The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the work-from-home trend, but businesses were transitioning to virtual offices long before. According to Pew Research, 20% of American professionals were already teleworking before the pandemic. That number shot up to 71% during the pandemic and more than half said they would want to work from home after the outbreak ends. This attitude makes plenty of sense; in many cases, remote work promotes employee wellbeing and work-life balance.
Whether you’re already working remotely or might soon, a properly equipped virtual office is crucial for maintaining productivity and long-term job satisfaction. These five steps can help you make a seamless transition to remote work.
Step 1: Create a Designated Space for Work
Some of us might have the luxury of an office space or spare bedroom in our homes. Others — particularly those living in apartments or cramped quarters — may need to get a little creative. Find a quiet, semi-private space where you feel like you can focus. A word from the wise: working from the couch or the bed might seem nice, but the ever-present lure of naptime can quickly kill productivity.
Step 2: Find the Right Equipment for Your Virtual Office
Now that you’ve determined the best location for your virtual office, it’s time to furnish it! Of course, start with a desk or table space. Make sure it’s at the right height so you’re not hunched over your computer. Other amenities to consider include:
Second monitor – A larger monitor allows you to view multiple documents across two screens, so you don’t have to keep switching between windows. It can also help prevent eye strain.
Keyboard wrist rest – If you work in a profession that requires a lot of typing, invest in a wrist cushion to reduce wrist/hand aches and pains.
Standing desk attachment – This innovative tool allows you to change the height of your workspace; switching from sitting to standing can encourage blood flow and is an opportunity to stretch.
Noise-canceling headphones – Headphones are essential, especially for remote workers living in loud or shared spaces. Find an option with a built-in microphone to take calls with ease.
Printer/copier/scanner – Save yourself some time with an at-home printer. A copy or scanning ability is a nice bonus.
Step 3: Download the Correct Software
Even though you might not have a physical shared office space, virtual tools can support collaboration and communication. Many remote teams turn to cloud storage systems to quickly and easily share documents that can be accessed from a mobile device or computer. Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox are popular options.
Additionally, project management platforms, such as Trello and Basecamp, can help you keep an eye on deadlines and stay organized. It seems like there’s a new tool every day to track progress and keep projects moving forward.
Step 4: Remember to Connect with Colleagues
Sure, your virtual office doesn’t include a break room to catch up with colleagues, but video conferencing and chat tools can help you still feel connected to your team, even if you’re miles apart. Platforms with chat functionality, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, allow you to touch base with your work BFF, share funny GIFs and celebrate accomplishments. Moreover, video conferencing is a more personable option for meetings. Some teams even schedule happy hours or team-building activities via video chat.
Step 5: And Know When to Disconnect
Working from home can make it feel like you’re always at work, especially if you live in a small space. Setting boundaries, such as clear working hours, can encourage a healthy work/life balance. Remember to take breaks, make wholesome meals, and stretch or go for a walk. Fostering good habits will make remote work much more enjoyable and prevent burnout in the long run.
Need More Room for Your Virtual Office?
Creating a virtual office may require some rearranging. If you find yourself needing more storage to make room for your workstation, we can help! We offer self-storage facilities across the southwest, with a variety of unit sizes to meet your life circumstances and needs. For handling products, displays, and/or special equipment, you may need a space away from home. Please ask about our business storage services.