Working from home can blur the lines between one’s business and personal life. If you want to succeed as a virtual assistant, it’s crucial that you set healthy boundaries between these two worlds.
If you ask us, it’s this quality that separates the best virtual assistants from the ones that burn out. While this advice applies to all workers everywhere, it’s especially relevant to virtual staff!
That’s because the vast majority of VAs a virtual assistant service like VirtualStaff365 hires work from home. Needless to say, this can make it hard to keep work and life separate.
So, how can you go about setting appropriate boundaries to ensure the other areas of your life aren’t being compromised?
1) Start by having a designated workplace
Just like working outside the home where you have an office table, chair, and cubicle, virtual staff should have a designated space to work when they’re on the clock.
It might not sound like much, but having a designated workplace allows virtual staff to create a mental barrier between their work and private lives.
Say you’re a VA who does their work at the dinner table or in your bedroom – you’ll constantly be reminded of work when you sit down for dinner, or when you’re preparing to go to sleep.
Not to mention, having specific working space at home will also help get you into the right headspace and avoid all the distractions you’ll find in the typical home.
2) Have a set start-up and shutdown time
One common mistake that business owners and managers tend to do is leaving their laptops, computers, and other devices on for the whole day. After they clock and decide to scroll through Facebook or read the news, they’ll still receive emails, updates, and notifications.
Next thing they know, they’re knee-deep in even more work – even though it’s after-hours!
One way to set healthy boundaries between work and life is to have a set shut-down time.
This time can be enforced with software – for example, if there are Google Chrome, there are (free) plugins that allow you to set an automatic logout time for certain accounts such as your email.
It’s a simple step, but it can make a huge difference to your work-life balance!
3) Let other family members know your work schedule
Some family members assume that since you’re working from home, you’re available anytime for a chat, to run errands outside the home or do chores.
Before taking on a virtual assistant role, it’s crucial that you let your family members and friends know your working hours. Be clear that during these times, you’re busy and unavailable to talk or help out.
One good idea is to print out a schedule and tape it to the door of your home working area, with breaks and lunchtime highlighted just so family members know when you are and aren’t free.
4) Set realistic work hours
When talking to a virtual assistant service, you might want to bring up the hours you want to work.
Why does this matter? Simple: certain businesses will require their virtual staff to work on their timezone.
Usually, this isn’t a big deal. However, since many virtual assistants work for businesses based overseas in different timezones, this can lead to your work spilling over into what for you should be resting time.
Before you commence employment, it’s important to determine whether or not you can accept working hours that are based around a completely different timezone.
5) Use separate devices
Think of this as the ultimate version of tip #2.
Instead of just logging out of the accounts you use, a completely separate device means that you can afford to shut-down completely.
That means one dedicated device for work, and another for your free time like watching videos or checking your social media. When you’re off the clock, you won’t need to worry about any distractions coming through and pulling you back to work.
It’s important to note that this isn’t always feasible – for example, you mightn’t be able to afford to buy a second dedicated device. Not to mention, certain roles require you to be on-call for emergencies, meaning some VAs won’t be able to use this tactic without impacting their performance.
Looking for a virtual assistant job?
Talk to a virtual assistant service like VirtualStaff365!
Each of these strategies is very helpful in maintaining a good work-life balance as a virtual assistant. Moreover, they can help you become a better VA.
Of course, that process starts by finding a virtual assistant job first.
And that’s where virtual assistant services like VirtualStaff365 come into the picture.
We connect you to Australian businesses in all sorts of industries and positions. Whether you’re looking for data-entry or highly-specialised roles, we may be able to help find a position that’s for you.
Contact the team today, or click here to check out our jobs board.