How Salesforce Admins Can Empower Their Users While Working from Home


How are you doing? I’ll be honest — even for someone who worked from home for more than seven years, this last week has felt like a bit of an adjustment. But it’s okay. If there’s one thing I know we do well, it’s adjusting. I believe it’s also important to know that you are not the only one adjusting. Your users, stakeholders, and management are adjusting too. I find it empowering to focus on what we do well as Salesforce Admins: helping others.

While I’m sure your social feeds are filled with articles to help you work from home, I want to give you some suggestions that you can start doing this week to help your company continue to operate and your users be productive.

Before I begin, please be proactive and check in with your stakeholders and management before implementing any of these suggestions. They are likely working through new decisions, but many of these tips can be welcome solutions in a day of constant problem-solving.

Be intentional with your communication ?

A quick wave. A swivel of your chair. A walk to the kitchen. Being in an office comes with a lot of visual cues that are helpful when you’re trying to get someone’s attention for a moment without totally distracting them. Remote work requires more intentionality. Have a conversation with your team about the best ways to reach out to each other through your chat channels.

Think of how you can ‘virtually’ tap on someone’s shoulder to get their attention before engaging in a conversation. One technique I used at a previous company was to “hail” someone via chat. To do that, I simply put three dots in a chat, like so: “…”. Doing this let the other person know I needed to talk to them. If they were busy, they could respond with, “On the phone”, and I knew to come back later. Or, they’d reply, “Hello”, at which point I could go about asking them what I needed to. What can be frustrating, at first, is to just send someone a paragraph of text in a chat. That’s akin to walking up to someone and, absent of anything, rambling about everything you want to say.

Last year on the podcast, I spoke with Skye Tyler about being a remote Salesforce Admin, and she had some amazing guidance. To gain more insight into this topic, I recommend listening to the podcast here.

Be accessible to your users ?

Working from home requires intentionality — and that begins with communication. As an Admin, now is the time to be hyper-communicative with your users. Just like you, they are adjusting. They will likely have more questions, whether about processes you’ve put in place, using Salesforce more efficiently, new user requests, or stricter security protocols. So it’s important that you are as accessible as possible. Think about setting up office hours for a certain time of day when anyone can join a virtual call and chat with you. And always turn on your webcam when meeting with team members. It’s okay if your loved ones, family, or pets show up on camera. It’s a welcome interruption. If it happens, take a moment to say, “Hi”, and meet them, because they are important to the person you’re talking with.

Create spaces for collaboration ?

Going from an office to a work from home scenario, one thing your users will miss is the occasional coffee chat. On the podcast, Skye asked us to think about the kinds of interactions you would normally have standing at the coffee pot and how we can make them virtual. The idea is to get everyone talking again! Think about Chatter groups you can set up around topics that your users will want to have conversations about, and give them a group to have those conversations in. By creating these spaces, you are giving everyone an outlet to connect and share.

Some suggestions for Chatter groups include:

  • Creative cooking recipes
  • TV shows you’re watching
  • Free workouts

In addition to Chatter groups that give everyone the ability to connect, let’s make sure that everyone has an outlet for questions about Salesforce. No doubt, in your office environment, a lot of your users would just ‘pop by’ your desk to ask you something quick. Let’s give them a space to do that and empower other users to answer their questions. I suggest setting up a “Salesforce Support Group” where your users can ask a question before they log a ticket (I’ll get to tickets in a moment.). A group where everyone can ask questions empowers everyone to help — it doesn’t have to be just you answering the questions.

One thing that can happen is many users have the same question, so you see similar posts with basically the same question. It can be daunting to have to reply to each one with the same answer. Be sure to utilize the broadcast feature and pin post on Chatter to curb duplicate questions.

Build a ticketing system ?

If you didn’t have a way to capture user requests before, now is the time to get one in place! And, no, your inbox is not an adequate management system. There’s a great Trailhead project on how to Build a Suggestion Box App. I’ve completed it myself, and it’s very similar to the one I built as an admin for my users. This system will help you not only manage requests from your users but also report out on what you’re getting done, which is an excellent topic. Let’s dive into that in the next suggestion.

Manage up ⬆️

It’s important to think about how you and your users will help everyone report out on what is most important. In the spirit of being very intentional, it’s important to communicate with your leadership about what you have accomplished as well as the items on your to-do list. Most importantly, you should get a sense of priorities from them.

In addition, many of your users may have new reporting needs. Now is the perfect time to host virtual meetings to empower your users to build new reports and edit previous reports — and help them in areas where they may be struggling. They may be re-working current reports to include new metrics or adjusting dashboards to incorporate new goals from their leadership.

Set boundaries ✋?

One of the biggest keys to working from home is being diligent about maintaining a separation between when you’re working and when you’re not. It’s easy to give in to the temptation to pull out your phone and respond to a few emails when there’s nothing on TV. Having a place where you specifically go to get work done can help you establish those boundaries. On the podcast, Skye says, “I think a lot of folks who work remotely almost feel the need to prove themselves more, so there’s a tendency to overcompensate for it.” Instead, you need to find ways to draw that line and stop working when it’s time to take a break.

Keep going ?‍♀️

Starting to work from home full-time takes some transitioning. Give yourself and your team room and time to figure out what works best for everyone. Take these suggestions one at a time, or skip ones that don’t work for you! And again, run any major changes by your stakeholders and management before implementing them.

What are you doing to help your teams be productive and empowered through Salesforce? Tweet at us with #AwesomeAdmin!

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