By Chris Caffrey, founder of The Legacy Club, a virtual private members club for entrepreneurs, directors, and owners of disruptive businesses.
As Lockdown 2.0 begins to tighten its grip around the neck of the UK’s economy, business owners are finding themselves, again dusting down their Work from Home set up.
The assumption in the first Lockdown, was that you would have more time to dedicate to what you do best, more time to spend with your team, to support them, to make sure their wellbeing was being considered. Wrong.
The pressure to ensure you came out of that period with your business in one piece was at bursting point by the time we hit May, with no end in sight.
Endless, and often pointless Zooms, that in real time would have been a 10 minute conversation, descended in to 45 minutes to an hour of white noise and technical issues because “Dave from Accounts” Wi-Fi wouldn’t stretch to the pagoda at the bottom of the garden.
So here we are. Faced with more time of forced labour de casa, but what are we going to do differently this time around, to cut through the noise, get to the point, work efficiently and make sure that our teams are well supported?
Implement small changes, to make big impacts.
- TIME LIMITS: Set time limits for most tasks, and certainly for those online video calls. There is a particularly good reason that Zoom’s share price rocketed (pardon the pun). Zoom’s usage went from 650,000 to 13 Million from Jan to April 2020. By having a set time, you will be encouraged to get through the task swiftly and efficiently, as will your team. It will cut out the unnecessary.
- SET GOALS: We all set goals from time to time, but they tend to be a bit longer term. Working in a single
place, it’s can be quite easy to fall in to “I will do that later. Later quite often does not materialise. Set yourself a task goals, in small bitesize chunks and try not to deviate from them and tick them off as you go.
- CHECK ON YOU: Mental Health is as high on the list of priorities and your 20 seconds washing your hands and singing happy birthday. Take time for yourself (SEE “SET GOALS”). This can be as simple as going for a walk, but make sure you have your lunch break, or grab that coffee in the same way you would when you are at the office.
- CHECK ON YOUR PEOPLE: According to a survey, remote employees are working 1.4 more days per month than their colleagues in the office. That means that given everyone is pretty much working from home, your teams are likely working much longer and harder. Check on them, appreciate them, so that those long and hard hours will be the most productive they can give.
- SUPPLIERS/PARTNERS: Without them, you are not able to offer what you say you offer. Know who your main point of contact is, update them regularly, and request updates from them.
- PICK YOUR BATTLES: It is extremely easy to be a busy fool, so streamline who and what you are spending your time on, and make those meetings count. As the business owner, you know what can wait, and what must be dealt with.
- SECOND IN COMMAND: You may run your business with an iron fist, and know how every cog turns, but now is the time to allow yourself that support you have always needed. It takes some time to let go of certain tasks, but if you pick the right second in command, it will free up time that needs your attention more than others.
- PLAN FOR 2021: This is something you have already done but look at it again. We do not yet know if we will have levelled out by 2021, and COVID will not be taking a sabbatical in the new year. Adjust your plans to meet how you will end 2020 and keep that momentum. Ensure you do not have to re-forecast and re-budget in in Q2, by doing it now.
It’s not vital that you implement all of the above, and some of those may seem obvious, but if you are able to action even just two of these, you will see an immediate difference in how you approach each day. Right now, we need every second that is available to us so that we can navigate the very stormy waters that 2020 has left us in.