One of the biggest challenges that
distributed teams and isolated pricing professionals face during a crisis like COVID-19 is staying healthy, engaged, and productive. 

If you now find yourself setting prices from home or managing others in a remote work environment for the first time, it can help to remember that in a vibrant, data-driven profession like pricing, nothing ever stays the same for very long.

So whether you operate as a one-person pricing tribe, or you’re part of an established pricing team, consider this your opportunity to master a new price from home strategy and discover some of the remote working tools that will keep you productive.

Pricing from home: the new reality?

It’s true that the coronavirus has played an enormous role in ushering in a new business reality where more people are pricing from home. But as the data shows, it’s a trend that’s been long in the making. Regular work-at-home activities had already grown by 173% since 2005 and new estimates suggest 25-30% of the workforce will work at home one or more days a week within the next two years.

Still, without any real chance to prepare, many pricing professionals have now been forced onto a steep learning curve that has them re-evaluating their pricing & profit goals and introducing new tools and techniques into their pricing workflow.

If you’re looking to make the most of new pricing from home opportunities, remember that solid remote-work advice and access to proven communication, time management, and PO&M tools are key.

How to stay productive while you price from home

The first question many new remote workers ask is: how can I be productive pricing from home when I’m used to spending time in the office?

For pricers accustomed to working and socializing with team members and easily discuss strategies with contacts in sales and finance in person, switching to a home-based environment can be especially trying.

Here are two tips to help ease the transition.

1. Reset your expectations

Before you do anything else, accept that you’ll need to adjust your expectations and be patient with yourself as you switch to a home office.

The good news is that you can bounce back stronger than ever by making an effort to:

  • – Keep in touch with colleagues and clients
  • – Stay open to new ways of pricing, working, and thinking
  • – Set up a dedicated workspace and daily routine
  • – Prioritize focused activity and a positive mindset

There are plenty of techniques online for maintaining and encouraging productivity while working remotely. Now’s the time to take advantage of that expert advice.

2. Make use of new tools

Adopting flexible pricing tools, dynamic processes, and infrastructure will ensure you and your team stay as productive as possible while migrating to pricing remotely.

Pricing efficiency is especially key in difficult times. So, make a push to automate individual and team pricing workflows wherever possible.

PO&M tools can, and should, play an integral role in:

  • – Eliminating busywork while you adjust to your new work environment
  • – Reducing manual pricing tasks to free up valuable time for larger pricing strategy discussions
  • – Streamlining every stage of new and existing pricing processes

If you haven’t already, consider adopting powerful apps like PriceEdge to manage your price processes going forward.

Focus on staying positive

Even if you aren’t someone who typically struggles to stay optimistic, pricing remotely or in isolation may challenge your ability to keep your mental state in check.

Remember that staying positive is largely about recognizing and indulging our very human nature.

  • – We are creatures of habit
  • – We are social
  • – We require self-care to stay healthy

According to the American Psychological Association, the key to staying positive through tough times lies in building up your resilience by focusing on circumstances over which you have some control and maintaining active relationships.

Here are a few techniques you can use.

Set a schedule

As habit-loving humans, routine helps us feel in charge both physically and mentally as we prepare for the day ahead. Try to get up and get ready to price from home the same way you would if you were heading to the office, or meeting with a client.

Exercise, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then get to your designated workspace on time.

By setting distinct work hours, and checking in regularly with colleagues and your pricing manager or director, your brain will find it easier to buy into the idea that everything’s business as usual.

Stay connected

One of the worst things you can do while adapting to your new remote work reality is denying yourself time to socialize.

Studies in neuroscience suggest that feelings of loneliness not only heighten health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day but can be as harmful to our physical and mental health as obesity.

There are many ways you can stay socially connected while you set prices, including:

  • – Calling and texting a designated work buddy daily
  • – Scheduling virtual “water cooler” breaks with friends and colleagues
  • – Setting up a dedicated social network channel where you and coworkers can share your successes and challenges

Try to choose video-driven communications over text, email, or keyboard-driven social media conversations as much as time will allow.

Practice self-care

Making time to take care of yourself, along with family and friends, won’t just help you manage stress better, it’s vital for maintaining a positive outlook.

Your self-care plan doesn’t need to be elaborate.

Moving regularly, eating a variety of healthful foods, staying hydrated, and getting sufficient sleep will all bolster your sense of wellbeing. So, make it a point to insert self-care breaks between your daily work tasks.

The importance of keeping in touch

With all the digital communication channels at your disposal, staying connected to colleagues shouldn’t feel all that different while you price from home than it did when you all shared an office.

Just don’t let an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality prevent you from keeping in touch.

As a pricing manager, you’ll want to prioritize keeping your team safe, informed, motivated, and connected so you can keep the work community going.

Your communications strategy should include:

  • – Establishing and getting team feedback on flex hours and WFH policies
  • – Clarifying that the pricing department may be “off” for a while and assuring your team it’s okay if they are
  • – Providing support to your pricing team on both a professional and personal level

Platforms like Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts aren’t just useful for day-to-day interactions. Encourage your pricing team to put them to good use connecting and decompressing with the help of virtual coffee breaks, happy hours, and online tournaments.

You might also consider tapping into pricing community forums outside your immediate circle. Sharing and learning from likeminded, home-based pricing professionals will keep you up to date and on top of your game.

Tips for building a pricing-friendly home office

Because pricing involves a lot of sitting and a lot of interacting electronically, it’s important to set up your home office to be both comfortable and modern.

Making the most of things will probably include battling to keep a solid line between work time and personal time. So, your first goal should be to build a dedicated workspace.

Maintaining a separate work area will:

  • – Mitigate home chore distractions
  • – Make it easier to transition in and out of work mode
  • – Help you establish boundaries to keep family members from disrupting your workflow

If you share a living space with someone else who’s working at home, be sure to discuss your mutual needs in advance—especially if you have pets or children home from school.

Some compromise will likely be necessary. But agreeing on “do-not-disturb” hours, and signals for “I’m-on-a-call”, is a good place to start.

Customize your physical space

If at all possible, set yourself up with a proper work desk rather than trying to price from your sofa, kitchen counter, or dining room table.

Not only will a more traditional workstation firm up the division between office and home, opting for a sit-to-stand desk will prevent you from spending too many hours in one position.

Other physical attributes you should take into account while setting up your home office include making sure you have a supportive chair and proper lighting.

A well-lit room, preferably one with lots of natural light, will:

  • – Help keep you awake in your new, quieter work environment
  • – Improve the quality of your video calls
  • – Promote better mood balance throughout the day

If windows are limited, you may want to buy a few natural-light lamps for your workspace.

Invest in new equipment

Global crises aside, the growing trend toward working and communicating on-the-go makes it well worth investing in tools that will boost your ability to price from home.

For example, you might consider:

  • – A larger or second computer monitor
  • – A solid-state drive laptop with a long-lasting battery that can stand up to being moved from space to space
  • – A microphone headset for your smartphone
  • – A set of noise-canceling headphones

Take regular breaks

It can be hard to remember to get up and move around when you’re focused on one work device or another. So, have those devices pull double duty by setting a series of daily alarms on your phone or laptop to remind you when it’s time to clear your head.

If you live alone or in a smaller space, meanwhile, migrating from room to room as you talk on the phone—or moving your chair and laptop from one designated work surface to another—will help keep your brain and your body engaged and refreshed.

Respect your own limits

You may have to fight the temptation to let pricing activities chew into your personal time. Just remember that work stress and burnout are often insidious and don’t always make their presence known until after the damage is done.

Know, respect, and share your limits by setting and sticking to established work hours as much as you can.

Just don’t let your organized approach to work lure you into doing more than you should or filling unexpected free time with extra duties. Set up your pricing agenda, make time at the end of each workday to create the next day’s to-do list, then shut down your office on time.