Just a few months ago, an unexpected enemy took the world by storm. Technology is playing a huge role in this crisis as it keeps the world moving despite many businesses and activities being put on hold, inevitably leading businesses towards the transition to digital and hiring virtual assistant services. With remote work becoming the new norm, more and more business owners are taking to the internet to look for tips on how to run a business with a new remote set-up - and that is precisely what we are here to help you with.
For those who have been working in a physical office for years, it can be quite an adjustment to transition into a work-from-home set-up. Having been used to commuting to work and having everything set up when you get to your desk, how exactly do you start setting up your home office to make it conducive to work? Where do you even begin?
1. Choose a quiet space at home.
Not everyone has the privilege of having an extra room to turn into an office at home, so you turn to your next best option. Make sure to choose a quiet space at home that is separate from your bedroom so you can focus on work. Consider yourself warned: while it may be tempting to work from the comforts of your bed so you could wake up and immediately get to work, your bed will call you and very little to no work will even get done. And even if you do find yourself getting productive as you work in bed, you are unconsciously conditioning your mind into thinking that your bed is a place for work. The moment you decide to turn your place of rest into a place of work, you will find yourself struggling to fall asleep, therefore making you sleepy and unproductive the following day.
2. Stick to your daily routine.
While staying home all day everyday may not be something you're used to, it is important that you stick to your daily routine as if you are still going to work in the office. Technically speaking you still are, albeit your office being in your home. Wake up as you would on a normal day, prepare yourself some breakfast and coffee, read the newspaper or scroll through your favorite social networks, take a nice, cold shower, and then proceed to sit down in your makeshift office chair as you prepare to work at 9 in the morning or whatever time your shift begins.
Similarly, when the clock strikes 5 in the afternoon or whatever time your shift ends, log off and this time focus on your family. Learning to separate work from your personal life can be a tremendous help as you shift into a digital set-up, as this avoids confusion as opposed to working or resting only whenever you want to. Having a virtual personal assistant to help you out with your workload for off hours can be a tremendous help, and this is the route some remote workers take to maximize their time. Sticking to your routine retains a sense of normalcy and conditions your mind into being as productive as you are when working in the office. This reminds you that even though you’re at home, you’ve still got work to do and your life shouldn’t stop just because you can’t go out.
3. Take some well-deserved breaks.
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to take breaks. Don’t feel guilty about it and stretch when you need to. Get some snacks or make yourself some coffee, then return to your desk so you can get back to work. You are not a robot, after all, and your boss wouldn’t want you to overwork yourself to the point of being unproductive. A break can do massive wonders for you as it refreshes your mind and helps you keep your sanity in check.
4. Exercise daily.
Not only is it important, but it is highly essential for you to take a few minutes of your day to exercise. Being at home for an extended period of time can be unhealthy if your physical activities are limited to getting up from bed, walking a few steps all day, and sitting down on your office chair. Keep yourself active and refreshed by doing some sit-ups or some good old stretching. There are also a ton of tutorial videos on YouTube if you want to explore yoga and a lot of other workouts you can do from home.
If you think working from home is too overwhelming and/or complicated for you or that everything is just too much to handle, you can also turn to personal assistant services being offered by companies like OkayRelax, so you could take your mind off tasks you are too busy to do. Hiring a VA not only frees up your time, but also assures you that the quality of the output won’t be compromised. More than business tasks like social media management, time-consuming research, email management, and appointment scheduling, VAs can also assist you with personal tasks like online ordering, planning your weekly meals, and coming up with a list of activities you and your kids can do at home.
Remember that delegating is not for the lazy, but for the wise. Being practical with how you use your time and resources is definitely not something a lazy person would do, and at the end of the day you’re sure to become even more productive than ever even while you work at home.
REMOTE WORK TOOLS
In this age of digital transformation, there are a myriad of tools that can be utilized to make remote work more effective and efficient. From team communication to project management tools - you name it, the internet most likely has it. Availing the services of virtual assistant companies is considered one of the easiest routes towards the transition to remote. But whether or not you choose to outsource, these are some of the remote work tools that could be useful for you and your team.
First things first: above all else, communication is one of the most crucial factors to consider when transitioning to a remote set-up. Luckily, various softwares have been developed to make communication between team members easier. Some are free, but there are also plans that offer more tools and features for a more seamless communication within a team. Some examples of communication tools for remote work include the following:
IMs are mostly used for sending direct messages to individuals or exchanging messages between team members within departments and the whole company. These can also be used to send attachments such as files and images. Here are some of the most widely used instant messaging platforms among companies that practice remote work:
Audio and Video Conferencing
Working alone at home can get quite lonely after a while, so it’s always a good idea to meet with your team members. After all, there’s nothing more effective than communicating with others face-to-face. With the following audio and video tools, there’s no need for you to go through the hassle of gathering team members from various parts of the world for a team meeting that would only last 20-30 minutes.
Communication means nothing if there is no sense of organization within your team. This is where project management tools come in. While there are many project management tools available, it is highly important that you choose one that fits your team best as these tools have different sets of features that fit different kinds of businesses. Here are some of the most recommended and preferred project management softwares in the remote industry:
With so many other things to manage and focus on while you work remotely, it’s easy to forget passwords for your email, social media accounts, and more. Additionally, when you’re delegating tasks that require employees to log in to your personal or work accounts, it would be a huge risk for your privacy if you manually send them your log-in details. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about your privacy being put at risk with these password managers.
Social Media Management
You may be working remotely, but you have to keep your business visible. One way to do that is through social media management. Having a social media presence keeps your followers and clients up-to-date with your new offerings and gives you more chances of being remembered by potential clients for their needs even while they’re lazily scrolling through their personal social media accounts. We’re in the age of social media, after all, and more and more hours in the day are being spent by internet users in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Having an account for each of these platforms not only brings you closer to existing and potential clients, but also keeps you relatable and easier to connect with. With that said, here are some social media management tools that have proved to be useful for remote teams over the years.
Scheduling and Reporting
Graphic Design and Image Editing
MENTAL HEALTH CARE
More than being ready with the right tools and resources for remote work, it is also equally important to focus on the physical and mental health of your employees if you are a business owner. Make sure to have proper programs in place for their health care in case worse comes to worst, as this assures them that not only do you care about the company’s profits, but that you also have their best interests in mind.
Aside from the regular health benefits that employees receive, it may also be ideal to implement a “Mental Health Check” program where you can offer free counseling with a mental health expert for your employees. Being stuck at home and having a health crisis to worry about can take its toll on one’s mental health, so it can be counter-productive to keep them working without taking care of this aspect. If hiring a professional is just not feasible at this point, you can just opt to hold weekly one-on-one meetings with your employees just to check up on their physical and mental well being. Alternatively, you can also host weekly video meetings where you and your team can talk about happy and positive things. Or why not host a watch party and have a weekly movie night with them?
On a similar note, if you are not a business owner, you can also find an activity to keep yourself at bay when you’re not working. There are a myriad of options to choose from: binge watching on Netflix, reading the dusty, unread books on your shelf, writing that long-overdue children’s book you’ve been wanting to work on but kept on postponing, taking an online class for that skill you have always wanted to learn, experimenting in your kitchen by coming up with new dishes and drinks, and more. The possibilities are endless! It’s exciting to think about the many things that you can do with all the time and resources that you have.
Long story short, there are a number of ways to keep remote work fun and healthy. It could be nice to look at your options and consider implementing a program for yourself and/or your team that takes care of your mental health as you navigate through this new normal.
REMOTE WORK AND YOU
Remote work can be overwhelming in the beginning especially when it’s been forced on you, but best believe that this could even be the very thing that would help you and your team maximize the resources you’ve got and turn it into something amazing. When you’re forced to stay inside a box, you start to think outside of it and next thing you know, you are coming up with even more creative and innovative ideas than ever, and then you realize that it’s not so bad after all.
Stay creative, stay home, and stay safe.