It was February 2020 when I made the leap to a Customer Success Manager role in a tech start up. I’d been searching for a few months for a role and was excited to start. Little did I know that a couple months later, COVID-19 would be rearing its ugly head, confining millions of Australians to their homes in an effort to minimize transmission. The work from home experiment had started.
Fast forward to today, work from home is far from an experiment. In fact, it’s now considered a must-have for many workers in the tech space. Many traditional companies who had begrudgingly allowed their staff to work from home are now asking these same staff to come back into the office, knowing full well that it’s not just possible, but also beneficial for staff to at least have the flexibility to work some days at home.
It’s been a mixed bag for me. I liked seeing my colleagues and customers face to face. Indeed, I feel that there is value in human to human interactions that you can’t mimic through a Zoom meeting. Having said that, working from home meant that I was able to spend time closest to my young family. I saw my boy’s first steps and was able to help toilet train him. Timing wise, it was great in helping me balance family and work. And really, that’s what it’s all about.
If you’re coming from a job like hospitality, construction or another industry where WFH isn’t a norm, here are a few things to keep in mind to get you ready for your transition.
Get a good desk and chair
Later in 2020, a Business Development Manager joined the company I started at earlier in the year. It wasn’t until several months later that I met him in person (he was taller in person!). Anyway, on one of the calls, he asked if there were any good ergonomic chair and desk suppliers we knew. Our CEO quickly jumped in and said that he could help send the chairs that he’d bought earlier over to him, specifically to help alleviate bad posture.
The interesting experience from working from home for me is that most days, I still spent hunched over my computer if I didn’t have customer meetings. If anything, because there were no “water cooler” moments, I got up less. Having suitable furniture is important. Ask your company if this is something that they cover. At the very least, a pedestal for your laptop can help with hunching.
You’ll be doing a lot of talking on the phone and of course using the Internet if you’re a SaaS Customer Success Manager. It is entirely reasonable that the company covers these costs, as they are required for you to work.
If you’re going to be on the road quite a bit, travelling to see customers, it might even be worth seeing if you can expense AirPods or other wireless earbuds. At the very least, you have to keep your receipts so you can use them as tax offsets.
This last one that I’ll put down is not about equipment. It’s about managing your own and your company’s expectations. Good companies will happily give you the flexibility to work from home, but it should never be taken advantage of. SaaS companies are still businesses that need to run a profit to stay open.
Your manager isn’t stupid; they’ll know that you won’t be at your computer all the time. The good ones won’t expect that you are. However, they will expect you to get the work done at the end of the day as if you were in the office. That is, your output shouldn’t change irrespective of whether you’re in the office or working from home. Don’t be dumb like some people and buy something like a “mouse wiggler” that gives the appearance of being online.
Lastly, your own expectations. Work from home can be both a blessing and a curse. Blessings come in the form of flexibility and curses I’ve found come in the form of having less work life balance if you have poor self control. I mean, the computer is right there so it can be hard to switch off at the end of the day. I know that I’ve been guilty of checking emails and Slack on my phone after hours. If you’re a workaholic, be disciplined enough to switch off your computer and devices so you can adequately refresh and recharge before the next day of work starts.
So there you have it, working from home as a customer success manager tips of the trade. Are there any that I’ve missed? Or do you have any stories you want to run past me? Let me know in the comments belowww…