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Our tips for working effectively from home when running a product-based business

Posted on: Apr 23, 2020

Following the government’s latest restrictions, here at Creative Nature, we are working from home where we can.  We feel it’s our social responsibility to do the right thing, to set an example even though that’s a huge ask for a food business which offers products.

 

Products need to be manufactured, stored and then delivered all over the country and, in our case, all over the world. We also firmly believe that our products are more necessary than ever as people who live with food allergies or intolerances are already restricted around what they can eat.

 

If what they can eat is in short supply because, suddenly, many others are buying free-from products due to stock-piling – then that situation will worsen very quickly.

 

There are some aspects of our business where someone has to be responsible for deliveries and our baking mixes in particular are proving extremely popular as there’s difficulty in sourcing flour at the moment.

 

For this reason, we have devised a rota for being in the warehouse sorting out deliveries so that team members can stay socially distanced from one other.

 

Team members without children, or where their children are grown, are the people on this rota with other tasks being distributed to those at home providing home-schooling to their children.

 

How do we keep connected?

 

It can be quite a daunting idea, to be stuck at home, without seeing your work colleagues, when previously you have seen them every week day, and can communicate with them face to face. It’s also extremely challenging if you are a business owner and you can feel all at sea if you cannot see your team at all times. Now is the time for building trust.

 

This may be one positive outcome of all of this – is that there will be more trust among teams with some leaders learning to trust and let their own team’s creativity flourish. Poor leaders will not come out of this well and may end up with staff leaving at the earliest opportunity.

 

Apart from the obvious fact of losing the human contact, working from different locations can also have an impact on sharing work, and moving it between you in an efficient way.

 

All of our team can work from home using their laptops. We use a technical platform called Slack, which is a collaborative hub that helps us to connect and share information easily.  Plus, of course, we all use our mobile phones to talk to each other. Sometimes we’ll communicate via social media too – it’s interesting how different people prefer different forms of communication.

 

Slack is our preferred form of communication during the working day as we are literally all on the same page. Also, if needed, we can share information which is sensitive and needs to be shared in a secure and private manner.

 

What are the team doing to keep healthy whilst working from home?

 

It is important to keep yourself healthy whilst working from home, and not spending hours sat in front of the computer.  So how are we going to make sure we all move during the day?

 

Our CEO Julianne is going to take part in a home exercise classes – something she’s often done anyway. Her chosen work out is via a video call with Tsuki Harris (is this right?)- https://betteryou.com/ambassadors/tsuki-harris

 

Polly will be maintaining her exercise by walking once a day.

 

May is going to ensure she moves around the home between completing tasks.

And Ellie, is going to stand at her desk where possible.

 

Here are some other ideas to think about when working from home:

 

Distractions:

 

  • Choose a workspace separated from the rest of the household; ideally a room with a door you can close out an extraneous noise.

 

  • Put a ‘Do Not Disturb’ notice on your door when you are working on important deadlines.

 

  • If you have children at home, talk to colleagues about organising communication times either early morning, or later evening. Work around times when the noise levels and disruptions are likely to be less.

 

  • Take moments out to ‘de-stress’ during the day, rather than sit at your desk continually.

 

Set Goals:

 

  • Working as a team, set goals for the tasks you want to finish during each day. Focus on goals rather than the hours worked.

 

  • Sharing them with the team also helps you all be accountable.

 

  • Working in an office you have a natural start and stop time. Ensure when you’re working from home that you follow a similar routine, and don’t carry on working all the time. Don’t blur the lines between home and work life.

 

Communication

 

  • Ensure that you all understand how and when you are going to communicate as a team.

 

  • Using a synchronized media system helps. Creative Nature use Slack, which makes their lives easier. There are other options.

 

  • Know what the performance expectations are, praise each other when those are met.

 

  • Celebrate every success however small.

 

Social connection

 

  • People working from home often feel more isolated compared to employees working in an office.

 

  • To help with the added stress of ‘social distancing’, make sure you agree a way you can stay connected with your co-workers for informal chat, via which ever media works for everyone. You need to take into account that in some areas people have internet issues, which may become worse during this isolation period, when broadband speed may be compromised.

 

  • Above all, be safe and keep in touch.
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