“Virtual” is one of the most common words of 2020. It’s become an increasingly important part of our daily lives amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly as numerous companies have made the switch to remote work environments. If you’re now working from home and you’ve found the sudden change to a virtual setting to be overwhelming, you’re not alone. Juggling new tools, systems and processes to maintain productivity and performance with the demands of life going on around you in real time can be stressful.
Thankfully, there’s hope. Seven years ago, when I started working at TrainingPros — a learning-and-development staffing agency that’s been all-virtual for 23 years now — I learned how to get the job done while working from home. Here are three tips that have helped me thrive in a remote setting.
Create a space for focus
The first step to success in a virtual environment is creating a productive atmosphere for work. Set up a space that motivates you and, as much as possible, separates you from the daily distractions at home. This can be challenging if you have kids or a spouse or partner who also works from home. Yet the effort to carve out a space where you can focus is worth it. I’ve got a quiet place near a window that enables me to enjoy the views while I work each day.
Build relationships virtually
Working solo at home can be lonely at times. One way to create more connection is to seek opportunities to communicate with your teams — and make them personal. Go beyond email to engage in weekly video and conference calls. At TrainingPros, our teams participate in video town hall calls every Monday led by our president. The company also schedules virtual happy hour meetups so we can catch up outside of work.
Celebrate the flexibility
The TrainingPros internal team consists primarily of women colleagues, and a majority of them are moms. A flexible work schedule is one of the greatest advantages of working from home. For the most part, this enables me to organize my workday to my convenience. I’m able to complete creative work and schedule meetings during the times that work best for my life. There have been several instances when I was able to care for my family and return to my work later in the day.
Give yourself the chance to conquer these unexpected life changes by understanding how best to accomplish your tasks in your new work setting. And hang in there. In my experience, working remotely gets easier over time.