We’re fake-virtual…

So, if you’re reading this blog post, you probably know a bit about us: we’re The Portal, a virtual workforce of intelligent, professional and dedicated administrative assistants, directed by experienced, strategic and process-driven managers. We provide executive-level administrative assistance, customer service support, back-end office management and project management to our clients, as needs demand. We use various online tools (more on that from our Managing Director, Laurian Evelyn in another blog post) to help us to collaborate and manage our clients’ work. However, even though we’re ‘virtual’ for our clients, we operate out of a physical office, as a team who sees each other every day. 

Yes, we’re proudly fake-virtual.

We enjoy our teamwork and camaraderie; the ability to be able to communicate, learn and share face-to-face. But, with the entry of COVID-19 into our collective global-lives, practising social-distancing became important. To protect our employees and their families, as well as to be good world citizens and join in the effort to ‘flatten-the-curve,’ we decided to temporarily move to working from home. 

We communicate pretty openly in the office – so we were pretty clear the team would be ok with working from home, but we still broached the topic. We then discussed with our clients, and put practices in place to overcome any concerns they had. Our last day in office was spent ensuring everyone’s computers were up-to-date and had the appropriate levels of data access, reviewing some best practices for working from home and discussing what we all needed to do to stay safe.

So now, we’re all working from home; starting with a Zoom call in the morning, and running ‘Slack’ jokes all day (technology-progressive people will understand what I mean). Our MD will tell you, the first day was rough, more so though, because of a complicated task that rolled over and not necessarily all because of the transition. By the time we post this, we’ll be through Day 3, so we’ve polled our team for their most important learnings in the first few days of working from home and compiled here for you to read. Thanks to the entire Portal Team for their input!

As we get through the next few weeks together, we’ll need to all be more patient with our fellow businesses; they may be experiencing limited operations because they’re unable to operate remotely, absenteeism (or heaven-forbid, sick staff), stock-outs because of shipping issues and a whole host of other issues related to this COVID-19 outbreak. We are in very unprecedented times and need to remember to generally be kind, thoughtful and keep safe.

Our First Learnings from Working From Home

  • Get up and walk around every 2 hours or so to get your blood pumping and help keep your mind clear. 
  • Set alarms for everything. (e.g. 6 AM – Morning time: wake up and water the plants, 7:30 – Work prep: Water in my bottle, snack at the workstation, chargers, laptop, etc.) and try to be on time for each scheduled alarm. 
  • Mandatory outside times at: 1st light (wake up), Lunch, and 5:01PM 
  • Include your pets (if you have any) in your new work from home routine (hi Astraea!)
  • 10/10 recommend sitting by the window to get direct light, fresh air and a great view! 
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do not eat all of your snacks 😫
  • If you start to feel distracted, alert your team 
  • Boost morale with jokes, gifs, memes – to break the monotony of the day and make it fun like you would in an office
  • Create a slack channel for the funny stuff
  • Listen to music, or sit in silence (whatever works best for you) 
  • We repeat: Do not eat all of your snacks!!
  • Have a reward system for the big wins of the days: TREAT YO’SELF – also a good way to ration snacks
  • Wear shorts!
  • Have a designated work space/office. 
  • Be aware of your posture
  • Communicate with your team, it’s a major key in working from home!! #MajorKeyAlert
  • Remind yourself: Rome wasn’t built in a day; allow wiggle room for human error.