By: Troy Peterson
Working from home has taught our team a lot about our processes and ourselves. COVID-19 and its implications have forced us to learn so much so quickly about working efficiently for our clients without those quick stand-up meetings or impromptu brainstorms at the coffee pot. When we inevitably return to the office, things will never be the same—and, in some ways, this is a good thing. After more than a month of this new normal, living on Microsoft Teams and wearing comfy pants, here are four things we have learned during work from home that we will pack up (along with our dual monitors) and bring with us when we return to the office.
When things are busy, we’re all guilty of putting off certain emails. During WFH, many people are receiving and sending more emails than ever before. One thing we’ve implemented is to respond to every email even if just to say you’ve received the email and will respond later. By doing so, fewer emails are getting missed and more projects are moving forward with fewer follow-ups. By sticking to strict deadlines and including them in our messages, employees have been able to better prioritize and keep track of all moving parts.
Not all communication can be done through email. All of us have found many more check-in calls on the calendar. These helpful status meetings get everyone together to discuss projects. We’re finding there’s less time spent booking conference rooms, tracking down participants and politely evicting the previous group who is lingering in said conference room. In addition, working from home has forced us to learn new project management tools and techniques that make quick communication easier, requiring fewer meetings overall. As our team adapts to these new programs, the easier it is to get the information we need quickly.
2. Staying up on trends
More time at home with fewer activities has led many many of us to develop new disciplines. We are finding time to read more, write more and watch more—even during the workday. It’s vital that we stay up-to-the-minute on news and trends. We can’t predict what the next social media phenomenon will be, but we can be ready to react quickly when it happens. The recent weeks have reinforced that the plan that we developed six months ago may not still be the smartest, most effective strategy as the world continues to change. The pandemic has taught us how important it is to be nimble and quick and able to adapt at a moment’s notice. We are also recognizing more and more how quick thinking can pay off in a big way.
When the office opens again, we will have an elevated awareness of trends and conversations and how they impact the overall strategy. More than ever, we know how important it is to be constantly social listening. As an example, for our client Wahl, dozens of celebrities were posting about needing a haircut, and in some cases, about their first attempt at a home haircut. By engaging in these conversations, we positioned Wahl to influencers and users as a thought leader in home haircutting and as the favored brand of hair clippers.
3. More punctuality
Every office has those people. The people who are in such high demand that getting them to a meeting on time can be a challenge. They may show up late, they may not show up at all. When working remotely, it’s equally if not more important for the team to know who they can expect and when. Because of this, our high-demand employees are doing a better job of communicating and sticking to their schedules. They are showing up to meetings on time or communicating when they will be available. This is partially due to the absence of small talk on the way to conference rooms and those all-too-familiar ‘drive-by conversations’. With interruptions at an all-time low, our people have demonstrated their ability to be productive and get the pressing work done while still making it to meetings on time.
Should we eliminate small talk upon return? Of course not. But punctuality is a behavior that we will positively bring back to the office. With all of the new methods of communication, it’s easier than ever to just shoot over a quick chat letting coworkers know your status.
4. Video calls don’t have to feel awkward
With clients across the country and two office locations, we are no strangers to conference calls. Prior to all of us being remote, many of us chose to turn off the camera (even when we were dressed for the office and not isolation). Quarantine and working from home have taught us to embrace the video chat. It helps us feel more connected and is a great way to see non-verbal communication. Sure, video calls aren’t for every conference call, but we now know these calls don’t need to be awkward. Now that we’ve embraced the technology, video calls will be something we will continue to utilize after we return to the office. And of course, we will keep working on new branded backgrounds.
Though at first it was an adjustment, I truly believe we will emerge from this WFH era better and more efficient at our jobs. From embracing new technologies to adapting to new processes and procedures, I am proud of our smart, nimble team and their ability to adapt quickly to create the best results for our clients.
About the Author:
Troy Peterson is the CEO of Hoffman York, overseeing the agency’s day-to-day operations while setting strategic direction on behalf of the company’s clients. He guides a talented team toward the common goal of producing results. Throughout his professional career, Troy has worked on an impressive list of clients that include General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, FedEx, Yamaha Outboards, Wahl Clipper Corporation, Montana Tourism and Napoleon Grills.
Navigating a new normal during a crisis is never easy. Hoffman York has experience working with clients to make the most strategic decisions on their overall marketing plans during times of hardship. Connect with me on LinkedIn or email [email protected]. Click here to see a gallery of our past work.