Maxim Behar: 10 Tips on How to Handle Business From Home
Right? No one was expecting this week's turn of the circumstances. Not even what happened before that week. It is already clear that in just a few months everything will change and nothing will be as it used to be, neither us nor our business, not even friends and companies.
But now, all of us who are in the active and fast-changing business, are completely obsessed with thinking how to keep up at least at the same pace. And to make this happen – after the first ten days of running your business from home, having dozens of video chats every day, I think there are at least ten most important things to keep up to, to know and to remember in order everything to go smooth. Probably, they are not ranked by importance because everyone has their priorities, but surely they all give a complete picture of our rather unusual daily lives.
1. Be pragmatic. Leave your philosophical analysis for another time. Especially now when we use video chats to connect and more than two people are involved in the call. Save your explanations, interpretations, unnecessary and non-essential words and concentrate only on the results of the meeting. Take notes and try not to go into disputes - in most cases conflicts do not lead to anything positive.
2. Fully organize your day as you usually do, not minding the present situation. Get up on time and do everything you're used to – shower, coffee, breakfast, sports... all the habits that you have had even though they are now limited within your home. This will give you the confidence and balance to be able to perform your business tasks fully and will definitely help you concentrate.
3. Make up a plan on how exactly you want your day to pass and come up with clear ideas about what you need to do. Do your tasks on time, structure them in order of importance and tick off what was already done. If the time was not enough to do all your duties – be sure to add them to the next day's tasks. However, try not to let this happen.
4. Keep dense concentration and do not get distracted. Sitting at home is too depressing for many reasons – meetings with people you usually only meet in the evenings, pets, favorite books, movies... Those are the things that we don't find in the offices but even without wanting, we can devote ourselves to them and impair business tasks. Our families may also suffer because of that.
5. Choose a good and reliable program/app for video calls. The most accessible and easy to service is Zoom, but there are many others on the market whose interface can fit you much better. It is important that you feel comfy using it, but most importantly you should be capable of using all the functions of the program/app. Avoid video calls with more than 3-4 people, if the whole office has to be involved, organize the meetings no more than once per week and be brief and specific.
6. Arrange your workplace in the best possible and convenient way, which is as close as possible to your work environment in the office. Coffee mug, laptop, notebook, everything should be in place. Forget about any sofas, pillows, armchairs... as well as everything else that differs from your office environment. That way you will get closer to your normal working environment and you will certainly feel more fulfilling and complete.
7. Make sure you get out in fresh air and rest enough – on the window, terrace, garden. Take walks, do gymnastics, move even more than you do in the office but mostly do not let your dark thoughts and laziness find a place in your consciousness. You are at work and that is foremost. You have to succeed every day, every minute, and your condition is of the utmost importance that this happens.
8. Try to think not only days but months ahead. Predict the changes that can occur in your business, analyze different patterns and be open to all possibilities, however, don't let yourself predict an apocalypse. Nowadays many managers make a big mistake – they have a pessimistic expectation, no matter what level they are. Yes, it's a fact that there are sectors in business that will never be as they used to be, for some it will take years to regain power again, but there is always a way to change the concept and get even better.
9. Be attentive to the people around you, even more than necessary. The "Prison" at home is a rather atypical situation, especially for people of active age who have to cope with active management, performing all types of activities. The risk of confusing your office environment with your home and without even understanding making a mess of feelings, relationships and conversations is too big and can complicate your personal life at the same time, but also the business you are engaged in.
10. Last but foremost – the balance between the team and the customers. I have always claimed that the team should be more important than any client because it is in the core of the business and if the team is made of professionals who are perfectly organized as a puzzle, the customers will appear without any effort. Now, more than ever, a good balance needs to be found between a perfectly working team and the clients who are well-understanding the endless power of business communication. Indeed, we have in our hands beautifully working online tools and if we can manage them skillfully there is no doubt that we will keep developing our business and we will make the team even better working. The truth is that the balance between these two realities will make us more self-assured and confident in success.
Of course, these tips are just an opinion of what we can do in order not to feel the difference in doing business, or at least to soften this abrupt transition from one to another way of working. However, at the heart of everything is to be proactive, resourceful and very creative so that each of us can spin the ship in the right direction. Now like never before, the speed of change is way too fast.