Remote working is an important wave of the future. It’s changing the way we do business together, and as a VA, it’s the center of my business. I’m able to help clients all over the world, and I work with lots of different businesses. If I worked in person with my current client load, I’d need to be in San Antonio, Toronto, Corpus Christi, Manhattan, Los Angeles, Jersey City, and Malibu all at the same time.
Working remote gives me the ability to serve lots of incredible entrepreneurs from my workspace. It also allows me the opportunity to move around the world as I please, and meet my own wanderlust as I work and serve others. This is my ultimate dream -- to change my surroundings as often as I choose! To pursue that, I’ve gotten really great at remote working.
Here are my top 10 tips for working remote:
1. Go paperless.
Everything you currently use that involves paper can be switched for a digital system. I’ll have a podcast episode coming soon on my favorite systems to use. For a start, look at solutions for your time tracking, your invoicing, and your accounting. These are three easy places to start!
2. Create a mobile office.
I wrote a post on this last week! Creating a mobile office is an easy way to keep the essentials close while your environment changes. You’ll be able to work anywhere you desire, with everything you need.
3. Connect with your team.
Remote working can mean a lack of face time with the people you are working alongside - even if they’re not near you. With technology, apps like Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts can help bridge the gap in connecting with the people close to you.
4. Manage your time effectively.
When you’re the one setting your hours, your working environment, and your schedule, it’s important to make sure you’re adhering to your calendar. Set time to batch client work, and stick to it!
5. Don’t hide!
It’s easy to feel lonely when you’re working remotely, because you’re not around your team’s physical space. There's no opportunity to pop into someone’s office and chat about their day. For this reason, it takes someone who is willing to replicate the face-to-face relationship in a digital way. Use HipChat or Google Hangouts to connect with your coworkers and teammates once a week at least.
6. Stay organized.
This is so important when you’re working remote the majority of the time. As a virtual assistant, you’re the one that’s setting up your own infrastructure, and then bringing clients into your systems. It’s important to make sure that you’re keeping everything straight, organized, and detail focused. A good example of this is reviewing how you keep your client files. Do you create your client profiles and then have them floating around Google Drive somewhere? Make a solid file system, keep your clients’ information each in their own files, and only store their information there. You should be able to recall things quickly if you follow an organized system.
7. Keep your energy even.
If you’re skipping breakfast, feeling the 2pm nap knocking at your wall of tasks, or being distracted often, you probably need more protein. This is important for you to know, and to manage. Your energy is your effectiveness. If you’re dragging, that will be reflected in your tasks, and your clients will notice. Eat small meals often, get up from your desk every hour for 5 minutes, and stay alert. Your days will fly by if you do this -- trust me!
8. Recognize when a phone call is needed.
One of the big things with my clients is electronic communication -- crazy amounts of email, asana tasks, texts, and chat messages. When communication breaks down, often times a phone call can fix it. Talking through tasks, issues, and expectations is important for a healthy relationship. If you’re a client reading this, talk to your VA about scheduling check-in calls on a regular basis. These are great tools to be able to get on the same page and connect with your VA.
9. Coworking spaces are the best.
For extroverts like me, working around other people helps to keep me recharged, inspired, and productive. With the recent growth in coworking spaces, launches, and locations, they’re easy to find. One great site is Workfrom, which helps you find coworking spaces close to you. You can rate them, test their internet, and also read reviews from people who have visited, or “clocked in”.
10. Separate your work from your living space.
If you’re working at home, and don’t want to pursue a coworking office, keep your workspace and your living space separate. If you work from your bedroom, when the day is over and it’s time to go to sleep, you’ll feel like you’re sleeping at work. A successful separation between these two areas is key. Work in your home office or in your dining room. You can also work on another level of the house if you have a two-story home. Anything you can do to separate your working space from your living space will help you to stay happy, and able to work remotely for a long time.
If you’re new to remote working, I want to hear from you! What challenges are you facing? How does remote work differ from your experience in an office? Tell me in the comments!
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