While there are many perks to working from home, there’s a constant underlying challenge - keeping your focus when there are so many distractions. Here’s how to improve concentration at home, and keep yourself in line with your business goals.
Working from home has become an essential part of a business continuity strategy in these uncertain times, but there are challenges that come with it. There are certainly many perks, like you and your employees being in charge of your own time, dressing however you want and being able to take care of personal tasks even as you manage your business. But while all this is enjoyable, there’s undoubtedly a wide range of distractions at home that can keep you and your employees from being as productive as you want to be – and in business, being unproductive is a huge setback.
These days, it’s best to prepare for any possible disruption on your business with a “Work from Home” strategy that can easily be adapted. Here are some simple tips to help you and your employees maintain efficiency, so you can still reach your business goals from the comfort of your home.
When you’re in an office, you know instinctively that it’s a place of business, and that the entire area is designed specifically for the purpose of working. You need to designate a place at home for this same purpose – a space that will give you the maximum focus for managing your company. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate office, but it should at least be conducive for work. Have a desk and a comfortable chair, at least. While a chair isn’t as comfy as your couch (or God forbid, your bed), it’s a much better place to stay focused. It also helps you stay organized if you have specific spaces for paperwork, devices, and other materials only related to business.
Employer Pro-Tip: Ensure your employees have the right tools for your business. To help you start, here are some questions you should ask yourself: What do my employees need to make them more productive?– devices, connectivity, conference call tools? How do I make sure they have access? If they don’t, how will I be able to provide?
This is something that can’t be stressed enough. In the absence of physical meetings, your employees must be able to get in touch with you and each other to operate the business efficiently. Voice calls or messages are the most basic, but in today’s digital world, video conferences and instant messaging apps are quickly becoming the norm with their ability to simulate a face-to-face meeting with immediate feedback.
Employer Pro-tip: Agree on communication protocols with the team – set regular cadences. Ask yourself, what is the best way to communicate and how often? Should it be via phone calls, chat, productivity apps (like Slack, Trello), or conference calls (like Google Hangout Meet, Zoom)?
Ideally, this doesn’t have to be a 9-to-5 thing. But to stay on track, your company should at least come up with a daily plan of action and stick to it. Clarifying deadlines and definite goals at a morning huddle will help the team get into the correct mindset for the workday and will teach everyone to prioritize important tasks to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Employer Pro-Tip: As it’s all too easy for a passionate team to work the hours away in the comfort of their own homes, encourage a time-out with a lunch break, for example, to prevent burnouts. Your mind and body – and your business – will surely thank you.
First, agree on some ground rules — virtual meetings work best when people are fully present. Some suggestions to minimize disruptions: No multitasking, keep your mic on mute if you’re not presenting, or allocate time for asking questions and feedback. Second, have a simple ice breaker — it can be in a form of kamustahan, or a simple trivia question. This sets a light tone and energizes the attendees at the start of the meeting. Finally, follow up your meeting by sending minutes. This will ensure everyone is aligned with the meeting agreements and can be used as reference especially if there are a lot of action steps.
Employer Pro Tip: Video conferencing is highly recommended — most apps, like Zoom and Google Hangouts, meet, allow you to share your screen so your attendees can follow the discussion. In addition, seeing your employees’ faces will provide you visual cues on how they feel.
These are just some things you can do to maximize this arrangement. Don’t know where to start your Work from Home arrangement? Schedule a consultation with an account manager here.
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Google Hangouts is a tool to connect your team from anywhere via chat and video meetings. It is part G Suite, an online suite of productivity tools. Work on important reports and presentations together as a team in and out of the office. Learn more about G Suite here.
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