Before Ridge Marketing, I worked from home for more than a year, running digital marketing campaigns for an IT company. Following some standard remote working guidelines, I was able to make it work (no pun intended).
But now, like many of you, imposed quarantines are causing nearly everyone to work remotely until further notice. My old WFH strategy doesn’t cut it for me now that there’s a baby and a spouse, who’s also working from home, thrown into the mix. I’ve had to make some adjustments so that I can get my work done AND supervise my kid AND stay sane during what’s possibly the most unprecedented time we’ve ever faced.
Here are my top tips:
Prepare Yourself – Mentally and Physically
If you’ve never worked from home for an extended period of time before, it’s important to start with these basics to get you in the right headspace.
Set up a designated work space for you, and a separate area for other family members who are also working remotely so that you don’t distract each other. Having designated work zones can keep you focused and retrain your brain so it doesn’t continue to associate being home with being done with work for the day.
You’ll ideally want to keep the same schedule that you had when you worked in the office in order to maintain a sense of normalcy. That means waking up in the morning at the same time as you normally would, taking a shower, getting dressed, and starting your work day as you normally would.
Take breaks throughout the day to increase your attention span and focus. If you’re able to get in a little exercise outside, that can also help release endorphins and keep you happy and motivated.
Keep Yourself Busy and Avoid News/Social Media Overload
Let’s be real; we’re in uncharted waters with this pandemic, which can make anyone feel uncomfortable or out of control. By keeping busy with projects, you are being proactive with things you DO have control over. The busier you keep yourself, the less likely you are to end up going down a news rabbit hole and stressing yourself out.
If you’re in an industry that is still moving forward full steam ahead, use tools like Trello or a good old-fashioned notebook to break down large projects into smaller tasks, which can help you feel less overwhelmed by a heavy workload.
If you’re still working but are light on projects at the moment, here are some options to consider (before you turn to Facebook or Netflix) that can help keep your marketing on track:
- Re-evaluate your 2020 marketing initiatives and work on a plan to accommodate new messaging in light of the coronavirus crisis
- Create cause-marketing campaigns and supporting communications, if applicable
- Perform a content audit to identify what pieces you need to support buyers along their journey
- Host virtual meetings between sales and marketing to brainstorm process improvements
- Research and try out new productivity software that will help out your entire team
- Create useful new content, especially digital assets like videos, to reach your audience as they also transition to remote working
- Update your website, either with a fresh new design, SEO update or a complete re-do
Stay Connected with the Team – for More than the Obvious Reasons
When you’re working from home, not only will you miss out on the opportunity to keep things moving with a quick in-person chat about a project, but you’ll also miss out on the social aspects of working in an office. Even if you’re quarantined with your spouse or family, it helps to be able to interact with other people.
Saying hi to a coworker making hot chocolate in the kitchen or asking someone what their weekend plans are might seem like “water cooler” chat, but without it you risk feeling disconnected or isolated. Use software like Slack or Teams to keep in touch even if you’re just shooting the breeze, sharing jokes and memes or pics of your workspace.
I hope you’re ready for your closeup, because a webcam can be a remote worker’s best friend. Being able to chat with someone while looking them “in the eye” is so much better than a routine conference call.
If Your Kids Are Now Your Coworkers, Do What You Gotta Do
After all of this is said and done, no one is going to hand out a trophy for Best Quarantine Parent. Setting a schedule and sticking to a routine can help give kids stability, but at the end of the day you need to do what’s right for your family and your sanity. That might mean temporarily relaxing screentime limits, or (if your company is flexible) taking turns with your spouse to watch the kids while the other puts in a few hours of work.
If the weather is nice, try and take them out for a walk, which can be a win/win for you: get out of the house for a bit and help them burn off some energy. Just make sure to stay 6ft away from any neighbors with the same idea!
It all boils down to…
Cut Yourself Some Slack and Do What You Can
It might not be possible for you to be 100% present and manage homeschooling… and oversee homework… and keep your kids entertained… and keep a spotless house.. and cook healthy meals… and also do your job. You’re going to have to take things as they come, stay flexible and keep yourself motivated. Things are going to feel very different for a while but soon they’ll become more manageable as you adapt to your new routine.
Take a deep breath.
We’re here to help when you need us.
Remember that this too shall pass.