Are you coaching a salesperson who is struggling to stay focused and deliver results while working from home?
You’re not alone! Several studies provide evidence of increased productivity while working remotely, but earlier this year Forbes also reported more than 75% of employees admit their productivity has plummeted due to distractions related to working from home and the pandemic.
If your salesperson has low discipline and struggles with organization, don’t lose hope — there are several strategies you can use to regain their focus.
Office Environment vs. Work From Home
Depending on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, some work better in an office environment, some work better remotely, and some can do both.
Many times, it’s easier for salespeople to find workarounds for a weakness in discipline when they’re in the office. An office provided a structured environment, and it’s what they’re used to. They’ve learned their workarounds over time, which doesn’t help them while working from home.
When they’re in the office, they have help all around them. They can pop in their manager’s office throughout the day to provide updates, they’re able to find a quiet place to work where they can focus and limit distractions, and they learn to lean on others for certain details.
This same individual who learned to work-around their weakness in discipline in an office environment now must learn different ways to manage this weakness at home, so it doesn’t get in their way.
While you can’t fix a weakness and give someone more discipline than they have, you can help them find the right work-around, so it doesn’t get in their way when working from home.
Coaching Ideas to Improve Productivity When Working from Home
1. Check-in More Frequently
Try a 10-minute focus meeting by phone or video meeting each morning to discuss the top priorities and plan for the day.
2. Ask for an Email Recap
Ask them to send you an email recap of tasks they accomplished and next steps at the end of the day. This helps you monitor their activity and spot opportunities for improvement.
3. Develop a Plan
Devise a plan that details how often you should check-in and how you will convey information and changes. This is an opportunity to tailor your coaching. Remember people prefer to receive information in different ways — email, phone, video meeting — ask what works best for them.
4. Send the Seller a Recap of 1:1 Meetings
A recap of one-on-one meetings with next steps and deadlines will be a great reference for them to refer back on. They can make this their checklist throughout the week to ensure they're tackling the most important priorities.
5. Brainstorm Ideas for Improvement
Talk with one another about how to improve their home workspace and limit distractions. Encourage them to create a designated workspace and write down the things that distract them, so you can help them determine ways to minimize them and maintain focus.
6. Ask for Calendar Access
Without sounding invasive, ask for permission to view their calendar so you can plan the week together. Encourage them to create a set schedule and stick to it. Blocking off specific times for important activities will help increase productivity.
7. Provide Support
Provide ongoing support by setting up a weekly meeting with your seller, and an assistant or coordinator who can help with some of the detail work.
Next Steps for Improving Productivity While Working From Home
If you're coaching someone working from home, a good next step is to ask the following questions, so you understand how best to support them.
- In this unusual work-from-home environment, what is the best way for us to communicate (phone, emails, text, video)? And how often should we have a scheduled call?
- Knowing your personality, work style, and situation at home, what are three things that I need to remember to help you be your best?
- What information or tools do you need from me right now?
Remember, there's not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person might not work for the next. Asking these questions will give you insight into how you can begin to help each individual improve productivity.