When done right, there are some advantages to adopting a virtual office space as your workplace. However, there are some common pitfalls that can easily be avoided. Let’s look at some tips for success.
Designate a Workspace
Working from a virtual office can happen from any place you get a reliable internet connection, but that doesn’t mean all places are good choices. If possible, designate a space that is work. If it is a home office, great, but that isn’t a requirement. It could be a table in a corner or even a specific chair. If space or expense is an issue, even a small wall-mounted table could be the answer. The sofa, in front of a TV, is probably not the correct choice. Regardless of the solution, pick a spot and designate it for work and not play.
If you get up, make coffee, check emails, put some laundry in and then take your laptop to the sofa while still in your PJs, does your brain know it’s time to work? When you had to go to the office, you got up, got dressed, traveled and walked into your workplace. You knew it was work time. Create cues that let your brain know it’s work time. Get dressed, go to your designated space and begin your workday. Likewise, create cues that show you the workday is done. Don’t try to mix housework, entertainment and work.
No, this doesn’t mean you need a tie or something formal, but it does mean not being barefoot and in sweatpants. You can choose something comfortable and low key, like jeans, nice shorts or polo shirts. Getting dressed can be one of your cues that it’s time to work. This simple action can make you feel like those lines between work and free time are more distinct and keep you on task.
Related to designating a workspace, avoiding distractions is key. It is easy to give in to the temptation to do some cleaning, play with the dog or grab a quick nap. If they are things that would be frowned on in a regular office, they’re probably not going to increase productivity in your virtual office space. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take breaks. You should, at the same interval and length, you would if working in a physical office. During that 15 mins, you can play with the dog or take a stroll around the block. Then return to your workspace and resume the workday.
Watch the Background
Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, many people started to use video meetings like Zoom or Go to Meeting for the first time. We got a laugh out of some of the gaffes we saw passed around the internet of people forgetting they were on camera or with toddlers bursting into the room singing “Let it Go” while their parent was in a business meeting. It was all new to many then, still, we don’t want to be that person. Does your client really need to see that laundry basket? Be mindful of your backgrounds on camera. Some video services allow for virtual background and there are inexpensive green screens that can just attach to your chair. Similarly, be mindful of background noises. Loud music from another room or a squawking parrot aren’t noises your client is hearing in their office and they shouldn’t expect to hear them in yours either.
First Street Executive Suites has virtual office space packages starting at $99.00 a month. You can have a prestigious business address in the historic Earnhardt building in downtown Fort Myers. Take a virtual tour of your new virtual office and start seeing the possibilities. Contact us for questions and details of the different packages.