Due to the recent Covid-19 nationwide stay home orders, many of our clients are forced to work from home. Most of our team here at Social Pickle work from home so it is something we are already familiar with. Here are a few tips for working from home and managing your business remotely.
To prevent loosing traction in your business and continue productivity, setting up a home office will help your team stay focused and keep a working mindset.
Creating your strategic home office
It sounds simple, but setting up an office or work space at home is very important. Your office does not need to be anything elaborate or expensive. What is important is having a quiet work space with all the essential office equipment and set up. This includes having a good computer, fast internet, web cam and ergonomic setup so you can work for hours at a time.
Picking good work from home software and equipment
Are you going to be working in multiple locations or just from home? If you have a desktop computer, it may be difficult to carry over files and work done from home when you transition back to work. With using laptop computers, many struggle with the small keyboard and computer screen. Make sure to choose a computer right for your situation. Our recommendation for a great computer is something fast with a ton of memory.
We recommend choosing a computer with at lease 16gb of memory or more. For windows, make sure you have at least an Intel i7 processor and 1TB hard drive. We also recommend choosing a computer with a high quality web cam. If you have an existing computer, you can order and install the additional hard drive and memory yourself.
Just use Google or search Amazon.com for your specific make and model. You should be able to find a good computer for around $500. A fast processor and improved memory will allow you to have good quality web conferencing. Windows desktops and All-in-one computers are generally the most affordable option.
Desk and Chair Home Office Setup
Most people can pretty much work from anywhere in the home. This is only really important if you are going to be jumping on a professional video conference call. Having a professional looking background will be very important in that case. You can work from your desk for a little bit, then work from your couch and change to your outdoor patio. Just make sure that you are using good body mechanics.
Make sure to use an office chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust your armrest so that your arms are relaxed and taking pressure off of your lower back.
As for your computer screen, make sure the screen is aligned with your eyes. When looking forward, your head should be looking in a natural position with your eyes aligned to the top of the computer screen. If working outside on your laptop, make sure you are keeping your eyes protected from UV rays that could be bouncing off your screen.
If you plan to be making phone calls or joining online video conferences, it is very important that you have a good talking headset and phone system. Though you could use speaker phone or the computer speaker system, the sound quality could be poor and cause communication issues. Picking a good headset with built-in microphone improve the quality of your conversations and also allow you to mute your call quickly if needed.
Working from home Software and Tools
While running your business and working from home, it is super important that you maintain communication with your team on a daily or weekly basis. In order to collaborate with your team, there are certain tools and software that you will need. Here are some great options for you to keep communication with your team from home.
Technology these days allows us to communicate remotely with our customers and team members. Video conference call software like Google Hangouts, Zoom, FaceTime, and JoinMe are an awesome way to connect with your team and clients. These options not only allow group conferencing, but also allow computer screen sharing.
With Google Hangouts, you can add your conference schedule directly with your Google calendar. This simplifies sending out invites to your team, customers or prospects. Google Hangouts also allows you to share video, char and web conferences through your computer. You can control the speaker and screen sharing as well. FaceTime works great for connecting on iphone, iphone or Mac systems. Zoom is another great video conferencing tool that give you the options of computer and voice sharing from home. The free version of Zoom allows you to use many of the features. JoinMe is a fantastic screen share software that allows your team to screen share.
You will also need a way to manage projects as well as message your teammates. Using a software like Slack allows you to set up different channels, clients, projects to keep your company and various projects organized. Podio is another great tool. Podio allows you to manage clients and monitor project status and completion. You can do everything form assigning tasks to managing staff productivity and tasks.
When is comes to managing documents, spreadsheets and forms, Google Docs really comes in handy! Multiple users can edit documents online and in real-time. You can set permissions to allow only certain team members to make changes and updates. While using standard word documents software, this does not have a real time component. Using Google Online simplifies sending documents and giving access to shared content.
Time Tracking Software is very important is you are looking to manage your teams productivity from home. With your team working remotely, it is essential that you track time and know that paycheck are being earned. We have worked with several time tracking services and software. TSheets allows you to streamline time tracking and even has a payroll feature to track employee pay. Also, it allows you to schedule jobs and shifts, create reports, manage teams and even integrate with Google docs and other tools.
Make Working From Home Fun and Relaxing
The last and most important tip for working from home is to have fun! Working from home and staying focused can be a challenge but there are a few things you can do to improve your mood allowing for a more productive day.
Music, Music, Music! Having some great music on while working not only improves productivity, it keeps you relaxed and focused. Using a software like, iTunes, Pandora, iHeart Radio and Spotify are recommended. One of our favorite channels on Spotify is Deep Focus! This is a great channel and while listening, you will notice drifting off into a land of deep productivity.
Exercise is essential! Getting up and moving around gets your blood flowing and helps you stay focused. It is very important to try and take a break at least every 2 hours to break up your work day. Your exercise can consist of a quick walk or run around the block to 15 minutes of yoga, stretching and breathing exercises. A walk around the block gets your circulation going and eases tension in your muscles. Even with a great ergonomic home office, your body can tense up after hours of work.
Lastly, it is important that you keep distractions away from you. Having kids and pets at home can create distractions that take you out of “work mode.” We recommend setting up expectations with your children and creating a quiet work environment and time consistent home work schedule. A great example is to let your children know that from 7am to 11am you will be working. Then at 11:30 you will stop for a family lunch break! Make it fun. Giving your children a project during your scheduled work hours can help eliminate distractions and also help them stay productive as well.
Now that we have covered all the tips and tools needed to work from home during the Stay Home Order, hopefully you have picked up a few things that will help you stay productive and focused at home. Our team at Social Pickle Media hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy!