By KT Heins
Full transparency: We know the world is in a weird place right now. The coronavirus has posed many challenges to the modern workplace, forcing companies to go entirely remote (our own included).
At WideFoc.us, our continued productivity on social media channels ensures our clients’ growth during a difficult time. As our CEO Eric Elkins says, “We are the front line of visibility for our clients nationwide.”
We know that keeping our cool and staying productive are imperative when navigating marketing and content messaging during a pandemic. We need to help clients be responsible, respectful, and — most importantly — comforting to their target audiences.
But how do we stay productive with so many distractions both inside and outside of our homes? As a Senior Community Manager and the head of our NYC satellite office, I’ve been operating remotely for close to eight months, meaning my work-from-home game is top-notch.
Here are my tips for maintaining your business operations from your home office in spite of all things distracting:
1. Set office hours.
We’re big believers in the 9-to-5, but we’re also proponents for working whenever, wherever, and however you want — because social media requires 24/7 monitoring.
The truth of the matter: Now that we’re all remote, it’s important that we set boundaries in order to make ourselves accessible to clients... and respectful to our co-workers. Set office hours to provide consistency to clients by offering core times in which you’re available for emails, calls, and contact. Even more radical: If you’re a business owner, consider making core hours a company-wide policy.
By starting in the morning and logging off in the evening, we avoid “taking work home with us” and contacting our co-workers when they’re trying to do the same. (That said, we’re a real-time social media agency, so we’re monitoring our clients’ social channels every day of the week.)
2. Pick a dedicated space.
Work too many days on the couch and soon the sight of your sofa may fill you with total dread. We understand that a home office may not be possible for our one-bedroom and studio dwellers — and with Amazon delaying deliveries, it can be difficult to acquire office supplies. I live in NYC. Trust me, I get it.
However, don’t despair: Choosing a dedicated space doesn’t mean building an office from scratch. Find a quiet, productive place and make it work! Standing at your kitchen counter can double as a standing desk. Make your dining table your desk, or set up in an open closet or unused corner of your living room. Move furniture around to make it work. My biggest rec: Pick a spot with lots of light — whether it’s your most powerful lamp or by a sunny window. Happy hunting!
3. Over-communication is key.
It’s easy to be uneasy right now. Clients and customers are likely making the same transition to telecommuting as you are, which means they’re probably also reading articles on staying productive, protecting their personal devices, and trying to get a new desk next-day delivered.
Our Golden Rule right now? Over-communicate to effectively communicate.
For us, this is specific: As Community Managers we follow the news, consider the impact for our clients (particularly their COVID-19 policies), and decide how we should be communicating to their target audiences — so they don’t have to. Then we communicate by checking in often, supporting their growth efforts, doubling up on strategy sessions, and even creating daily digests to assure them that their comms are operating as normal. This is all — of course — on top of consistent social media monitoring, content creation, and paid ad strategy.
The Golden Rule can also be used for your team: WideFoc.us starts every day with a team-wide daily check-in and has adopted new communication platforms including Slack. We also don’t shy away from jumping on the phone when we fail to communicate a need via text.
4. Keep your techie tools handy and personal devices protected.
Tangible office supplies are in short supply, and many people are using online organizational tools to keep their routine stable.
Our advice? App-taking notes make a quick fix if pencils, planners, and notebooks are unavailable — and use your trusty Google calendar to stay organized. Blocking off time in your calendar for designated tasks, meetings, phone calls, and more can help you effectively track your time online. Check off every task with a to-do list app.
More overall office-based communication means you’re sharing more professional data on your personal devices. Layer up with multi-device antivirus software, VPNs, and more internet security software to protect not only yourself, but also your co-workers.
5. Self-care is more important now than ever.
As your workday is now transformed, so too is your self-care routine. Have a spa day, work out, and stay creative with personal writing prompts, crafts, or new recipes. All are still possible, even with limited access to the outdoors. Try enacting small acts of self-care throughout the day: Pet your dog or cat, set a limit on screen time with frequent fifteen-minute breaks, and always hydrate.
Remember that, above all, we need to take care of ourselves just as much as we are taking care of clients and co-workers during this tough time!
Have more tips on staying productive while telecommuting? Send them our way! Or if you’re seeking insights on social media best practices during this tough time, consider signing up for our free upcoming webinar this Friday, March 27, at noon MDT.