Working from Home is here to stay: 6 Tips to Make it Work for Your Business
24 March 2021
Working from home is not a new concept for most people, but over the past year it has come to be what most humans now know as normal life. With the unfortunate circumstances revolving around the pandemic most humans were forced away from their office jobs and into their own homes. Although most of us enjoyed the time away from the non stop grind of the office life, being able to work in sweatpants and go about our day as we please many of us were lost and forced to find new ways to be productive. We have certainly come a long way in the past year, but we are still trying to find what best suits our new working lifestyle. Below are some great tips and tricks on how to handle this new situation.
Tip #1: Choose the Right Platforms
Every company is built different, which means not all online platforms will suit your needs. It’s important to do your research and figure out which software best fits you and your company. Some questions you could be asking yourself when deciding on the right platform are: What is the size of your business? Are you consistently working in teams? Are you task and schedule driven? Once you’ve considered these and chosen your platforms, it’s best to introduce them in small doses. If you end up putting all of your eggs in one basket and it doesn’t pan out, then you are just wasting valuable time and money.
Tip #2: Communication Is Key
Since many of us are no longer working face to face with our coworkers, it’s important to have a consistent form of communication at our fingertips. As younger generations are entering the workforce, we are seeing less phone calls and more emails. Although emails are a great form of communication, it can tend to still be archaic in this fast-paced society. That is why messaging platforms are key to help a businesses’ success. There are tons of platforms to choose from including key mentionables like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat to name a few. Again, it really all depends on what best suits your needs. Some great benefits of using these platforms include but aren’t limited to:
- Team Collaboration- Most platforms utilize a project-based layout which allows you to create different teams for different projects.
- Instant Communication- Each platform can be set up on your computer and your phone so that you never miss out on any key discussions during the day.
- Integration- Most communication platforms can integrate with other virtual platforms, such as your calendars, task boards, video chats, etc. creating one cohesive workstation for you and your crew.
Tip #3: Stay Organized
Staying organized is vital to keeping your business on track. If you can’t stay organized then you are potentially setting yourself up for failure. From scheduling meetings and project milestones, to setting daily tasks and filing important documents, it is important to utilize the different organizational platforms that the internet provides. One of the most well known platforms that checks all of these items off the list is Google. Google provides emails, calendars, chats, drives, documents, the list goes on and on. What is great about online platforms is that they integrate with one another. Take for example, you have a new project for your team. You set up a virtual meeting to go over the goals to be completed. From that meeting you can create a task board. The task board will allow you to set up the tasks and completion dates. Each employee can access this board and communicate with one another via task board or your communication platform. Need to upload documents? Just set up a community folder for everyone to access. With so many new innovations being created every day the possibilities are endless for you and your team.
Tip #4: Efficient Meetings
Efficiency is important in any facet of a business but when it comes to online meetings, they can go from productive to off track real quick. It’s important to keep everyone on task, like meetings at the office you really need to keep your audience engaged. In order to do this there are some important steps to make this work:
- Create an agenda ahead of time and distribute to all parties joining the meeting. This will allow everyone to review the agenda and be prepared to discuss key points during the meeting, making things more productive. If those attending the meeting are left listening to you talking for an hour without the help of focal points leading the discussion, there is the potential for many to lose focus and move on to other things.
- Don’t make the meeting longer than it needs to be. There are some people that feel that if a meeting doesn’t drag on past the hour mark, then it wasn’t a productive meeting. This is not the case, especially with the fast-paced lifestyle of business these days. Discuss the topic on hand, address any issues or concerns and create tasks for coworkers to work on during other office hours.
- Always remember that not every meeting needs to be a meeting. Simply put, reminders can often be addressed in a phone call or an email. Make sure that when you are creating a meeting that there is substance behind it. Your time is just as valuable as everyone else’s involved in that meeting, so make sure you are spending that time wisely.
Tip #5: Keep it Professional
Just because you are working in your sweats and slippers does not mean that office etiquette can simply be thrown out the window. Make sure you stay professional when dealing with coworkers and your customers. Make sure that your texts, emails, and messages are business forward, leave out the shorthand slang, friendly banter and most definitely emojis. Anything that doesn’t come off as professional could be misconstrued and create headaches for yourself and your employer. If you plan on having a video meeting with your customers or co-workers make sure you are wearing something other than your finest sweatshirt or bathrobe. Background decor should also be considered to avoid distraction to anyone on the other end of the screen and keep the focus on your message. Keeping an overall professional mindset at home is going to allow you to be more productive at your job.
Tip #6: Stay on Task
Staying on task is important when working from home. It can be quite easy to step away from your work to take on chores, or just to catch an episode of your favorite TV Reruns. The best way to deal with this is to create an office atmosphere and take away those outside distractions. Find a room that you can dedicate solely to your work, no television and no disruptions from your family members. That being said, it is still important to stand up from time to time and step away from your work as too much time in front of the computer can create inefficiency. A great way to stay on task is with task based virtual platforms. Some of these platforms include Monday, Asana and Trello. They allow you to post your tasks on an interactive board. You can have as many projects as you want and each project can utilize their own board. The boards also allow you to create multiple columns. With these columns you can create a “ tasks to be completed”, “tasks in motion”,” tasks complete” or “tasks you are stuck on”. The great thing about this is when you find yourself stuck on a task or feel you are over tasked, you can either assign someone else to this task or pin it to a different board. It really allows for you and your company to stay on point while keeping an overall balance.