Since COVID, it has changed the way a lot of people work. Many organizations now are choosing to have their employees work remotely or “virtually” to help slow the curve.
We got rid of our office over 12 years ago now so we have had quite a lot of practice at being virtual for a while now. There are definitely benefits to each so let’s start with a pros and cons list.
- No Commute time. This was my main reason for going virtual. I was travelling 1/2 each way to work (not to mention the cost of parking and gas). 1/2 hour each way multiplied by 5 times a week, multiplied by 50 weeks a year and I was putting in 6 1/4 work weeks of time per year, just getting to work. I did not see this as a good use of time.
- No Commuting. Similar to the first point, but a whole other point. Not only does commuting take time and money, it can also be frustrating. City traffic isn’t great and regardless if you are coming in by car or public transit, you never know what you are going to run into. Point is, once you or your employee get to work, there is an amount of time needed to “settle in”, get your coffee and get going.
- Flexibility –
- Way Less overhead – We had a great office, but when you factor in the cost of rent, furniture, additional computers for everyone, additional internet, etc. It
- Less team connection – We often see our co-workers more often than we see our friends or family so having less interactions can affect the team dynamic a bit. Pre-covid we would always aim to go out for lunch or beers at least once a month.
- Less visibility – If you don’t trust your people to do the job in person, you will be even more weary in a virtual environment.
Tips for working in a virtual environment
The following are some suggestions to help you and your team work better in a virtual environment.
- Throw out the old Monday to Friday, 9 – 5 mentality. Working from home means distractions, many of which can come throughout the day. Kids, pets, deliveries, etc. Instead try making your weeks results driven instead. Some people are early birds and others are night owls. It is best to work when you are best at working. I like to get up around 6:30 in the morning and knock out a bunch of work before 9am. For me it works as their are less distractions at that hour.
- Time blocking – Similar to the previous point, time blocking is a good idea. It is easy to multi-task all day and not get too far. We often get locked into patterns of… check your email, check the news, check social media (again?! why am I back here), do some work, what was that dinging sound? email or Facebook? repeat the cycle. To be fair it is not completely our fault as they design all these things to be addictive (except the work part). By time blocking you just force yourself not to go to other applications during that time.
- Time Tracking – It is easy to sit in front of a computer all day and get nothing done. Write down what you are doing
- Communications Platform – Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat etc. Are a good way to communicate with your team
- Online Project Management Software – Tools like Trello, Basecamp, Microsoft Teams, etc are a good way to help with your virtual workflow.
- Have some meetings, but don’t have a lot – Meetings can be good, but they can also be a collective waste of time.
- Does this have to be a Zoom call? Did phones disappear?
Change isn’t always easy, but it’s what we have to do at the moment. I hope this article can help provide some insight to you and your team.