As Salesforce Admins and Developers, we like to think of ourselves as the ultimate problem solvers — spending our days tackling problems too complex for the average Salesforce user and being the hero for our organization.
But now, like everyone else, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. The adjustment to working remotely can be difficult. Even if you’re organized, focused, and motivated, there are distractions and other challenges that can get in the way of productivity. That’s something we can’t afford when we have a team of users counting on us.
So in the true Trailblazer spirit, here are some tips for Admins and Developers to enable their users, maintain business continuity, and stay productive during this time.
Be (extra) accessible to your users
When you’re in the office, it’s easy to convey when you’re available and when you’re not. If you have your headphones in or are busily typing away on your laptop, it signals that it’s not the best time to talk. But when you’re working remotely, it’s not always as straightforward. So it’s important to be clear about what communication channels you prefer (Slack, Chatter, email, etcetera) for which type of questions. You could also consider holding virtual office hours during which you block out an hour or two a day for users to ask you questions or share ideas.
Another thing to pay special attention to now is how you support users who are new to your organization — or new to Salesforce altogether. Since they meet with you in person, go out of your way to introduce yourself. Send a “getting started” email, and help them in areas where they may be struggling.
For more on this topic, I recommend checking out this blog post, which includes helpful communication tips and other suggestions for working from home.
Clean up your org
As companies all over are dealing with unprecedented challenges right now, many are seeing their business slow down or initiatives being placed on hold. If you are an Admin or Developer at one of these companies, you may have more time on your hands than you are used to.
One way I’ve used some of my extra time is to clean up my Salesforce org. This is something Admins and Developers typically don’t get a chance to do very often but can make your job a lot easier in the long run. Try tackling these tasks:
- Review empty fields. Unused or unassigned roles, profiles, record types, fields, objects, and apps can make the simplest of Salesforce configuration requests overly complicated.
- Review automations. Maybe you started your Salesforce journey with workflows and now you are creating Flows. Take a look at your work in the early days, and see if you can now streamline your automations. Having too many processes, workflow rules, and flows, on one object can really slow performance down.
- Remove reports no longer being used. From the “All Reports” view, add the column titled “Report Last Run Date.” Search for the oldest and clean out any reports no longer needed.
- Clean up list views. You will need help from the business, but look at your most used objects in Salesforce and review the list views you have set up. Cleaning up unused list views, makes it easier for your users to navigate to what they really need quickly.
Identifying and removing this data can make your org run a lot smoother, and make it easier for your users to do their jobs. Think of it as spring cleaning for your org.
However, before you do any of this, be sure to back everything up. You don’t want to delete data that might be needed in the future for business or compliance reasons.
If you find you are storing a lot of data in Salesforce that’s not needed for day-to-day operations, you could also consider archiving that data. That way, instead of permanently deleting it, you simply relocate it and free up space in your org.
Grow your skills
Let’s say you do a great job keeping the lines of communication open with your users. And you just did a deep clean of your Salesforce org. But you still have an extra hour in the work day, given that your daily commute has gone from a one-hour drive to a five-second walk.
For me, this time has been a great opportunity for professional development. Trailhead, Salesforce’s online learning experience platform, is an incredible resource for Admins and users to grow within the ecosystem. Why not get a new certification, or brush up on a new skill? If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest joining the Certification Days community group which has some great certification resources and tips.
There’s also a helpful Trailhead module titled “Cybersecurity Threat Prevention and Response” that contains information on how to build a disaster recovery plan along with other trails related to the current situation.
Keep the Trailblazer community thriving
One of the things I like most about being a Salesforce Admin is being a part of the amazing Trailblazer community. It’s one of the most fun, helpful, supportive groups out there, and right now, we need to support each other more than ever. Here are some of my favorite ways to stay in touch with the community:
- Join a local community group. Find yours here
- Create your own virtual happy hour
- Remote volunteer with PepUp Tech
- Answer questions in the Trailblazer Community
- Participate in the IdeaExchange
- Network on Twitter
- Talk on Zoom Happy Hours
- Attend virtual events, such as TrailheaDX
Refine your data protection strategy
For many Admin and Developer teams, the current situation is shining a spotlight on their business continuity plans and the security of their data. According to one study, 86% of business executives agreed data breaches are more likely to occur when employees are working out of office. Having a plan in place to minimize the impact of data loss is essential. I encourage you to take a moment and review how a comprehensive data protection strategy fits into your broader business continuity strategy. If you already have a strategy, can it be optimized?
Like with all modern SaaS platforms, Salesforce customers are responsible for preventing user-inflicted data and metadata loss and for having a plan in place to recover if it happens. That’s why Salesforce recommends using a partner backup solution from the AppExchange. Salesforce emphasized this recommendation further when they recently announced that they are retiring their data recovery service on July 31, 2020.
Stay productive while maintaining business continuity
Working from home exclusively brings its own challenges, but Admins and Developers can still be the heroes of their organizations. Whether it’s advancing skills, getting to the projects you’ve always meant to do, or proactively making improvements that benefit your users, there’s a lot you can do to take advantage of a new situation.
Finally, but most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself and do something you enjoy at least a few times each week. Staying healthy both physically and mentally will motivate you to stay even more productive and help your users.
Photo by manny PANTOJA