Becoming a Virtual Business and Employee

Are you like so many of us around the work, suddenly working from home? Are you in your kitchen, living room, or even bedroom? Maybe your laptop is propped on some boxes, that TV tray just became a work desk, or you’ve rigged up a desk lap to become your own filming studio. Welcome to virtual office work,

No matter what the condition, we are all feeling the pressure of creating a new normal. If we position ourselves correctly, this can be an experience not only can we learn from but grow from too. Here are some things Riverside has found very helpful in facing the uncharted waters with confidence!

Find a space and make it your home office! Trust us, it will help you focus.

For most of us home is our comfort space, a place where you can leave the stress of work behind and just relax. It’s because of that mindset we may have trouble making the transition to work and home being the same place. Home is also full of distractions. Whether it’s the kids, noise outside, the dog, or a list of to dos you leave when heading to work. With that being said, here’s some things to help your space.

  • Find some seclusion. We suggest, if possible, a place you can close the door when the day is over and truly come home from work.

  • If you can’t find seclusion, create it. Get some headphones and some boundaries set up. The kitchen may have too much traffic for you, try the dining room or the spare bedroom.

Your goal is to stay focused on work and keep doing the amazing things you accomplished at the office.

Ways to focus yourself.

  • Keep up with your routine when you were at the office. Get up at your routine time, grab a cup of coffee, and keep your brain and body in its norm.

  • While the recliner may be tempting, try to avoid getting too cozy. An office chair will suit you just fine and keep you awake.

  • Does your office have ambient music? If so, we suggest doing the same at home. That will help your mind settle in and either fill the quiet or, for those of us with kids at home, help distract from the background noises.

  • Don’t forget your To Do lists. At the end of the day write down anything you might forget so you can get cranking in the morning!

  • SCHEDULE EVERYTHING! This helps you be accountable to yourself and that To Do list. Once you have that schedule, stick to it. Consistency is key.

  • Take a break. That’s right, you’re allowed to do that at home. Stretch for 5 mins, get a snack and unwind for 10. Don’t skip lunch. You deserve it.

Helpful tools and conferencing guidelines to keep you, and your team, on track.

If your email, calendar, and documents are already online you’re already on track. Here are some other ways to maximize on the tools out there.

  • Keep each other updated. Communication via email is a solid go to but check with your compliance department to see if an interoffice messenger is a good solution for you!

  • Online shared documents, using Google Docs or Sharepoint, are a way for everyone to have access to the same information and edit it together.

  • Don’t forget your phone. Sometimes things get lost in translation with text. When in doubt, talk it out! While you can’t replace body language, tone can be the next best thing. This allows real time clarity and a good opportunity for touching base.

  • Video Conferencing is amazing. We use Zoom, but there are many other alternatives including GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, JoinMe ect. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience a virtual meeting you are missing out. Again, no replacement for face to face but, it keeps you connected in a face to face way. You can meet with one employee or a whole team. Grandma, your cousin Bill, or your best friend Laurie in Utah. Keeping up with one another is so important during this time.

Guidelines to keep video conferencing smooth

If you’re not meeting up to catch up or stay connected it will be important to prepare an agenda for your meeting. Having some guidelines will keep everyone on track and productive. It’s also important to set expectations. If you plan on everyone talking, set a time for questions. Do you want everyone in dress attire? Let them know ahead of time.

  • 24 Hours prior to your meeting an agenda containing the following should be sent out:

    • Key talking points with expectation of time

    • Notable or relevant information

    • Links or necessary documents

    • Attendees and responsibilities in the meeting

  • Instruct your attendees on how to join. If you are meeting with a client, many folks have never done a virtual meeting before. If you don’t have a How To Guide then offer to walk them through a test call. This will ensure the technology is working before you even get to the meeting. This is the experience your clients, and team, will remember. Adding that extra care will not only help them but will help you.

Appearance and Etiquette for Video Conferencing

  • Here are some simple rules to keep things professional and ensure success:

  • Test your tech prior to your meeting

  • Know your agenda

  • Ensure everyone is in the right surrounding for the meeting. A loud room or a windy porch may not be the right setting.

  • Be sure to look into your camera, this is just like making eye contact

  • Gather what you need ahead of time, so you don’t have to get up in the meeting

  • Introductions are important, especially for attendees who might have just been a voice on the phone until now.

  • If you’re not speaking mute. This is not only good practice but for your own good. You never know when your 3-year-old could pop in with an update on what mess they’ve created.

  • Keep focused and remove distractions. While multitasking is important, it’s probably not the time to do a report while someone is presenting. Put your phone away too and mute notifications.

  • Don’t interrupt. While you may have a great contribution, it’s already more of a challenge on video conference to get everything out clearly. Use the chat feature if it’s something you know will be critical.

While you may not need a suit to attend, your appearance is important. Here are some things to remember.

  • Check your surroundings. A cluttered background is distracting. Your Jimi Hendrix poster might be too. Keep things PG for your attendees. Pets, kids, and even spouses may be home but encourage them to respect your meeting space.

  • Lighting and camera angle are important. Don’t position yourself in front of a light source, you’ll lose all detail on your face. Equally important is the angle of the camera. If you’re tall you might need a box to avoid a nostril shot.

  • While it may be tempting during those long meetings, stay in one spot. Traveling while in a meeting is distracting to the attendees.

Keep your attendees and team engaged.

  • Don’t forget to engage everyone. Small talk is acceptable during the proper time, which should be set on the agenda. Have your team set up with a task such as note taking, attendance tracking, screen navigation.

  • Be sure to do introductions when needed, the presenter should always be last.

  • Follow up is key. After the meeting be sure to debrief and make sure all questions are addressed.

  • Try to keep your time in mind. Anything over 30 minutes can tend to lose attendees focus. Keep your talking points in mind and to the point.

While we are all trying to learn what the new norm is, we can do this together. Riverside Wealth Advisors is here to help you navigate not only your wealth, but your future. Here’s to great success!

Need help? Want some advice or assistance in navigating any of the information above? Need an expert? We are on standby to assist. Reach out to us via phone or email.

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