Benefits of In-Person vs. Remote Work
An Interns Perspective on Our Work Culture

By: Haley Duford, Summer 2023 PR Intern

As a UF college student searching for internship experience in the public relations industry, I saw many opportunities through LinkedIn and career fairs. Most internships were not feasible for a full-time college student living in Gainesville. I also needed something with flexible hours and a culture where I could grow professionally.

At the end of my spring semester, I attended the UF College of Journalism and Communications’ career fair. Although I would not be graduating until December, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to practice talking to professionals in the field and learn how to market myself better. At the fair, I met Erin Pagán, vice president of public relations at &Barr, and instantly fell in love with the agency. Erin took the time to listen to both my work and school experience and was attentive to my career goals and eagerness to grow. I was fortunate enough to land a summer internship with &Barr. I needed to work in person with PR professionals and see what day-to-day life looks like inside an agency.

Going to school in a small college town does not provide ample in-person PR opportunities, which led me to a remote internship during the fall and spring semesters. I was eager to learn the ins and outs of the field beyond my textbooks and lectures but was worried I would miss a huge learning opportunity by not physically working alongside my supervisors. I quickly learned that working remote was a flexible solution for full-time college students. I built media lists, wrote pitches and researched awards and events. While working remote, however, I never met my colleagues in person, so forming a collaborative relationship with them was difficult. I also found it challenging to ask questions and receive timely feedback on my work. Additionally, I never saw the agency-to-client interactions, which I quickly learned at &Barr is an important part of any PR professional’s skillset.

My passion for public relations has only grown since working alongside my supervisors, Shelby Eiger and Cole Purvis, at &Barr. They take the time to listen to my questions and make sure I understand everything being discussed. I have had a lot of exposure to agency and client conversations and can now take these skills into my career. I have seen how Shelby quickly responds to client questions and is fully prepared for every meeting.

I’ve had the opportunity to write pitches, research media outlets and work through problems quickly as a team. My AP style proficiency and PR writing skills have improved this summer as each of my supervisors sat down with me to provide feedback on my work and explain every edit along the way. In addition, working in person has helped me learn the importance of workplace etiquette. I am fortunate that I got to experience both remote and in-person internships. However, as I graduate and step out into the “real world,” I will be in search of in-person agency work. I believe a physical agency setting is where we learn the most from others, form relationships with colleagues and tackle problems more efficiently and collaboratively.

Working at &Barr this summer reassures me that being in person far outweighs the benefits of remote work, and &Barr was a great experience for me to learn this first-hand.

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