This summer I have been interning with a small consulting startup called Cavi consulting. As a small startup, Cavi has a fairly informal and relaxed culture that has certainly been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the need to work from home. The work is certainly taken seriously, but the ways in which people get their projects done are not regulated in any way. There are no prescribed hours that people must be working at or any sort of dress requirement. Interns are given lots of autonomy to take projects and work them how they see fit. My two bosses will offer advice and details on what they are looking for in a given project and are always available to answer questions and review work, but otherwise, they give us the ability to carry out the work freely. This attitude of autonomy is really nice because it gives us an opportunity to set our own schedules, work in ways that we prefer, and when we will be most productive. Our bosses genuinely value our input and thoughts on the projects we work on and they factor that into their decision making, which makes me feel as if the work I am doing is meaningful. This relaxed culture also bleeds into how we communicate. Since we are all in different places, we communicate through Slack, email, and Zoom pretty exclusively. As we have gotten to know each other better, the formality of these forms of communication has decreased slightly. Our meetings, while focused on work and the business at hand, are not extremely formal. We talk with our bosses as equals and it has helped me open up some and feel more comfortable with sharing my thoughts and opinions.
I definitely believe that the relaxed atmosphere that Cavi has is a strength of the organization. One reason is that they are currently pivoting from being a traditional startup to offering some online training courses and developing a software that they hope to sell, so their direct work with clients during the pandemic is pretty much non-existent. This lack of time-sensitive work allows for a more relaxed atmosphere and for us interns to focus on turning in really complete projects. I really liked that our bosses let us interns take control of the project and were available to us for questions and input, which also helped keep the relaxed culture because we weren’t forced to do work in any specific way or present it in a specific format unless they asked for it. I’ve really enjoyed my internship experience so far and would encourage more firms, especially smaller organizations or startups, to employ a more relaxed atmosphere and culture and to give their employees more freedom and autonomy to complete the work in ways that best suit them.