Working from home is now the norm in the world of business due to the social distancing guidelines brought about by the global emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. For eCommerce businesses who remain open during this time, transactions must continue as usual—even if the circumstances are far from normal.
The transition from office to remote working may be difficult at first, but when well planned and managed, it can be highly productive and advantageous to both business and employees. Here are some tips to keep your eCommerce business running smoothly, amidst a new norm of working from home.
Set aside space within your home where you can peacefully concentrate on your work. A home office does not have to be a separate designated room in the house, it can be any area in your home where you can set up a laptop and feel comfortable working. Acquire the necessary equipment and props that best suit your usual office setting (ex. a monitor and your desk calendar) and put them in the place you have purposely designated for work. Running your business from home can be challenging, but designating a specific place for work takes your mind away from personal home duties and allows you to associate that spot as a place where work happens.
Working from home calls for a great deal of discipline, after all so many temptations! Set your working hours and do your best to stick to them. By doing this, you will not be a victim of distractions that can divert you from your work. In the same manner, it will keep you from becoming a slave to your laptop 24/7 and help you balance work and home. Setting a clear schedule will help you distinguish when you are required to be working or doing something else.
Running your business from home and working remotely can be tricky when you are not used to distractions from family, roommates, pets, and children. Set boundaries with family members and roommates to be respectful of your working schedule and your designated workspace. For distractions that have no respect for your boundaries (such as pets and small children) schedule small intervals throughout your working schedule for walks and playtime. This allows you to give them your attention without feeling guilty for being away from your computer, allowing you to be more productive during the rest of your workday.
The connection among your team is vital for increased efficiency and productivity, so you must embrace the most effective form of communication. For some teams, this may be instant messaging, for others it may be regular conference calls. Find a method that works for you and maintain constant communication, so you feel connected as though you were sitting in your work office. This communication keeps regular transactions ongoing without any unnecessary delays, and helps you stay connected to your team for added motivation.
When getting up in the morning, follow your normal routine as if you are going into the office. Wake up at your regular time, shower and dress for the office, make your cup of coffee, and sit for work at the time you normally would. This will alert your brain that you are ready for work and get you in your regular work mindset. It also sends a message to those in your home that your are set for work and should not be distracted.
Of all the tips, the most important is to understand yourself and know your triggers. Identify your biggest obstacles for productivity and consciously address them. For example, if you know social media is a big distraction for you when you are home, leave your phone on a counter and not directly beside you. If household chores easily distract you, make sure to get them done the night before so laundry and dishes are not on your mind all day. Be conscious of your top triggers and proactive about dealing with them. Keep away unnecessary gadgets and keep housework out of sight that can wait for the evening.
Even those who may not have embraced work from home in the past, must now find ways to make it work for them in order to keep businesses running. Over the last few weeks, businesses around the world have made it clear that it is entirely possible to maintain (and in some cases—improve) effectiveness and fruitfulness while working from home. Even though working from home may not be the ideal situation for some, it is the ideal solution to keeping businesses and employees healthy and safe in today’s environment.