As schools and businesses continue to adjust to prevent the spread of COVID-19, builders are shifting to a work from home scenario. For many, this is an entirely new reality. For some, it’s business as usual.
Do You Convert feels fortunate that our workforce is, and has always been, entirely remote. We know what it takes to be productive both on an individual and team level. While tools are critically important, your mindset is what will dictate your success over the coming weeks and months. Here’s how to make it work:
To be clear, all you really need to work from home is a fast internet connection, a reliable computer, and a webcam. But to create the kind of home office that will make remote work a breeze, you’ll need a few more items:
You will conduct more video calls with your team, prospects and customers. Be sure you have video conferencing software downloaded and ready to go. Consider using FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Go To Meeting or UberConference. Each of these platforms offers different packages (some free), so take a moment to research and determine which is best for you and your team.
If you’ve followed DYC for a while, you know we feel about video email. In “normal” times it can change your business, and now it might be all you have to nurture prospect relationships. BombBomb is our preferred video email platform. For quick screen recordings, try Loom.
Slack is a great tool to communicate internally with your team. You can create private groups, topic-specific channels, or communicate one-on-one. It can be less cumbersome than email for lots of back-and-forth messages.
If you’ve got kids home from school, your house just became infinitely more noisy. Krisp is noise cancelling software that will make your business calls sound… well… less like you’re calling from a daycare.
A second monitor while working from home will literally change your work life. Remember, everything you do now is on a screen, so real estate is important. Here’s a portable monitor that Kevin recommends.
You probably haven’t thought of this, but sound quality just became an important factor in your home. Sound insulation can reduce the echo and make it easier for the person on the other end of the line to hear you.
Standard earbuds will do the trick so that you don’t have sound blaring from your computer, but this is one area where you get what you pay for. We recommended a couple of quality headphones in our 2019 Gift Guide.
Natural light is best for video meetings (with the window in front of you, not behind you). If that’s not an option, an inexpensive ring light is the next best thing.
All the best tech gadgets mean nothing if your internet is slow or spotty. Invest in high speed internet that allows you to video conference. If that’s not an option, shut down all other programs on your computer whenever you’re on a video call to free up bandwidth.
Kids and spouses are also home, which means they, too, are using bandwidth. Set designated times for conference calls when no other family members are allowed online.
This is so important to your success (and peace of mind). You are a professional and you need your own space to think and work. A separate room with a door that closes is best. If that’s not possible, reserve a quiet corner of your home and make it off limits to other members of your family during work hours.
If the setting is not ideal for video calls, set up folding screens to create a more professional environment. (There are endless options for folding screens. Select one suited to your taste and home décor.) Avoid having personal furniture in the background like a dresser or bed.
While many of us worked from home before, working from home with kids is an entirely different juggling act. Every child and household is different, but try to establish a daily routine that includes learning activities, outside time, meals, playtime and quiet time. This will at least keep your kids from going stir crazy and allow you to figure out how and when you can work.
Manage expectations with your leadership and team, and do as much as you can, when you can. This will be an ongoing journey and challenge for many of us.
Working from home has a unique set of challenges (and opportunities!) that you should be aware of at all times. When you start “slipping” in any of these categories, your productivity and professionalism can quickly decline with it. Be sure you:
If you’ve never worked from home full-time, there can be an adjustment period. Have ongoing discussions with your leadership and team about what can and cannot be accomplished at home. This is especially important if you have little ones with you. Establish how frequently your team will meet and on which platform, and adjust as needed. Remember, everyone has to adapt to a new normal for a while.
When you work from home, you can miss the visual cues that are a given in face-to-face interactions. For important or detailed conversations, opt for a video call over phone or chat. Video also helps you feel more humanly connected to your team and customers.
Also, don’t be afraid to over communicate. Use phrases like “Just to be clear,” “To confirm what you requested,” and “To be sure I understand.” Ask for clarity and confirmation to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
Let’s be honest, no one really shuts down entirely anymore. But make an effort to focus on home and family-related activities after normal work hours. Working from home makes it easy to be “on” all the time, but some separation is necessary in order to start each day refreshed and focused.
One of the perks of working in an office is having “water cooler” talk with co-workers. This type of casual conversation gives us a mental break from work and allows us to connect with others on a more personal level. Water cooler talk can also become almost non-existent while working from home. Set up a Slack channel to talk about anything other than work; it’s a basic human necessity and may help to alleviate the stress of the current situation.
Do You Convert is here to help. If you have any questions or need additional tech recommendations, please reach out!
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