Most studies show virtual workers are typically no less productive than their office-bound counterparts; in fact, they’re often more productive. But without the regular in-person contact with their managers and other colleagues, they can begin to lose their sense of belonging and passion for the team and the broader organization.
Ultimately, both the manager and the employee share responsibility in making and maintaining those critical, authentic connections that drive higher engagement.
As a virtual employee:
Stay tuned in: It’s up to you to be present in the moment and also be aware if you’re feeling disconnected or isolated. If you are, take a moment to reach out.
Communicate expressively. Because you won’t always be able to rely on face-to-face interactions when you have ideas or concerns you want to get across, your ability to communicate in a clear, compelling way is more important than ever.
Take advantage of the tools: Email is great, but don’t let it be your sole method of contact. Schedule opportunities for verbal (phone) and visual (MS Teams/Zoom) communications when possible.
Don’t let your imagination get the best of you: Without context there’s a tendency to “fill in the blanks” of what’s going on. Any time you notice that happening, it’s a warning sign that you need to reach out and get into conversation with others.
Consider ways to lighten workload, rethink due dates where possible
Prioritize your work. Try to gain clarity with colleagues or supervisors about what is urgent and what work can be deferred for a while. Treating every task as critical can lead to overwork and feelings of being overwhelmed
With each new project proposal determine team capacity, bandwidth and necessity/urgency of the work being done
Respect your time and the time of your colleagues and co-workers. Everyone has been stretched these past months, so try to remember that each person you interact with has also been under enormous pressure to work under tight timelines
Schedule some blocks of work time in your calendar to allow for planning or uninterrupted time to focus on assignments
Block a lunch break on your calendar and note time needed for family obligations
Consider Microsoft teams or other systems to help workflow and reduce the need for meetings
Distinguish between must do and nice to do assignments and projects