Want to improve your ‘virtual’ workspace? Here’s how!

Published: December 5, 2023

As the traditional office setting gives way to the virtual workspace, remote-working business professionals must navigate a digital realm that demands new skills and strategies. The challenges of working remotely extend beyond the absence of a physical office; they encompass creating an environment that fosters productivity and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. So, how can you improve your remote working experience? Here are our top tips: 

Create a dedicated workspace: Creating a designated workspace is crucial for remote professionals. This area should be free from distractions, if possible (though if you work from home, it’s impossible to escape altogether!). Whether it’s a separate room or a well-defined corner of a room, having a dedicated workspace signals the beginning and end of the workday, helping to establish a clear boundary between professional and personal life. 

Use virtual communication tools – not all of them at once, though! Communication lies at the heart of successful remote work. Remote professionals should familiarise themselves with various virtual communication tools, from video conferencing platforms to project management tools. Regular check-ins, team meetings, and virtual collaborations can help ensure everyone remains connected and informed despite physical distances. However, make sure that you determine which tool(s) you are happy to use, as the last thing you need is to receive messages from remote colleagues via WhatsApp AND Messenger, Text, Teams, Slack, Monday, etc., every two minutes… trust me, that is not the key to productivity!

Set clear boundaries between work and home life: Remote work often blurs the lines between professional and personal life. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, remote professionals must set clear boundaries. Establishing specific work hours, taking regular breaks, and communicating these boundaries to colleagues and family are essential. This clarity ensures that professionals are available and focused during work hours while allowing for designated personal time.

Manage your time effectively: Effectively managing time is a skill remote professionals must master. Techniques such as time blocking and the Pomodoro Technique can be beneficial (I’ve written a blog on Pomodoros, so look it up if you want to learn more!). Remote professionals should experiment with different methods to find what works best, aligning their schedules with peak productivity periods and balancing focused work with strategic breaks. Trust me; no one works at 100% efficiency at all times, so try to identify the peaks and troughs in your energy and attention levels and work around them, if possible.

Look after yourself: With no one in the office to remind you to take a break, check in to see if you are okay, or encourage you to follow HR’s guidance for wellbeing at work, remote working business professionals need to prioritise their own physical and mental health. Incorporating regular exercise into your schedule (for example, a quick walk around the block or yoga session), taking breaks away from the screen, and incorporating moments of relaxation into your daily routines can prove beneficial. Also, make sure you are eating and drinking enough (of the right things!) and not trying to push on through illness if you are feeling too ill to work – it’ll take you longer to recover, which isn’t good news for you or your business.

Engage in Continuous Professional Development: Remote professionals should view the virtual workspace as an opportunity for continuous learning. Staying updated on industry trends, acquiring new skills, and participating in online courses contribute to professional growth. It is sometimes difficult to see the value of sitting through an online or in-person session when you could be working instead, but the long-term benefits generally outweigh the short-term financial loss.

It’s not easy to work remotely –scrap that; it’s not easy to work productively when working remotely. There are dozens of distractions at home (the sudden urge to hoover instead of completing that spreadsheet being one example!), and it can feel as though there is a lack of camaraderie when you are working in an office of one. However, it is possible and has numerous benefits when done right. Do you have any remote working tips to share? It’d be great to hear them, so feel free to reach out on any of our social channels!