Many communicators believe the benefits of working from home strongly outweigh the disadvantages. However, transitioning to a WFH environment raises many challenges. In an industry that relies heavily on face-to-face interactions, adjusting to primarily remote communication methods isn’t easy. Nevertheless, you can optimize your remote PR workflow for productive results.
The upside is you’re not alone. Everyone in WFH mode has had to deal with similar struggles in one way or another, which means they usually offer a level of understanding and sympathy to colleagues struggling to adjust. Also, with everyone making similar adjustments, tips and advice on making it work are readily available.
Optimizing your workflow, for instance, can reduce the feeling that you’re handling everything on your own. The more streamlined and optimized your processes are, the more efficient you will become, gaining more flexibility in your work day. The following are some ways to optimize your remote PR workflow, and stay mindful of your needs and your working environment to ensure you are performing at your best.
1. Stay connected
As a professional communicator, staying in touch with clients and co-workers is essential. Making yourself readily available and accessible when you can’t meet face-to-face is key to succeeding in your remote work environment. For instance, you can use apps like Slack for quick and easy messaging in channels and threads for separate teams, groups, projects, and clients.
Zoom and other video conferencing apps are great for when you need to have a call or a meeting with your co-workers or clients. Just remember to make the most of it to help everyone feel seen, heard, and connected. It’s easy to let your intentions slide when you are constantly interacting through a screen rather than directly in person.
2. Automate as much as possible so you optimize your remote PR workflow
The more you automate, the less you will have to worry and stress over. Not only will automating your processes make your day more manageable, but it will increase your output and productivity and improve your outcomes. For example, join with your team to use the same system or application for tracking resources, projects, and documents. That way, everyone is on the same page, and there is no miscommunication. This will ensure everyone, including yourself, is on task and nothing gets missed.
3. Avoid distractions
When you work from home, many things can distract you, which wouldn’t when working in an office. Children, roommates, spouses, and even chores can get in the way if your give them too much of your time. Pets, as well, can pull your focus if you can’t find ways to keep them quiet and entertained. Give attention where needed but be mindful of setting boundaries so you aren’t constantly juggling multiple things that demand your attention.
4. Create a dedicated workspace
One of the best ways to optimize your workflow and stay on task is to have a quiet, organized, and dedicated workspace separate from the rest of your home. Not everyone has the space to do this, understandably, but if possible, you should have an office that doesn’t share space with another room, like the living room or your bedroom. You’ll get more done and maintain focus if you can work in a separate closed-off room or space free of outside distractions. Also, it’s helpful to have a well-designed and organized space that provides a professional background for video calls and meetings.
5. Use visuals
Visuals are highly beneficial for remote work professionals. When you are constantly communicating and sharing information digitally, it’s harder to visualize projects and what needs to get done. A visual of your workflow is not only more appealing to look at, but it makes it easier to follow by providing a clear depiction or model of what needs to happen. Project and workflow mapping tools are nothing new, but you implement them in the remote work setting.
6. Track time and stick to a routine
It’s easy to fall out of routine when we start working from home. We can sleep in a little longer, for example, or take more breaks through the day. Unfortunately, over time, this can harm productivity levels. Remote work professionals need to stick to a routine as much as possible to stay on track. Time-tracking software is extremely useful in these situations as it allows you to go back and look at your day or your week to see where you need to improve and restructure your time and your routine.
7. Protect sensitive data
With so much information getting passed around digitally through various channels and applications, it’s easy to lose track of important data. Software and applications that allow you to still share sensitive information while keeping it protected are essential for remote working comms pros. Your clients and your own senior management rely on you to safeguard their information, so it’s up to you to ensure you only share what is necessary, and use reliable and safe methods to do this.
Above all, make time for yourself
As important as your job may be, your health and wellbeing are a top priority. When you work from home, it’s easy to find yourself working longer and later hours than you usually would. You need to set boundaries and “clock out” the same as when you used to leave the office at the end of the day. Just because your office is now in your home doesn’t mean you should keep working simply because it’s there and accessible.
Set boundaries with your team, your managers, and your clients by working during set “office hours,” and not spending longer time in work mode. Your optimized workflow won’t help if you are still overextending yourself. The idea is to improve your performance and operate efficiently in the remote work setting, not do more work and become burnt out. If you are happy and healthy, you will naturally have more energy, and experience higher productivity levels. Therefore, it is in your own interests to optimize your remote PR workflow.