Your new virtual assistant job comes with the benefit of working from home. That means no commute, no brown bag lunches, and you will be there to greet your kids when they get home from school. There can also be some drawbacks to working from home, like developing a workaholic lifestyle, feeling like you are always working, reduced productivity, and constant interruptions in your workday.
Here are some work from home tips to get your professional career as a virtual assistant started right:
Set up a designated workspace
It may be tempting to grab your laptop and plop down on the couch to start responding to emails. This habit, however, will quickly lead to a whole list of negative outcomes, from back strain to lack of focus.
Your professional career deserves a place of honor in your home. Ideally, you could set up a home office in an extra bedroom, but if that space is not available, there are other options. Create a workspace for yourself in a nook or corner, even a closet, a place to keep your work from home tools set up and ready for use. When you are not working, you can close the doors and walk away from your office.
Having a physical separation between your workspace and your living space will help you to maintain a mental separation, as well. When you are in your home working, you can focus on the job, but when you are in your home relaxing or enjoying the company of your family you don’t have to think about work.
Keep regular hours
One of the benefits of working from home is the ability to set your own schedule. You are not subject to office hours, the times when other people prefer to work, or at the mercy of commuter traffic patterns. You can work whenever you want to.
There is a difference, however, between setting your own schedule and not having a schedule. Decide what your prime work hours are and schedule your workday on your calendar. Maybe you can focus on work best while your kids are engaged in some daily activity, or you might be a night person who prefers to work after everyone has gone to bed.
Keeping regular work hours will make you more efficient and leave more time and brain space for your life outside of work. One key to efficient use of time is a strict focus on one task at a time without distraction. With a set schedule, you will develop good work habits quickly.
Send a signal
Working from home can be a challenge when you do not live alone. It may be convenient for you to be home all day to help manage household issues as they arise, but your work is also an intrusion on your family space. All of that blending of family and work could push your brain to overload.
This multi-tasking dilemma is easily solved with a signal that lets your family know when you are working and they should not disturb you except for emergencies. Your signal could be as simple as you walking into your home office and closing the door. If you do not have a workspace at home with a door on it, you may have to develop a different signal. Kids respond well to visuals, so you could designate a certain hoodie or baseball cap as your work attire. When you put on the cap, everyone knows you are working.
Working from home as a virtual assistant can be the beginning of a rewarding professional career. You will find that one of the most important skills is time management. Setting up a designated workspace in your home, keeping regular work hours of your choosing, and letting your family know when you are working will help you lay the foundation for efficiency and success.