Long before the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives, the world of work was introduced to virtual working. Thanks to technological advancements, the virtual working method began in the early 1980s, where freelancers pioneered this change. It gave them newfound autonomy and flexibility from a work-life perspective. The ‘anytime, anywhere’ concept emerged as technology-powered businesses let employees work from home.
Multiple waves of virtual working and digital advancements set the tone for current times. This mode of working is no longer a choice but a necessity in several industries. While it presents several challenges, it has opened doors to new opportunities as well. From work-life balance to innovative ways of collaboration, a virtual workplace presents a promising future for work.
What Is Virtual Working?
As the name suggests, virtual working implies individuals using technology to work from anywhere in the world. It shares similar characteristics with remote working as both arrangements don’t require employees to be present in a physical location to get work done. However, there is a fundamental difference in the way remote and virtual teams are arranged. As opposed to remote arrangements, virtual working may or may not be remote. In other words, team leaders may be geographically co-located with employees.
With the mushrooming of small and medium-sized businesses, a virtual work environment has proven to be a boon. Such businesses can scale up their operations without the burden of increasing overhead expenses. Moreover, employees benefit largely as they have greater autonomy and are more productive in a virtual workspace of their choice. While the virtual workforce isn’t always easy to manage, new technologies—scheduling tools, video conferencing platforms and project management software—have made it practical and easier to use. When done well, a virtual workplace arrangement has several benefits.
How Can You Benefit From Virtual Working
Virtual working has become the norm for a majority of businesses across the globe. In addition to reduced overhead costs, employers enjoy the benefit of expanding their talent pool and flexible working improves productivity. However, the advantages aren’t reserved only for employers, even employees enjoy several benefits of having a virtual workspace:
- You have ample freedom and flexibility to plan your day and set your work hours. Working parents, in particular, can attend to important personal tasks, if needed. There isn’t any pressure to ask for special permission every time. This further makes room for greater job satisfaction.
- Not going to a physical office space means minimized costs on transportation and other related expenses. From saving up on commutes to making arrangements for lunch and snacks, you can direct these savings toward other aspects of your life.
- You get to decide how to set up your virtual workspace. You can pick the type of desk, chair and supplies needed. If you want to play music or light candles, you have the freedom to do so without a second thought. Comfort is instrumental in improving productivity and efficiency.
Most importantly, virtual working can boost mental and emotional well-being. Working in your own environment and setting your own terms and conditions can be motivating. It can even improve the quality of work and performance levels.
How To Make The Most Of Virtual Working
While working from anywhere and anytime can be advantageous, it comes with its own set of challenges. Therefore, knowing how to work virtually is equally important. Here are some virtual working tips that’ll help you make the most of this mode of work:
Ensure that you establish a clear communication channel where your manager(s) or team can reach out to you seamlessly. Promptly return calls, texts and emails if you want to show your diligence. It’s a good idea to keep updating your team about progress made in projects so that everyone’s on the same page.
The crux of virtual working is that it’s solely dependent on technology. A patchy internet connection or poorly functioning devices can seem unprofessional. Ensure that you have fully functioning connections, devices and software that make your work easy. If not, it’s best to communicate with your employers and make the necessary changes.
Working virtually can be a big shift, so it’s important that you pay attention to your physical and emotional well-being. Make sure that you’re taking healthy breaks, practicing mindfulness and correcting your posture. Invest in an ergonomic chair and keep nutritious snacks at hand and look after your health.
Making adjustments isn’t always easy. While the pandemic may have forced us into new forms of working environments, it’s still a big transition that many of us are coping with. If you want to make the most of virtual working and do your best, try Harappa’s Embracing Change course. This high-impact online resilience course will help you develop the confidence to overcome challenges positively. You’ll learn how to deal with uncertainty and seek new opportunities. Navigate the new normal with Harappa’s courses today!
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