How to be Successful in a Virtual Workspace
By: Sarah Begley
This summer, I was planning to spend 10 weeks in a new city interning with a large investment bank. Then, as you can imagine, everything changed. My 10-week in-person internship switched to a 5-week virtual internship. Similar situations happened to many people this summer due to COVID-19 and will continue happening in the future, for that reason and more. This change completely shifts the workspace and is leading us all into uncharted territory. The best thing to do if you find out your workspace is going virtual is to brace yourself for change and be flexible. Here are a few tips to help you along the way!
- Establish a Routine
When going to the office in person, I’m sure you had a routine that you followed closely every day – keep that up. Wake up at the same time, go through your morning routine, establish office hours, and take your lunch and breaks at the same time if possible. Sticking to a routine will keep you organized and ensure that you are dedicating the right about of time to work.
- Keep it Professional
Would you go into the office in your pajamas? I didn’t think so. Make sure to get dressed professionally every day. Not only will it put you into a professional headspace, but you never know if your boss will want to hop on a video call. Also, speaking of video calls, make sure your background is professional. Keep it clean, add some décor to personalize it but make sure it is not cluttered. Overall, do not have anything in your work area and do not wear anything that you wouldn’t show in the office.
- Have a Dedicated Office Space
Working from bed may sound appealing, but it is still important to create a separation between your work and personal life. Since you are bringing your workspace into your home, it is important to give it its own space. As mentioned before, set up a professional area that you would be proud to have as your video call background. Make sure you will be able to work comfortably and be productive, but also that you can walk away at the end of the day. This is your chance to personalize your desk to fit all your needs, so do whatever is best for you!
Working virtually can leave a lot of room for miscommunication. To try to prevent misunderstandings and errors it is better to overcommunicate your ideas from the beginning. When talking to someone verbally you can ask clarifying questions to ensure you are on the same page; when communicating through text you can add as many details as you can and make sure you are available to respond quickly if the receiver has any questions.
- Stay Positive
While change can be stressful, don’t forget to look on the bright side of the situation. Your new work from home schedule leaves you flexibility you can use to let your dog out, go to a doctor’s appointment, or catch up on housework during breaks. You will also probably experience financial savings from the decrease in transportation costs, restaurant meals, dry cleaning, and child care costs. Then, lastly and most importantly, staying home will give you and your family less exposure to any potential illnesses which is a privilege to have during a pandemic. Working from home may be a new experience for you, but just remember that new does not mean bad!