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Four insights to transition from “at-home working” to “working from home”

Insights from our Small Business Webinar series

When it comes to moving quickly beyond the impact of COVID-19, author, CEO of the Palmer Group and one of LinkedIn’s top voices on tech Shelly Palmer says that while we’re not likely going back to the way it was, there’s opportunity for small business owners to blaze a new path as we return to work. 

“I think it’s really clear that there’s no one right way for America to go back to work, it just goes back to work.” Fortunately, small business owners can make some small adjustments in their daily work environment to help navigate longer term remote working for employees and themselves. Technology can help.

To help you do just that, here are four key insights from our June 2 Small Business Webinar, “Tech adoption for small business through COVID-19 and beyond,” with Palmer and Host Ramon Ray of SmartHustle Media:

  1. Understand that being at home working is not the same as working from home. “There’s a difference between those [who] are at home working right now and what it will mean for them to work from home productively [longer term],” Palmer says. “Right now, the kids are at your knees because they’re not at school, the world is upside down and everyone is scared to death. There’s not enough good data or information coming back to give you a way to make an intelligent decision about what to do.”

    Palmer says it’s important to remember that workflow is totally different when you and your team are working remotely. He has several suggestions to help small business owners navigate that transition to working from home.
  2. Create a space and set your schedule. Foremost, says Palmer, is to claim a permanent workspace for yourself. “It might be Harry Potter’s closest under the stairs but it’s going to be a space where you can post a sign with your working hours and say, I’m open from 9-5, and closed for lunch from 12-1. Then, you need to adhere to it. Otherwise the boundaries for the people in your house will not be acceptable to you.”

    Keeping a consistent office space and hours, he says, will be helpful for you, your family members, and your coworkers alike.
  3. Use technology to make your life easier. When you set up your workspace, Palmer adds, you need to have really good broadband connectivity to support your ability to participate in video meetings throughout the day.

    Another helpful tool? An inexpensive tripod and phone attachment so you can easily attend and participate in meetings on the fly. Keeping a regular place you can instantly and easily light so you can jump into a video meeting whenever you need to is key. “You should never fight with your tech,” says Palmer.
  4. Be proactive to avoid video chat fatigue. “Video chat fatigue is real,” adds Palmer, “and what causes it is not what you think. It’s not from sitting in meetings.”

    Instead, he says, it’s from the extra brain power required to process visual, auditory and other sensory queues that are much easier to take in and interpret when you are in person.

    “When you take away the cues you normally use to communicate because you’re on video, you start paying too much attention to the things you shouldn’t be paying attention to,” Palmer says.

    “So do yourselves a favor, to reduce video fatigue, look right at the person you’re speaking to. Pretend they are right there in person and speak directly to them. Stop paying attention to the video completely. Looking into the camera and looking at yourself will cause immense fatigue.”

While the pandemic itself is a terrible event that has affected so many individuals, Palmer also notes that this adversity has created a unique situation for small business owners: nothing is sacred in business right now. 

For example, he points out that major motion picture releases have recently gone straight to video, and use of telemedicine has rapidly increased in the last few months. Examples of this kind of ingenuity are everywhere. In other words, innovation sometimes comes from necessity.

Hear what else he says you can learn when it comes to innovating for your small business. Access the playback of the webinar and list in our playback of the Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Webinar: Tech Adoption for Small Business through Covid-19 and Beyond.

With Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer

  •  Named LinkedIn’s Top Voice in Technology and co-host of “Think About This”
  • A prolific author whose books include, “Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV”


*This article is a partial summary of a webinar session that was held June 2, 2020. The opinions and advice belong to our webinar guest, and do not represent Verizon’s opinions or advice.