The Retailer's Guide to WFH | Retail for the People
I don’t know about you, but I did not know what “WFH” meant until March 13, 2020. Crazy right? I thought it was something associated with “WTF” so I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was incorrect.
(For those of us still wondering, WFH mean “working from home.”)
Having spent the last 14 plus years working in retail stores, and my experience in corporate was working in New York but, again for retail brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Juicy Couture and we never used WFH phrase (at least that I know of.)
This idea of WFH is an especially unusual and hard one for those of us who love retail. We love retail because we love the community. We love people. We love creating a human experience. We love being there in the store when we get to delight a customer with the merchandise we’ve so carefully selected and merchandised late into the night. We love being apart of our customer’s daily lives and we love being a place where people can come, feel safe, learn something new and find a treasure to take home.
Retail is a human experience and our stores are essentially our living rooms, so now that we can’t spend time in our own living rooms (aka our stores) we feel so disconnected and cut off from the world.
I hope this time of social distancing and quarantine ends soon, but until it does, I have some ideas for how those of us used to working retail can effectively embrace and thrive during this season of WFH.
1. Set a workday schedule.
Our stores have open and closed hours, and so we should too! Get into the habit of giving yourself time off at night, since we can actually have all day to work during the day. Imagine that, none of the usual interruptions! Pick three things you want to accomplish during this time to improve your business and get to work on that during the day! This time at home can be a gift!
2. Keep to your work uniform.
What I mean is, as retailers, we are creative fashion people. We love our clothes. We love to look good, so even though we aren’t out, keep you style up if that brings you joy. If you love the morning routine of selecting an amazing outfit, don’t stop! This will help keep some normalcy in your life.
3. Eat breakfast!
I have yet to met a retailer who does this consistently, so now is the time to start and to focus on your own well-being. We don’t have to rush to our shops early to receive a shipment or open for a customer so take care of yourself and start the day off well by eating a good breakfast.
4. Set communication times with your team.
We like 10AM phone call check in’s and 4PM Zoom meeting check in’s but what’s important is daily contact and communications so that you and your team don’t feel like distant relatives who don’t know each other when we get back to business as normal.
5. Take a walk.
This is good for your mind, body and soul. Also, we are used to being on our feet all day long working in our stores that it’s necessary we move a little bit so we don’t get shin splints when we get back to our shops.
6. Wear lipstick and perfume or cologne.
This is the key ingredient (for me at least) to a happy and confident mood. Try it. It makes a difference when you look and feel good, even if you are not leaving your house!
7. Keep a gratitude list.
My fiancé suggested I start this when I was feeling really discouraged by all that has happened over the last few weeks and I promise it helps! The first few times it’s an act against the will to even admit and acknowledge what it is I am grateful for, but once I started it has been the biggest help in turning my mindset into one that is empowered and thankful in the midst of all the struggles.
8. Keep a journal.
This season is one that is likely the hardest of our lifetime, and one that will make or break us. This is the time we get to choose to live by fear or to choose to rise above that fear. Journaling will help you organize your thoughts and helps give perspective. Also, serves as a reminder for just how resilient you are! You will get through this!
9. Don’t check your bank account each day.
This isn’t healthy. Rather, figure out your cash flow through June 30th, see what you can cut back on, or payments you can delay, what payments will be due, what interest you can lower, apply for funding through the SBA and government. Money is the biggest cause of stress for retailers and right now that our sales are down and we are closed, please don’t let the negative push you into a disempowered state. Use this time to see how you can reach your customers in new ways and find new ways to offer value to them. Checking your account will not help you find new ways to serve them.
10. Reach out over the phone to your best customers.
Pick 5 a day and call them to see how they are doing. The point isn’t to sell, its to keep the relationship going with them. Also, this will help you feel more connected since as retailers we love our customers and what better way then to start with the customers that “keep your lights on”?
11. Make a designated workspace.
We are not used to having working hours at home, I know, this is weird, but please don’t be tempted to work from your bed. Right now, when we are not able to leave our homes, it’s necessary to have separate zones to create some structure and mental space in our unstructured days. So make your bed a sanctuary space, and your workspace anyplace else in your home so that you can mentally separate work time from rest time!
12. Take the weekend off!
As retailers, we work every weekend and holiday and this is the time if there ever was one to give yourself permission to be like the rest of the world and have a time of REST!
I would love to hear what you have done during this new normal! Tell me about your WFH routines! Email me at email@example.com
As always, stay curious and in search of what is good, even during these dark times.