relations have shown me there are so many differences between large and small offices. With this new perspective on work environments, I have found multiple benefits to working in a small office over a larger, more complex organization.

1. Culture is everything. I could tell how important the office culture was to everyone here right from my initial interview. Since Buchanan is a small office, the new interns must fit in with the existing culture because when you work so closely with people, one person can change the entire vibe of the office space. By considering the feelings, needs and personalities of the staff, you can strengthen the group as a whole by adding another strong log to the house. When culture is a priority at the office, the employees will enjoy working there and create a positive and constructive work environment. And when a culture includes traditions, like everyone eating lunch together on Fridays, it’s a simple way to feel like part of the staff as an intern.

2. No one gets lost. Being part of a small office prevents anyone from getting lost in the papers or falling through the cracks. When I was in the big office, I sometimes felt like I wasn’t involved in many of the things going on around the water cooler. At Buchanan, I am designated to help on six different accounts, and as the intern, I am able to support the employees when they need it. Everyone here wants to show me what is happening on all the accounts I am involved in and values the time and effort I put into the work I produce for them. I do not feel like a seat in a sea of cubicles, and even as the office is in the process of adding more interns for the summer, the team is making sure the interns are not by themselves or separated from the group. It’s nice to know the intern isn’t just “the new kid.”

3. It’s easier to get involved and learn, and be taught. When you work for a larger company, whether you are an intern or an employee, it might be more intimidating to go to your superiors and ask questions and for help. As someone who loves to learn new things, I am a sponge. I make sure to ask every question I need to in order to complete a task correctly, and ask as many questions as I can so I learn as much as possible while I am here. I take in everything the full-timers tell me and teach me, and I am forever grateful for that. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have had my first television hit yet!

4. It’s easier to get to know everyone. A smaller office allows you to get to know everyone on a more personal level, and much faster, too. At my first internship, it was hard getting to know everyone because people were either really busy, didn’t need my help, or weren’t interested in getting to know who I was in the first place. In a small office, you can spend more time building relationships with your coworkers. You learn their likes and dislikes, their love for animals, and it makes you want to double-check that your office mate isn’t allergic to peanut butter. Quality over quantity.

5. You have a better chance at making a lasting impression. A smaller office allows your unique personality, and hard work ethic, to shine a little brighter. Sure, your immediate boss and maybe your department will see the work you do in a large office, but it’s easier for your executives to recognize your work when they are right down the hall. And when your work immediately achieves great results for clients, they notice that, too. Plus, it’s harder for them to avoid my puns and jokes in our smaller work environment. A positive, lasting impression will be what your boss remembers when thinking of hiring you or giving you that recommendation for the next position in your career.

1/2. You just happen to laugh a little bit more. While everyone has their own version of fun wherever they work, it’s cool when we can fit the whole staff into one person’s office to watch a three minute viral video – and consequently all end up with tears streaming down our faces from laughing so hard. Or enjoy the Friday lunches together full of unusual conversations and talk of weekend plans. Or enjoy the company of others as the office dogs run after the tennis ball you threw down the stairs.

If you have something you love about your small office environment, please let us know in the comments below!