Doing business from home best practices

How to make the most of your new work from home situation

Thanks to COVID-19, individuals and businesses now have to adjust to the new reality of working from home. Albeit an ideal situation for many people, it does not come without its own distractions and disadvantages - it is easy to forget the basic rules of running a successful business from home where a myriad of distractions abound. Nonetheless, it is not an impossible undertaking. While working on assuaging the impact that the current economic climate has, businesses still need to stay relevant and productive even if they are not physically open. This guide will be detailing various helpful ways that you can productively run your business from your home.

Working with your team from home means that you need to reevaluate how you communicate. With remote work, you are not working face to face with your team, however, work still needs to flow. Set clear boundaries by creating a schedule that helps the entire team maintain a structured workday. Be direct and clear with expectations for whatever project or task your team is meant to handle. Being direct with your expectations will help your team focus on achieving a common goal. In the place of in-person conversations, make phone calls to quickly solve problems with miscommunication that might come from emails and chats. As you prioritize your plans and work on business continuity, you’ll also need to stay connected with your team. This will help them all stay focused on the goal. Thankfully, there are low-cost/free tools to help with this. Try tools like Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp etc to keep communication flowing in a way that mirrors your normal work communication.

Next, brush up on time management skills. One thing to consider is using a suitable time management app as it can be difficult to keep track of tasks, deadlines, and time in general. Integrate your plans with your calendar so that you can always have a place of reference for them. To take it a step further, use tools like toggl.com to manage your time. Another useful thing to do is to set timers or watches for when you want to focus on work. This helps you set out time during the day to focus exclusively on your work. It is important to note that you have to be flexible with yourself as you are not at the office. Make sure to keep your colleagues updated on completed or pending tasks to help you adjust your schedule as appropriate.

In addition, identify tasks and prioritize them based on their urgency and importance and then look at the best way to work on all the tasks together by identifying linked tasks. If you have children to take care of, wake up earlier than them and set a to-do list that takes into account all the things that require large amounts of attention. Work on them before the children wake up to get that out of the way. Alternatively, if you prefer to work at night, focus your attention on these tasks after bedtime when it’s quiet and free of distraction. Make sure to make your work hours and personal hours distinct from each other. Set up your schedule in a way that you can take breaks in between to attend to personal tasks. Most importantly, make sure to schedule your work hours in a way that avoids burnout as you can easily find yourself working all the time.

Another tip to help is to have a separate, productive work station that mirrors the same that you have at your office and is separate from your living space. This is essential as it helps improve focus and productivity. You will have a place to retire to, away from noise and distractions where you can send emails and have meetings conveniently. You need to ensure that this workspace only gets used for work so that when it’s time for personal tasks, you can move to other parts of your home to accomplish them. Working from the comfort of your bed or with a TV in front of you blaring the news or music will hamper your productivity. Setting yourself up for success sometimes requires that you recreate an environment in which you are most efficient and productive. Another important thing about your workspace is to keep it as de-cluttered as possible. The brain reacts to clutter emotionally and mentally in ways that might hamper productivity.

Although working from home during COVID-19 may not be as straightforward or easy as expected, it is possible to adjust to it using the tips outlined above. While we are not certain how long this will go on for, the above-listed tools will help improve your team’s performance and ease the transition to working from home. Learn what works for you and adjust how you work to fit it. Make sure to ask questions, work together with your team and keep them in the loop of any new information. This way, you can forge ahead despite the current situation.

Key Takeaways

Running a business from home is not an easy task, however, it is doable. Using the tips below will assist in improving your team's performance and productivity and ensure business moves smoothly, as planned.

  1. Reevaluate communication with your team

  2. Schedule your day

  3. Prioritize tasks with a to-do list to manage your time effectively

  4. Have a separate workspace (different from your home area)