6 Keys to Being the Best Virtual Employee You Can Be

6 Keys to Being the Best Virtual Employee You Can Be image
6 Keys to Being the Best Virtual Employee You Can Be
# General

Mike Blaustein
Lead Interface Developer




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The virtual office has become more and more popular in recent years, and due to COVID-19, even more people have been thrust into the work-from-home life than ever before. While there are many positives to working from home, there are a new set of challenges that arise such as sharing an office with your wife, three kids, and your dog, Sparky.

Good time management, purposeful communication, and disciplined focus are just a few habits that Binary Evolution’s Lead Interface Developer, Mike Blaustein, has cultivated over his nearly 25 years of experience working from a home office. He’ll share a few tips & tricks to help you become employee of the month (and not just in your house).

  • Practice good time management
  • Make a concerted effort to communicate
  • Learn strategies that help you maintain your focus
  • Separate business from pleasure to avoid burn out
  • Know yourself
  • Maintain a steady routine

Practice good time management

If you are just starting to work from home, one important aspect to consider is time management. While it may seem like an obvious choice, the truth is managing your time on the clock is much different when working from home. If you have a flexible schedule, it will be up to you to ensure that you are working in a manner that maximizes efficiency and encourages productivity. Making lists, writing out schedules, and staying organized are some critical practices when it comes to establishing solid time management.

Make a concerted effort to communicate

When you’re working in an office and you get a call from your doctor, it’s easy for your colleagues to see that you had to step away for a few minutes. Receiving that same call at home, where no one can see that you need a few minutes, can lead to the assumption that you don’t care, aren’t paying attention, or are playing fetch with Sparky on the front lawn instead of responding to Bill from Accounting. It will help to set a status if you’re using an instant messaging platform with that functionality or by simply letting the team know that you’re expecting a call that day. It’s also important to communicate with your supervisor, not only to let them know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, but also to ensure that you understand their expectations. Good communication practices help to curtail members of your team or clients from assuming the worst.

Learn strategies that help you maintain your focus

Distractions at home are much more prevalent than at the office. Of course, water cooler talk at the office and thin cubicle walls can take away from work focus but at home there are dogs that need walking, TV’s that beg watching, kids that need entertaining, and a slew of other potentially distracting events. Listening to classical music, scheduling breaks, or setting boundaries with family, roommates, and Sparky, will help keep your focus where it needs to be and go a long way in establishing a balanced routine.

Separate business from pleasure

Having a good work ethic is an excellent quality, but there’s a balance that needs to be achieved in order to avoid being burned-out. If you are stuck at home over the weekend, remind yourself that just because your laptop is right there and you could get a head start on the week ahead, it might be healthier to work on a puzzle, binge a new show, or go for a walk. It is the weekend after all. Giving your brain some time to focus on things besides work can be just what the mind needs to hit the ground running after a few days off. If there’s a big project for your next work week, try not to start it Friday afternoon. Don’t embark on a task that will take a while to get up to speed on come Monday.

When clients are in different time zones or colleagues work a different schedule, they might reach out to you after you’ve logged off for the day. It’s important to be flexible and available but that isn’t the same as working around the clock. Communicating your daily availability and sticking to consistent hours is an easy way to ensure everyone is on the same page. There will always be emails or tasks awaiting your attention, but if there isn’t an imminent deadline, it’s important to shut off for the day and be ready to hit the ground running the following day.

A helpful way to separate business from pleasure is to set up a home office. This is a key aspect to both maintaining focus and cultivating a proper work and life balance. If you don’t have a spare room, simply setting up a desk or workspace in a separate area of the home will go a long way towards a successful workday.

Know yourself

Self-awareness is an important aspect in life and when it comes to working from home, you are in the best position to employ strategies that will allow you to succeed. For example, if you do your best work in the morning, make an effort to complete your most critical responsibilities first. Starting out with complex tasks in the morning and then finishing the day with tasks that don’t require as much brain power is a helpful rule of thumb. How long can you go without needing a break from your computer? How much time do you need to wake up in the morning before being productive? These are just a few examples, but you are in the best position to make personal adjustments that lead to a more productive and effective routine.

Whether you’ve been working from home for a while or are just starting out, we hope some or all of these keys will help you unlock the strategies you need to become the best virtual employee you can be.

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