How to work from home effectively – from someone who has done it for over 12 years!

 

When I decided to start my own PR agency 12 years ago, the space that was “my office” was a corner of the family dining room with a desk behind a screen for “privacy”.

It was, at the time, sufficient, but I knew it couldn’t be a long term solution. We moved shortly after and I then upgraded the space to a former bar area. (Translation: another corner of a dining room, but slightly larger).

The new space felt more like a “space” and I was determined to make it work and I did, with thanks to my parents. But there were distractions and it wasn’t until I purchased my own place and had a dedicated room to finally close the door on, at the end of the day.

Working from home in whatever space you have can have its challenges beyond the “space” you’ve allocated.

Here I’m sharing my tips, so if you’re required to self-quarantine, you’ll be able to use my experience and lessons for your benefit.

  1. The above anecdote should prove that space is very important. If you have room to dedicate to work, then do this! Even if it is a corner of the dining room with a screen (IKEA has this screen that may do the trick!)
  2. Set up your space appropriately so you’re not slouching over your laptop, make sure the lighting is good and you’re not getting too comfortable, if your only option is working from the lounge. More tips here
  3. Use the time you’d normally commute to read, catch-up on news, exercise (if you’re well enough!) catch up on personal emails. Be productive with this time.
  4. Start at your regular time, just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should slack off. Show your employer how productive working from home can be!
  5. Dress comfortably but appropriately. I can’t stress this enough on my “at home” days, I still dress my top or bottom half, so if on the odd chance I’m called to a meeting, all I have to do is change into a nice blouse or get out my jeans into a corporate pair of trousers.
  6. If you’re allocated a lunch break (which you should be!) make sure you take it. Do some yoga if that’s your thing, a crossword, again use your time well. Also, don’t become too sedentary, it’s easy to sit and type and get caught in an email vortex and not move for hours on end. Set your alarm to remind you to move (most smart watches do this!)

jane-palash-dfRgump8lsE-unsplash

7. If you have kids or pets at home you may need to call on some help from family or the dog walker to keep them away for a couple of hours while you get your work done, or if you have to, screen time for the kids can be a good bargaining tool.

8. Check with your employer about any expenses you may incur as a result of working from home (think Internet usage, notebooks, printing etc).

9. Keep in contact with your office colleagues – you may want to have “virtual Friday night drinks” via Skype or FaceTime remember it doesn’t have to be all work and no play.

10. Finally, enjoy working from home, the ability to dive into the cookie jar without judgement, sure the “at home” coffee may not be as good as your local barista, but think of the money you’re saving!

Issues Management 101

Issues management, it’s enough to make any manager feel ill. Below, we’ve shared some of our top tips for managing an issue when it arises.

Rule 1 – Always have a plan. Get your team together and block out an entire day (yes, you’ll need this long) to consider all possible scenarios that could go wrong at your business. Then come up with a plan for these scenarios. You’ll find that at its core, you’ll have the same basic methodology, it’s simply the messaging or communication that will change. (We can help with that!)

Rule 2- Ensure everyone – yes EVERYONE knows what these plans are, when a new employee starts, induct them with some training which includes issues management. Sure they may never be directly involved, but, preparation is the key.

Rule 3- Update, Update, Update – Every 6-12 months, refresh these plans. Staff may move on, systems may change. Keep it current.

Rule 4 – If it’s related to social media employ the KISS technique. There’s no need to go over the top on social media, be authentic, short and to the point. (for more on social media no-no’s read this)

Rule 5 – Remember we can assist with your issues management planning and management. Contact us today.

Alan Jones V The PM – case study in issues management

There’s been some discussion this morning regarding the interview that took place on Sydney’s 2GB – 873 on the AM dial,  between its leading broadcaster Alan Jones and Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

The interview commenced with Alan “ripping shreds” off the PM for running late.(Who hasn’t been there?) Surely the production team would have been alerted to the fact that Julia wasn’t going to meet the agreed time, or if not had enough sass to realise when her team hadn’t called to let them know she was running late they’d have to make alternate plans?

Was this just another opportunity for the broadcaster to “stick-it” to Julia? Yes.

The PM apologised after further digs from the broadcaster for her tardiness.

The “interview” (I put it in inverted commas due to the fact that it comes across as more of a slanging match as opposed to a structured interview)  continued with Jones probing and pushing Gillard. Too much? I guess that depends on your political viewpoint.

An emotive snippet from a worked-up (male) listener over the taxes the Australian Government continues to impose upon its people was played to the PM.

As a politician Ms. Gillard must be prepared for these types of interviews, especially  given her latest comments regarding the carbon trading emission scheme.

Previously we’ve blogged about the importance of issues management – this interview between Gillard and Jones reinforces the importance of being prepared, anticipate what might be asked of you and be proactive in your responses and actions.

The audio of this interview is available  here.

What are your thoughts regarding this morning’s interview with  PM Gillard and Alan Jones?

Do you have any issues management tips?

Watch what you say…

The importance of what you said and what you meant to say was highlighted last week by Steve Jobs – Apple CEO.

Pursuit Communications, Managing Director, Brooke Simmons shares her thoughts below.

Last week, Steve Jobs – Apple CEO  announced the steps Apple was going to take regarding the issues beleaguering the iPhone 4.

What Mr. Jobs said he was going to do is give “every iPhone user a free case”. WOW! Everyone? What a generous offer Mr. Jobs. In December 2009, it was stated that 13 million iPhones had been sold. That’s a lot of cases…

What Mr. Jobs assumedly meant to say was “every iPhone 4 user”.

Thankfully, what appeared on the screen behind Jobs when he was making the keynote speech – stated “free case for every iPhone 4”, which we can only assume prompted him to then  say “one for every iPhone 4”. If he hadn’t clarified that the free cases were limited to iPhone 4 users, Apple could’ve faced a much larger headache to add to their woes.

To view a video of the announcement click here.

Note: At the 0:57 mark is when Mr. Jobs states a free case for every iPhone.

It’s in these instances that PR plays a vital role, making sure all spokespeople rehearse speeches, are aware of statements to avoid and providing an overall assistance role when it comes to issues management.

If you believe your business can benefit from forward thinking PR with experience with issues management – contact Pursuit Communications today.

Victorian Bushfires – How every little bit helps

I’ve been doing some thinking as to what different companies could do to assist those in Victoria. At this stage money is most needed – according to reports on TV and radio.

So after doing some digging around here’s a selection of what I’ve found;

Kids Style File has indicated that for every person that becomes a fan on their Facebook page they’ll donate 20c to The Red Cross. (From a PR perspective I think this is a great idea that promotes the company & their good deeds.)

On Friday Coles will be donating all of their profits to The Red Cross.

A tentative date has been proposed for a celebrity event organised by Matt Norman on Facebook.

The AFL will donate procceds from Friday’s game between Essendon and the Bulldogs.

Nova networks have redirected their start page to provide information on how people can donate money MMM has also started their own fund-raising initiative, as has i98 and the Central Coast’s Sea FM .

More will be posted as they come to hand.