What You Need to Know to Be Effective in Your Virtual Office
Not too long ago, when you heard someone talking about virtual office hours, it was likely they worked in academia. College professors have had virtual office hours set up before the pandemic as a way to assist students who were enrolled in distance learning along with those who possibly had work/schedule conflicts.
An article from Northern Illinois University titled, Connecting with Students in Online Courses: Options for Virtual Office Hours, outlines five tips for setting up office hours that will benefit both you and your colleagues. Your boss will be impressed that you have taken the initiative to have a solid plan for your virtual office environment.
Let’s dive in on the first two tips.
1. Establish an Appropriate Tone. The article talks about coming across as approachable, and while you are not a professor, that same can hold in your business interactions. While there are times you have to take a hardline or reprimand an individual, you need to be approachable to be an effective leader.
What kind of relationship do you want to have with your peers, and do your behaviors motivate your direct reports to seek you out for guidance? It not, evaluate your tone, what is the best part of our personality, are you trying always to put your best first forward, and do you convey the same enthusiasm you expect others to take? It takes time to find your online tone, yet through self-awareness, trial, and error, and holding to your core values; you will find the appropriate tone.
2. Provide Clear Instruction. When teams work remotely, there may or not be core hours set by your employer. Let’s say you no longer have an hour’s commute; then you may be online at 7 am vs. your 8 am office start time. The earlier start time, in turn, likely means you will end your day earlier. You can’t expect everyone to know your schedule unless you are providing precise details.
To do this, start by putting your office hours in your work calendar each day, then integrate the calendar with a third-party communication tool you may use, like Pragli. By posting your hours and keeping them updated, both your colleagues and boss will have a solid understanding of your availability and learn to trust your time management skills.
Now enter more about the technology available to teams working remotely. I mentioned Pragli above, and it is a free virtual workplace app. What makes it different is that you create your avatar to indicate your availability; you can select to use the web version or the desktop, which has more functionality to suggest if you are focusing, walking the dog, or have an open door.
Source: https://pragli.com/ Retrieved November 23, 2020, via the web.
Your team can easily see your status, and you can set rules for interruptions and even indicate your day is over. Pragli offers visual cues to your colleagues and boss about your workday and your openness to collaborate at any given time. To see info on Pragli’s virtual office tool, visit their Getting Started Page.
Now that we have some tips and a bit of technology overview, we ant learn more from you. Please share what is working for you and your team, along with the obstacles you are still looking to overcome. There is something we can learn from each of you. Stay tuned for a follow-up blog about Prgali. Our team has implemented Pragli and we’ll be sharing our experiences with you, the good, the wish list and the indifferent.