This week’s post was written by Ray Sidney-Smith of W3 Consulting, social media consultant and facilitator of the monthly Roundtable for the Alexandria SBDC.
While 2020 was an unprecedented year for all of us, 2021 will continue to pose challenges with running your business from home, or some kind of hybrid. On January 19, 2021, Alexandria Small Business Development Center hosted its first Business Development Roundtable of the new year, virtually for Alexandria business owners to connect and share lessons learned. We discussed ways that we’ve been able to be productive while working from home and how to engage effectively with clients, staff, vendors, and our “co-workers at home” (i.e., family) through our shared, lived experiences.
During the Roundtable, we dove into all the variety of topics relating to working virtually, including routines, ergonomics, organizing, and managing distractions and noise.
It’s important to consider your overall home-work routines so that you’re able to keep your mind organized about when you’re working, and especially when you’re not. A simple morning routine of getting ready for work, walking around the block, and then heading to your desk to replicate your commute can be boundary-clarifying. You can repeat this in the evening to close your workday.
Also, ergonomics play an important role in our productivity generally, but when working from home, you need to make sure you aren’t committing any work from home ergonomics mistakes. These can include keeping your back and shoulders aligned, looking away from your devices regularly to keep your eyes from being strained, having enough light on the surfaces you need so you’re not craning your neck, adjusting the height and angle of screens, peddle-powered exercise to keep fit, and even raising or lowering your work surface so you’re not bending your arms and wrists improperly. These small ergonomic adjustments make sure that you stay healthy and positioned to stay productive to get work done safer, longer and faster. Of course, these are interventions you should encourage anyone working with or for you to take too.
Diane Greenbaum, owner of KidCreate Studio – Alexandria, recommended several resources, one of which was the Clutterbug channel on YouTube along with her Clutterbug quiz—helping you identify your “organizing style.” We sometimes don’t realize how clutter affects our work environments, but when we’re home they can become apparent and profound very quickly. One step is knowing how you organize (your organizing style) so you can start to “tidy up” (a la Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method or some other way) in small doses.
From music to talking to family, friends and clients to the sound of your doorbell during an important presentation, sound is all around us every day. One major problem that came up in the conversation among several participants was the presence of “co-workers at home.” With children home, attending classes virtually or unable to go to daycare, mompreneurs and dadpreneurs are left to work around the kids’ schedules. Not only do you need to manage this possibly-new part of your workday, along with the distracting noises that come with them, you may need to shift your work schedule to later hours for the reflective, focused work you need to accomplish. Noise cancellation headphones and noise suppression microphone technology can help with some of these challenges.
Alexandria SBDC continues its Roundtable program (on the third Tuesdays of the month at noon) on February 16, 2021 with our ever-popular “Content Marketing Roundtable” (giving the first 10 volunteers a chance to get ideas for their content marketing calendar from the roundtable participants), and we are available for business counseling virtually for Alexandria City small businesses.