Running a business brings its own unique set of challenges. It’s also more challenging if you are to manage a business at scale. Managing all the different moving parts can be a real chore, and may require maximum effort as you strive to keep your business running and keep your customers happy.
Working from home at your workspace is one of the benefits of those who manage a business from home.
And with the pandemic still going on, you may be one of the many businesses that need to shift aspects of the business remotely. Working at home may seem to be an ideal work environment, but it is not so when you manage your very own company. If you are managing your business at home, it can be a struggle to keep track of what you need to do to keep your company moving towards your business goals. As you work from home, it may be hard for you to keep focus as the lines between your work and home life may cross. More so when the rest of the family is also at home working and studying as well, that distractions may make it more difficult to stay on top of things. But with the right approach, you can manage your business effectively from your home office.
Tips to effectively manage a business from home
Create the right workspace to manage a business
Your kitchen may no longer be a conducive place to manage your business.
Managing a business can be chaotic most of the time, so you need a space where you can manage your affairs with focus and clarity. Ideally, this is a space separate from the busiest rooms in your home: the living room and the kitchen.
A house and lot for sale may have an extra room that you can easily convert into the home office you need. If you do have an extra room to spare to convert into a home office, this is great as you can close the door shut and keep yourself from potential distractions.
If you do not have an extra room, a corner or an unused closet is also great. A typical condo for sale may not have the extra room you need, but you can easily assign a corner as your new home office and put a shield or barrier up. It is not too enclosed, but you can still seclude yourself from the activities in your home.
Ideally, you would want a home office near, but not adjacent to the window, and have ample bright lighting so you wouldn’t have difficulty working through the nights when needed.
Your home office should also feel like an actual office. Equip your home office with a sturdy desk wide and comfortable enough to place your desktop or laptop computer and other knick-knacks that are meaningful to your work. There will be days where you will need to work sitting down on your computer, so invest in an ergonomic chair and your back and neck will thank you.
If your business requires you to send lots of mail, packages, and documents, set up a station where you can do it comfortably. Make sure you have all the office equipment and supplies you need. Aside from getting a reliable Internet connection, get a backup just in case. This way, your work does not get interrupted.
Structure your workday
We’re not talking about online calendars only. You also need to structure how your day should be, especially if you need to step outside for physical visits.
Ever wonder why you miss physically going to the office? You are not alone. The commutes, the in-person meetings with clients, and casual conversations with coworkers and customers are just the little things that make up your daily work structure.
You may not be able to replicate this at home, but you can create a work structure that can easily get you in that headspace. The good news is that working from home allows you to gain back extra time as you don’t have to spend so much time commuting to and from the office.
But how should you structure your workday? While you cannot have total control over some meetings, you do have some control over your other tasks. According to this Forbes article, top CEOs and founders structure their day like this:
1. They tackle all their emails first thing in the morning.
Let’s be frank: playing catchup with your email is a fruitless task, especially if your line of business means engaging with so many people. Tackling your emails will also help you prioritize your tasks, and plan out what you need to do for the day.
2. Enjoy a little bit of downtime.
You can use this time to drink your favorite coffee leisurely, meditate, or catch up on your favorite book. You can even browse at your favorite properties for sale you are considering for your dream home. Either way, pencil this in early in your workday. Remember, you are spending time on other people, so why not pencil in a time for yourself as well? Moreover, you have the flexibility to structure your day in whatever way works for you.
3. Take advantage of your lunchtime.
You already spend the first half of the day doing work, so your mind at this point needs some clarity. In order to do so, stand up from your home office chair and get a breather. Better yet, why not get some much-needed exercise to get your blood pumping? Exercise not only will make you feel refreshed, you will also get the much-needed endorphins to slay like a boss the rest of the day. Exercise will also distract you from a problem that you need a solution to, and allow you to come back to it with a new perspective.
4. Ask yourself one thing you have improved on today, and what needs improvement.
This is a great way to wrap your workday. Knowing one thing you did good at and one thing you need to improve in will inspire and motivate you to push past the norm. Great leaders are innovative and always the first, so you need to challenge yourself to be better.
Choose a communication system that works best for your team and your clients
Integrate social media apps into your communication system so you can better record and manage client, customer, and team interactions, and the tasks or projects that arise in between them.
Moreover, choose a communication system that allows collaboration and documentation. This way, you won’t miss any details and that there is no communication between parties.
If your business still involves voice calls, make sure that you send some form of documentation to acknowledge significant conversations. Proper communication is necessary in order to deliver results. Also, acknowledgment ensures that everybody is on the same page and that any concerns raised have been addressed.
Take advantage of automation apps and software that can help streamline the day-to-day operations of your business.
With the number of things you need to do for the day, have you thought about automating stuff? Task automation is a way to perform and complete tasks in the background. Automation helps you accomplish tasks and take back precious time that you can spend on something more meaningful to your business, like entertaining another client on Zoom or overseeing a new project.
How do you automate tasks? You can, for example, create a recruiting form and publish it online to get applicant leads. You can transform your entire new hire training session into a shareable Powerpoint presentation for new hires, and then create a separate quiz for information retention. If you are into sales, you may consider integrating a point-of-sale (POS) system in your website so it takes care of issuing customer receipts, purchase orders, and other sales accounting tasks. There are a number of free automation apps out there that your business can take advantage of.
Plan in case you need to pivot towards a dynamic environment.
If there’s one thing permanent in this world, it’s change. A contingency plan will help you quickly pivot should certain issues arise without losing momentum.
The pandemic has tested economies all over the world, and businesses that are static or inflexible were hit the hardest. Now is the time for you and your team to sit down and create new, or if you haven’t done it, revamp existing policies for contingencies. Be it in technology, product line, and demand patterns of the customers, or anything that might affect your business, a contingency plan helps your business ride through it with minimal loss.
A contingency plan will only be effective if it is constantly reviewed against the latest trends and forecasts. It is important that you revisit your contingency plan every few months to a year to make sure it is able to cope with the times.
A better contingency plan is a plan that is aligned with the future goals of your business.
Delegate when you can to effectively manage a business
You may be Superman, but you cannot take it all.
You can only do so much within eight to ten hours a day, every single day of the workweek. In order for your business to thrive, you need to have an appropriate delegation of authority and responsibility. Let go and give authority to some of your team members, as it gives them the power to make decisions necessary to get things done without needing to wait for approval. It also gives them a sense of confidence and freedom to make decisions that are fruitful or beneficial for your business.
Consider outsourcing if you can
Sometimes, automation can only do so much and will require some human interaction. Answering escalated customer concerns, for example, might take up your team’s time that could have been spent in other areas of the business that needed attention. Or, you need a writer who can write and manage your business blog, and send email newsletters to all of your customers. Also, you may need someone to do managed payroll services and accounting, and another team to focus on digital marketing.
Outsourcing is a great way to delegate tasks and increase output without overwhelming your existing team.
All of these can be accomplished through outsourcing. Outsourcing can help to lighten your team’s load, eventually allowing you to increase output and, ultimately gain more profits. If this is not the goal yet, outsourcing is the best solution when you need help on a certain aspect of your business that you and your team have no expertise in.
If you are feeling isolated at work, be ready to fight back
Managing your business can be a lonely road. Find ways to connect with your team and your clients, even just virtually.
Working from home definitely has challenges, especially for employers. Aside from managing the business, you also need to manage your team to make sure that they perform their duties and cope well during these extraordinary times.
You also have to manage feelings of isolation at work. Isolation may lead to poor business decisions. And when you make enough poor decisions, it may affect your business significantly.
We found these activities that can enhance your business and increase your quality of life significantly:
1. Admit and accept your feelings. By being honest about it, it allows you to reach out to loved ones, colleagues, or even to total strangers in a similar situation. From here, it gets easier for you to ask for help if you need it.
2. Try to work at least one day outside of your home per week. If you are unable to, consider moving your home office to a new spot at home, preferably still with natural sunlight.
3. “Make plans” after work whenever you feel isolated. You can, for example, schedule a “kamustahan” session with a colleague or old friend.
4. Connect with your social contacts at work over something you can bond over. You may want to host a K-drama watching party or schedule an online Bingo with your friends from work.
5. Schedule team-wide or company-wide meetings that allow employees to connect in person, provided that you follow health protocols at that time.