Coronavirus is rapidly changing the way we interact, work, and manage our time. How are you personally faring with all the changes? How is your business responding? Here are some suggestions based on (un)Common Logic’s approach and values:
- If you’re working from home for the first time, think about the physical, mental, and emotional differences versus going to a workplace and approach those changes as learning opportunities
- If you’re worried about the impact to your business, talk proactively and honestly to your customers and your employees about your concerns
- Do the right thing for yourself and your community: wash your hands and stay safe
How did I get here?I returned to America the first week of March after an amazing European adventure – seemingly outrunning the Coronavirus as it began its spread overseas. As a precaution, I was asked by (un)Common Logic to work remotely for two weeks following my return since there were no cases in Austin, TX at that time. One week into my self-quarantine, our entire office shifted to working virtually following the CDC’s mandate limiting gatherings of over 10 people. As it currently stands, I have not worked from or been in the (un)Common Logic office for over a month now and it has been a much more positive experience than I imagined it would be.
What have been the personal impacts of this isolation?My need for human interaction and community was easy to take for granted before coronavirus and I have a new appreciation for small daily interactions like a quick check-in as well as big ones like brainstorming sessions with coworkers. I’ve pushed myself to use technology to reach out and stay connected with the people who are important to me, whether personally or professionally, and work through the inevitable technological glitches to maintain that human connection as best I can. Also, my daily routine has changed: less time commuting means more time for personal things like yoga, cleaning my apartment, or talking a walk. Without adding those things into my day, it would be too easy to work all the time!
How does this total virtual work environment impact employees?The first consideration is having a work from home space that will set a foundation for success. (un)Common Logic made sure everyone had a second monitor, external keyboard, and/or external mouse if needed. Reliable internet connection is of the utmost importance so employees should check that as well. These physical factors not only will help productivity, they are also crucial to your employees having an all-around positive work from home experience. Minimizing friction with the technological aspects of working from home allows for the same level of productivity from the home office as in the normal office setting. Working from home will also impact their hours – normal commutes which may have ranged from 10 to 45 minutes are now a 30 second walk to a home desk or kitchen table. Encourage them to take short breaks throughout the day: having fewer workplace interruptions can cause fatigue as hours can easily pass by when working alone. Short breaks are also needed due to the physical differences of home offices: different lighting, the kitchen table not being the proper height, and so on. I work from my kitchen table in the morning and switch to working from my coffee table in the afternoon for a change of scenery.
Outside of the physical differences of working from home, there is an emotional impact as well. Your new coworkers are now your partner, kids, or pets – it is up to you if this is a welcome substitute for your actual coworkers! How can you vent about your annoying coworker when they are also your roommate? Depending on the employee some may find it easier or harder to work in this new environment with their new coworkers. Have your employees share tips on how they work best from home so others can try to implement tactics or changes in their own routines for a better experience.
How will it impact company culture?Maintaining a consistent company culture is vital to keeping employees happy and healthy and can be a challenge in a virtual work environment. Video conferencing can aid in maintaining company culture while everyone is apart – encouraging all team members to turn on their webcams/videos during internal and client meetings can allow for more productive conversations as it is easy to miss context/body language over the phone. It is also great to see your coworkers’ faces that you are so accustomed to seeing daily! As a side note for managers, ensure you are checking in on your teams daily since you can not stop them in the halls or the kitchen like you could before. The check in can be work related or it can be asking about their mental health during this turbulent time – it is important that they feel connected and not left to do their work without full team support.
Online tools have made communication while apart a seamless experience. (un)Common Logic has started setting up virtual happy hours and other events through Zoom for the employees to catch up with each other like we would normally do while working in the office together. It is good to hear how everyone is doing as well as get some tips on how to stay entertained during social distancing. (un)Common Logic also utilizes Microsoft Teams for both cross team communication for work as well as checking in on each other throughout the week.
How will it impact my business?This is a tough question to answer as many aspects of the market have changed already and will continue to change until at some point we will be in a state of the “new normal.” Consumer buying behaviors are changing – consumers are pulling back on non-essential spend, perhaps because their current job may be in jeopardy or they are too consumed with other day to day tasks to think beyond immediate needs. Consumers that are in areas with mandated shelter in place (the majority of the country) can be a great opportunity for businesses well positioned in the digital realm to capitalize on this high online shopping time and difficult for those who are not as there is little brick and mortar business to support the overall revenue stream. How best to market to consumers? With much of the population working from home, will it change times of day when consumers are searching for your goods/service? What device or medium will they use the most while searching? Although the shopping landscape has dramatically changed over the past several weeks, marketing is still about being where your customer is when they are looking for your product or service and now that means online more than ever before.
For business to business companies, even though businesses are pulling back to conserve costs it is not recommended to cut back on your marketing spend. If you are not getting the strong return you need in pay per click (PPC) marketing, you can shift spend to search engine optimization (SEO) or conversion rate optimization (CRO). This investment in SEO and CRO can place your business in a better position for when the market begins to pick up again. During this volatile time in the business world it is important to rely on performance data when informing your marketing strategy in Q2. Keep investing where the return is most profitable to support your overall business but do not completely pull out of top of funnel initiatives as you want to keep your marketing funnel as full as possible for when the economy begins to settle down and buying behaviors return to normal.
Most importantly be home, wash your hands, and stay healthy!
Contact us to learn more about the (un)Common Logic approach.