8 Work at Home Tips from a Seasoned Small Business Owner

I’m hoping everyone reading this post is both feeling and doing well during this public health crisis. It’s a challenging environment for everyone, both personally and professionally, but I take comfort in knowing the shared experience may help bring us all closer together once the worst has passed.

As a small to medium business marketing company operating out of Fairfield County, Connecticut, like most other communities, we don’t know when the fallout from COVID-19 will allow us to get back into the community and a sense of normalcy.

Back in 2001, IWD launched as a website design firm for small, primarily local businesses in Fairfield County, CT. We’ve come a long way since then and now in addition to website design for companies outside our region, we offer a whole suite of other services such as reputation management, digital marketing strategies, and social media management to name a few. This growth has come while I have worked from home.

In 2001, working from home was a relatively new thing, and there was a BIG learning curve for both me and my family.

Over the years, I have worked to keep a wall between my work and home life, but these are trying times, so I am breaking down my wall to share with you My 8 Work At Home Tips for those of you new to this way of working or those of you who may have been struggling with productivity even before COVID-19.

While some of these may not be your cup of herbal tea 😊, I hope everyone can find something that registers with them. Of course, I’d also love to hear your work at home tips in the comments below. Remember, we are all in this together.

  1. Keep a tight calendar. Schedule important events on your calendar such as personal development, exercise, lunch breaks, and water breaks. Most importantly, put an end time to your day.
    *This is number 1 for a reason. It took me years to master my schedule before incorporating these things into my daily schedule; I became exhausted and developed health issues.
  2. Develop a breakdown of how your workday is going to be segmented. Ex: 60% sales, 30% research/education, 10% email processing. This will ensure the time you spend on tasks each day is closely aligned with your goals.
  3. Change up your environment. Take a conference call from a different room, maybe even take it outside on your deck/patio. A new environment might also help kick-start some creative thinking.
  4. Keep a clean and decluttered work environment. Create a space you want to spend time in, and which makes you feel good when you settle into work each day. It will help you be more focused and productive.
    • I like to run my diffuser with essential oils that make me feel good and put me in a happy mood. A little aromatherapy never hurt anyone!

  5. Hang your company goals on a whiteboard displayed in your office, visible from your desk. Seeing your goals every day will keep you focused, and help you make business decisions that will allow you and your team to achieve your targets.
  6. Put a filter on your inbox to help declutter and make it less overwhelming. Let’s face it, we all get hundreds of emails a day. You may want to consider scheduling email processing time on your calendar, and only check email during those times to avoid getting distracted.
  7. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT keep any social media tabs open on your computer. Social media is a time suck and leads to a loss of valuable work time. If social media is part of your work plan for the day, open what you need, when you need it, then shut it back down.
  8. Make time for learning and continued education related to your industry. Find a webinar, or connect with like-minded industry warriors like yourself and schedule a weekly or monthly Zoom call to stay connected. Being in contact with my professional networking groups allows me to not only get great information, but it is also an opportunity for me to offer information and ideas and have a sense of connection and community. Reach out beyond your usual circle of resources and see what you can learn and share with others. That is a particularly valuable thing as we remain socially distanced from one another.

I’d love to hear your ideas, and I am happy to answer questions you may have on my list of best work from home practices. I’ve been doing it a while so a lot of it is automatic for me, but if I realize I missed any, I will be sure to share them.

Stay well.

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