Work 11 min read

Liam Martin on How Businesses and Employees Can Adapt During Covid-19

by Irina Yugay June 11, 2020
Liam Martin, a Cofounder of timedoctor.com and staff.com, shares some nuggets on quick actions businesses can take to come out from the current global situation unscathed.

Remote work is on the rise and becoming more and more common. And nowadays, it’s no longer a trend.

If you ever tried remote working, most probably you don’t want to work from the office again.

The Buffer in their annual The State Of Remote Work report asked 2500 remote workers, and 99% said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. 

These results indicate that remote working is here to stay. 

In today’s global pandemic situation companies are forced to embrace remote work.

So what does that mean for both companies and employees?

Is this good or is this bad

Liam Martin believes that this is going to improve people’s lives. There is going to be a huge shift after the pandemic is over.

The companies will recognize that they don’t need to keep office leases and fully transition to a remote work model.

If you still question it, Gallup analytics has the data you need. 

This research clearly shows that remote work improves business outcomes and attracts best talents.

In this article, Liam explains why it’s a fantastic opportunity for the people as individuals, small businesses and companies to embrace remote working and level up their overall quality of life.

Liam shares his professional wisdom on how to work from home effectively and avoid common pitfalls as a company owner. 

Here Are Three Immediate Steps Companies Can Take to Grasp Remote Work

The biggest barriers that people have towards remote work is communication and process documentation.

But before you take any action, stop and assess your current situation by asking yourself:

What do I need to do today?

What do I need to do next week, and then next month?

It’s very crucial to get real with where you currently stand to mitigate all costs.

Step 1: What Do I Need to Do Today? 

You need to assess where you can start to do cuts: can you negotiate with the lease agreements that you currently have now? 

Some of those lease agreements are on renewal in the next two to three months. Take a look at that. 

Look at your contracts, get your lawyers involved.

If you need to cut people, you need to do it right now. 

Make sure that they’ve got the employment insurance programs that you can hopefully get to them right now, and you have to expect this to probably run for six months.

“Think of a six month kind of winter. Winter is coming. As the game of Thrones tells us it’s here right now.”

That’s day one.

Step 2: What Do I Need to Do Next Week?

The next crucial step is to focus on communication. For that, you need to deploy tools such as zoom, Slack, other apps for processes, and documentation.

Also, take a look at training. 

In a remote working environment, there is no such thing as “Can I have a minute?”

Be very specific and schedule every single communication – set up google calendar invites, zoom calls.

When planning your communication, Liam refers to the hierarchy of communication.

He explains:

Communication in person beats video, video beats audio, audio beats Instant messaging, instant messaging beats email.

As you move up the chain, you become more synchronized with your team.

Step 3: What Do I Need to Do Next Month?

Then next month is all about mental health.

After a month when most people are forced to work from home – that’s when it’s crucial to do check-ins and see where their heads are at.

If they help them get something they need, it will reduce their anxiety by 10-20%, Liam says.

That’s what our job is all about as business owners and leaders – to make sure that everyone works efficiently.

Liam Martin

Expect that 20% of your employees can be sick for weeks so you need to be able to deploy mitigation strategies.

Some of those people may have, as Liam calls it, sacred knowledge.

It’s the knowledge that is absolutely critical for the business that only one person knows.

For instance, there is only one person who can do payroll for everybody, and then all of a sudden this person gets sick and can’t do payroll.

So you need to do an audit like that to know exactly what everyone is doing and remove that sacred knowledge and set up a proper work process documentation.

Needless to say, as much as it’s so important as an employee to think about the survival of the company, it’s equally important in these times for us as individuals to support each other beyond the company that we work with.

One of the greatest things we can do is supporting ourselves mentally, both professionally, and personally.

2 Steps You Can Take as an Employee to Raise Your Productivity

Here are some personal recommendations from Liam for you to be as efficient and productive as possible as you work remotely.

1. Have Your Own space

It’s very crucial to have your private space where you can work without being disturbed.  If you can’t have an entire room for yourself where you can close the door, get a spot inside of your living room. It can be a desk or even a sofa.

Liam suggests a very helpful tip on how to stay in the working mode and switch to a social mode effortlessly:

“When I was working remotely, I had a certain spot on my couch and I mentally locked myself into only working in that spot. So if I got a social call, I would get out of that spot.

And that’s a really good way to pull your mind out from “I’m going into work mode to social mode”.

When it comes to other people who live with you under one roof, you need to be able to mentally disconnect from those as they’re not work-related. 

So drawing those boundaries is absolutely critical. 

It is this dedicated desk. I’m learning on what does it mean to set boundaries, and I’m also testing like, okay, if I’m in the living room and my intruding on the boundaries of other people’s living space in their lives, and so I’m trying to see what if I move it to a different bedroom that’s not mine.

2. Take Care of Your Mental Health

The other thing that’s important when it comes to working remotely, is taking your mental health as your number one priority.

“Depression sneaks up on you. It is a very slow process. That takes weeks to months, and you’re usually not aware of it until it’s too late.”

When most gyms are closed right now, you can’t get access to that type of physical activity, and it might have a toll on you mentally.

You need to be able to measure that and recognize where those changes occur so that you can be a lot more mentally stable. Because it will sneak up on you.

At the end of the day, in the current situation with an escalating panic and anxiety, it’s an easy thing to fall into depression.

Liam uses the five-minute journal.

So inside of this journal you can score your states by asking: “How well do I feel today on a score of five or 10?”

This is a really good way to measure where you’re going.

Like most gyms are closed right now in North America. You won’t be able to get access to that type of physical activity. It’s going to have a toll on you mentally, but you need to be able to measure that and recognize where those changes occur so that you can be a lot more mentally stable. Because it will sneak up on you.

You can definitely start doing workouts at home to maintain and support your mental health. After all, you will turn it into another great habit that will not depend on external factors. 

To summarize the conversation with the extraordinary Liam Martin, it’s so important to be more efficient and effective not just because you have to work remotely.

It’s crucial for a company that’s going to scale.

It’s crucial for you as an individual to be fully equipped to work from home when you choose to.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to go through this experience and learn something new that will improve our lives and make us better off on multiple levels.  

What are your personal tips on how to work from home effectively? Share in comments.

(This article was based on a Superhuman At Work podcast with Liam Martin, written and edited by Irina Yugay.)

by Irina Yugay
Even as a young adult, Irina understood the power of words and how they could affect change. After completing her degree with a major in International Journalism, she helped expose the political fraud happening in Kyrgyzstan during their national parliament elections. Today, Irina specializes as a transformation and self-development writer at Mindvalley, believing that words are the best tools to communicate our most inspiring ideas, transcendental feelings, and omniversal values.

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