Permanent Consultant, Bertie Siggers, interviews two experienced virtual assistants about their tips, in order to help personal assistants with the transition to working remotely. They cover: Their favourite technology Staying motivated and productive while working from home Their remote workspace Structuring their day Learning opportunities Creating boundaries Improving communication with their principals Their tips for
The week marks National Work Life Week across the UK, which aims to encourage workers to adopt a healthier work-life blend. You may find it quite straightforward if your role is office-based, but if you’re working in a virtual PA job, this line can blur.
Virtual assistants rarely work to set office hours; when you work from home, or when your clients operate on a different time zone, it can be quite tricky to maintain a healthy boundary between your working and leisure hours. We’ve put together six tips to try and help your work fit around your life.
Compile a short, daily to-do list
As a virtual assistant, it’s likely that your to-do list will be long and possibly a bit daunting! However you work, the key is to mark up your top three priorities and work to complete them first. Once finished, you’ll hopefully feel less pressure to complete non-urgent tasks afterwards.
Stick to set work hours if possible
Obviously this isn’t possible for every VA but, if possible, aim to work for a set number of hours per day and allow for flexibility on either side of the work day. For example, if you’ve scheduled a meeting with a client in the evening that you expect will take an hour, start your work day an hour later to give yourself that time back.
If you don’t work with colleagues to chat to or have lunch with, you might find yourself stuck to a chair for eight hours straight! Set alarms at appropriate times to remind you to stretch, walk around or take lunch to improve your productivity.
Make it clear when you’re offline
Whether you use Skype for meetings or an online calendar, make sure you set yourself to ‘offline’, or ‘unavailable’ when you’re away from your desk. It will take the pressure off you to rush through your lunch to see if anyone has called, and it will mean you’re not interrupted when you’re taking a break.
Create a physical workspace
This is a tried-and-tested tip for those who work remotely, and for good reason! Separating work from your personal life is extremely important for both your productivity and your state of mind! We recommend a tidy space that you’ve designed for maximum productivity. This could include inspirational quotes, a comfortable chair, noise-blocking headphones, natural light or plants. Don’t be afraid to experiment to create a space that’s perfect for you.
Your workspace is an office
If you treat your workspace as you would an office, it will mean that you arrive at your desk, ready to start the day. As easy as it may seem to sleep in until the minute you must jump online, we recommend keeping your morning routine the same as if you were commuting into the office. That includes getting dressed, showered and eating a good breakfast. The same rule applies for when you’re finishing up for the day – find an excuse to leave the ‘office’ (if only to run a personal errand or go for a jog). This will make it clear in your mind that work’s finished for the day.
Take your wellbeing seriously
If you’re sitting at home by yourself day-in, day-out, it can be easy to stop looking after your health and wellbeing, as there’s no one around to keep you accountable. In this situation, it’s so easy for unhealthy habits to start to creep in. It’s up to you to get enough sleep, eat healthily and take breaks, so you need to make sure you’re staying on top of it.
Why not take advantage of the fact that you’re working remotely and take your laptop outside on a beautiful day, or meet up with a friend for your lunch break? In addition, try developing healthy habits like a daily meditation or exercise session to stay refreshed and positive.
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