Working from home? Us too. Welcome to part 2 of our series for veterinary marketers working from home during a pandemic. We’ve talked about how to work from home, instead of live at work. Now, let’s take a look at some technology tools that can help maximize your productivity and optimize your at-home workflow.
1. Block Time on Your Calendar
How often does someone put a meeting on your calendar for a time that doesn’t work for you? My guess is at least a few times a week.
Here’s a quick tip to solve this problem: Open up visibility to your calendar and encourage people to look there before they schedule a time.
This works best if you put everything on your calendar: lunch breaks, doctor’s appointments for your kids, veterinary appointments for your dog—everything. You have a life outside of work, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to multitask on a conference call while you drive your kid to the pediatrician.
Ask others to make their calendars available, too! This will help avoid the back and forth when you are scheduling meetings.
2. Create Long-Term Assets
You’re probably doing 90% of your meetings on Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, or some other platform that has video-recording capability. It just takes a second to press Record.
If you’re having a conversation that someone else on the team could benefit from—or that could serve as a training resource—then record your meeting. Screen shares and working sessions have become a new normal, and you can use these assets to train and onboard employees in the future.
Make this a habit. Future you will appreciate past you for having the foresight.
3. Double Your Screen Space
When you’re doing virtual meetings, you may find it difficult to comfortably work on a laptop when you’ve got several screens open and you’re trying to share different windows.
Get a monitor! A dual screen setup (using a laptop as the second screen) will give you all the room you need to work. Plus, you can keep things you don’t want others to see (eg, your calendar, email, instant messages) off the shared screen.
4. Save Time With Surveys
We’ve all thought it once or twice (or every day): “Could that meeting have been an email?”
All joking aside, meetings are very important when there is a set agenda and objective. But sometimes you’re just trying to take a pulse on the team or a recent project and don’t need a full meeting, but also don’t want to spend the time sifting through a string of 20 emails either.
Consider using a short survey to save some time!
5. Collaborate via Instant Messaging
Slack and other instant messaging tools are great for quick team collaboration. These applications work on your phone and on your computer to allow you to create different collaboration groups for different groups of stakeholders. This is a great way to get out of email and get more efficient.
You can always send a group text, but these tools are way better for work–life balance. Keep your work messages on an instant message platform and your personal messages in your phone.
6. Send Video Messages
Video messages are becoming more popular as an alternative to email communication. It’s much easier to communicate your tone in a video message than in an email, where your intentions might be misunderstood. Plus, a video message lessens the likelihood that you get a TLDR response (ie, too long; didn’t read).
7. Use File Sharing Platforms
Emailing large files is a problem we’ve all encountered these days. Either it gets caught in your outbox, caught in your recipient’s spam, or somewhere in between. Instead of sending large attachments over email, use Dropbox or Google Drive to host files and send people links instead of massive emails.
8. Create Digital Task Lists
If you use a CRM or marketing automation platform, you likely have access to its built-in task lists. If not, you have tools on your computer or phone that help with task management. Create your week of tasks ahead of time to stay focused. Make sure there are things on your list that are project-based or that you want to accomplish. Getting through all your email doesn’t mean you’re being productive (even though we all feel that way!). Make sure you’ve got bigger goals on the list so you stay focused on achievement.
Pick and choose carefully from this list! It’s easy to fall into the trap of having too many incongruent tools that distract you. Don’t overdo it with technology. Only use the tools that you feel are helping you improve your workflow.