Free Resources to Support Businesses Working From Home (WFH)
We keep hearing it over and over again. With the current world health situation, more and more people need support working from home. Just search the hashtags #WFH and #remotework and you’ll see what we mean! For those used to driving into an office each day, adjusting to life in their new “home office” can be overwhelming and technologically challenging.
With so many people opting to and being mandated to self-quarantine and social distance, many businesses are allowing workers to work from home. To help businesses who are transitioning to work from their homes, or for those who are considering starting up a new home-based business, we’ve put together some great tips and resources to help you manage a remote business.
Support for Working from Home: A Crash Course
Many entrepreneurs we work with are already used to working from home, but if you need support working from home, or it’s your first time managing remotely-based workers, here are our top 5 tips to ensure productivity and maintain your sanity:
- Set Team Expectations: This is huge! Be sure to share your expectations regarding working hours, project details and deadlines, team meetings, and any security or privacy concerns that may apply.
- Build Your Skills: If you find yourself with extra time, look for ways to up-level your skills online. Many online learning sites are offering free courses (we’ve listed a few below) during the pandemic.
- Turn off Social Media: There is a lot vying for our attention right now and it’s easy to get consumed by social media and the news. We strongly suggest staying off social media during working hours unless absolutely necessary. It will help you put better focus on your work.
- Consider Emotional Wellness: This is a stressful and uncertain time for many of us. We encourage you and your employees to take time to decompress and focus on your emotional wellbeing in whatever way you need. This might be going for a walk (while practicing social distancing), meditating, doing a puzzle, doodling in an adult colouring book, or just reading a good book.
- Be Flexible: While we know you have a business to run, it’s also important to be compassionate and flexible whenever possible right now. If your employees have children at home, give them a little flexibility in their working hours (and let them stay on Mute on conference calls until they need to speak). If your employees get sick, allow them extra space to rest so they can get better quickly.
The Canadian Federal Government has launched the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to help businesses get through these tough times. They are opening access to funding, resources, and support. If your business is struggling right now due to the COVID-19, please check the Canadian Government website for the latest about how to qualify/apply for funding and any changes to tax filing rules and deadlines (they’ve announced some tax filing extensions already). This could be a big help for those who need financial support working from home.
If this health crisis happened 10 or 20 years ago, we’d be in a much different situation. Today, we’re so grateful to have such great digital resources to best support working from home. Technology is keeping us connected and productive when so many of us are working remotely. Here are some great online platforms making remote working.
- Zoom: Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing systems in the world right now. Their free version is great for small group meetings, but you may want to consider upgrading to a paid version to have longer call durations with more people.
- Google Hangouts: If you are a G-Suite user you might like Hangouts Meet for group video calls. They are also opening up all advanced features like larger meetings, live streaming, and recording to all users through July 1, 2020.
If your office doesn’t already have a shared network for file sharing, there are many options you can use to share files:
- Google Drive is a popular one and you can have multiple people working on the same file at once.
- OneDrive is a Microsoft product and if you’re already familiar with the office suite, you’ll find this helpful for sharing Microsoft files.
- Dropbox is a great option too, and their upgraded monthly subscription version allows for even more file storage.
Often you need to send quick messages to your team. Here are some great online “chat” type messaging services you can use to avoid using SMS messages or emails for quick communication with your co-workers and colleagues:
- Slack: This program allows you to chat and even share files. With third-party integrations, you can use this to integrate task lists and more advanced features.
- Microsoft Teams: If your business has an Office 365 subscription you may already use this system to chat with co-workers on your network.
- Google Hangouts Chat: G-Suite users can use this Google product to text chat as well as make “phone” and video calls.
Free Memberships, Courses, Subscriptions
If you’ve ever considered joining an association or group, now is the time because many are offering free or discounted memberships for a limited time. Here are just a couple:
- Women in Tech World Collective: They are offering free registration for all women until April 30, 2020.
- LinkedIn Learning: They are offering a special Remote Learning path for free to help you learn best practices to transition your business online. They also offer a one month free trial of LinkedIn Learning and right now might be the perfect time to try it.
- Moz Academy: If you’re looking to enhance your online marketing skills and knowledge, check out the free SEO courses from Moz Academy. They are offering unlimited free access now through May 31.
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Courses: Get free access to resources and training to help protect the health, safety, and well being of your employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Hootsuite: If you use this social media scheduling platform they are offering free access to their Professional plan to non-profits and small businesses through to July 1.
We’re noticing more and more in-person events transitioning to online, virtual events. Here are some great local networking resources, webinars, and training you can attend online:
- Small Business BC: They are offering special small business digital meet-ups, each focusing on a different topic related to supporting businesses through this storm.
- Hervana Coworking Collective: While their physical co-working space is temporarily closed, they have moved many of their popular meet-ups and events online. Check out the Hervana Facebook page to RSVP for their next event.
Other Resources To Help
There are so many resources to help keep your business running through the global pandemic. Here are a couple of resources we recently found:
- Resources compiled by Small Business BC for businesses impacted by COVID-19
- Business Continuity Checklist from Small Business BC.
- Zoom Video conferencing system recently published a great blog post about managing remote teams.
Some businesses will thrive during this time and many will struggle. It’s ok, if you are among those struggling to keep your doors open, that’s why we compiled these free resources to help you now and to get you ready for when the pandemic is over.
And If You Are Ready To Pivot Your Business Online…
Then you’ll want to sign up for the Online Social Summit, a 4-week crash course on how to build an online business that gets sales. Beginning April 6, it’s perfect for those who are:
- Pivoting their service-based business online
- Wanting to start an online business
- Having an existing online business but struggling to grow their list and sell their offerings
myCEO co-founder, Betty Hasker, will start the course April 8, teaching viewers how to get FOUND online. Don’t miss Betty and ten other online experts who will be teaching 12 interactive courses towards setting up your online business in just four weeks. They will cover key steps, including organic SEO, list building, sales funnels and click-worthy content. Sign up now!
Let Us Help You: Free Business Consultations
We’re here to help support all business owners and entrepreneurs. Right now we’re offering FREE 15-30 minute consultations for entrepreneurs who want help navigating their business during this time. Contact Betty and Glorie to set-up a time to chat.
- Many of the resources and offers in this post are correct at the time of posting. Many companies are offering free subscriptions to their services and software for a limited time during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please read all the details before you sign up for any of these programs and offers so you know what to expect.
- We urge you to follow all public health recommendations and the direction of government bodies and law enforcement. Please do your part to help prevent spread of the virus so we can resume normal life again as soon as possible.