This isn’t our usual style of SEO or keyword research content, but we are seeing an impact across the industry from coronavirus. Having done our contingency planning I hope sharing our planning research as well as our knowledge and experience of working from home might be of benefit to affected members of our audience.
Thanks and wishing everyone the best,
Coronavirus seems to be the main talking point everywhere and here at Wordtracker it's also been the subject of a lot of conversation. It's not just us either. There is also wider impact across the Search Industry and SEO.
Here's the general impact we're seeing:
Large gatherings in many countries have already been banned. We're seeing increasing travel restrictions as well which means search conferences are currently being delayed. Search Engine Journal has a write up on the different conferences that have currently been affected:
That list is likely to expand and we are currently not planning on attending any conferences this summer.
Google and SEO
Google have taken a few steps to create new features and unique search behaviours for coronovirus. Based on how they have previously dealt with global events we are expecting more of these types of features, such as their special NHS knowledge panels for UK users:
Depending on your business how these will affect you will vary. We're going to be keeping a close eye on any changes such as these so we can keep our audience informed.
There is also dedicated Google Business information on CORVID-19 (coronavirus) here:
We already have plans in place surrounding our critical infrastructure so we know what we'll do in the case of problems with specific services. However that won't help if everyone is off sick! So one of our most pro-active measures is to switch to working from home and hosting all meetings online.
We're well equipped to do this and already have many of the tools in place. So here's a run down of how we are managing working from home.
Working from home tools
Slack: A well known and widely used instant messaging tool we've been using since it launched. It’s helped us move away from endless emails and create a seamless in or out of office experience.
Whereby: This is a fantastic video conferencing service. You can have calls with up to 4 people for free and it takes just seconds to log in and set up. I personally highly recommend this service.
Trello: Trying to manage a team or project where everyone is offsite takes some extra effort. If you’re missing having a whiteboard to write team tasks and keep track of tickets on, then Trello is for you.
One of the most important parts of working from home is to keep your team connected and make sure you know what everyone is working on and how they are progressing. One of the ways we do this is by starting every day with a standup.
This is a call via Slack, with everyone taking part, in which we explain what we did day the day before, what we plan to do today, and if anything is preventing us from accomplishing our goal. Everyone knows they are accountable for their time, as well as being aware of what everyone else is doing.
This is taken directly from Agile and Scrum methodology and even if you don’t follow the rest of the system I strongly recommend adopting the daily standup for working from home.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how to structure your standup scrum style:
Here are my top tips for a successful work-from-home daily standup:
- Keep it short and simple. You want each point to be no more than a minute or two.
- Don’t let it go off track. Make sure if team members need to talk in more detail they are nudged into holding a separate call afterwards.
- If you have a way of tracking or visualising work make sure all team members have it loaded onto their screen beforehand so you can all see it.
- We hold our standup a little after our day has started so immediate issues will have already arison. Overwise, if you hold it first thing it will be made totally irrelevant when someone opens their email or checks a status and sees an immediate issue.
If you’ve never been part of an offsite team before, making sure everyone is keeping on task might seem like a daunting proposition. With the right combination of tools you’ll find it’s actually a breeze! You need to make sure that however you choose to track work - for instance you might want to use Trello to track blocks of work - it’s easy for people to use and access.
The best systems are the easy-to-use ones. It doesn’t matter how fancy the graphs look or how many management options there are, if it’s time consuming or a pain for end users then it’s just not going to work.
Kanban boards are fantastic for this and can be easily adapted to different industries and types of work. It’s a simple way of plotting the progress of a piece of work from inception to completion.
Luckily Trello have you covered with their kanban article and awesome template:
Morale and productivity
Most people love working from home - we do here for sure! However after the initial novelty wears off how do you and your team avoid falling into the working-in-your-pyjamas trap, with productivity taking a slide?
There are a several really useful things you can do to keep yourself productive:
- Set up a work station so you have a dedicated place to work. You don’t have to have a spare room to work from, just a dedicated desk in the corner of your lounge or other area. Always work from that space and don’t use it otherwise. It’s now ‘the office’.
- Make sure you're up, showered, dressed and raring to go before you need to start. Snoozing the alarm until 10 mins before you're meant to start work is a sure-fire way to make sure your productivity for the day takes a dive.
- Have a proper break. Make sure you get away from your ‘office’ for at least a proper lunch break.
- Keep in contact with your team, make sure you communicate what you are doing and how it affects others.
- Make sure you separate work time and home time, don't work into your evenings.
How are you affected, and are you making any contingency plans for your business? Do you think we’ve got it right or are you going to carry on as normal for the time being?
We'd love to know how you're all planning on approaching this for your business and what impact it may already have had for you.