Productivity Does Not Have a Zipcode

Productivity Does Not Have a Zipcode

It was heart-breaking to see my adult daughter cry. She was planning her wedding with meticulous detail but then the world turned upside down. However, I was proud to see how she reacted and what she was able to pull off. When I was her age, we could not do what she did.

She adjusted and went ahead with her planned shower last Saturday using Facebook Live. Every person she had invited participated. Many from the “silent generation” or older “baby-boomers” had to be spoon-fed on how to connect and even play the bridal shower games which included a poll. Younger relatives had to be marshalled to serve as IT consultants. Where possible, larger screens were deployed for a better experience.

And it all worked. Soon-to-be bride and groom were dressed up just like they would have been if it was a regular shower at a venue, presents were opened as usual, and customary oohs and aahs reverberated. It appeared defiance in the face of adversity. The virus would not shatter her plans. Human spirit and ingenuity will triumph. Life will go on.

I recently read that Isaac Newton discovered calculus and William Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear’ while in quarantine. They continued their work and utilized their immense talent to make lemonade when given lemons. They probably cursed and pouted a bit but they persevered and changed the world.

There is certainly a lesson here. Like almost every profession, this is a challenging time for marketers. According to a Marketing Week survey, since the outbreak COVID-19, 49% of marketers are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned about their job security and 6.1% have lost their jobs. 59% say their position has been scaled back while 32% have been made redundant. These are alarming numbers for our profession.

John McCain once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.” We have to keep going even though many of us are stuck at home. But the question is how can we be productive when it can be so tempting to finally sleep in a little, do the laundry, and never get out of those comfortable sweat-pants.

Here are some tips:

  1. The critical task is to establish structure and a routine. Wake up at the same time and put a pair of pants on. Something magical happens when you look the part of a professional going to work on a new day.
  2. Set up a home office. It should not be in the path of traffic in your household. Your children or pets should not be roaming around as you try to have a productive day. People who live with you should not see much of you until lunchtime and then dinner time.
  3. Create an environment that is similar to how your team interacts in the office as much as possible. Remember seeing and being seen matters. It is essential to have video conferences to maintain that bond between team members and retain work culture. Having only chats and exchanging e-mails is not sufficient. Leadership should provide training and resources to employees for team collaboration, such as Google Suite for sharing documents in real-time and video platforms like Zoom and Skype.
  4. Invest in a good pair of headphones with a built-in mic, e.g., Jabra Office Headset, Evolve2 40. The ability to block out distractions is important when working from home and make sure your coworkers are not straining to hear you over any background noise from kids or pets. When I am on a conference call and hear a parrot in the background, it leaves a poor impression. Mute button is your friend.
  5. There are many useful apps that can help workflow. Use tools like Basecamp, Trello, Asana, TaskWorld, and Slack to organize and prioritize projects and stay in-sync throughout the day. Look at Wrike for project management and Salesforce which is an integrated CRM platform that gives sales and marketing a single, shared view of every customer.
  6. For many teams, there is a significant disruption in doing new projects at this time. This may be a good opportunity to take a fresh look at our marketing strategy and materials. A website audit may be in order or adding certain functionality, developing an eBook, or that whitepaper that we always wanted to write but never had the time. We may now be able to tackle jobs we have been putting off, and for good reason, because there always seemed to be other higher priorities.

I know these are strange times and it is likely to persist for months. However, remember that the virus is not alive and it does not have a brain. It is just a piece of RNA that is looking to invade cells and replicate if we let it. It cannot think or adapt. It can mutate, albeit slowly in this case, but that is not a deliberately planned change. It can be an error in transcription or a recombination event that can fortuitously turn out to be beneficial for it. However, as humans, we can think, adapt, and adjust and that’s the reason we will beat it.