Finding it hard to accomplish the ‘W’ in your company’s WFH protocols? We feel your pain. If you’re struggling to get down to business during these uncertain times, put one of these productivity hacks to work.The vast majority of business folks around the world today have never experienced the types of work challenges we’re currently contending with, particularly the call for self-isolation and the necessity to balance work responsibilities with personal needs for safety, security and financial stability.
We’re doing our part to flatten the curve by keeping physical interaction to a minimum. With that, each of our Ordmates (what we call each other) is now considering how they’ll be able to stay effective and productive in their roles while working from home (WFH).
And so, we’ve pulled together some ideas to keep operations flowing during times of business uncertainty, including while we all work together—but at a distance—during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns.
Set daily goals, then reward yourself for completing them
This may not be too different from how you worked while sharing office space with colleagues, except these days, you might have to high-five yourself for a job well done. And with all the focus on the here and now (e.g., “let’s just get through this quarantine period”), it can be extra-difficult for some people to stretch their thinking to meet longer-term, strategic goals they may have set for themselves mere months before.
If you’re finding it difficult to get down to getting things done, be sure to keep lists of both short- and long-term goals.
For example, here’s a set of daily goals from one of our client services Ordmates:
- Design customized CLIENT X invoice template
- Design customized CLIENT X dunning email template for enterprise and non-enterprise segments
- Identify fix for Zendesk Ticket #12026
- Update Sameer on progress toward go-live date
And when you achieve something on your list, it’s important to reward yourself. Some simple and cost-free ideas:
- Take a five-minute break to stretch and re-set your mind
- Call a friend or loved one to check in on them
- If time permits, take a stroll around the block, which can do wonders for your mental health (while being sure to maintain a safe distance from anyone you might meet on the way)
Look to SaaS automation solutions in times of business uncertainty (tech is your friend)
If you already spent the majority of your pre-COVID-19 time putting out fires and keeping track of the many moving parts of your business, then any new WFH protocol is going to seem like just another wrench thrown into your already busy workdays.
But, hear us out: A multitude of SaaS solutions in the market today—including the Ordway billing and revenue automation platform—allow you to automate those more time-consuming, repetitive, or downright tedious tasks on your to-do list.
For us, SaaS automation is taking care of onboarding new employees. Three new Ordmates started this week (we're hiring) and we used Rippling’s SaaS asset management tool to automate the provisioning of software licenses for individuals on client services, in sales, and in engineering. This would have taken hours before but it’s now done in a matter of minutes.
What other tasks can be automated? SaaS can be especially useful if you have complex fee structures and/or billing requirements that necessitate manual input each time you stand-up a new piece of business. From the sales-to-finance perspective, think:
- managing recurring subscriptions;
- setting up invoicing schedules, pricing and deployment;
- sending payment reminders and processing payments; and more.
When you use SaaS technology to automate these important but admittedly less-exciting tasks, you can reserve your valuable attention and expertise for activities that contribute to the longer-term sustainability of your business.
Embrace video conferencing, including the all-important video component
Lockdowns imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated both corporate and personal use of video conferencing. Yet, it can be far too easy to lose time on conference calls because of distractions—especially the case if you’re co-working with loved ones during a self-imposed quarantine period. And that time equates to money lost in productivity and decreased output.
Want to squeeze out the most productivity from your tele-meetings? First and foremost, enlist a cloud-based conferencing platform (if in doubt, check out this TechRadar article for a list of the best paid and free software options). Bonus: Most solutions offer a recording function, so you can keep a copy of the proceedings and share it with anyone who wasn’t able to join. We use Zoom and we’re happy with it.
And don’t forget, People relate better to each other when they can see them; there’s less chance that people will zone out or multi-task, as they might on an audio-only conference. As such, it’s equally if not even more important during periods of self-distancing to turn on the video function of your conferencing platform.
That being said, don’t force people to turn their video on. Everyone has their own communication styles and cultural sensitivities; what’s a no-brainer to some, may be more difficult for others.
We’re all in this together. Let’s work to support each other as best we can.
From Frank in Finance to Erica in Engineering to Sally in Support, and beyond… people around the world are having to find their “new normal” in the face of the COVID-19 crisis that’s decidedly not normal by any stretch of the imagination.
If you’re having trouble adapting your “business as usual” strategies to the new realities of WFH—or, if you’ve got some tips on how to make WFH time more productive and fulfilling—we want to hear from you.
Leave us a comment below or drop us a line to help other business people—including us!—be as effective and efficient as possible during these uncertain times.