As you get ready for your daily commute to work, you may begin to wonder how convenient it would be to work from home. The truth is, it may be very convenient but it also takes a lot of hard work and self-discipline. If you’ve decided you’ve had enough of the traffic, the travelling and the general stress of commute, it may be time to look into virtual staffing.
However, you need to be ready to face some struggles. Aside from loneliness and lack of human interaction, you may also battle with productivity and mental health.
Below are five ways you can remain happy and productive when you work from home.
For many, the thought of working from home can lead you to believe you can work on any day, at any time. Although this is true, you still need to set a reasonable schedule and stick to it. As a virtual assistant, your clients will expect you to be available during those standard 9-to-5 workable hours. Although working from home can give you flexibility to pick up the kids from school or attend appointments, you should ultimately be available when your clients are.
Setting a schedule is just as important for them as it is for you. If you work regular working day hours, you can then allow yourself to have weekends off. The last thing you should do is get into the habit of working well into the night, or on weekends unless necessary. This creates a poor work/life balance which you need for good mental health.
Aside from sticking to normal working hours, you should also set a schedule for the work needing to be carried out.
It can often get overwhelming with so much to do, and no direction on where to start and on what task.
The best thing you can do is use a diary or a planner which outlines:
These are all necessary parts of setting up your daily jobs so that you remain organised and on top of your work.
The key to working happily and productively at home is making sure your work space is similar to one in an actual office. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to set up one large room for just your office, but it does mean you will have to set aside space just for work. This could be in the corner of a room with all the stationery and computer equipment you need. It could even be in a dedicated office nook. Wherever your home office is located, make sure it’s free of distractions and only has the essentials for the job.
Distraction is one of the main reasons some people aren’t cut out for working from home. In order to be ready for virtual staffing services, you need to be able to leave those dishes until ‘after work’ and do general housework on your breaks or after work as well.
Even though it can feel easier to wake up and get straight to work, it’s better for your mental health, happiness and productivity to prepare for actually leaving the house. Think back to when you did work in an office. You got up, showered, had breakfast, brushed your teeth, got dressed and went to work. Why stop now just because you work from home? If you can maintain standard work practices such as waking up early and completing all those ‘going to work’ tasks, you will stand a much better chance of having a more productive day.
There’s no reason why you can’t have the odd dressing gown day, but for your happiness, keep these to a minimum.
When you work in an office environment, breaks are very structured. Generally, you have morning tea at around 10am, lunch at 12pm and afternoon tea at 3pm. You then go home at 5pm and the working day ends. Carry these strict break structures through to your new virtual staffing position.
Just because you get to work from home, it doesn’t mean you need to spend all eight hours sitting at your computer screen. Get off the chair, take a break, go for a walk and eat at regular meal times. Remember, your home is not your home during the hours of nine to five. It’s a place of business, therefore it’s important you treat it as such. One good virtual staffing solution is to set an alarm for each break time. This means you won’t forget to take those all-important rests when necessary.
Most office workers leave their house and become surrounded by other office workers, many of which become friends. You can socialise with them on breaks, talk to them during work time, and overall become immersed in actual office life. However, the reality of working from home is much different. You are often alone for hours on end – with maybe a cat or dog for company. It’s very easy to become a recluse, but you have to make an effort to be social.
There are so many things you can do to ensure you get as much human contact as possible. If you have children, use the pickup time as an opportunity to talk with other parents. Or why not share your office space with a friend who is also a virtual staffer? The options are endless.
Working as a virtual staffer from home can have some challenges, but it can also prove to be very beneficial. Have you worked from home before? What challenges, if any, did you face? We love to hear from you.