I’m sure I speak for almost everyone when I say that the 24/7 coronavirus updates are making me uneasy. Despite the onslaught of media updates, there is still so much we don’t know about COVID-19. It’s natural for us to be a little scared. However, the best way to respond in this unpredictable time is to equip yourself with the right tools to continue life as normal. Well, as normal as possible. Here are some apps, tips, and tools to help you do your best remote work while we all wait out the ‘rona.
Start by putting yourself first
You know how on airplanes, the flight attendant will tell the passengers during the safety demonstration to put your own oxygen mask on first before you help someone else? The same idea applies to your work. In order to do your best remote work, you must first make sure that you are doing everything you can to stay healthy.
Schedule your self-care
It’s easy to lose track of time, forget to eat lunch, and not stretch your legs for hours at a time when you’re not accustomed to remote work. To avoid this, be sure to schedule time in your day to:
- Eat. Healthy and routine eating will help keep you strong and focused. There are many apps to choose from that can keep you on track, but some of the most popular are MyFitnessPal, Meal Reminders, and MyPlate. They even bug you if it’s been too long since your last meal!
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration is key to fight off infection and feel energized. Some great apps that can help remind you to stay hydrated are Drink Water Reminder and Plant Nanny. While Drink Water Reminder is a no-frills app that keeps you cognizant of your hydration goals, Plant Nanny encourages you to keep your virtual plants alive through tracking how often you are drinking water.
- Take breaks. Get up and stretch your body after being seated for long periods of time. Spend a few minutes away from your computer screen. Get your blood pumping by doing some jumping jacks or walking around your home. All of these things will help keep your body healthy and it will also ward off cabin fever while you are working from home. Here is an article featuring workout apps that only take 7 minutes to complete that you can easily incorporate into your work from home days.
- Practice preventative measures. To avoid getting sick or possibly infecting others, remember to avoid touching your face, wash your hands thoroughly and often, and practice social distancing.
- Take care of your mental health. Here is a guide to help you take care of your mental health during this uncertain time.
Something I struggle with when I’m doing remote work is trying to focus in the same place that I relax. How can I concentrate when my Nintendo Switch is staring at me?
Instead of working from your comfy couch, find a different room to spend the workday. (It’s hard to feel like you at work when you are in the same room where you watch TV or play games!) By limiting distractions, you will get into a productive mindset much easier.
Apps like Hocus Focus, Freedom, and RescueTime are all great resources to keep you focused. They can block distracting websites or apps and track your productivity. Also, give Brain.fm a try if you are eager for some focus-centric soundtracks. Finding ways to concentrate is key when doing remote work. Another cool resource is Traqq -a user-centric free time tracking software for remote and local teams. It keeps you on track via stopwatch (works online and offline), activity levels, and much more.
Keep your kids learning
It can be difficult to transition to online learning, especially in this tumultuous time. Luckily there are resources to help! ProofHub gives schools the tools they need to help students and teachers work remotely. Through ProofHub’s interface, you can assign homework, share files, and communicate in real-time. Even better? ProofHub will be offered to schools for free for the rest of 2020. Another great resource for online learning is TCI (Teacher’s Curriculum Institute). During this time TCI is committed to sharing its entire online curriculum platform at no cost. With ProofHub and TCI, your kids will regain a sense of normalcy and be able to keep learning.
Stay informed, but sparingly
In case you don’t know exactly what COVID-19 is, the World Health Organization describes it as, “the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.”
Even though we may feel like we have coronavirus information overload, it is still important to know where to go to stay informed. Pay attention to credible sources, and do your best not to fall for misinformation. Head to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website once in a while to stay up to date on COVID-19 developments.
Overall, remember to wash your hands, avoid touching your face (especially in public places), and practice social distancing whenever possible. If everyone tries to keep up with these three practices, we can greatly slow down the spread of the virus to protect ourselves and each other.
Keep up a positive attitude
Despite the collective anxiety we all may be feeling, it is important to do what you can to stay positive. Try to stay calm, and find something fun that you can do from home. Have you been eager to pick up reading again? Want to learn how to sew? Ready to rediscover your love of board games? These are all things you can easily do from the comfort of your home, and it might help you actually enjoy your time indoors.
Another thing to remember: keep checking in with the people in your circle.
It’s difficult to transition from seeing your coworkers in the office every day to not being able to see anyone outside of your household. Do your best to reach out to your team and let them know that you are thinking of them. Even if it’s as simple as sending one funny meme a day, humor and kind messages will work wonders for company morale.
Try to cut through the negative news cycle by sharing some good news stories. Pozify is an app that actually rewards you for spreading the good news. Play games, earn points, and spread positivity!
Let’s get to work
One of the biggest obstacles when working remotely is keeping in touch with the people that you usually see face to face: your coworkers and your customers.
Keeping the communication line open
To stay in the loop with your coworkers you will need clear communication and effective project management.
- Day to day conversation. Try a workplace chat app like Slack, Glip, Google Hangouts, or Discord to keep up your daily communications. You can easily add everyone in your organization to these apps, and by having one spot where everyone communicates with each other, you avoid important emails getting buried in your inbox. Glip, Google Hangouts, and Discord are free apps, and Slack has a free option for smaller teams.
- Project management. Apps like G Suite, Asana, ProofHub, Trello, FunctionFox, and Jira will help you keep track of which team member is working on what project. You can also track a project’s progress, create tasks and subtasks, assign tasks to people in your team, leave comments, and much more! Both Asana and Trello have a basic package that is free to use, and G Suite, ProofHub, FunctionFox and Jira are all available for a free trial.
- Video conferencing. Text communications is great, but sometimes you can’t replace the need to see someone face to face. Some of the best video conferencing systems are UberConference, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. All three of these apps are either free or have a free option. Use these apps to get valuable face time with your team members to boost productivity and hopefully regain some sense of normalcy.
When many of us go back to our in-office jobs, these tools can still be useful! Communication and productivity apps are especially helpful if your company has multiple offices or teams that are distributed across different locations.
Help customers stay in the loop
Can you connect with your customers even when working remotely? You bet! Here are some helpful ways businesses can keep in touch with their customers even while working from home.
Update your Google My Business profile
With many businesses closing their offices or changing their operating hours, keeping your Google My Business profile up to date with any operations changes is a must. Your Google My Business profile is one of the first places your customers will look, and giving them accurate information at their first stop is always helpful.
Update your Website
Make sure that you post any operations changes to all of your business listings. This will avoid confusion among your customers. It is already a confusing time, so being as clear as possible with any business changes is key. (Having trouble keeping all of your listings up-to-date? Read this blog post to learn how Birdeye can help.)
Try adding a FAQ section to your website. That way, instead of being bogged down with many of the same customer questions, your customers can have one specific place to go to look for their answers.
Whether it’s because of the uptick in spam calls or the convenience of text-based communications, people will do whatever they can to avoid calling businesses. Instead, many websites now have Webchat where customers can inquire about whatever concerns they may have.
Perhaps a customer is wondering what your operating hours are or if their appointments have been canceled. They could easily type these questions into the Webchat and get a quick answer. Though it may be simple, being reachable through channels like webchat promotes a positive relationship with your customers, and can even lead to new deals.
If you want to open two-way communication with your customer, texting is your best option. Sometimes customers can’t wait by their computer to chat back and forth with a business. Rather than having your customer drop everything to accept a phone call, texting is an efficient way to have a conversation, because you can have it on the go and respond at your convenience. Learn more about how to make your business number textable here.
How Birdeye can give you the tools to succeed
Birdeye’s customer experience platform gives you all of the latest tools to make remote working a breeze. Through Birdeye’s customer interaction platform you can respond to your customers quickly and efficiently, no matter where you are or how they reach out to you. With Birdeye you can…
- Make your business landline textable. Easily schedule appointments, send reminders and confirmation messages and answer any questions your customers may have.
- Get Webchat for your website. Be readily available to chat with a customer whenever they need it.
- Keep all of your messages in one place. Inbox is Birdeye’s hub for all of your customer communications. Your text messages, Webchats, and even Facebook messages can all get delivered to one place. This helps you respond quickly and efficiently to your customers and never miss a new message.
- Have all of the tools you need in your pocket. Through the Birdeye mobile app, you can stay in touch with your customers even when you’re on-the-go. Enjoy all of Inbox’s functionalities both on your desktop and on your mobile app.
Interested in using Birdeye to stay in touch with your customers?