As the U.S. works to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), many businesses are being forced to close or allow their employees to work from home. While this structure works fine for some businesses, for others that rely on human interaction or the ability to provide a direct service, this poses a serious challenge.
For those who are used to the hustle and bustle – or quiet – of an office environment, the shift to working from home can be a difficult adjustment (especially with school closures and kids in the house as well). From finding a quiet place to hold a phone call, to learning how to be productive amidst a myriad of new/different distractions, we wanted to create a list of resources that will help you successfully navigate a work from home environment – as well as some ideas for promoting/maintaining your business, while you work from home.
Productivity & Connectivity Tips:
- Try to find a room that is “off limits” to kids, other distractions, ideally where you can shut the door
- Make sure you are able to find a place to work with good cell reception
- Make sure your internet connection can handle the increase in bandwidth, and that you have the right level of speed for the word that you need to do (including video conferences if that is going to be a part of your new normal)
- Get some good noise cancelling headphones with a clear microphone. Test it out on friends or family before getting on an important conference call
- Use a messaging service (options detailed below) to stay in contact with your boss/team, so that you can keep them informed of what you are working on, when you are there, when you leave, etc.
- Maintain a routine, and dress the part – if you normally shower and put on business casual attire before going into work, consider maintaining that routine while you work from home, to keep a sense of professionalism. While it can be tempting to roll out of bed and sign on in your pajamas – think about what might happen if a last second video conference call came up. If your work is typically casual – then dress that way and enjoy!
- Work with your company’s IT department to assess any security requirements that you may need, including a VPN onto your company’s network
- Maintain your same work hours, break, times, and lunch routines
- Learn to disconnect! In our ever connected world, it can be so tempting to continue working late into the night if you have a lot of projects on your plate – because you can! However, learn to set boundaries for your physical/mental/emotional health, and set time apart for signing off of work, and tuning into your real world.
Tools of the “Work from Home” Trade
Project and Task Management
Screen Recording (for trainings/video support)
Document & File Sharing
Managing the Clock
Continuing To Market Your Business In a Time of Crisis
- Update Your Website With Any Operational Changes
- Contact information
- How to do business with you
- New interim services
- Changes in existing services
- Personnel changes
- Restrictions on services
- Reinforce social platforms for the “latest updates”
- Stay In Regular Contact With Your Clients, and Set Clear Expectations
- Send out Newsletter Updates (EngageMINT, Mailchimp, Get Response)
- Be present and active on social media
- Continue to update your website with information on any operational changes
- Offer gift cards for clients who want to support you, that they can use at a later date
- Provide the option to purchase those gift cards online
- Creatively think of ways you can solve your clients pain points, in non-typical ways
- Live or pre-recorded video based consultations or coaching
- Create an online/video based course
- Add eCommerce options to your website if you sell physical products, allowing clients to order from you remotely
- Online booking/scheduling?
- Online contract signing so that people don’t have to sign in person (Docusign)