20 Tips for Working Virtually to Increase Productivity

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 18, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Virtual work allows professionals to complete their tasks outside of an office setting, typically via a computer. More employers are now offering their employees the option to work virtually to accommodate a more flexible schedule, increase productivity, and encourage a healthy work-life balance. Learning tips for working virtually can help you thrive in your remote work environment and increase your productivity. In this article, we define virtual work and share 20 tips for working virtually to help you be efficient as a virtual employee.

Related: How to Start a New Job Virtually

20 tips for working virtually

Following tips for working virtually can increase your chances of success in a virtual working environment. Before going into these tips, it's important to understand what virtual work is. Professionals who work virtually complete all of their daily work tasks through a computer or other form of modern technology device. Many industries offer virtual work, especially creative industries such as writing, graphic design, and data entry-related careers. Virtual work situations often require you to work in the same location as the head office, as there can be occasional in-person meetings.

Many virtual companies prefer their employees to live in a similar area as a virtual team may have members who work together on the same project but report to different team leaders. Here are 20 tips to improve your work performance:

1. Create a dedicated workspace

Having a dedicated workspace with all the required tools and resources to complete your tasks can help you stay organized and create an environment for being productive and focused. If you choose to complete your virtual work from home, consider setting up an office for yourself in a spare bedroom, or even a section of your dining room. This helps create a habit, so you know it's time to work when you enter that dedicated space.

Related: 9 Benefits of Working Remotely (With Tips for Remote Work)

2. Minimize distractions

Working virtually may come with distractions, so it's important to eliminate potential elements in your environment that may distract you from being productive and completing your daily tasks. Other household members or pets may distract you if you complete your virtual work from home. Communicate your needs to ensure your work environment is comfortable and in a low-traffic location that allows you to focus.

3. Set goals

Setting goals can help you keep track of your schedule as you work virtually. Setting daily, monthly, and yearly goals for yourself can be beneficial to ensure you meet your targets and complete your required work tasks. Consider asking your supervisor to also set goals for you. This can help motivate you to stay productive and focus on specific tasks.

4. Be confident

Being confident in your abilities and value as an employee often helps improve your work performance. Confidence can increase your productivity rate and comfort level at work. Try to raise your confidence levels by preparing for your workday and identifying work-related fears and stressors.

5. Dress for work

Working virtually may not require the same dress codes as in-person roles, but dressing for work every day can boost your productivity rates. Dressing establishes a routine that can make your workday more efficient. Preparing for each workday encourages you to establish a professional mindset.

6. Invest in reliable technology

Working virtually requires efficient and reliable technology to complete tasks adequately. It's important to ensure your equipment has the necessary memory and speed capabilities. Some companies may provide technology to virtual employees, but if that's not the case, investing in reliable software equipment can be beneficial. That includes a quality Wi-Fi router, webcam, headphones, speaker, or monitor, depending on your job duties and expectations.

7. Clarify expectations

Before you begin your virtual work, ask your supervisors to clarify their expectations of you. Depending on your job, this can include asking for a general routine or production quota. Reaching a mutual understanding of your manager's expectations ensures you meet your goals.

8. Determine your peak working hours

If your schedule allows for it, determine your most productive hours. Whether you're more productive in the morning or late at night, determining when you have the most energy to complete work tasks can help you create an efficient schedule. This can also help you plan to complete more challenging tasks during times when you have more energy and focus.

9. Keep a daily schedule

Keeping a daily schedule allows you to establish a routine and lets your colleagues know when they can contact you. Consider keeping regular hours and clocking in and out of work around similar times. This practice also helps you set career boundaries, ultimately improving your work-life balance.

Related: What You Should Know about Home-Based Jobs (With Tips)

10. Take breaks

It can be easy to lose track of time when you're working virtually because there aren't the same physical cues as in an in-person office setting. It's important to take breaks to regain focus and creativity to complete your next task. Grab a drink of water, stretch, have lunch, or even take a short walk around your neighbourhood. It's vital to stay healthy while working.

11. Schedule regular check-ins

Consider scheduling regular meetings with your supervisor to ensure they're happy with your work performance. Try to schedule monthly or even weekly meetings to check in with your team. This ensures you focus on the priority tasks and helps you maintain positive work habits.

12. Develop your computer skills

Working virtually requires proficient computer skills. These skills can help you troubleshoot minor technology-related issues and properly use your work resources. If you're unsure about an application the company uses, consider reaching out to a team member to ask for guidance.

13. Track your productivity

Tracking your productivity can help you set realistic goals and organize your schedule. Consider using a productivity-tracking app or manually recording your daily work. This practice also helps you identify patterns in your work and motivates you to continue completing tasks.

Related: What Apps Are Good for Working from Home? (With Benefits)

14. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries for your work can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance. For instance, set a certain time frame to be available for work-related communication. These practices help separate your work and personal life, which helps improve your work satisfaction and health.

15. Communicate often

Ensure you stay connected with your work team and engage with the company culture. Frequent communication can help you connect with your work team and ensure mutual understanding of work expectations. Developing strong communication skills can help you build professional relationships and achieve your individual and team goals.

Related: The 7 Cs of Communication (And Tips for Improving Them)

16. Ask questions

If you feel unsure about a work task, ask questions. Communicating with a knowledgeable professional when you have questions ensures you receive an answer quickly and establishes proper working habits. Often, asking a question allows you to increase your working speed instead of spending time and effort searching for the answer yourself.

17. Create informational protocol documents

Consider creating collaborative documents that specify workplace protocols and organize resources. This ensures that your work team follows similar practices and saves time during the workday. Share these documents with your team to help everyone stay productive.

18. Sign up for training programs

When starting a virtual career, committing yourself to training programs can be beneficial to ensure you learn how to accomplish your tasks efficiently. Your supervisor may recommend specific online programs or seminars to help you be more productive as a virtual employee. Effective training programs ensure the company's daily operations function well and offer you the confidence to meet your professional goals.

19. Take sick days when you need them

It's important to work only when you feel healthy enough to do so. Although taking days off when you already work from home may feel unnecessary, it's important to prioritize your health and take time off if you feel unwell. This ensures you produce the best work possible and promotes personal health. When taking a sick day, be sure to communicate your intentions with your manager.

20. Establish a team chat room

It can be challenging to build professional relationships when working virtually, so it's beneficial to establish a group chat with your team to share ideas and network. When working virtually, encourage a team-based mentality to raise workplace morale and ensure your work team feels supported. Video chats can help you feel more connected to your team, and scheduling them in advance allows the team to prepare. Virtual work operates differently from traditional onsite work, so be patient with your team members when communicating virtually to promote kindness and encourage your team to feel comfortable.

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