We didn’t have months or even weeks to prepare for the shutdown that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re struggling with managing a remote workforce, maybe you need to set some ground rules. Here’s a suggested Remote Work Policy you can live with. Feel free to use any, all, or none!
Office Rules for The New Normal
With the current situation, you have the choice to opt in or opt out of working from the model home. That’s your choice and we respect your decision, either way. This is not the time in the new home sales business to take a break. People are buying homes, and we’d prefer that they buy them from us.
For those people who opt out of the model to work from home, we need to set some office rules for The New Normal.
First and foremost, the work needs to be done, regardless of where. You can be parked in your kitchen, basement, bedroom, or study, but you’re still “at work”.
So, prepare yourself—both physically and mentally—to work in and through this obstacle. We want to hit the ground running. Don’t forget to put your shoes on first!
Home Office vs. Remote Office. Sure, you hear people talking about “home office”. It sounds cozy and comfortable. But for us, please never refer to your workspace with that term. If you are working from home or anywhere outside of the model home or company’s offices, you are “working remotely” in your “remote office”.
Dedicated Space: You cannot do good work when you have to constantly pick up your paraphernalia and move from place to place. Set up a dedicated workspace, away from family, pets, and distractions, and preferable one with a door.
Remote Office Hours. Remote office hours are the same as the office hours. This is not an opportunity to be casual about your responsibilities. While working remotely, you will be immediately available for appointments, calls, and any of the duties you would normally carry out in the model home. Maintain a high level of responsiveness to your clients and co-workers. Be sure to check in daily with your Sales Manager at the start and end of your day.
Remote Dress Code: Would you show up at your job in jeans and a tired-looking t-shirt? Let’s assume the answer is “no”. Follow your dress code for meeting with customers. When you look professional, you feel professional.
Technology Tools: You will need to equip your remote office with the necessary tools. Acquire at your own expense a printer, scanner, camera, microphones, monitor, etc., for your laptop or desktop computer. Be sure your computer, smartphone, and/or tablet has the necessary apps to do your work, such as Zoom or other video conferencing platform.
Meetings: One of the keys to successfully working remotely is closing the gap created by physical separation. Plan to virtually attend all regularly scheduled sales and/or company meetings, via some form of video conferencing. This is a face-to-face business. Even if your clients don’t turn on the camera on their phones, you will always show your smiling face!
Professional-looking Backgrounds: Imagine you’re having a video conference with a customer. They are looking over your shoulder at a pile of cardboard boxes marked “Christmas decorations” or “Mom’s dishes”. Possibly your dog is pacing back and forth or your partner or spouse comes walking in with an armload of laundry and starts folding it on the bed behind you. Maybe you’ve mentally tuned it out, but your customer is seeing the lack of a professional workspace. Pay attention to everything that’s visible when you’re having a video call.
Phone Etiquette: Be respectful of the person on the other end of your call. Use ear buds, Apple AirPods, or headphones so you can take advantage of hands-free calls. Choose a solution that includes noise reduction to block background noise, such as pets, doorbells, and family members.
If you have been dragging your feet at embracing technology, now is the time to step up. Remote working isn’t necessarily a short-term solution. In the wake of 9/11, many changes were implemented to heighten security. Today, nearly 20 years later, think about how one day in America’s history changed air travel forever. It’s very possible that the changes we’re incorporating today could become a lasting habit, beyond the physical separation that is presently required.
If you don’t embrace tech, you won’t be replaced, but you will be displaced. Do something now about your skill sets. You probably have a little more available time. Use it wisely.
Finally, no policy can be so complete to include every situation and every circumstance of an ever-changing market, particularly at the current pace. We need to be agile and ready to tackle challenges with ingenuity and flexibility. The same holds true for the evolution of our Remote Work Policy. We welcome both your cooperation and your ideas.
Remember, there are limits to what one person can achieve. But, together, we can do so much more!