This is a guest post by Molly Barnes from Digital Nomad Life.
Speed matters a lot in the business world. Whether you need to get a product to market or hire the best person for your team, time is money, and wasted time often equates to a wasted opportunity. But suddenly we all find ourselves in a global slowdown. Now what? If your department — or entire business — needs to pivot to online collaboration during the COVID-19 crisis, what is the best way to make sure the transition is as fast and smooth as possible? Here are several tips:
Test Your Internet Connection
Except for a few remaining mom-and-pop hardware stores in rural counties, every business today needs a web connection to succeed. This was true even before we were all directed to shelter in place, but now especially, an internet provider represents your company’s lifeline to customers, co-workers, and supervisors. You might need to do some shoring up to make sure your home connection can stand up to your business needs.
To know what internet service works best for you, start by testing your current connection. You may find yourself surprised — hopefully in a good way! Many homes already require a fast enough connection for streaming, which is an advantage. However, your current web speed compared to your desired web speed, instead might represent a pretty big gap, depending on your business needs. That’s why it’s crucial to look for internet providers that can give you the fastest speed and the most reliable connection.
Establish a Schedule
Time management remains one of the biggest challenges in the modern world, where 40-hour workweeks never seemed to be enough time to get work completed. In this new paradigm — when much of our mental energy is sapped by worry, stress, and taking care of material matters — don’t commit yourself to working more; commit yourself to working more efficiently.
The good news is, in a work-at-home environment, you have greater control over your timeline, which comes with both risks and rewards. The schedule you establish should fulfill several purposes, clearly establishing exactly how much time you have, how much you can get done within it, and how much downtime you need to stay rational. Make certain that your schedule has the correct balance of targets, time investments, and breaks.
Oscar Wilde famously said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” What is true for the greatest temptations in life is also true for the smallest ones: a bowl of candy here, a quick look at social media there, a bookshelf that you spend too much time thinking of because it’s easier than focusing on work. There’s nothing wrong with taking breaks, but when distractions start overpowering your attention span, it’s time to simplify your work environment.
A cluttered workspace is often an unproductive workspace, and though your Funko bobbleheads sure do look cool, they might be sucking up more mental energy than you can spare. Consider all manner of downsizing, whether you need to go for a full relocation to storage or you just need to simplify to having one of everything — one pen, one paper pad, one screen — so that redundancies within a single space don’t suck up your bandwidth.
Control Your Finances
Some people are fortunate enough that their work hasn’t changed a bit since the pandemic started, and today is just another workday like before. For most other people, however, the job has changed, perhaps radically: Some are on half-time, some are on half-salary, and some are simply laid off until the businesses can re-open. Some are out of work completely as their businesses shutter indefinitely. The global joblessness rate is expected to rise past 195 million.
As national economies and global markets falter, it’s more important now than it’s ever been to keep a grip on your personal finances. Take some time to assess your bank accounts, paychecks, investments, savings, and any other assets you have, and stack them up against your monthly bills and payments, plus other recurring and incidental expenses.
Once you understand your income and expenses, you can devise a new budget that accommodates the new financial conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic. See if you can create some room to divert a little each month into savings for an emergency fund. Having a plan in place for your finances may help give you a little peace of mind in the face of all this uncertainty.
Ask For Help
One of the hardest things in the world is to admit that you’re in over your head. Perhaps this feeling only comes with the biggest and most complex challenges, or perhaps it’s a feeling that hits you just about every day in some way. But now is an ideal time to ask for help, as it can signal to others in your organization that it’s OK to admit they’re not perfect, either. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that nobody can do it all, and we have to rely on each other instead of shouldering it all on our own.
A professional can identify many avenues to ask for help whenever they feel overwhelmed and, say, a deadline is looming. Seeking out a mentor can be a huge aid to someone’s career trajectory, as they can provide guidance and contacts worth their weight in gold. Even if you don’t need a mentor per se, it’s still recommended that you ask for tips or suggestions from co-workers or specialists, since you may find new strategies that help your entire team to adjust to the new normal.
Back It Up
Nothing derails progress (and breaks your heart) like a system error. Whether a city experiences a power failure or your own hard drive chooses to crash the day before a project is due, backing up your work is an essential practice every time, with no exceptions. If you can set up your operations with a system that backs you up automatically, so much the better.
A good cloud provider is a must-have for any business department that quickly needs to transition to remote work: Cloud storage affords you access to all your files, from the current iteration of a collaborative project all the way back through every previous version. It also lets you share your info with new members of the team, get remote approval, or allow another department to weigh in on specifications, data, or sales performances.
A cloud platform links together all info and all members of a project, so there’s never a second wasted on confusion, losing information, or even the ever-looming threat of a screen that suddenly goes black when you least expect it.
Bring It All Home
These days, when fear and uncertainty are the rule, it can feel impossible to make a quick transition to working (and doing everything else) from home. But if you hammer out a plan and nail down your tech — hardware, software, and online platforms — then you can re-establish a new normal along with your co-workers, clients, and partners. And we’ll get through this together.
If you need any extra help in managing your business or consultations about different tax, legal or accounting topics, don’t
hesitate to contact 1Office and ask for help.