We are a little over two years into this pandemic, and a lot has happened with how we work and live.
Towards the beginning of the pandemic, a good portion of us was moved to a work-from-home environment, which was great for some. However, others did not thrive due to a variety of reasons but one could argue that most stemmed from not having a remote infrastructure and boundaries.
By the middle of the pandemic, the cases of COVID started to fluctuate and vaccines were being released. Employees also experienced whiplash from returning to the office and then being forced home due to a surge or outbreak. Is anyone else exhausted?
Fortunately, for the most part, we are now in a state of learning to live with COVID and its plethora of mutations. More employers allow employees to work from almost anywhere and are not expecting them to return to the office full-time.
But, have employers built the workflow and infrastructure to support an employee wherever they may work? If you reading this article, the answer for you may be “No” or “We need some improvement,” which is okay! We are all still learning how to work in this environment.
Here are a few (not all) best practices that you and your employer can utilize to be more successful in this new hybrid/remote work world!
1. Have A Dedicated Work Space
You need to have a space that is just yours and that does not mean it has to be a whole room.
It can be a corner of a bedroom. It can be at your kitchen table. It can be at a table at a coffee shop. It can be at a dedicated desk at a co-working spot.
You just need to pick a physical place and consistently show up there.
Why? If you are changing spots every day, then you are most likely having to constantly set up your workstation and adjust to a new environment.
This can impact your productivity and cause unnecessary stress on your workday.
Additionally, dedicated workspaces allow you to improve your work-life balance by teaching yourself that when you are in this dedicated workspace, you work. When you are not, you should not be working.
Hybrid/remote work can be a huge blessing, but if you let the line between work and life blur, it can cause burnout.
2. Clock In & Clock Out
Let us talk about work hours.
When you were in a physical office environment, you may have walked into work around 8 or 9 am, and then, you may have walked out around 5 or 6 pm.
You had set hours, which was good for separating your personal and professional lives.
Now, in the hybrid work environment, those lines are blurring, and it may be causing some burnout.
If you are a remote or hybrid employee, you need to practice clocking in and clocking out.
In the morning, go to your dedicated workspace and begin your workday. At end of your workday, close your computer and leave your workspace.
Do not go back to that area until the next workday.
Now, this may take some practice, but once you get it down, you will be happier, more productive at work, and more engaged in every aspect of your life.
3. Take Breaks
Your brain has limits.
Now, everyone is different. Some people can power through a task or assignment and not stop until it is completed. However, a majority of people need breaks.
As mentioned previously, one of the negative effects of not having a structured hybrid/remote environment is work hours start to blur.
You may be super productive, but your brain and body may be experiencing fatigue.
This, unfortunately, impacts work quality and overall happiness, which is something employers should be wary of.
What is the solution?
Take breaks throughout the day.
Go for a walk. Talk to a coworker (“water cooler”). Watch a funny video. Get something to eat. Hydrate!
By taking breaks consistently, you find yourself happy and healthier, and you will still be very productive.
4. Allow Parts Of Meetings To Go Off Topic
This sounds like a very bad idea, but it is not.
When you were in the office full-time, you engaged in random conversations all the time, and these conversations were not limited to meeting topics.
We have gotten so time and task-orientated that we have forgotten a basic human need, connection. We need to feel connected to each other.
You may be thinking, “Why does that matter?”
Well, do you have high turnover? Do you get a sense that your peers do not trust each other? Do you or your peers feel undervalued?
Depending on your answers to the questions above, disconnection may be one of the issues contributing to these problems.
So, take a few moments of each meeting to get to know one another.
You might be surprised how much it improves morale.
5. Get a Virtual Office!
What is a virtual office?
If you googled searched, you may get a couple of definitions:
1) You do not have a physical office, but you have access to a business phone number, a virtual receptionist, a business address, office rentals, etc.
2) You do not have a physical office, but you can create a whole office within the metaverse for business where people can visit you, virtually.
In the current market, the most accurate definition is the second one, and it is something you should strongly consider utilizing.
What we have lost in this remote work world is a place where we can be present together, regardless of where we are in the world, and where a company’s community and culture thrive.
You may be currently utilizing video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but at the end of the day, do you experience fatigue after what feels like 100+ video calls?
You are not alone. That is video fatigue (aka Zoom Fatigue), and it is impacting your work and health.
Your office may have recognized this issue already and decided to reduce the number of meetings you have. Now, you are sending more chats through Slack or more emails. However, this probably has not helped you feel connected to your peers, nor improved your communication.
What is the solution?
Again, similar to the physical office environment, you need a place where you can be present together, and you can get that through a virtual office. However, not all virtual offices are the same.
You may come across virtual offices that utilize cartoons or avatars, which are fun. However, video games probably are not going to help you be productive.
You need a virtual office that completely replicates your physical office environment.
You need a virtual office environment where you can see your peers at all times and whenever necessary, instantly connect with them.
You need a place where you feel a part of the culture and community of the company, where you feel like you belong.
NexGen Virtual Office is the perfect solution! Click the button below to schedule a walkthrough of the platform.