Working from Home: Advice We’re Following and Giving Clients
A little over a week ago, Vision Advertising moved to work remotely. For us as a primarily digital marketing agency, it was a reasonably smooth transition with our work-from-home guidelines and tools already well established. Now, with the new orders from Governor Baker, we’re helping more and more of our clients not only continue to operate their businesses remotely, but we’re also providing advice and support to clients – not just how to operate but how to keep staff happy and productive. That’s what I want to focus on today.
What Needs to Change When You Work at Home
If your staff hasn’t worked from home before, you’re going to get a mixed reception depending on staff personalities and also their workload. Some will take to it well, some will have difficulty adjusting, and some will have barriers to productivity that will need to be addressed. Here’s where to start:
- Keep Lines of Communication Open: Now that staff can’t physically walk up to co-workers or management, you’re going to need new lines of communication. We suggest using video chat and having a chat app that helps keep work communication separate (see apps in the next section). Make sure to regularly reach out to your clients and vendors as well.
- Provide Productivity Tools: Work will be disrupted when people work from home, be it from environmental circumstances (such as family) or having their work routine broken. You need to have online tools to help them communicate. Note that tools that help staff be productive are not the same as tools that force them to be productive.
- Be Flexible When Possible: Some employees will struggle to work from home. Some types of work may need to be altered or halted until remote work or the pandemic ends. Be flexible and provide workarounds. Think about providing non-standard works hours for staff if it will help them thrive.
Find Your Lifesaving Remote Work Apps
I’d say that 75% of the transition from office to working from home is about finding the right apps and online infrastructure for your business. Here are the categories to focus on:
- Online Communication: We’ve been using Skype for a long time but have also been using Zoom and Microsoft Teams lately with excellent results. Slack is also a great tool for inter-office communication.
- Cloud Storage and Work: Ideally, you’re already using some sort of cloud-based file storage to backup files and allow online communication. We use Dropbox, though you’ll have to get a paid account for the file sizes and to share what you’ll need. For larger enterprises, you’ll want to look to Azure or AWS.
- Productivity Tools: At home, it can be easy to lose track of work. If you’re not already using one, think about using task management software and time tracking. We use Asana for project management, which integrates nicely with Harvest, a time tracking tool. Using a CRM like Salesforce is great for larger businesses with the investment capacity. Hubspot also offers a free CRM for small businesses looking for a time-based investment.
The Toll Work-from-Home Can Take
If you’re trying out work from home for the first time, something important to monitor beyond IT problems or productivity is the health of your staff, both physical and mental. The COVID-19 pandemic is already a stressful situation, but combined with the break of routine working from home can cause, it’s especially important to help your staff cope:
- Take normal office routines online. Regular meetings, check-ins, lunches, and after-work activities should keep happening in some form to preserve normality and socialization.
- Enforce a good work/life balance. Working from home will blur the lines of being “at work” and being “at home.” Make sure your staff is taking regular breaks and closing their laptops at a regular hour.
- Invest in online classes and activities. Working from home can also have physical health effects, especially with gyms closed and stay and home measures enacted. Think about investing or making available online workout classes.
It’s essential to keep your staff healthy and happy during these times, both to stay productive and for the long-term health of all (including your company). If you’d like to learn more about what to communicate to your clients, check out our blog, What to Do and Tell Your Customers During the COVID-19 Crisis. If you want to talk further about business and marketing strategy during the coronavirus pandemic, please contact us here at Vision Advertising.