By: Bridget Shaw on March 20th, 2020
How to stay positive and productive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
[Editor's Note: To help cope with this new reality as we navigate our way through uncertainty, we're releasing a few articles over the next several days focused on insights, tips and advice our team has collected on the way in their journey to working remotely.]
If you’re like me, then you may have found yourself at a loss trying to navigate our current health crisis while still conducting “business as usual”. However, I think that we can all agree that there is nothing “usual” about our situation. We’ve been thrown into our new normal without much prep time or warning. The way that I see it is that we have really one option, thrive and adapt. Adopting new daily routines, personally and professionally, will help us reach that light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that we’re in this together. Human connection is still necessary and can still be achieved while working remotely. At HighRoad, we’ve always been 100% virtual, so this is one area that we can help to shed some light with some realistic tricks of the trade
The benefits of working remotely
There are so many benefits. To start, there is no daily commute. For many of us that live in metropolitan areas this is a huge plus. As much as you can spin it, listening to 3-4-hours’ worth of podcasts everyday does not lessen the blow of a long commute. Also, there is a lot of flexibility. If you need to run to the grocery store because you heard that the mobs have subsided for 30 minutes, you can do that. Perhaps, you work a little later or earlier the next day. In addition, flexibility is needed when you have kids at home. Again, maybe you work a little earlier or later, but the flexibility is there.
First things first, get dressed like you are going to work (because you are). Be comfortable, but also be professional. Rule of thumb- if you’d be embarrassed opening the door for an Amazon delivery then you need to go get changed. Second, try to set up a dedicated office space. This can be your dining room or basement, but wherever it is just making sure to keep set it up as your dedicated work zone. It’s okay to work from the couch once and awhile but try not to make it a habit. All too often, the lines get blurred between home and work, which can lead to feelings of discontentment in relation to “never leaving work”. The absolute best setup includes a door that you can shut at the end of the day, thus leaving work and coming home. There will be an extra layer of complication if you also have young kids at home. If this applies to you, then be patient and try to help them stick to a schedule as best you can.
Connecting with people (clients or colleagues) when you’re not next to them
We use video conferencing for all our internal and external calls. This is a great way to get a read on facial expressions that you wouldn’t normally pick up on over the phone. Plus, it’s nice to get that “socialization” in, even if it’s virtual. Zoom is a great video conferencing tool.
Managing your time
Manage it just like you would if you were in the office. Set meetings with agendas, make lists, create follow up tasks, etc. Literally, just like you would in the office. I realize that there’s a perception that working from home is distracting and difficult to get anything done, but I find the opposite to be true. Yes, there’s the load of laundry here and there, but I think that most people find that it’s difficult to stop working. Again, an office door is an ideal office accompaniment… shut it and leave for the day.
Software tools that can help great virtual environment
We use Slack for instant messaging and group boards. We even have a few boards that promote social interaction, including a #watercooler channel, which mimics the office chit chat while grabbing a coffee. Other boards include technical, sales, and support. As mentioned before, Zoom is a huge part of our virtual environment. And the great part is that you can send Zoom meetings directly through Slack by typing “/zoom”, which sends an instant meeting invite to the person that you want to connect.
My advice to those needing to connect with prospects amidst a global pandemic
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. Pay attention and be nimble when it comes to your marketing output. Think about your clients’ or membership needs, and what would make their lives easiest right now. Be authentic and center your messaging around the human connection. There’s a real need for authentic connection- let’s master this.
How is HighRoad approaching challenges like this?
Again, our team is 100% remote already, so aside from the new challenges related to having to share our home offices with kids/spouses at home, we’re pretty good. When it comes to our messaging and servicing for our clients, we’re actively listening and trying to figure out how we best help associations help their members. Next week we’ll be hosting a virtual panel discussion just to see how things are going, talking about challenges that associations are facing in these uncertain times, and what they’re doing to overcome some of these challenges. More to come soon!
How do I stay positive in these uncertain times?
Be patient with others, and as well as yourself. Although these are stressful times, remember that most people are generally doing their best and we'll all figure it out together.
About Bridget Shaw
Bridget is based in Lovettsville, VA, and recently joined HighRoad as our newest Strategic Account Manager. Bridget has more than a decade of software sales and account management experience including planning technology solutions. She offers unique consultative and proactive approach, and enjoys seeing projects make a real impact on her client’s daily operations. She is familiar with working remote and has a good sense of her strengths as a team-player contributing to growth. Those that have worked with her in the past describe her as someone that has their ‘foot on the gas’.