Podast 6: Simple Ways to Work RemotelyMar 24, 2020
Working remotely is something I’ve done a lot since moving to Wales nearly 5 years ago. My main work as a practitioner is in London and I support my clients from home. This article looks at the simplest ways to set yourself up to work remotely.
There is a lot you can do remotely, start with where you are and what you have. You can build on your services as your confidence builds.
Providing services online has many benefits outside of our current climate. It is more flexible and time-effective for you. You also don’t have the additional costs of hiring rooms and travel. It is also good for clients who may have trouble getting to you.
For now, it is the only option if we want to continue supporting our clients.
Before you do anything, make sure your insurance covers you for remote working. You also need to make sure your professional body supports your methods of delivery. It’s your responsibility to ensure the technologies you choose to meet or exceed privacy requirements for your practice.
Create a system
As you start to work remotely, create a system so you have a format to follow. This will help you keep track of everything and make sure you don’t miss anything out. It’s especially important if you are getting your head around any new technology. A simple checklist will help you to remember what to do instead of having to keep working it out.
Brief your clients
Your clients need to know what to do and what to expect from your sessions. By providing this information ahead of appointments, you will limit issues in the future.
Practice management systems
There are many practice management systems available, but they can be pricey. They are also designed specifically for a particular discipline so may not cover everything you need.
They are a good way of getting up and running quickly, especially if you have limited skills with technology. Depending on the system, they will provide a hub to book appointments, take payments, deliver sessions, keep client notes etc. If this idea appeals, do your research and check with your professional body and peers for recommendations.
I’m assuming you’re more likely to be creating your own system to work remotely. Here are the things you need to consider:
You can still use a manual diary but that can be labour intensive. If you’re looking to provide online services, consider online scheduling software. It will save wasted time going backwards and forwards and depending on whether you have a free or paid version, will send reminders, book different types of appointments and take payment for you.
Two of the common ones used by online marketers are Calendly and Acuity Scheduling.
It’s important to make sure you get paid for the work you do and make this as easy as possible for your clients. Here are some of the ways you can arrange this:
- Bank transfer by providing your bank account and sort code details on an invoice
- Payment by card over the phone if you have a payment terminal
- Use your booking system (as described in the previous section) to take payment
- PayPal – you can use this to also take payments via your website and other platforms such as Eventbrite. You can also set up a PayPalme link to send to people with the amount requested to make it easy for people to pay.
- Have a shop on your website for people to pay through using a service like Stripe. This is a popular service with online marketers for its simplicity and the fees are lower than PayPal.
Helping your clients over the phone is still an option in today’s online world. Coaching calls work really well, and everyone knows how to use a telephone. This could be the most accessible option for some of your clients if they (or you) struggle with technology.
There are limits to using the phone as you will miss out on being able to see someone and pick up on the non-verbal communication.
These are a great option for working remotely, but you do need to be careful in the platform you pick. Some such as Skype and Facetime are not GDPR compliant whereas Zoom is.
Being able to talk to someone on video is the best next thing to being in the room with them. All sorts of different practitioners have been finding ways to deliver their services this way e.g. Pilates teachers providing online sessions.
There are requirements for you and your clients for working online:
- You’re both happy and confident to work online – it’s not for everyone.
- High speed, reliable internet connection. Where possible hardwire to your router rather than using WiFi as it is one less thing to go wrong.
- Suitable environments to work in – they must be private with no interruptions.
- Have a decent camera, microphone and speakers (you can use a headset) so you can hear and see each other clearly.
Whilst the technology available is relatively simple, it can be glitchy at times. It is a good idea to test the system out with your clients prior to the session to make sure it works for both of you.
Provision of information and products
Whilst it is easy to share documents such as treatment plans via email. If you provide anything such as supplements or medicines, you need to consider how you will do this and the costs and time associated with it.
However, if you decide to move ahead working remotely, make sure you practice the systems first before rolling them out to your clients. You need to know how everything works and links together. The last thing you want to do is be learning on the job.
Finding a way to work remotely is an essential way to maintain helping your clients at the moment. For the future, it can provide you with a new dimension to your business and other sources of income for your practice.
If you’re struggling to work out how to work remotely, book a discovery call and find out how I can help you.
Podcast 6 show notes:
- The future opportunity of remote working (1:27)
- Insurance, professional bodies and our responsibilities for working remotely (2:02)
- Create a system (2:32)
- Brief your clients (3:09)
- Practice management systems (3:40)
- DIY systems (4:45)
- Booking appointments (5:00)
- Getting paid (5:58)
- Phone calls (4:47)
- Video calls (8:25)
- Requirements for working online (9:31)
- Provision of information and products (11:17)
- Practice (12:00)
Blog and podcast: Holistic business survival guide