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So you’re working from home…here are a few things that helped me get in my groove

 

With the state of our world, many of us have been thrust into a life of working from home as the new normal. No time to prepare, no time to process, but a need to accept it. We’ve either been in your shoes or we’re going through it with you; and I’m here to say it does get easier with time and a dash of patience.

Working from home looks different for everyone and is a different perspective to the traditional ‘9 to 5.’ Removing the confinements of an office offers a sense of freedom, flexibility and ownership, as you are solely responsible for the execution and completion of your work. You pick your location, times of productivity and when you think it’s the best time to take lunch. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it can be, but it’s also not without its own challenges. Working remotely requires a cocktail of skills, systems and processes (and sometimes a cocktail!). I quickly realized that the systems I had built, no longer suited the workspace I was in. I first had to accept that the approach to remote work looks different, although the outcome may be the same. Two of the biggest challenges I encountered lied in the workspace itself and the systems best suited to getting the job done.

The Workspace

Possibly the most important part about working remotely. Separating work from your home is important. I found that this was not just about having a physical place to work, but creating a routine for the work week and proceeding with the more comfy relaxed routine on weekends. I found that I began to miss my 45-minute commute, which allowed me to have “me time” before starting my day. It’s not often that we roll out of bed and start working. We’re allotted time between waking up and starting our workday on-site, so something as minor as removing the commuting time began to impact productivity and performance. For me, it was important to train myself into understanding what routines are designed to get me working and which ones were designed to encourage relaxation. For example, if your previous routine involved a 30-minute commute with music, a book, podcast or just quiet time, try to carve out that same amount of time during similar hours while working from home.

Another vital piece to the puzzle, is to implement work hours. Having definitive work hours ensures clients, team members and you are clear that you do have a point in the day when you are considered ‘out of office’ for the evening.

Build a system the works for you

As a communicator, working from home has meant implementing programs and systems to encourage access, productivity and peak performance. Slack, Zoom, Google Drive and Asana have become a holy grail. They’ve provided me with an organizational system for managing projects and communicating with my team, in a way that doesn’t feel remote. Keeping a daily planner, scheduling team updates or end of week check-ins mean you won’t miss a beat, the communication is always open with your team and a system of accountability has been set in place. These systems ensure the job gets done no matter the location. Working from home does not have to impact productivity. This part takes time and patience, but they are essential to the process of exploring and understanding what systems are ideal.

Enjoy it and celebrate the small wins

Working from home is a great opportunity, but it does not come without its own share of obstacles. These are the things that have worked for me, but we’re all a bit different and it’s important for each individual to do what works best for them personally. It’s up to you to figure out how to best manage your time, resources and productivity on your own, but don’t hesitate to reach out to others to see how they’re making it work in case they have some great tips! For many of us, this is a whole new experience, and it can be a lot to take in. But it’s also a great time to explore your working habits and get into a groove that works for you. Be kind to yourself throughout the process and celebrate the small successes to keep yourself motivated and accountable.

During this time it’s important to be patient and create systems around the reality we’re living in today and we will get through this together, as a Neighbourhood!

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Check In. Communicate. Celebrate. The 3C’s of Working from Home

 

Check-In. Communicate. Celebrate.

Talking about the 3 C’s with The Neighbourhood. Our Founder & CEO, Betsy Cooper has a few tips for those working from home during this time. It’s not an easy adjustment but with a little help, we’ll have you running the world from your living room in no time.

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Always Be Prepared: What to do in a Crisis

Always Be Prepared

OK, let’s talk about all this craziness going on in the world. Does it feel like everything is upside down to you too?!? Who could have predicted all of this (and if you say you could have, then I’d like your help buying lottery tickets!). Obviously, the health of citizens of every country is of utmost importance above everything else. But, could you have imagined all of the closures (of everything!!) event cancellations, Broadway shows, all sports suspending or cancelling their games, ITALY closing, and any number of things that haven’t been announced yet.

And while everyone is talking about what to do to stay healthy, I wanted to talk about what to do to keep your business healthy, and to help others if you can. Because even if you could have imagined some of this, were you ACTUALLY prepared for it?

Are your Communications in a Crisis?

No matter what industry you’re in, you MUST have a strategic and fulsome Crisis Communications plan in place. And it can’t be something that just sits on a shelf for years. Plans should be in place for any scenario you can think of: accidents, protests, health issues, cancelled programs or events, and more. In this case you may actually be faced with many or ALL of these situations at the same time! So, where do you even start?

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Ensure you have a small group of decision makers who can act swiftly and confidently
  • Do your research on the situation, and be aware of all potential concerns that relate directly to your business
  • Communicate! With your employees. With your customers. With your suppliers. With your agencies. With your families.
  • Be responsive to your audiences at all times. They deserve to know what is happening, and if they are either affected, or maybe if they can help.
  • When the crisis is over, that’s the best time to review your current plan, and determine how it held up. Make some tweaks (or completely revamp it), so you know that you will be prepared when (not if) you come into another situation. 

Plan B

I get it. Everyone is feeling like you’re going to be in crisis mode for the foreseeable, and you’re barely keeping your heads above water. But, now is also a critical time to put your strategic plans in place. No matter what industry you’re in, you’re being affected. But we will all get through this. Together. So, now is the perfect time to think about the future. You probably had a 2020 plan and budget locked down a while ago, and my guess is that’s pretty much out the window. Now is the time to review those plans, make adjustments and think creatively about how you can come out even stronger on the other side.

Maybe you need to rethink an event opportunity or partnership that has fallen through, or reconsider where you’re spending your paid media budgets. Or maybe you actually have money that you didn’t think you were going to have because an event got cancelled. This is the perfect time to reflect on all of those elements and revise your integrated marketing plan to ensure success through the rest of the year.

It Takes a Village

Now that you’ve figured out how your company is going to work through the current situation, it’s time to look outward. There are others who may need your help. The obvious areas are those directly affected by COVID-19 like healthcare workers and retirement communities. But almost everyone will be touched by this, and there are ways you can help. If you are in the fitness industry, can you provide your classes online so that people can access them from home? If you’re in the beverage industry, how can you support your key accounts? If you’re in the retail industry, can you provide delivery service for those who can’t come to your store? If none of those fit, there are a myriad of others. There are kids out of school and parents who don’t know who is going to look after them, university students who need to start working for the summer sooner than expected, hourly workers in the hospitality industry who need to find more work. If you can help in any way, I guarantee you, Karma will be on your side.

Lean on your Neighbours

And if you don’t have all of this figured out yet, don’t freak out….we can help! The Neighbourhood Agency has a LOT of experience in each of these areas, and we are here to support whatever you need. If you want to jump on a quick phone call and talk through your current situation, or if you need to build an entire plan, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We believe in supporting each other, and helping when others are in need. We hope you do too!

We are better together.

Stay healthy.

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