To work from home is not always that easy. Something that is particularly true when the transition to this new way of working is quick.
To work from home does come with certain challenges. Challenges that most remote employees face to different degrees, including sales employees. Where HubSpot, for example, have shown that said challenges can come in the form of communicating with team, feeling lonely and working too much.
That said, to work from home can still be an amazing opportunity, and selling remotely does not need to be too challenging. Especially if we look at HubSpot’s tips on the matter, a select few of which we’ve gathered, discussed and added-to below.
Make a work from home routine
The benefit of working from home is that you can, to some extent, make your own routine that works for you. Then, it’s just a matter of following it, which can make a large difference for both productivity and work/life balance.
The latter is also underlined by Anya Taschner, HubSpot SMB Account Executive, who explains that:
“There’s this weird social pull to prove that you’re actually doing your job. It goes without saying that you should have a start time in the morning, the same way you would in the office, but it is equally important to have a consistent finish time. In some ways, you are your own boss when you’re remote. Get an accountability buddy if you need, but make peace putting in 100%, without having to prove you’re doing your job.” I.e. to work from home does increase the need for personal responsibility and accountability, but that does not mean that you should constantly be working. There needs to be balance, and this balance can be more easily achieved with a good routine you can stick to.
Set up a home office
This is not to say that you need to designate an entire room as your office, but that you should establish where you’ll work when working from home. This can be a specific desk or other location in your home, and the idea is to only (as far as it’s possible) work from that spot. Working from home will, inevitably, blur the line between work and personal life, which is why this is so important. In addition, having a set workspace can also boost productivity, as you’ll grow used to only working from that spot. As a result, you may find it easier to focus when sitting down at your designated workspace, as it mimics the motion of coming into the office.
Setting up your home office may also mean to ensure you have all the tools necessary to do your job well. Which may mean a good web camera and microphone, along with the software and digital tools you need to meet customers digitally. As professionally as you would if selling face-to-face. To have this type of setup in one place by, for example, having your work computer connected to an external camera and microphone, can also make it easier to primarily work from there. This, as it becomes more like an office space, and you will probably abstain from moving all the equipment around.
As discussed, loneliness or isolation can be a real challenge and fear when working from home. Something that can be mitigated by making sure to stay connected with team members and colleagues – both in scheduled, team meetings and via other social communication tools. Where video meetings and chats can go a long way to tackle the feeling of loneliness.
“Talk regularly with your coworkers. Give them a call! It’s okay,” says Gary Parker, HubSpot Enterprise Account Executive, and touches on an important point. It can be easy to assume that colleagues are busy, or that everyone is managing remote work better than you are, but odds are you’re all in the same boat. To actually reach out and talk to colleagues, even if it’s not for a scheduled meeting, is, thus, a good idea. Even if you will have to be respectful of everyone’s schedules.
Don’t skip breaks
Taking breaks is crucial, even if you may want to power through an assignment or don’t feel like you have something to do during the break. A notion that is in line with HubSpot findings that close-to 50 % of remote workers are taking less than an hour lunch breaks, and 1/4th actually work through lunch. Which may be productive in the short run, but can lead to overwork as well as isolation:
“At home, you don’t have the built-in break you might have throughout a day in the office. Friends are not stopping by asking to grab coffee and it’s unlikely someone from another department is showing up at your desk asking if you have a few minutes to help with something. I typically block off time throughout the day to go for a walk, run, or walk down the street for a yoga class. These breaks make me much more mindful of how I’m spending my time and energy throughout the day,” says Katie Carlin, HubSpot Channel Account Manager. A tip that can be very beneficial for you to consider when creating your own, remote-work routine.
Organize your work
If you’re not used to working from home, it can be difficult to stay organized and manage your time optimally. Why a calender should be used, and where meetings and tasks should be added and crossed off as they’re finilized. Where Zachary Stearns, HubSpot Inbound Growth Specialist, has some tips worth mentioning:
“I recommend a strong focus on both daily organization, and managing your sales process. Sounds simple, but at HubSpot we have so many data points coming in at all times, blocking off chunks of time for specific tasks (prospecting, sourcing, follow up, etc) and sticking to them has helped me stay on task,” he says, and points to the need to not only add meetings to your calender. Instead making time slots when you’ll dedicate your time to a specific task. A practice that, along with actually getting the important tasks done, can help you move your sales processes forward and close more deals.
Hubspot 2019 Remote Work Report