Working Remotely From Home
The Coronavirus and COVID-19 infection have thrust us all into unfamiliar, if not uncharted, territory. Along with other mandated changes to our daily lives, the requirement to implement “social distancing” measures, to avoid the spread of the illness, carries with it some of the most draconian of implications.
For those who make a living pounding the pavement as sales professionals, you are already likely to be experiencing some significant disruptions to your routine – canceled flights, postponed conferences, and clients who simply don’t want to see you. Nothing personal of course – it’s simply prudent, given that the risks of infection outweigh the need to interact with you in close proximity.
Combined with the directive being issued by many businesses (including us here at The Brooks Group) to its employees to work from home, we now find ourselves needing to establish a solid base of operation from a dedicated corner of our domicile.
Of course, the work-from-home trend has long been underway – in a recent state of work-study, 30 percent of U.S. professionals indicated they have a permanent home-based operation, and more than half of U.S. workers spend at least one day in the home office.
For the rest of us, we may be making this shift with minimal or no notice – with a likelihood that the temporary arrangement may be in place for some time to come.
Optimizing Your Remote Workspace
So how can you best prepare to organize your home office, with a minimal amount of disruption for your clients (and your family and pets, too), and without protracted downtime? Here are some tips we have compiled from our own experiences with managing remote sales teams:
- Get Connected: Among the first things to do is to make sure you have access to a strong cell phone signal and Internet connection, as well as access to your company’s file-sharing process. This could take the form of a VPN, or a simple folder sharing solution like Dropbox. If you discover that any of these items are at issue, you should take measures to fix them first. Cell phone and internet providers often have solutions to help boost signals when their services are less than optimal in a particular geography.
- Make Your Space: When choosing the actual working location, consider finding a spot that is as similar as possible to what you have in your corporate office. When space is at a premium, this could simply be an “off-limits” corner of your kitchen table or dining room. Most importantly, try to locate your workspace away from a TV – and definitely not in your comfy bed.
- Plan Your Day: For some, it will take a disciplined approach to stay focused on work. Since you likely have a default working routine when in the office, now is the time to stick to it. Make a daily schedule that includes planned breaks, so you can stay on track, while resisting the urge to have several unplanned visits to the kitchen each hour. And communicate this schedule to the other residents in your home – both two and four-legged – so they can respect your need to be productive.
- Avoid Distractions: Though your home is your place of comfort and solace, during working hours, it has to also be a place for business to get done. And though it may be tempting to Netflix and Email, you need to insulate your home working environment from focus-busting activities. And again, kids, pets, and spouses may assume that because you are home, you are “home” – politely remind them of the schedule you shared in step No. 3.
- “Telepresence” Like a Pro: Hopefully, your company has given you a license to use a teleconferencing service like Zoom or GoToMeeting (if not, there are several free options as well). If you are unfamiliar with their full features, they can replicate many of the same benefits of in-person meetings, with the ability to share PowerPoints, to whiteboard on the fly, and to ensure people are paying attention. Spend some time to learn the features of your chosen service, and make sure that the scenery behind the camera does not include something you wouldn’t want your clients to see.
- Take Breaks: For those of you who tend to get on a roll, you may enjoy the productivity that comes from working in isolation – without office interruptions. Make sure you allow yourself frequent breaks. Get up. Stretch. Walk around. Step outside for a few moments and enjoy some fresh air. Productivity is enhanced when we are attentive to our physical needs.
We spend many of our waking hours in a work environment, so shifting your work location in such an abrupt manner may be unsettling. But by following these tips, you can mitigate the personal impacts while ensuring you are able to provide your clients needed service and foster their own business continuity
Looking to boost the effectiveness and performance of your remote sales team? Our IMPACT Selling Virtual Instructor-Led Sales Training Program is the perfect solution. Our expert facilitators can train your team online from anywhere, in a live, collaborative, virtual classroom. Learn more about our Virtual Instructor-Led Training with our requesting one of our helpful information packets below.