Tips for working virtually
Today, more and more teams are transitioning to virtual work. Working strictly online may be challenging but with the right knowledge, it’s possible to be productive and efficient even as a remote employee. When starting to work remotely, it can be difficult to get into the feel of things especially when transitioning from working in a traditional office environment.
Whether wanting to focus better on assigned tasks, handle the disadvantages of working virtually or become an expert at working remotely, these following tips will be helpful.
Set up a workspace
As a virtual employee, it is important to have a dedicated workspace. While it’s great being able to set up a desk anywhere in one’s own home, just make sure the chosen space boosts focus and concentration. It won’t be helpful if you’re distracted by a nearby television, visible dishes in the sink or pets that need to be walked. That being said, one doesn’t need to have a separate room dedicated to a home office or even work at home at all. Just ensure that the workspace is organised and easy to work in. It could be refreshing to also change the workplace every once in a while to kill potential monotony or find inspiring scenery.
Keep a consistent schedule
Another great benefit of working virtually is having more flexible hours. One doesn’t need to work the traditional 9-5 hours as employees at home may find that they can get their work done in five hours instead. Not having a fixed schedule will most likely cause one to postpone work indefinitely. So, it’s essential to create a schedule that works well for your unique circumstances and stick to it! Being consistent can help one stay organized. It could be useful to stick to an old routine from previous days of working in the office. But, at home employees could also switch up their typical schedule and work until noon then run errands, do chores or unwind. This can be achieved by splitting the day into two 4-hour periods. Work for the first four hours, take an hour break and then do complete your work in the remaining four hours.
Switch off notifications
When working virtually distractions are endless. During work hours, switch mobile phones to airplane mode and block certain websites from the browser. Apps like Freedom can block distractions – both websites and apps – on all devices simultaneously which will make it much easier to stay focused and productive.
Facebook Messenger and Twitter also provide an option to mute a conversation for as long as one wants so that it won’t be tempting to chat all day.
Use video whenever possible
One of the disadvantages of working virtually is not being able to pick-up verbal cues when talking to co-workers via email or text. Tone can also be an issue when communication is mostly written. It’s easy to read too much into a certain text. Therefore, employees working from home should use video more often. Using video also helps minimise the feelings of isolation and loneliness that often accompany virtual work. Video conferencing is also a great way to clarify a task and collaborate in real-time with colleagues. This way one won’t need to spam their Slack channel. There are lots of free solutions that make it easy to jump on a quick video call. These include Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
Always make time to relax
It’s impossible to work eight hours straight without taking any breaks. In a traditional office, people chat with each other, make themselves coffee or grab a snack. The same applies when working virtually. Always take time out for a few minutes throughout the day to relax and not do anything work-related. This will help with productivity during allotted work hours and keep at home employees from becoming too consumed by their work. Declutter selected workspaces, call a friend, walk the dog, play with the kids – anything! As long as it involves being away from that computer for at least 15 minutes, one will feel refreshed.
Find the right balance between work and personal life
According to this article written by Noel Griffith PhD, “75% of remote workers say that their remote schedule helps them achieve their desired work/life balance”. While this can be true, working virtually can also make it hard for some people to unplug. When working virtually, the lines between work and home life can be easily blurred.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial in order to improve physical, emotional and mental well-being. When planning out a schedule, include ways that help achieve a balance between work and personal life. Work-life balance isn’t only about making sure at home employees do not overwork themselves, it’s also about helping to accomplish work goals while still making time and memories with the people in one’s life.
When trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s important to get help. If feeling overwhelmed and overworked, outsourcing to a virtual assistant is one of the best solutions to help get time back.
The editorial unit