Working from home isn’t a new concept, but as a result of COVID-19, it has become a prolonged and challenging territory for many agents to navigate. At first, it may have been nice to have a change of pace and a comfortable working environment, but if you’re starting to feel like the newness has worn off, don’t worry – you’re not alone! While some states are beginning to lift restrictions, there’s still uncertainty as to when business will return back to “normal” and we’ll be meeting in-person and attending events again. To help you find success amidst the challenges, we wanted to share these best practices for working from home. It’s not too late to start implementing them in your routine!
Set up a Designated Workspace
People who thrive working from home preach that setting up a dedicated workspace is essential. Not only does it help you distinguish when you’re “at work” but if there are other people living with you, it can help make the distinction more clear to them as well.
You’ll want to set your workspace up in a comfortable location, but we don’t recommend plopping down on the couch. It’s most beneficial to find an area that mimics your desk set-up in the office. Somewhere with adequate space, low foot traffic, and an outlet nearby. If you have a desk or office already in your home that’s great; but if not, a section of the kitchen or dining room table can work just as well. We recommend choosing a location that allows you to set up your workspace and leave it. Packing up your workspace every night and setting up again every morning can be tedious, stressful, and inefficient.
Also, don’t forget to consider what others may see if you join them on a video conference call! There have been plenty of funny, albeit embarrassing, videos shared on social media of people who didn’t think this through. Try to have a background that is free of distractions and bright lights (like a window). Instead, make sure you’re facing a light to improve your video conference quality.
Set Boundaries for Your Work
When you work from home it’s important to keep your “work time” separate from your “home time.” Setting and maintaining boundaries can help. One way to do this is by creating a routine.
Maintaining a schedule is important when making the adjustment to remote work. It can be easy to get caught up in what you are doing and work late, or hit snooze a few too many times and sign-on late. Keeping a schedule can help you stay on-track and differentiate your time, and it helps others know when they can reach you.
In the office, you likely have more distractions than you do working from home. Whether it’s chatty co-workers, clients stopping by to talk business, or lunch meetings, it’s important to remember you need breaks from staring at your computer. Taking breaks throughout the day will help you decompress and refocus your attention. If the weather is nice, take time to get fresh air and a little exercise. If you can’t get outside, at least find a way to get up and get moving around your house.
Leverage Technology to Enhance Communication
Effective remote workers and teams leverage technology to enhance their communication. Video conferencing platforms, like Zoom and Google Hangout, help enhance virtual meetings with body language and facial expressions that phone calls lack. Aside from meetings, they can also be used as great training tools with screen sharing features.
Instant messaging apps, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, can help to alleviate an overwhelming increase of emails while you’re working from home and can get your coworkers the answers they need quickly. These platforms are also great resources for document sharing and workflow management to keep everyone updated on tasks and progress in real-time, without having to send emails to notify every member of your team individually.
There are countless options for technology tools that can make working from home easier. If you don’t already have these or similar tools in place, it might take a little research and trial and error to find the best fit. To help, we’ve compiled this list of recommended tools for external communication, internal communication, and marketing and selling while working remotely.
Additionally, a few weeks ago we hosted a webinar training with other tips and tools for doing business remotely, including more ways to leverage technology during this time. You can watch the webinar here. Though things are unusual, these practices and tools can help you do remote business successfully.