August 4, 2011

5 Ways To Boost Your Virtual Office Productivity

by with 6 comments

For anyone who works from home, you know how a virtual environment presents special challenges – primarily because they are so geographically dispersed like the SpiderOak team. Given that we rarely meet face-to-face, SpiderOak relies on the powers of technology to get our jobs done. This can be quite challenging for anyone who is new to the scene. As such, I’d like to share five ways to help you boost your productivity so you aren’t sitting in front of your computer – naked and stressed.

  • Be culturally savvy. Before I started with the SpiderOak team, I had never worked with such a diverse group. If you work with folks outside the country, take some time to learn about their cultural nuances and practices. Be aware of their holidays and work routines and be careful not to unintentionally insult or offend them. Everyone must have respect for each other in order for the global workforce to succeed.

  • Start in a smart way. You may feel frazzled if you have a lot of deadlines looming. Realize that you have to spend some time before you start to get organized and plan your day. Start small and with simple tasks before you move to your bigger jobs for the day. For many, people procrastinate when they don’t like a task so make sure you ‘get in the mood’ with things you enjoy.

  • Provide support for your team members. Virtual workers will have concerns from time to time that you need to address promptly to keep productivity high. For example, we would like to make sure our Customer Relations team is up to speed on our mobile platform; as such, they are getting smart phones to help provide our mobile customers better support. If your associates need anything to get their work done, go ahead and support them by getting them what they need. I’ve quickly discovered If you’re willing to work to accommodate, they will be more likely to return the favor.

  • Route tasks effectively. When I was first hired, I had no clue what any of our team did! A thorough knowledge of your virtual workers’ skillsets will help you route work properly. After all, everyone has different specialties so make sure that you delegate appropriate work to each person. This will help everyone be more productive and you will get the results you need. You can actually see what we all do here.

  • Communicate! This is probably the most important for a virtual team. So many things have gone wrong because individuals do not communicate. It is essential for the very existence and operation of any business or any organized effort. We are all guilty of failing to communicate from time to time. You need to make sure you discuss your communication methods and how often you must get updates. The SpiderOak team has been practicing this a lot and playing with ideas to increase better communication. We aren’t done yet and are always improving.

  • ‘Getting things done’ more efficiently leads to greater success and fulfillment in our lives! In a virtual office environment, we must purposefully train ourselves to become more productive. It is my hope that the 5 tips above can help you in your quest for what I am calling virtual productiveness. If you have any additional thoughts or ideas, we’d love to hear them!

    1. Excellent post! One of the ways I help boost my productivity is to have a morning meeting for 10 minutes a day. This doesn't work for everyone but it definitely helps me.

    2. I spend a lot of time reading social network posts and rss feeds. That may seem counterintuitive but my best thinking is oblique thinking.

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    5. I would like to work from home. I have always worked in an office environment and have vast experience. I've seen companies on the net advertise virtual pa's and office support, how do you become one yourself?