Well-Being and Staying Healthy
While there are many advantages to a virtual work environment, it is easy to feel like the workday never ends. Working 24/7 is not healthy and it is also not an expectation. Consider the following suggestions for maintaining a healthy work life balance.
Teammates should talk with their leaders about establishing a consistent work schedule and core hours. If teammates are getting their work done and are meeting expectations, they should feel comfortable to step away from the computer to have lunch at the kitchen table or to grab a snack. Also, consider converting time previously spent in the car into a time to get exercise. Getting up and moving will increase productivity and create a healthier lifestyle. At the end of the scheduled workday, log off of the computer at the same time every day as if it was time to commute home.
A successful virtual work arrangement begins with communication. Leaders are encouraged to have one-on-one conversations with teammates to communicate expectations regarding schedules, work hours, meetings, time off requests, etc. As each teammate has different needs and work styles, leaders should ask about the type of engagement each person wants and prefers. For example, some teammates may prefer email while others may prefer face-to-face video conversations. Some teammates may prefer daily check-ins while others may prefer weekly. As long as the preferences of the teammate doesn’t negatively impact the work, leaders should strive to honor those preferences.
Leaders of teammates working virtually often expect availability at any time of the day or night. These unrealistic expectations often give virtual work opportunities a negative feel. Once core work hours have been established, leaders should respect those boundaries and limit emails, text messages and phone calls outside of those core hours to emergency situations only. Teammates need, and deserve, uninterrupted personal time to connect with family and friends and to refresh their minds and bodies.
Another important component of teammate well-being is connection and inclusion. Utilize available technology to create a virtual water cooler for teammates to connect with one another. Virtual meetings do not have to be 100 percent transactional. Build time into the agenda for a “just for fun” question, recognition of important milestones such as anniversaries and birthdays, or just daily chitchat. Fostering connections between teammates build teamwork and comradery and leads to a happy, productive team.
Remote Teams Toolkit for Leaders