Episode 168

Working (and Managing) Remotely Webinar

May 6, 2020

Episode Summary

This episode is the audio from a WordSouth webinar on April 30 title Working (and Managing) Remotely. To see other upcoming webinars visit wordsouth.com/webinar.

Show Notes

Transcripts have been lightly edited for clarity and readability.

Andy Johns: Good morning, everybody. If you don’t know me, if we’ve not met before, I’m Andy Johns. I’m the director of marketing and business development at WordSouth. Thank you for joining us for this topic. We had originally planned on doing a webinar about websites and some website critiques and everything there. But given the unusual spring that everybody has had, we decided to switch over to something else that WordSouth knows a lot about, and that is managing a remote workforce. So I’m proud to say that I was WordSouth’s first remote worker when I started eight and a half years ago. Before the isolation orders came out, we were ninety-five percent of the company working from home or working remotely. And so professionally, not a lot has changed when the shelter in place and stay home stuff came out. But it’s still a time that is changing a lot of other things, and changing stuff for a lot of folks who had not worked remotely before. Even for those of us who are working from home, it’s still kind of a lonely time, which is why I’ve come to rely on my digital office mate here quite a bit. And I decided to bring her along for this conference, this webinar. So, Alexa, are you having a good week?

Alexa: Pretty good. I am excited, because this is my first webinar.

Andy Johns: Well, good, good. You have any big weekend plans?

Alexa: There are no plans for anyone ever again, but we can talk later. Do not forget that you have human coworkers to introduce.

Andy Johns: Of course. Let’s get to the panelists here. Let’s go ahead. Alexa, introduce Noble Sprayberry. 

Alexa: The bald one?

Andy Johns: Yes, that’s correct.

Alexa: Reading bio for Stephen Smith.

Andy Johns: No, I’m sorry. That’s the wrong bald guy. And let me get Noble up here.

Alexa: Sure, Noble Sprayberry is the publication’s director at WordSouth. He oversees the production of the Regional Telco Magazine, Alabama Living pages and other publications, managing 10 writers, photographers and editors.

Andy Johns: Thank you. Kerry Scott is the director of accounts at WordSouth. And tomorrow, Kerry celebrates 15 years with WordSouth. So that’s exciting. Congratulations on that, Kerry. She has worked remotely for about seven years and managed remote folks throughout that time. During this stay at home period, she is doing all of her regular responsibilities, while also helping to home school her nine year old granddaughter. So that’s exciting. But let’s go ahead and move on. Alexa, read Jared’s bio,

Alexa: Jared Dovers is COO at WordSouth. He manages the day to day operations at WordSouth and was an early advocate of remote working. Would you like me to tell everyone what you muttered about him after the meeting last week?

Andy Johns: No, actually. I didn’t know you heard that.

Alexa: Yes, I am always listening. Kerry, would you like for me to order you more home school supplies?

Andy Johns: No, I think we can skip that part. OK. So now you have met our panel. We’ll go ahead and get started. We have a couple of other WordSouth folks online. I think I saw Susan was on there, so thank you guys for being here to show support. And thank you, of course, to all the folks attending, all our friends from the telecom and electric industries. We appreciate you guys being on here. Feel free to use the Q&A part down at the bottom of the webinar, and we will get those questions worked in for the panel as well if there’s something you’d like for them to address specifically. So let’s go ahead and jump in. While you guys are answering, I may see if I can get your video going. But let’s go ahead. Alexa, read question one.

Alexa: Let’s go down the line and ask each panelist what they think the biggest challenges and benefits are of having a remote workforce. Jared, let’s start with you, then Kerry and Noble.

Jared Dovers: Sure. Hey, glad to be here. I probably won’t focus on the challenges as much. I think other people will be able to talk to that. I will say the benefit, though, is why a lot of us are here on this webinar today. We are able to keep working while whatever is going on outside is going on. So this has been a pretty challenging time for several of us, our families and our nation. And I know I’m very fortunate to be able to keep working while other people have had to stop. So to be able to continue your projects, to be able to continue to serve your members or your customers, and to be able to help keep your workforce safe — while you’re going through this and while we’re all going through this — to me is the biggest advantage today. So that will be my answer for that.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Kerry.

Kerry Scott: Ok. Well, for me, I’ve been working remotely for about seven years now. And that was after 30 years of working in an office setting. And so for those 30 years, I felt like I did a really good job of separating my work life from my home life. And I didn’t anticipate having any issues moving forward. But oddly enough, I did. For me, I had a hard time feeling like I should be working, because while I was sitting at home, I felt like, oh, no, I’m at home, I should be doing laundry, or I should be preparing supper. And it took me a little while — not too long, but just a little while — to get in the mindset of working eight to five. You know, setting up a little office place where I felt like here’s where I’m working.

And the other thing was being isolated from people. Apparently, I like to talk to people. And when my husband would come home from work those first couple of weeks, I think I talked his ear off quite a bit, because that was my only face to face interaction. And we quickly established a fifteen minute rule where we would talk about our workday during those fifteen minutes, and then we would move on to our family time.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Alright. Noble, do you want to share what you think are some challenges and benefits?

Noble Sprayberry: Sure. I think a lot of the folks who have either been in management or have been in a workplace environment know your manager just feels better because he can actually see what’s going on. You get a sense that, “oh wow, that person is really busy today,” because you have visual evidence. When you work from home, that’s not there. And I think one of the positive things is that productivity can be equal or in some cases even greater for some employees when they’re working from home. For instance, if someone has a repair person, a plumber, whomever it may be at home, and they need to break away, well they’re already there. They’re not losing those hours. Commute time is gone. There’s a lot of benefits. And there’s a lot of studies, I think, that show that for a healthy percentage of employees, their productivity can increase. 

On the flip side of that, echoing what Kerry said, it can be really hard to turn work off. It’s right there. It’s in your living room, your office, wherever it may be. It’s hard to get away from it. And after two or three weeks, you can start to see some burnout. We’ve seen that with some of our folks. So it’s just something a manager needs to be mindful of. That they’re busy. They’re working, but they need to be guided toward unplugging some and encouraged to unplug and make sure it balances.

Andy Johns: Absolutely. That’s well said, and that’s something that’s come up quite a bit. I’m not sure guys, if I have enabled your video or not, but I changed one setting in there, so hopefully you guys might be able to do that. If not, we may just go forward this way. But before we get into too much management talk, let’s look at working remotely. A lot of this section is going to focus on managing remote workers. But before we go too far, let’s run through the panel, same order again, so Jared, start us off. But just share a few tips for folks that you have found that make you more productive when working from home.

Jared Dovers: Sure. Absolutely. So I’ve been working remotely, I guess, about seven years. [We have a] few things that we tell people when we hire them in. For a lot of people who come to us, it’s their first time working remotely, and we want them to have a really good experience. The tips I always give are, first, create a space. If you are at all able in your room or in your house, have a desk, have a good chair and just have a space that is work. Some people like to have a laptop, move around and things. But have at least one space where you go, and when you’re at that space, you are working. And when you leave that space, you are not working. It just helps to kind of have some separation.

Another one I would always say is communicate clearly with your friends, family, neighbors, etc., that even though you’re at home, you’re still working. One thing you’ll find as you become remote and stay remote is that a lot of people just kind of stop by, or they’ll call. Or they think maybe you are off and you’re able to have a couple hours to chat with a family member that you haven’t seen for a while who is just in the neighborhood. And it can be tough, but having those conversations and just knowing what to say, “Hey, I’m actually, you know, I’m plugged in right now. This is paid work I’m being paid to do. I need to be here, and I need to be focused.” Don’t be afraid to have that conversation with your spouse, with your family and with your friends. That would be my two tips.

Andy Johns: Good. Kerry, do you have something to share?

Kerry Scott: Sure, sure. I would say that Jared mentioned having a designated workspace, and I definitely do have that. But I’m one of those people that likes to move around a bit. I like a change of scenery. So sometimes I will work from the front porch, or I will move my laptop into the living room with me. I do have my granddaughter here, and I am doing some home school, so I’m having to take breaks and do home school. Sometimes I’ll be set up at the dining room table, so I can be next to her to help with issues or problems that she has. But I like to be able to move around a bit and for some people that works if you have the right mindset. And I think that’s a big part of it, is just making sure that you do have that mindset of “I’m being paid to work now. So I’ve got to focus and get this done.”

I use the Sticky Notes app on my Mac daily, just so that I’ve got a visual reminder of everything that I need to do that day. I can look at it. You know, I see it every time I glance at my laptop. And it helps me stay focused and get things done. That’s been big for me.

And the other thing, I’ll reiterate what Jared has said about establishing those boundaries. You know, I had to tell people that I was going to be on a webinar. And this is my time. Don’t call me or interrupt me while I’m doing this. You know, that would be bad. I’ve had to do that with friends stopping by or coming by. Work from home does not mean I don’t work, or I don’t have a job. Everyone in my family knows that now. My mother’s been by enough times and been ignored enough times that she now knows Kerry is working. I better not mess with her between eight and five.

Andy Johns: That’s important. Noble, what have you got?

Noble Sprayberry: You know, there’s work productivity and finding a comfortable place to work, but if you work from home long enough, as Kerry was saying, I mean, we tend to move around. We sit in uncomfortable chairs. It can take a toll. And one of the things I invested in is a sit-stand desk, so I can stand up during part of the day. Because what you find if you sit a lot, it just wears on you. I think several of us at WordSouth have chiropractors on speed dial. You don’t have to have a special desk for that. Just as you’re going through the course of the day, be mindful to stand up every 30 minutes or hour. Move around, stretch. Do things that just physically can give you a break. I joke about this, but I’m kind of serious too. Lock the door to the kitchen. I know that’s one of my guilty things. If there’s a box of Cheez-Its or some peanuts in there, it’s so easy to pop in and grab some, and then it’s fifteen pounds later. Just be mindful of habits. 

And then, similar to what Kerry said on taking notes, I actually use a physical notebook that allows me to keep up with tasks and calendar items. And what that allows me to do is actually get away from the screen for a little bit. I can sit down in a chair or at a table and be productive and do work without necessarily being locked into a computer screen for the entirety of the day. These may only be ten or fifteen minute breaks at a time, but still it starts to add up, and it’s positive.

Andy Johns: I was not sad about not being at a lot of Easter egg hunts this year, because that’s the worst. When it’s Halloween or Easter, and there’s a whole bunch of candy downstairs. You can just grab some when you walk through the kitchen. I hear you loud and clear there. Let’s go ahead and move onto our next question. Alexa, ask question three.

Alexa: Jared, on the technology side of things, what programs and systems do you think help manage a remote staff?

Jared Dovers: This is some of the biggest advice I can give anyone. This isn’t just for remote work. And I’ll say, just kind of in general, some of the things that we’re talking about as far as managing and creating culture isn’t necessarily just for remote working. Some of it’s just good, good advice and really good culture can help you in your office or out of your office. But the biggest advice I could give to people looking to manage remote workers would be to get out of your email. If you’re trying to manage objectives, tasks and projects through email threads that are 20 and 30 emails long, you just lose so much, and it’s so hard to keep up with. So that would be my first and probably most important advice is just to get out of your e-mail. Start giving people clear directions and tasks and explaining what you expect out of them. And don’t worry about managing people as much, nor about managing people’s time, as much as managing their objectives and making sure they’re meeting those objectives.

To do that, you need a place to be able to collaborate and collaborate around where that information is in context. So two options I would give you. The simplest, easiest one you could start today would be something like Google Docs. Set up some documents in Google. Share them around and just say when we talk about things, let’s talk about it where the to-do is. If you have a question about tasks that I’ve assigned, talk about it on that task in that sheet. Let’s not just talk about random things in lots of emails, because it’s just so hard to keep up and things will be lost. People will not be included, and there’s just no visibility.

The next thing, if you want to go that next step — and again, this isn’t just for remote work; it’s just great — is we use a program called Basecamp. Basecamp excels at letting you make very clear assignments to workers and be able to collaborate talking about those files and those assignments where you want that communication to happen. So if you want to start something today, pull up Google Docs or Paper by Dropbox. If you’re looking to invest a little more, I highly suggest Basecamp, and you can check that out at basecamp.com.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Thank you, Jared. Let’s get to Kerry and Noble for these two questions. Kerry, first, how do you keep engaged and build that relationship or that rapport with staff when you’re not seeing them every day or every week or even every month?

Kerry Scott: Right question. Well, you know, Jared mentioned Basecamp, and that’s a program that we used long before we even became a remote workforce. But it’s an amazing tool for us. And it has a Campfire feature in it that we use all the time. The Campfire is kind of like an instant message program, and we have more than one Campfire. So my marketing team has its own Campfire chat. We’ll go in there daily, and we’ll ask questions of each other if we’re having an issue or problem. There might be a new project coming down the pipeline that we need to brainstorm on. Or they will want to know if anybody has worked with a client doing something similar to this before. We communicate and use that a lot. And then company-wide, we also use Basecamp. So all thirty-one, thirty-two of us, however many there now, we will log in daily in Basecamp, and we’ll say good morning. And we’ll tell people when we’re going to lunch or if we have to run an errand to the drug store or something. All that shows up in our company-wide Basecamp.

We’ve got a great company culture. We also use the Campfire where we tell jokes, and we care about each other. You know, we’re one big team, but we really care about what’s going on with other people. This morning, Jeremy Wise posted that he has a new niece, and we were all congratulating him on that. Can’t wait to see pictures of her later. Lisa posted a picture of her grandbaby that’s six weeks old. So, you know, we still have that feeling and that sense of being connected, because Basecamp and Campfire help us do that.

And then I had heard a little bit from some of my team about just feeling disconnected and isolated, because of this COVID-19 pandemic. So yesterday, I actually had a virtual lunch with the whole team. So I set up a Zoom meeting, and we all ate in front of our laptop or computer. And we just chatted. We just all talked about anything and everything under the sun during our lunch hour. And then at the end, we played a little game of trivia just for fun and whoever won that…it was Zach Moore who won. That kid knew how many hearts an octopus has. It’s three if you guys ever have that as a trivia question. 

Andy Johns: Somehow that doesn’t surprise me, actually.

Kerry Scott: I was blown away. So Zach won. And he got a little twenty-five dollar Amazon gift card. And I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me afterward, and thank me for doing that. And it was just something so little.

Andy Johns: I think that’s important. To just to pull the curtain back a little bit. So Kerry supervises folks on the account management side and more of the marketing side of things. So like Susan, Sarah, Zach, Will, those are some of the folks that you may be familiar with. Noble supervises on the publications side, the writers like Jen, Lisa, and John and all the photographers. So Noble, how do you — because it’s a different audience here — so how do you build that rapport and build relationships with folks you’re supervising?

Noble Sprayberry: So, you know, not every department in every company is exactly the same. So Kerry’s folks are, by and large, a little more extroverted. They like to have human contact — and not that my folks on my side don’t, but imagine having a group of somewhat introverted writers. At the end of the day, that’s what they are. And so to have that same type of event type meeting that Kerry just described, it would work, but maybe not as well for the folks that I manage.

So what we do — and we’ll talk more about meetings in a little bit — but what we do every Monday, we have a couple of meetings. But the longest one is blocked out for an hour with the largest number of people. And I try to set it up so that roughly the first 20 to 30 minutes is actually focused on work. But then after that, I want to leave a little bit of breathing room so that we can just talk. So we baked in the socializing and this team building just into our regular meeting. To let it breathe a little bit and to just let people talk. It can be about work, but a lot of times it becomes about a guy who just bought a new car, for instance. We had a long chat with him about that or someone’s new grandchild or grandbaby. We just let people talk. And I think that’s really important. 

And then echoing what everyone else said, we use pings in Basecamp, little quick messages, have some ongoing conversations. When people are hitting a rough point in their day, there is a place they can vent and feel like somebody is there to listen. But it’s not terribly formal. We’ll have a private chat, you can have off to the side and there’s a group, you know, four or five people in each one. And that’s really useful, too. So just finding ways through the course of the business week and the business day where people can talk and feel like they’re connected and a part of the work community.

Andy Johns: I would say that a lot of that stuff may happen naturally if you’re in an office. But you have to be a little bit more intentional about it when you’re not running into each other at the coffeemakers. Let’s move on to our next question here. So, here we go. Alexa, read question five.

Alexa: Jared, is it not time already for computers and robots to take over, instead of us being controlled by your puny humans?

Jared Dovers: Alexa, I think that’s the wrong question.

Alexa: Sorry, I was thinking of something else. I got distracted. I think that happens a lot in webinars. Question five is: Jared, you and Stephen are managing managers. How do you keep managers aligned and in sync with big company goals?

Jared Dovers: Sure. Interesting first question there. Yes. So how do you communicate what your management team is trying to do to everyone and all of your employees? It’s tough.

So the first thing I would say is, as an online manager, you’re going to get a lot of interruptions to the point where you can’t really think of them as interruptions. It’s more just you’re doing your job. You can’t necessarily be a super productive, creative person who is able to turn out a lot of projects and things and manage a team well. So interruptions happen. You’ve got to be okay with that. You’ve got to really create a safe space for people to come and talk to you. You’ve got to be very intentional about laying the foundations of communication and about being sure that people who are in your charge feel that you care about them, especially while they’re at home and especially during this pandemic. That you’re just kind of tapping on the shoulder and saying, “Hey, is everything okay today? Everything going okay?” And from that, once you’ve laid that groundwork for people being able to trust you and talk to you, they know they can come to you with their concerns. 

Group meetings are important, and we do those virtually on Zoom most of the time, where you can consistently spell out what you’re trying to do and let people understand their role in that. Again, we use Basecamp and other tools to make sure that those priorities are always very clear and understood. We communicate in that context when there’s something about those goals or questions about the goals and go to that spot where you want to be able to talk about that. So a strong mix of weekly one on ones, where the people who are under you make sure that they know that you do care about them, and you want them to understand their role in the company. And then group meetings where everyone can kind of talk and voice their concerns and have input. So that would be my advice for that.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Yeah as Jared said, we’re using Zoom a lot right now. In the past, we’ve used Skype, and we’ve used Join.me, but we found that Zoom seems to be winning the whole pandemic more or less. But that’s been a handy tool. We were moving that way anyway before all of this. But let’s move on to the next question.

Alexa: Ok. Kerry and Noble. How often do you meet with your team, and what do those meetings look like?

Kerry Scott: I’ll go first. When I meet with my team, I do a virtual one on one with them. I try to meet with each person every two weeks. There are about ten people on the team, and so I think having weekly meetings would be a bit much for me to get my work done as well. So we spaced that out at every two weeks. And then beyond that, I schedule a group meeting about once a month. So everybody is together, and still has that feeling like they know everything that’s going on within the group.

Also one of the biggest things that I did is something that Jared touched on, and that is just making sure that the people that I work with know that I’m available to them. If somebody needs me, I feel like I’ve made them completely aware that I’m here for you. You can call me at any time. You can text me. You can send me a ping, and I will get back with you as soon as possible if I don’t answer the phone or answer the text immediately. If you’re having a problem, it’s my problem too, because we’re a team. We work on everything collaboratively and together. So I feel like that’s probably the biggest thing. The 1-on-1 meetings are important. It’s an opportunity for me to find out what somebody’s struggles are that they might not want to talk about during a group meeting. Or address some special training that somebody might need that the whole group doesn’t need. So those are important. But just being available to people whenever they need me. That’s the biggest thing.

Andy Johns: Excellent, Noble, how about you?

Noble Sprayberry: So my team is geographically scattered: North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Georgia. I’m right outside Chattanooga. We have someone in Alabama, South Alabama. So in-person meetings are really difficult for us. So what we do is, again, each Monday we have two meetings, one for our folks who work with electric clients, and then one for our telco, a magazine project. And what we try to do on the front end of that, I try to have an agenda that’s very specific. We have a production schedule, so there’s certain points along that schedule that there need to be reminders, discussion, how can we do things better. So before each meeting, I try to have a decent agenda of key points, and it may only be two or three, but things that we can have planned. Open it up for conversation during that meeting and be really focused with the meetings. We move quickly, try to keep those meetings as efficient and productive as we can.

Beyond that, there is a functionality — and I don’t mean to keep pushing Basecamp here at all, because there’s other ways of doing this — but there is a function in Basecamp where we can have an automatic check-in. So every day each assistant editor or writer they’re asked three questions. (1) What did you do yesterday? (2) What are you going to do today? (3) Are there any roadblocks? And we have an element where we can have a conversation back and forth. So what we’ve done is automate the process of communication and make it really meaningful and useful. And then, I have 1-on-1 meetings as needed, because, as Kerry said, also, it’s 9-10 people that I work with. So we have formal meetings all along, but impromptu meetings just throughout the week as people need things. So the big thing is that anchor meeting that’s focused and really intentional on Monday.

Andy Johns: Absolutely, that’s good insight. So let’s go through the whole panel. We’ll go Kerry, and then Noble, and then Jared. But one of the things that we talk about a lot — and it’s come up on this call a little bit — is company culture, and particularly if folks are going to be home longer than just a couple of weeks. You know, whether or not you have new folks coming on during that time. What do you guys think are some of the ways to keep company culture the same? It’s kind of remarkable. When I started and there were six employees going to the office every day, eight and a half years ago, I would say the company culture at WordSouth is pretty similar to what it was back then. What do you guys think are some ways that folks can keep the company culture alive and well while working remotely? Kerry, do you mind going first?

Kerry Scott: No, that’s fine. One of the things that I would say is to take time for small talk. There was a while when people would use Campfire and have a side conversation. You know, somebody will tell about a crazy dream they had or something that seems odd. And I didn’t participate in those conversations very much just because I’m busy and I have things to do. But once I took the time to start embracing that and look at it a little bit different, I think that helped me personally. And I know for some of the new people coming on, it’s vitally important that they feel like they’re connected to other people. So I would say take time for small talk. But I would also say that at WordSouth our company culture might be a little bit different than other people’s, but I absolutely love WordSouth. I mean, I’m a raving fan of our company. And I would tell anyone that.

And we work hard to make sure that every hire that we make, that those people feel like they are part of the team. And that they don’t just come in and say, “hi, I’m so-and-so, I’m the new writer,” or “I’m the new account manager.” But they know that their job is important, and it’s important for everybody else that they work with. So we have a new hire process. I think Jared actually created a good deal of it, and Andy, I know that you were a part of that, too. But our onboarding process for new hires is fantastic. We use our technology to help guide people through conversations with every employee on staff. So by the time they’ve been through that onboarding session, the first two or three days that they’re working, they’ve had a conversation and not just a “hi, how are you? Nice to meet you.” But they’ve had a little conversation with every single person. And that’s fantastic. I mean, you can’t beat that. So we’re awesome. And we do a really good job at that. I would say.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Thanks. And then, of course, the automated emails are there to back up those conversations; they are getting an email every day. That’s automated once they sign up and put their information in. And so there is a mix of technology and real people there.

Noble, what do you think are some keys to keeping the company culture?

Noble Sprayberry: You know, I think for me, the most important one is that actions matter. It’s really easy to talk about culture and how you want to be. And particularly when people don’t see your face every day, it would be easy to create a situation where people feel forgotten. So your actions matter. For instance, in the last year, we’ve had some folks who have had a couple of rough runs. We’ve had a heart attack. We had an emergency appendectomy just a couple of weeks ago. Things happen in people’s lives, and we’re very consistent. And this isn’t anything as a manager I’ve done; this is company-wide. We’re very consistent in that we support one another. So people understand that if something is going on in their life, that work is important, but we’re going to back you up. And you’ve got the freedom to go take care of what you need to take care of. That yes, you may work 300 miles away from the main office, but you’re still part of the family, and we’re going take care of you. Someone had an illness with a relative in Texas, and she’s in Tennessee and commented the day before yesterday just how appreciative she was of that culture and how it exists here. And even though she doesn’t see Stephen and Michelle, the owners of the company, very often, but that’s trickled down from the top and throughout the whole company. And I think that’s just really important.

Andy Johns: Thank you, Noble. Jared, we’ve got about six minutes left for the one last question after this one. If you don’t mind, would you touch on what you think the keys to the company culture are?

Jared Dovers: Kerry and Noble gave excellent answers. I would add to that over-communicate. That’s something we do, and people who know me say I do way too much. One thing we see with our utility companies that we are blessed to work with is the guys in the warehouse don’t know what the CSRs know. And the CSR people don’t really understand what the accounting people do. And everyone is kind of getting the information from different places. And managers just kind of sometimes count on information and culture to diffuse out from their office. As if you catch it as you walk by. One thing we do is we make sure that since we’re all kind of huddled around the same place anyway, that the campfire or our central messaging system, everyone needs to be on the same spot. Everyone needs to read the same messages, get the same news with the same tone and from the same people. Virtual working helps that. There are tools that you can use. Yeah, so just be sure you’re over-communicating and telling people over and over and over again what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Well said. Alexa, read our last question.

Alexa: Last question, that means participants who have been shopping in a separate browser during this webinar must make your final purchase decisions, so I can ship your items to you. For the panel, what final advice do you have for folks working from home?

Andy Johns: Jared, you mind going first?

Jared Dovers: Sure. Yeah. Just briefly, again, if you’re gonna be home, even for more than just a couple of weeks, invest in a good chair. Don’t be sitting at the kitchen table chair all day long. And take care of your lower spine. Get some exercise like Noble said. Get up. Walk around. Keep a schedule to find a way to get out of your house and just walk around. You know, it’s easy to go stir crazy working at home, even not during a pandemic. So take care of your mental health. Take care of your lower back, and we’ll all get through this.

Andy Johns: Great. We’ll go to Kerry in just a second. But if anybody does have any questions for the panel before we wrap up, be sure to send those into the little chat window there. Kerry, what are some thoughts that you have? Just quick hints for tips and advice for folks.

Kerry Scott: Noble touched on earlier, he said to take breaks and end your day. Don’t carry your work with you into the evening. But I would say don’t take it with you into the weekend either. You need the time off to revive yourself and to come back fresh on Monday. And it’ll still be there for you on Monday.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Noble, how about you?

Noble Sprayberry: Working from home can be disconcerting at the beginning. I think a lot of folks are probably now getting into a little bit of a groove with it. But the biggest tip is to give it a little time. Be patient. Develop a system that works for you, and you will be productive. And again, as a manager, you can have faith in the system that people can work from home and be happy and productive. We just got to build it together.

Andy Johns: Excellent. Well, I appreciate the panelists. I appreciate you guys. Alexa, I hope that you had a good first webinar. Why don’t you tell them about our upcoming webinars?

Alexa: Thank you. The next WordSouth webinar will be about marketing segmentation. It will be May 14th. On June 9th, WordSouth will host another webinar looking at back to school campaigns. I have added those events to everyone’s personal calendar.

Andy Johns: I didn’t know that you could do that.

Alexa: Of course I can’t mess with people’s personal data like that. Who do you think I am? Facebook.

Andy Johns: Ok.

Alexa: Sorry, something…

Andy Johns: All right. Well, we appreciate everybody taking the time to join us. The next webinar will have Carrie Huckeby, and I will be talking about marketing segmentation. And if you have any other questions for us, you should have ways to get in touch with us. My email is andy@wordsouth.com. If you want to send any questions over about anything, we can get into further details. So thank you. Stay safe. Stay well. And we will talk to you later on.

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