Seven Simple ways to boost your productivity whilst working from home

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Working for ourselves as either a freelancer or independent contractor is proving to be a rewarding and lucrative way to work whilst claiming back control over our personal freedom and work-life balance. Whether at home or at the office, there are never enough hours in the day! Staying productive requires discipline and focus.

Here are 7 simple and really effective ways to increase productivity while working from home:

1. Set Targets

Planning is paramount. Each and every morning sit down and set your goals for the day. Make sure your plans are realistic and make sure they are useful. When writing these goals, the more precision you have in each bullet point will provide you with a clear and concise focus you may need to reference again later in the day.

2. Perfect a Routine

Creating a routine that you follow each day can be very beneficial. Taking your lunch at a similar time each day or taking breaks before your eyes glaze over are all positive steps to achieving the most out of your day. It can be very easy to overwork when you work for yourself, so don’t forget to take the time that you need to recharge. In equal measures, make sure you know when you should be working and not playing your favourite console game or sitting watching an extra episode of daytime TV!

3. Clear Workspace = Clear Brainspace

When you’re working from home, it is very helpful to create your personal separate workspace. If you have the luxury to get set up in a different room or a garden office, this is an effective option. If, however, you don’t have the room for this, then ensure your workspace is clear of everyday life clutter. Invest in a desk and a comfortable work chair and set yourself up somewhere well lit and quiet. At home, the biggest distraction can be the family or house mates so consider this when you’re choosing where to situate your work station!

4. Find rewards in the tasks you DISLIKE!

There’s a danger of doing the stuff that you love. (That’s why we work freelance right?) We immerse ourselves in the work we love to do, forgetting about the horrible admin tasks that are a bit more daunting and less enjoyable.

If you get those difficult and daunting tasks done early in the day, the relief and achievement is always the best reward. By doing this, you can get on with the business you love doing, completely guilt free for the rest of the afternoon. (You can probably take the dog for a longer walk too because your productivity levels will soar!)

5. Get healthy

With that guilt free time you’ve suddenly reclaimed, remember to get up and move, walk to the shop for supplies or cook homemade food for your lunch. Working from home gives us the best excuse to enjoy our favoured lifestyle, complete with quality time with our families and friends and time to do more exercise and indulge in fewer take-away meals. It’s proven that if your health is tip top, then you will be able to concentrate longer and work smarter.

6. Manage your phone-calls to maximise efficacy

As your business starts to grow or as you start to work from home more frequently, you will need to consider how best to manage phone calls. Sales enquires, clients, suppliers and even your Mom will phone you when you’re hard at work. After a while, it is common to discover that dealing with every phone call as and when the phone rings can really impede your efficiency or completely break your focus. A simple and effective solution is to outsource your calls to a telephone answering service, such as OfficeHQ, to field those unnecessary distractions.

OfficeHQ can answer in your company greeting, act as your personal receptionist, boost your professional image, engage with your clients and even talk with your Mum! We will take all caller details and explain that you will call back, leaving you to get on with your job. This helps you avoid unnecessary interruptions saving you time and money: you can complete the task in hand and return your calls in your own time knowing you can give every caller your full attention.

7.Remember why you chose to go freelance – and enjoy it!

Working from home can really be a surprising discovery and you may find it’s not nearly as chilled-out as you might have thought… Working for yourself means that you’re doing EVERYTHING!

YOU have to continuously provide your services at the highest level and be your own marketer, sales person, business manager, project manager, accountant and social media guru, amongst countless other roles.

When working from home, remember to live the life you dreamed of: don’t be a slave to yourself! It’s hard work, it’s busy and it’s demanding, so it can be helpful to share your workload where possible to take some of the pressure off.

The journey to success is different for everyone and hopefully these productivity boosters will help you on your way!

Kate Thomson

OfficeHQ Pty Ltd

1300 ANSWER (1300 267 937)

http://www.officehq.com.au

 

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OfficeHQ’s Top 10 Tips for answering the phone like a pro

Not everybody is great on the telephone. In fact, many people avoid answering phone calls entirely, especially when the incoming call is from an unknown number.

To guarantee a great first impression for your business you must ensure that the person answering the phone conducts themselves in a professional manner. To help you master the art, we share with you our most effective phone answering advice.

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OfficeHQ’s Top 10 Tips for answering the phone like a pro:

1. Smile. We can’t recommend this enough – you can hear the happiness radiate down the phone line.

2. Greet with your business name. Callers will know they have reached the correct company and not misdialled. If you are your own brand, answer using your own name instead.

3. Keep your greeting snappy. If your company name is exceptionally long or if there’s a tag line you like to use, don’t use both. The purpose for answering is to hear why this caller is phoning your business and to determine how you can help them. Long greetings can sound clumsy and scripted and encroach on the space where your caller wants to speak. Be mindful of listening to the caller.

4. Be consistent. However your phone is answered, make that part of your branding and make sure it is the same every time. Ensure that all staff members are familiar with your desired answering style too.

5. Be alert and on point. Listen to what your caller has to say and give them your full attention. Repeat names, phone numbers and email spellings to ensure they’re correct and that you can make contact again.

6. Speak clearly. This is especially important if the line is bad and there is distortion. By speaking clearly you eradicate a lot of repetition and wasted time on the phone and avoid potentially frustrating your caller.

7. Answer within three rings. This is standard expectation in business and shows that you’re available and eager for more work.

8. Always have a back-up plan. When you’re not able to answer within three rings it is important to have an alternative solution to answer your calls. Meetings, appointments, family time or even calls in the middle of the night require an effective solution to capture all your potential customers.

Your voicemail should be professional! (i.e. not a recording of your favourite music track or even the standard mobile greeting that’s supplied as standard by your provider) Your callers need to know they’ve reached the right person or company and have confidence that their message has been received.

Record a clear greeting yourself or ask OfficeHQ to arrange a voicemail account for you. Even better, why not get yourself a virtual receptionist to answer the phone when you can’t? OfficeHQ offer live receptionist cover 24×7 every day (and night!) of the year.

9. Return calls when you say you’re going to. If you say you’re going to call back, then do it. Even if you don’t have the right information yet – just phone your client to say you don’t have an answer yet. This shows them that they’re valued, important and that you’re thinking about them. Remember too that some of your callers who haven’t embraced mobile technology may wait at home for your call. Keep that old fashioned etiquette alive.

10. Enjoy speaking on the phone! We are blessed with a plethora of means of effective communication, which as well as giving us a 24×7 international audience and keeping us all busy around the clock, it also means we can always be in contact with one another.

If any of your business clients contact you via telephone, then enjoy it. These are the people who will keep you in business and tell their friends about you and there is no better marketing tool than happy customers!

Kate Thomson

OfficeHQ Pty Ltd

1300 ANSWER (1300 267 937)

www.officehq.com.au

 

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Up to 70% of first time callers to businesses hang up and call a competitor when they have a bad caller experience?

Research conducted by OfficeHQ on consumer attitudes to handling of their phone inquiries is conclusive: ineffective call handling will result in lost business.

According to the Australian Caller Index™ 2014, 94% of consumers say that effective call handling is critical in creating a positive first impression. That may not be a revelation to most people but the implications for business of all sizes when the first impression is a bad caller experience, should make owners and managers responsible for customer experience take notice.

Not surprisingly, the top two reasons new business inquirers are compelled to hang up and call a competitor company are:

  1. The call is answered by a person who lacks courtesy and professionalism, and
  2. The person answering the phone lacks knowledge and can’t answer the caller’s questions.

Not only is it highly likely they will hang up and call another business if their call is not handled well, 83% of Aussies will tell family and friends to avoid a business based on their experience.

Why is it that Australian business continues to underinvest in this critical aspect of the customer experience?

In the interests of managing costs, many businesses have turned to technology and/or off-shore call centres, but the research reveals that the greatest irritation for Aussies calling a business for the first time, is having their calls answered by technology or diverted to an overseas call centre. Australian callers prefer to speak to a person (92%) but even then, if their call is not handled effectively, 89% of those surveyed will disregard a business.

The research demonstrates that the personal touch matters most when contacting a business. Despite the multiple alternatives available to consumers today to contact businesses, almost two thirds of people will pick up the phone to make that first contact. They prefer a person to be at the other end of the phone line and they expect a professional answer by a courteous, knowledgeable person who can assist with their enquiries.

Bring back the Officer of First Impressions!

The first impression your callers have of your business is determined by the quality of the call handling experience. The receptionist (a.k.a. the Officer of First Impressions) could be the difference between a good and a bad first time caller experience.

The concept of bringing back the traditional phone answering and receptionist solutions may not be the best fit solution for the workplace of today and for the future. From sole operators to global enterprises, the traditional workplace is quickly evolving into collaborative workspaces, remote offices and off-site locations. The concept of a receptionist on-site working “core business hours” will unlikely be the best alternative to the dilemma of re-focusing attention on managing first contact, first impressions of your business.

Reception as a Service™ is the professional answer.

Otherwise known as the “virtual receptionist”, the combination of state of the art technology and highly trained, professional receptionists can deliver a premium reception service on behalf of your business.

This is achieved through the deployment of integrated telephony and CRM technologies that provide instantaneous availability of company information along with real-time information about employees availability and contact preferences for calls and messages utilised by professional receptionists answering your calls and providing your customers with an exceptional caller experience, especially first time callers where first impression matters.

The virtual receptionist doesn’t need to be employed by your business and they don’t need to be located at your premises and they can be one or many and still be highly knowledgeable and competent to professionally, courteously and effectively greet and assist your callers every time. Reception as a Service™ is a cost effective, modern alternative to the Officer of First Impressions. A virtual or cloud solution, these services are available on demand and can be activated based on business requirements from taking call overflow to 24×7 call answering.

About OfficeHQ

OfficeHQ provides specialised, professional, outsourced telephone answering services, including messaging and appointment scheduling – all built and delivered on a cloud-based platform serving over 25,000 global customers.

Founded in 2003 by David Atkinson, an IT entrepreneur with 30 years’ experience building software and telephony systems for large corporates, OfficeHQ is a fast growing, locally based, Australian private company with global operations in the US, Canada, UK and Japan.

We were the first virtual reception service provider to launch with an in-house developed, cloud communications platform, comprising of an integrated, real-time billing, voice and CRM system, with the ease of instant activation and pay-as-you-go subscriptions.

OfficeHQ embraces activity-based and flexible working; employing a fully-trained remote workforce, located in collaborative hubs around the world in Australia, the US the UK and Japan.

Angela Peverell

angela@officehq.com.au | 1300 ANSWER (1300 267 937)

Sales & Marketing Director, OfficeHQ Pty Ltd

Celebrating the very best of the best in the Australian Real Estate Industry – OfficeHQ proud sponsors of the Office Administrator and the Principal of the Year (Regional) Awards on Thursday, 17th July 2014.

Celebrating the very best of the best in the Australian Real Estate Industry – OfficeHQ proud sponsors of the Office Administrator and the Principal of the Year (Regional) Awards on Thursday, 17th July 2014..

Celebrating the very best of the best in the Australian Real Estate Industry – OfficeHQ proud sponsors of the Office Administrator and the Principal of the Year (Regional) Awards on Thursday, 17th July 2014.

It was a proud night for OfficeHQ as the Event Sponsors of the Office Administrator of the Year and the Principal of the Year (Regional) awards at the Real Estate Business (REB) Awards last week.

Hosted by REB at The Star, Sydney on Thursday night, 17th July 2014, it was a night of nights for the best in class Real Estate Agents and Support Personnel; celebrating the success that these individuals, offices and franchises are achieving in the highly competitive Real Estate industry.

We especially wish to congratulate the winners of the awards sponsored by OfficeHQ:

Emily Kuhn from Elders Real Estate, Toowoomba (Queensland) who was awarded the Office Administrator of the Year for being that person judged to have most effectively supported the business in which they work; and

Mark Kentwell, the Managing Director and Principal of PRDnationwide Newcastle & Lake Macquarie (NSW) who was judged to be the Principal of the Year in Regional Australia for building a business that is consistently generating outstanding sales with solid rent roll growth and which attracts and retains top talent matched with their winning culture.

Emily Kuhn - Elders Real Estate Toowoomba - REB Office Administrator of the Year 2014 with Angela Peverell - OfficeHQMark Kentwell - PRDnationwide Newcastle - REB Principal of the Year 2014 (Regional) with Angela Peverell V2 - OfficeHQ

The REB Awards are most prestigious and highly competitive with over 800 nominations for the 23 categories of national awards in 2014.

OfficeHQ has a long history with real estate businesses and provides virtual reception services for both metropolitan and regional real estate offices around the country. Our real estate clients attest to the comfort of knowing that when they are working on or in their businesses with their property owners, potential buyers and tenants, that their calls will be answered by a professional, friendly and highly efficient receptionist who will ensure that all the right information is passed on to the real estate agent so they never miss that critical call!

OfficeHQ is the professional answer for real estate businesses that want to be absolutely certain that their clients and potential clients will always be greeted by a professional, live receptionist.

Call 1300 764 570 to take advantage of our FREE TRIAL special offer for Real Estate businesses. 

 

Angela Peverell

Sales & Marketing Director, OfficeHQ Pty Ltd

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http://www.officehq.com.au

 

 

Inspiration and Innovation – people, behaviour and tenacity – Hargraves Blog

OfficeHQ hosted the second Hargraves Institute “Inspiration and Innovation” Women’s luncheon on 26th February 2014.

As well as an opportunity to meet other women within the Innovation and Leadership space, we were very fortunate to have Rene van der Loos from NRMA as the speaker on the day.

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Inspiration and Innovation – people, behaviour and tenacity – Hargraves Blog.