Virtual workspaces have played a pivotal role in altering the conventional working culture of the 21st century. Particularly in recent months as the world ground to a halt due to a global pandemic. Through the virtual workspace, people can communicate and collaborate for work, regardless of the location or an office, at different remote locations, simultaneously.
The Stats Behind Working Remotely
According to the 2019 State of Remote Work report, 34% of the workforce in the USA were willing to take a pay cut of up to 5%, if they’re given a chance to work remotely. Additionally, 29% more respondents working in a virtual workspace reported that they were happy compared to the on-site workforce. Gallup research revealed that 31% of the employees in the USA spent around 80-100% of their time working in a virtual workspace. A research from Stanford University discovered that the use of virtual workspace could save around USD 2000 per employee, on average, for a company. A virtual workspace significantly impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of a company and an employee.
With the advent of cloud computing and advanced information technology, the virtual workspace has received a remarkable boost, allowing the workforce to engage remotely with an internet connection from any part of the world. Notwithstanding the benefits accrued in favor of virtual workspace, achieving an effective degree of productivity amidst challenges imposed due to isolation and distance can become a huge deterrent for growth. Fortunately, the following are the 10 proven ways to increase productivity in a virtual workspace:
The world of virtual workspace is primarily driven by technology. Apart from organising files on your computer, you may also feel overwhelmed by the volume of information that needs to be managed. This can include appointments, conference calls, video calls, physical documents, among others. Therefore, you must build a habit of immaculately organising your files and data, both online and offline. Effective management of administrative work can significantly improve your productivity by keeping unnecessary stress at bay.
Engage in participant interaction
It is pivotal that you engage in participant interaction in a virtual workspace consistently. You can hold a Q&A segment after any discussion related to working to ensure that participants are involved and engaged. Through this exercise, you’ll be able to provide suggestions, receive feedback, and ask other queries which may become highly beneficial for you as well as the other party in the long run. This activity is great for keeping a sense of teamwork whilst working remotely.
Constant interferences have been a major bottleneck in an effective virtual workspace. Therefore, you must ensure that your work trajectory goes smoothly by managing interferences. Distractions may include background music, talking in the background in a coffee shop, people visiting your house, kids playing, among others. To streamline your virtual workspace experience, you must ensure that you’re working in a closed environment. If you must work in an open environment, ensure that all the participants are muted except for the host.
Encourage visual aids
To keep your virtual workspace more productive and interesting, you can utilise visual assistance. Sometimes, conversations become mundane and participants lose attention and focus. This can be managed by utilising visual cues including videos, graphs, infographics, and images among others. Through visual cues, you’ll be able to convey your message or idea clearly and interestingly.
Enrol in online training
Working in a virtual environment doesn’t mean engaging only in video conferencing. Remote working is much more than video conferencing, but these conferences are important. Virtual meetings sometimes involve sharing screens, switching between presentation and interaction, sharing files, among others. Through the right training, you can improve your productivity by ensuring that the other party stays engaged and connected in a streamlined manner.
Have your own workspace
The essence of virtual workspace is that it replicates the environment of an actual workspace to an extent. Therefore, you should have a dedicated space for working. It can be sitting on a chair in front of a window at home or working at a cafe sipping your cappuccino. We all perform better in different environments. You should choose your own virtual environment as having somewhere that you can focus entirely on working will dramatically boost your productivity.
Develop a personal connection
The biggest drawback of virtual workspace is that it eliminates physical interactions. Even though it may be productive for some, we must remember that we’re all humans and we crave physical interaction to some degree. Even with a virtual workspace, try to connect with your sub-ordinates and bosses at a more micro level. This could including virtual celebrations for different occasions, creating a Facebook or Whatsapp group to socialise, among others. You’ll see a productivity boost by fostering a connection with your peers and employees in the long run.
Streamline your communication
For remote teams and virtual workspaces, communication is the key. However, information overload can turn into a hindrance in no time. Constant project updates, an endless flow of emails, and online meetings, among others, can significantly impact your productivity at work. Though communication is an inevitable aspect of a virtual workspace, ensure that not everyone is included in every email or message across different channels. Build a habit of excluding all the non – vital personnel from emails. This will help to keep communication lines organised and clean.
Use collaborative techniques and tools
In a virtual workspace, multiple people are often involved in a project at any given time. Collaborating with everyone may become a tedious task to handle constantly. Instead, use collaborative tools to facilitate workflows. Putting all your faith in emails to manage tasks may turn counterproductive, even for small projects. Project management software like Trello or Basecamp can be utilised to track and manage project work daily. Additionally, you can use them to break down larger long term projects into small, short term objectives. Collaborative tools can improve the level of productivity by simply eliminating complexities and confusion.
Evaluate your performance consistently
In a virtual workspace, you must measure your performance consistently. Accountability and performance appraisal is difficult to attain even in regular workspaces. Working independently and under your schedule can easily deter you from your best ability. Therefore, you should consistently evaluate yourself and incorporate strategies for performance assessment which can provide insights on improving your productivity remotely.