7 Tips for Working From Home with A Virtual Team

7 Tips for Working From Home with A Virtual Team

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of companies are turning to virtual work as a solution. That means many workers are facing a new challenge: working from home, full-time.

Many people love the idea of working from home—no long commute, an extra hour of sleep, and more time to exercise or spend time with family. But remote work can be more challenging than you think. Whether it’s the growing pile of laundry on the floor or the urge to binge a new Netflix show on your couch, all your responsibilities and temptations are closer than ever.

Staying productive at home takes a little bit more effort, but it’s not impossible. So here are a few tips to help you get off the couch, put on some pants, and start getting work done.

1. Make a Morning Routine

It’s easy enough to say you’re going to start work promptly at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. It’s another thing entirely to actually do it.

Create a productive morning routine that will take you from bed straight to your desk. Think about what you would do on a normal workday. Make a cup of coffee? Take a jog? Putting on business clothing?

A morning routine is a powerful way to start your schedule and keep yourself in work-mode all day.

2. Schedule Breaks

Part of maintaining your regular schedule means giving yourself time to take breaks. If you’re allotted a few breaks during a regular workday, go ahead and schedule them when you’re working at home too.

When in doubt, a lunch hour and two 15 minute breaks will help you space out your day and give yourself some time away from the computer screen. If you can, try taking a walk or doing some full-body stretches to keep yourself active.

3. Create an Office Space

When you go to work, your office offers a personalized, quiet, and productive space to get work done without distractions. To keep yourself focused, try creating an office space from home—whether it’s a home office, a desk, or just an empty table. Giving yourself the structure of a workspace can signal to your brain that it’s time to get work done.

4. Stay Connected

Without a workplace, you’re missing an essential part of business interaction: collaboration. Not only that, but it can be isolating to miss the day-to-day interactions with your colleagues.

Email can help you pass on information, but video chat services like Zoom or Skype offer the face to face interaction that you’re missing. With these meetings, collaboration and brainstorming can be done on the spot—no back and forth needed.

To fill the social gap, try using a separate channel on the Slack app or another form of instant messaging to keep in touch with your coworkers. Ask them how they’re doing or how they’ve been spending time in quarantine.

5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

It’s easy to slip into your own bubble when you’re working from home. Even if you have everything under control on your end, don’t forget to keep in touch with your supervisors and coworkers. Keep them updated on your schedule, your availability, and your daily tasks. When you’ve finished a significant task or project, let them know.

You might feel like you’re overcommunicating, but these constant check-ins will help improve the way your team runs as a whole.

6. Write Everything Down

Never underestimate the power of a simple to-do list. Write down everything you have to do for the day, as well as long-term projects for the week or the month.

To keep yourself motivated, break each task down into smaller goals. Even if you’ve only partially completed a larger task, checking off these bullet points can help you measure your progress. The simple satisfaction of crossing off items on your to-do list is reinforcement in itself.

7. Build Transitions

Creating a healthy work-life balance gets more challenging when you’re at home. Where do you draw the line when you work in the same place you eat, sleep, and unwind?

The benefit to a morning commute to and from work is that it gives you time to both prepare for work and to decompress when it’s all done. Try your best to recreate that transition from home. Take a moment to listen to some music, take a long walk, or finish a few chores you’ve been putting off. Be consistent with this routine to signal your brain that work has started or that it’s ending.

The Bottom Line

As more and more workplace interactions shift towards the virtual world, you’ll have to bridge the gap.

Keep these tips in mind as you start your work from home lifestyle. With just a few changes to your schedule and habits, you can be productive (and stay productive) while working from your own home.

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