Working from home can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic! The shift away from traditional office spaces can be very difficult for those who have not worked in a virtual office environment before. Working effectively in a Virtual Office environment is not as easy as it first seems. However, there are a few basic steps you can implement to help keep your productivity on track. In addition, you will also find they help your mental health wellness.
Routine Is Key
At the start of the pandemic, everyone got excited about working from the sofa in their pyjamas. However, it wasn’t long before that novelty wore off. Even though you might not be physically driving to the office as normal, keeping your normal morning routine is the best way to set yourself up for a productive day. There are lots of distractions at home, and without your coworkers to keep you on track it is very easy to get sidetracked. By sticking to a similar work routine you are more likely to get lots of work done.
In practice, what this means is you should wake up at the same time as normal (unless you have a significantly reduced commute), shower, and get dressed in your usual work clothes. Make sure you set allocated time for a lunch break, a mid-morning coffee and your afternoon snack if this is what you would normally do in the office. Create a virtual office routine that is a true reflection of your traditional office routine.
Create Work-Life Boundaries
Another key to working effectively in a Virtual Office environment is to set work boundaries. We mean boundaries rather than balance here. It is very easy to let your work creep into your usual home life, so setting some boundaries from the start is really important. The first thing you can do is allocate a specific area of your home where you will sit and work. If you can make this a completely separate room where you can shut the door after your working day, even better! Avoid places like the living room or your bedroom as you need to keep these your ‘chill’ areas.
Setting your working hours is also really important – for example, working your usual 9am – 5pm with an hour off for lunch. This will stop you from slipping into the habit of doing the extra hour or two in the evening, which then means you have less time to relax and unwind.
Communicate With Colleagues
Whilst you may not be in the same physical space as your colleagues, it doesn’t mean that you have to isolate yourself from them completely. Without face-to-face interactions, you need to come up with some other ways to keep communication regular. Here are a few tips you can put in place to help:
- Clearly identify your work schedule and availability for meetings, let your colleagues know these times.
- If you are feeling Zoom-fatigued, let your colleagues know. They might prefer to pick up the phone and speak as well.
- It doesn’t always have to be about work. You are used to spending around 40 hours a week with your colleagues, and not all of that is usually about work. Take the time to have the usual coffee-break gossip.
Trust Your Colleagues
If you are someone who is a workaholic, you might feel like the people around you are not pulling their weight whilst working from home. Take time to remember that everyone reacts differently to change. Some of your colleagues may take a little longer to adjust than others. Be there for them. Let them know that you aren’t just there for them about work, but also for a chat about life in general. Other colleagues may be living on their own, so having a talk over coffee could really help to boost their mood when working from a virtual office.
Isolation has been one of the hardest things to address and overcome during this pandemic. If you would like more information about the virtual offices that we provide, and how we can help to bridge the gap between physical offices and working from home, please contact us today.