This strange and unprecedented (have you gotten tired of that word yet?) time has brought out the best and worst of us in virtually every aspect of our lives. When it comes to business, if there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that an office space is not always necessary, but it’s certainly nice to have.
As a company that practices ROWE, our team is already used to working from home, but even we’ve struggled to stay not only productive but motivated during this long period of isolation. The question we wanted to ask ourselves (and answer for you) is: how do you keep your team productive and accountable while trapped in a quarantined world? Here are some of our most useful tips.
LEARN TO COMMUNICATE
For many of your team members, this is likely the first time working from home, at least for such a long stretch of time. Not to mention they’re home with their families, including young children in many cases. Don’t get us wrong, we love our families – but everyone needs some alone time.
It’s possible, even if they haven’t said so, that they’re feeling anxious, isolated, depressed and more stressed than normal, and that’s completely reasonable. There’s a good chance they’ll need to continue working from home for a few more weeks if not longer, so you should create a long-term plan.
OVER-COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Start by hosting a “How- To” work- from- home session, in which you clarify your team’s expectations, open up communication channels and make them easily available for anyone with questions. Quick, five-minute 1:1s over Zoom or other video applications can be really helpful, too.
DON'T FEAR THE PHONE
Working from home can lead to your team defaulting to email and Slack communication. However, there are many examples of issues and tasks that can be explained and solved much more efficiently with a quick phone call. Don’t be afraid to hop on a quick call or Zoom to get things done.
WORK FROM HOME: BRAIN TRAINING
Next up, we wanted to include a section about personal productivity that you can share with your team. This is not about just working on your actual work, but about staying healthy both physically and mentally while cooped up in your house all the time.
AVOID YOUR PAJAMAS
You deserve the utmost comfort. However, wearing pajamas all day long is a slippery slope, and it also signals to your brain that you’re relaxing and chilling, not working or getting things done. We recommend wearing an outfit every day, while still keeping it comfortable.
You don’t have to wear a tuxedo to your next Zoom meeting (though if you did, that would be awesome), but maybe a comfortable button-down or polo with some yoga pants or shorts. Your clothes tell your brain what activity you’re doing, so choose something relaxing yet focused, whatever that means for you.
DESIGNATE YOUR WORKSPACE
It sounds nice in theory to lay on the couch with the laptop on your lap, TV on, getting work done, but it never works out. Either you end up watching too much TV or you slowly crawl through your work while getting more and more tired despite it being noon.
Even if it’s just sitting at the dining room table, you need to designate a space in your home for work and work alone. From there, you need to train yourself that when you sit down in that spot, it’s time for work. Other places, like the couch or your bed, signal to your brain that it’s time to rest. And for good reason! Those are restful spots. Keep them separate.
STICK TO YOUR ROUTINE
One of the easiest ways to fall apart during quarantine is to live without routine. Trying to wake up and aimlessly work from some nebulous time to another nebulous time is extremely difficult, if not downright impossible. Most often you’ll end up starting everything too late and finishing up just before sunset.
Even if you prefer to work from noon to 8 p.m. instead of 9-to-5, you need to build a routine. Get up every day at the same time on work days, and start and finish work within a certain time frame, just like you would at the office. This can help restore a sense of order to a somewhat chaotic time.
TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND
It’s time to leverage every technology available that will help you and your team stay connected. If you’ve been working without modern technology and procedures at your company, here are some of our best tips to get started.
TRACK YOUR TIME
When people think of tracking time, they often think of clocking in and clocking out as a rigid part of their job that signifies that they were here a certain amount of hours. But tracking time is not about filling your day; it’s about ensuring productivity.
Using time tracking apps can help you and your entire team better understand how they’re using their time, as well as how long they’re spending on certain tasks. If you were already using time tracking apps, the data can help you compare efficiency. Many employees are scared of time tracking because they worry it will make them look bad, so we recommend reassuring them that they’re not being judged based on this time – it simply helps the company function at maximum efficiency.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Explore your project management integrations and take advantage of them. If you’re not using a project management tool, you should consider one, especially at this time. If you already have one, there’s a chance you haven’t been utilizing some of the functionalities that can help your team from home. Every tool is different, so do some research into which one will work best for you. Everything from document sharing, shortcuts and reminders for tasks can be added and used.
LEVERAGE YOUR TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING
Now could be a great time to make sure your company’s technology as a whole is up to industry standards. As most companies are transitioning to remote settings, everyone needs to adapt. Even if you don’t want to consider every single strategy, you should at least take the time to check them out.
As you implement new technology, it’s also vital that you adequately train your employees to use them, otherwise there will be some unnecessary friction and miscommunication as people try to get on the same page.
At Mojo Media Labs, our goal is to help your business grow smarter by way of modern strategies such as inbound marketing and account based marketing. If you’re looking for a partner to help you develop top-level marketing for your business, let’s talk. Or if you’d rather learn more about how we can help you, download our free account-based marketing workbook!