Working from home is becoming the norm for many people around the country. This huge shift in the workplace environment due to the pandemic is something that might have been a shock to the system for many salespeople. This may be something that continues post-covid, as a survey of 2,000 companies in the UK found that 71% of employers said having staff at home has either boosted productivity or made little to no difference. That being said, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and work ethic while at home and not let standards slip.
Here at Consalia, we have put together a list of 5 ways we have found that help salespeople stay productive while working at home, whether you are a sales leader or undertaking one of our sales apprenticeships:
1: Have a designated work area
The idea behind having a designated work area is that so you are still ‘technically’ going to the office every day. It gives you that mental separation from work and home which can so easily blend into one and then it feels like you are at work indefinitely. It may only be a 30-step commute as opposed to the usual 30-minute commute (if you are lucky) but you ideally want to have a place that is your own that is set up with all the tools you need to be productive. The last thing you want is when you are in a middle of an important call and your children or Significant Other comes into shot and throws you off your pitch – it can happen to the best of us.
2: Discipline your working hours
It is important to keep your working hours regular as you would if you were in the office. This might take some practice in self-discipline. Most of us may have found this extremely difficult as I would be constantly checking my working emails and texts after hours as we did not want to miss anything and there was no separation from work and home. Disciplining yourself to do what you need to do each and every day to be successful. However, if you are working until midnight every day, or intermittently working after your normal working hours, you are going to burn yourself out very quickly. Working from a home office does not mean your home life needs to be all about work.
At the end of the day, switch off your computer and go ‘home’!
3: Dress for Work
Like the point above, this takes some discipline to execute. It is too easy to stay in your pyjamas all day if you have no calls or putting on sweatpants and a t-shirt, so it looks like you are dressed for your business calls. Staying in your pyjamas creates this mental state that you are in lounge mode/bed mode/not working mode and this will significantly decrease your productivity. This might also be a good opportunity to give a new work outfit a test drive, absolutely risk-free. If you are not a morning person, perhaps laying out your outfit the night before or maybe planning an outing during the day, a lunchtime walk so that you have to get dressed.
4: Positive Working Environment – Radio Warfare
This a wonderful time to take advantage of working from home. You have no co-workers around to distract you. There is no compromising on what you have to listen to on the radio. So go ahead and play your playlist loud and proud even if it might be a bit embarrassing. You could try nature sounds, instrumental music or even a podcast or audiobook. If you are someone who works better in silence, leaving the window open to let the sounds from outside come in. Resist the urge to have the TV on in the background though, this might add a further distraction. If you are interested in seeing how you can maximize your productivity with music, check the link here.
5: ‘Skyping’ and ‘Zooming’
With the recent influx of meetings being moved to become virtual, there is something to be aware of if you have a day full of meetings. Ongoing research being carried out by Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab are looking into why and how video calls fatigue humans and are developing a ‘Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale.’
The four key areas to why you may feel overly tired after a day full of video calls are:
- An excessive amount of close-up eye contact is highly intense.
- Seeing yourself during video chats in real-time is draining/exhausting.
- Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility.
- The cognitive load is much higher in video chats.
The way to combat this fatigue and help reduce symptoms would be during long stretches of meetings, give yourself an ‘audio only’ break. This means not only do you turn off your camera, but you also turn your body away from the camera. Use an external keyboard which can help create some distance from your screen and allow an increase in the personal space bubble between yourself and the grid.
These are just some tips on how you can make working from home more enjoyable for yourself and help adjust to what could be the norm of how we, as salespeople work. Back in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, Ian Helps, Consalia, ran an insightful webinar to over 5,000 sales professionals around the world about what you can do to thrive in sales. Ian discusses how to do so while working from home, how to manage your own change during the pandemic and how to apply positive Sales Mindsets into your own sales practice.