Remote Work Digest: December 30, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

How to Ask to Work Remotely Full Time | Robin Madell, Money.usnews.com

Asking your company to work remotely – particularly full time – can be nerve-wrecking. Not only is it challenging to understand exactly how to tell your boss you want to work remotely, but there’s also the worry that your request to work from home full time might be turned down.

Craft Your Personal

You’ll need to work steps into your proposal that will convince your boss that you’re work-from-home worthy, reveal evidence of why working from home works for you, and show you care about team connections, communications and contacts.

Prove You Can Get the Job Done

To prove that you are work-from-home worthy, gather tangible, data-driven evidence that shows your results and your value. If you’ve made yourself indispensable to your team and company where you work now and can show proof of that in your proposal, this will help justify that you are ready and responsible enough to be entrusted with full-time remote work.

Compile Evidence of How and Why Remote Work Works

Despite how common and popular remote work has become, some bosses and employers still prefer to have everyone in the office, so proving how and why virtual work helps teams and companies thrive can help break through that mindset and gain strength for your work-from-home proposal.

Care About Team Connections and Contact

If your boss has concerns about you working from home full time, it likely traces back to a worry that you’ll be harder to communicate with when you’re working off-site. Your proposal should thus address exactly how you plan to stay in close touch with your colleagues, foster team connections and maintain regular contact for collaboration when needed.

Carefully Consider the Answer You Hear

Even with a solid remote work proposal, it’s possible that your manager won’t want you to work from home – at least not full time. If your boss offers a hybrid model that allows you to work remotely some of the time, consider whether this setup will get you close enough to your goals.

Many more companies offer the opportunity for remote work today, so it’s more possible than ever to find a full-time, work-from-home job. If your remote work proposal is rejected or modified, think about whether you want to accept the compromise – or whether a full-time, work-from-home arrangement is important enough for you to seek another position.

Are Your Employees Happy with the Support You Provide? | Saurabh Kumar, Entrepreneur.com

Employees are the building blocks of an organization, and their contributions to a company’s growth are invaluable. Just like you cater to your customers by providing them with personalized customer support, it is equally important to understand the needs of your employees and resolve their issues. Ensure you are always there for your employees whenever they need you and provide them with a friendly workplace. Employee engagement and productivity are directly connected to the support you provide to them. 

Does conducting employee satisfaction surveys matter?

Here are some of the reasons why an organization needs to conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys:

1.Making unsatisfied workers productive

Employee satisfaction surveys help you identify the employees who are not satisfied working in your organization. Once they are identified, managers can understand their issues, resolve them, and increase their productivity while ensuring they are more engaged.

2. Preventing a toxic environment

Taking regular surveys and working on the findings prevents a toxic environment. Disgruntled employees lead to increased turnover and reduced productivity.

3. Increasing employee retention

Without conducting employee satisfaction surveys, you will not understand how your employees genuinely feel about working in your organization.

4. Improved customer relations

When employees are engaged and motivated, they build healthy and lasting relationships with your customers.

Essential questions to include in employee satisfaction surveys

Here are some of the most important questions that you should include in your employee satisfaction surveys to reach conclusive findings:

1.Do you feel connected to your peers

Workers spend a large part of their day interacting with each other. If they do not feel connected to their peers, it will affect their overall work experience.

2. Do you like the company’s culture?

Your employees must be in tune with your company’s culture. If they have issues with your culture, talk about it with them and work to find a solution.

3. Do you think the organization is open to change?

In the age of digitization, organizations need to be dynamic and implement flexible approaches to work. If your employees feel the company follows stringent rules that curb their free will, it affects their performance.

4. How seriously do the managers take your feedback?

This question helps you ascertain how well the management responds to the feedback provided by your employees and how valued your employees feel.

5. Do you feel that your efforts are recognized enough?

Management should acknowledge and show appreciation for efforts put in by employees. If employees feel managers do not value their contributions, productivity and engagement will take a hit.

6. Do your managers keep you updated about company news on a timely basis?

When your employees are regularly updated about important company news, they feel valued. Conversely, if they feel kept in the dark because of inadequate communication, they may feel like they don’t matter.

Effective ways to keep your employees happy

Here are some of the most critical ways in which you can keep your employees happy with seamless support provided to them:

1. Implementing Conversational AI

Modern help desks use conversational AI to facilitate seamless interactions between your employees and AI chatbots. Implementing this technology makes it easier for your employees to obtain personalized primary support without relying on support agents every time.

2. Automating the ticketing system

Traditional service desks often make the ticketing process tedious and complicated. By implementing a modern employee service desk, you can automate the entire ticketing system. These platforms allow your employees to create support tickets simply by initiating a chat with virtual assistants.

3. Integrating your employee help desk with a collaborative platform

You can leverage the support provided to your employees by integrating your help desk with your collaborative platform. Doing so would provide your employees and HR managers with a centralized platform to interact with each other.

4. Easy communication of employee benefits

Instead of reaching out to the HR managers to obtain every tiny detail about employee benefits, try automating communication of these benefits. Modern HR help desks allow your employees to get all relevant information about their benefits by chatting with virtual assistants.

The final word

Addressing the issues faced by your employees would help you leverage engagement and productivity. First, however, remember that it all starts by asking your employees if they are happy with their support. You’ll be surprised by what they are willing to share!

Having Trouble Embracing Remote Work? You Need To Overcome These 3 Limiting Beliefs | Larry English, Forbes.com

Companies that embrace the new world of work are reaping the benefits. For instance, they’re able to attract a significantly larger talent pool. A recent report found that employers that fail to offer remote work will be passed over by 58% of candidates.

“Why are some organizations wildly successful? It’s not by doing the same things they’ve been doing for the last few decades,” says Amy Lescke-Kahle, vice president of performance acceleration at The Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP Company. “It’s because they’ve acknowledged and adjusted to the changes to work, the world and the market.”

Shed These 3 Little Beliefs To Finally Embrace Remote Work

To move forward, these leaders need to reexamine their beliefs around work and how they measure employees. Some of the most pervasive myths or limiting beliefs that need busting include:

Myth 1: Employees Need Babysitting

The best thing you can do in a remote setting is to simply trust your people. Yet many leaders are going in the opposite direction, using tracking software to keep an eye on employee activities. The 2021 ADP Research Institute People at Work report found that 62% of workers say they’re being more closely monitored than ever before.

Myth 2: In-Person Collaboration Is Always the Most Effective

Studies have shown that the traditional approach to collaboration—with people gathered in the same room—isn’t always the most effective method for generating good ideas. A few people end up dominating the conversation, leaving introverts and junior team members behind. In fact, a concept called Bartleby’s Law says that meetings waste 80% of the time for 80% of attendees.

Asynchronous communication and collaboration, necessary elements of remote work success, help solve this problem. When collaboration doesn’t always happen in person (or over videoconference), you remove the on-the-fly pressure and end up getting more input from more people.

Myth 3: Remote Work Just Adds Another Layer of Organizational Complexity

Reimagining work offers an opportunity to rethink all our systems—many of which are more complex than necessary, wasting time and causing major employee heartburn, Leschke-Kahle points out. Instead of making things more complicated, leaders should use the shift to remote work to streamline and simplify.

“We’ve so over-engineered the world of work with policies and processes that are not necessary in a grown-up version of work,” Leschke-Kahle says. “Simplification must be a big piece of what we do next.”

Welcome To The Great Work Experiment

Change can be scary, but as Leschke-Kahle points out, work is an easy, relatively low-risk place to test new practices. “This is really the great work experiment, and we should be digging into what works and what doesn’t. If you’re slow and hesitant to change, both your employees and your business are going to end up suffering, because the market will pass you by.”

6 Time Management Techniques To Utilize In The Forthcoming Year | Steve Johnson, Newsakmi.com

We all know how chaotic things can get at work: constant changes, slipping deadlines, and a to-do list that seems never-ending. Especially now that the year is coming to an end, many people claim that their New Year (business) resolution is “managing time better” or “becoming more efficient.” But is that possible, or will better time management become another New Year resolution that never came to be? Fortunately, you can enter the year more relaxed, as this article includes 6 effective time management techniques that will help you always be on schedule from now on.

1.Make Your To-Do List

This is the most important step, and yet many people skip it. There’s no reason to go into the office and take each day as it comes. Instead, start by gathering the notes that are stuck on your computer, the scribbles in your notebook, and your mental notes, and make a checklist of all your tasks. Having everything in one place helps you create a daily to-do list that gets you easily through the day. 

2. Prioritize Your Tasks

Try to delegate or eliminate unimportant and non-urgent tasks, and bring important and urgent ones to the top of your list. Important tasks that don’t require your immediate attention should become part of a long-term plan. 

3. Invest In Time Tracking

If lack of time management techniques is a company-wide problem, you should consider utilizing time tracking software. That would allow you to see when your employees clock in and out and how much time they’re spending on specific tasks. It could be that inconsistencies in attendance or excessive time being spent on unimportant tasks are to blame for your missed deadlines. 

4. Resist The Urge to Multitask

Trying to take on multiple tasks at once, or constantly switching from one task to another can be time-consuming and detrimental to your productivity. Instead, you should focus on the task at hand and try to block any distractions. Taking on tasks one-by-one can also help you get through seemingly endless to-do lists without getting overwhelmed and stressed out.

5. Set SMART Goals

As you set your goals for this year’s resolutions, you might want to keep this acronym in mind. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented. These are the characteristics all your goals should have if you’re hoping to achieve them within the accepted time limits.

6. Learn To Say No

The final and very important time management technique we’re sharing with you is learning to say no. It might seem hard for you, but you should know that you can’t successfully manage your time at work if you don’t say no once in a while. When someone comes to you with a request, pause for a beat. If you have some free time, by all means, help them. However, in case you’re truly swamped and have to neglect your own tasks to accommodate them, don’t hesitate to politely decline. 

Conclusion

If your New Year resolution is to become more productive, efficient, and better at managing your time, you should consider the time management techniques we shared in this article. Follow them and organize your time to become less stressed and more successful.

Remote Work Digest: November 28, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

Struggling with Time Management? Try These Six Surefire Strategies | John Rampton, Forbes.com

Get a handle on the minutes that make up your day and you’ll improve how you manage your time. Try one or all of these six surefire strategies to get more done in less time than ever before.

1. Commit to single-tasking.

Multitasking has been overused and overhyped and is, quite frankly, counterproductive. Many of us cannot function at a high level while doing multiple things at once. 

2. Use time blocking to your advantage.

Divide your day into distinct blocks of time. Answer your email in two 20-minute chunks, say one at midday and one at EOD. Set aside an hour to complete that entire slide deck instead of leaving it two-thirds finished before heading out for a client meeting. Speaking of meetings, try to cluster them together rather than sprinkling them throughout the day. Time blocking reduces the interruptions and mental adjustments that keep you from doing focused, productive work. 

3. Deploy the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is an amped-up version of time blocking. Avid users commit to doing 25 minutes of concentrated work on a single task. Once the time allotment is up, they take a five-minute break. After four rounds of this, they take a 15- to 20-minute break to fully recharge. This approach simulates a time crunch, which prompts your brain to really zero in on a task and execute it. 

4. Schedule movement breaks

Our bodies simply weren’t made to sit in an office chair for eight or more hours a day. Give your muscles the movement they crave by allowing yourself scheduled breaks throughout the day. They’ll help you make better use of your on-task time.

5. Try task batching

The mindset you need for schmoozing a prospective client is different from the one you need to crunch month-end numbers. By batching tasks that require similar skills or mental processes together, you can accomplish them more quickly and efficiently. 

6. Fuel yourself for success

Fuel yourself throughout the day with foods that make you feel good, allow you to focus and gives you sustained energy. While it can be tempting, especially on a busy morning, resist the urge to subsist solely on coffee. After all, what good is adding in productivity tactics when your body is too tired to put in the work? Fuel your body right, and it will serve you well.

Start wrangling your time.

The time management tactics above will only make you more productive if you’re focusing on the right tasks to begin with. So, prioritize and develop a plan of attack for your workload. Identify key milestones and can’t-miss deadlines using your calendar or project management tool

5 best ways to get and stay organized for the New Year | Theapopkavoice.com

If organization isn’t your superpower, don’t despair. Nail these five organization tips in the New Year and you’ll be golden, no matter where you’re headed.

1.Write it down

Getting organized means being able to prioritize. A planner that can contain everything you need to put in it will help you organize your life, from important birthdays and appointments to business meetings or exams. 

Pro tip: Build in reminders well ahead of important due dates. For example, if you have a presentation due Friday, enter a reminder to “start presentation” Monday. Estimate how much time you’ll need to complete the task completed — with a little cushion built in.

2. Give everything a designated home

If every morning you try to get out the door on time but can’t find your keys, give them a permanent home. The same is true for schedules, deadlines, files, folders, etc. 

Pro tip: Keep your laptop desktop as organized as your planner. Create files to group docs that belong together, then you’ll be able to find them at a moment’s notice.

3. Make priorities when you set deadlines

When you have a plan with deadlines and tasks right at your fingertips, it’s easier to use your time efficiently. Organized people make the most of every minute, and it shows. It’s not enough just to meet deadlines; the work must also be done well. 

Pro tip: Highlight or color code high-priority items on your planner, so you’ll know to put those items first.

4. Don’t procrastinate

Don’t be that person who waits until the last minute to do something, then does it halfway or poorly. 

Pro tip: Build in extra time each day to review your planner and play catch-up. 

5. Declutter, declutter, declutter

It takes only a short time to go through your office, desk or room to know what’s important and what isn’t. Keep only what you need and get rid of the rest. Don’t be afraid to declutter and reorganize continuously and consistently. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by keeping your space clutter-free.

Pro tip: Set a regular end-of-day or first-thing-in-the-morning declutter break for 15 minutes. Your future self will thank you!

Proven ways to improve employee productivity | Gilaherald.com

As a manager, you want to keep your employees focused and motivated enough that they can produce the best possible results for your business.

Here are some tips on how to improve your employees’ productivity:

Set clear goals and expectations

Setting clear goals and expectations is a great way to improve employee productivity. It includes creating SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-sensitive) goals with each team member. Setting clear goals allows your employees to understand what is expected of them. It also allows them to focus on completing tasks rather than questioning their duties every step of the way. 

Encouraging communication

The key here is an open dialogue between your team members and your managers. A lack of communication can lead to miscommunications, misunderstandings as well as low morale among employees. When they feel like their voices are heard and taken seriously, it makes them more productive because they have a sense of empowerment that leads to higher productivity levels.

Providing the right tools for the job

It encourages employees to spend more time doing their work instead of wasting it on figuring out how they can get things done correctly. It includes equipping your team members with technology, such as an efficient computer system or software. 

Track performance

You can also track your employees’ productivity by keeping records of how much time they spend working. It is a great way to identify who in your workforce needs additional training or development, which helps improve their overall performance regarding the work they do each day. 

Allow flexible schedules for employees

Offering flexible work schedules is another way that you can improve employee productivity. Offering telecommuting options allows your team members to work from home on occasion, which will enable them to focus on their job without outside distractions or interruptions. It also helps reduce commute times and stress among employees because it reduces the number of hours sitting in traffic. It also allows them to spend more time with their families and not be away from home for so long, improving morale among your team members.

Show appreciation for a job well done

Not only it helps improve employee productivity, but it also shows your team members that you value them as a crucial part of the company’s success. One way of showing this appreciation is by offering bonuses or additional paid time off on top of what they already receive from your company.

Employee training

Employee training is another way to improve productivity at work. It includes offering a comprehensive orientation program for new team members, as well as ongoing employee development programs that help your workforce stay up-to-date with the latest technology and skills needed in today’s world.

Minimize meeting times

You should only use meetings to handle issues impacting your company’s productivity levels or solving problems together with employees. If you have any other meetings planned, then it becomes more difficult for employees to focus on the day-to-day tasks they need to complete for your organization to run smoothly and without hiccups along the way.

Creating a more positive environment

Creating a more positive environment with a well-rounded fitness program that allows team members to take care of their health and reduce stress can help improve employee productivity by making them more efficient when performing specific job duties.

Improving employee productivity is a crucial part of any business’ success. Employing training programs, tracking performance levels, and managing meeting times are proven ways to improve your workforce’s output regarding what they do each day at work.

15 flexible jobs for people who don’t want to give up remote work | Madison Hoff, Businessinsider.com

HireAHelper published a list of remote jobs that are great for those who often move. Here are 15 top jobs for those who want to work remotely and move around a lot.

15. Advertising sales agents

Median annual wage in 2020: $54,940

Remote work take-up: 51%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

14. Financial examiners

Median annual wage in 2020: $81,430

Remote work take-up: 72%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

13. Urban and regional planners

Median annual wage in 2020: $75,950

Remote work take-up: 68%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

12. Computer network support specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $65,450

Remote work take-up: 52%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

11. Management analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $87,660

Remote work take-up: 56%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

10.Speech-language pathologists

Median annual wage in 2020: $80,480

Remote work take-up: 39%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

9. Environmental scientists and specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $73,230

Remote work take-up: 59%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

8.Civil engineers

Median annual wage in 2020: $88,570

Remote work take-up: 44%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 9%

7.Credit analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $74,970

Remote work take-up: 61%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

6.Financial analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $83,660

Remote work take-up: 68%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

5.Public relations specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $62,810

Remote work take-up: 65%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

4. College professors

Median annual wage in 2020: $90,400*

Remote work take-up: 61%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

3. Advertising and promotions managers

Median annual wage in 2020: $133,460

Remote work take-up: 51%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 12%

2. Computer hardware engineers

Median annual wage in 2020: $119,560

Remote work take-up: 57%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 12%

1.Software Developers

Median annual wage in 2020: $110,140

Remote work take-up: 71%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 13%

Remote Work Digest: October 30, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

Six Ways Business Leaders Can Reclaim Their Time | Ian Tomline, Forbes Communications Council, Forbes.com

They say the only thing you can’t buy is time, and the more of your life you spend in the business world, the more that indisputable truth resonates. You should ignore the activities that make you feel busy and focus on the ones that contribute to the big picture.

Make Decisions About Time

Think back on your last week and what you spent your time on. (Maybe even check your schedule to recap what was in it.) You’ll probably be able to mark up all those things you did that were what I call “hygiene” activities — the things you do to tread water without drowning in emails and paperwork.

Prioritizing Time

Browse through social media articles on leadership and management and you won’t miss the fact that many successful people are clearly better at prioritizing time than the rest of us.

Tools Of The “Prioritize Me” Trade

Make Time for Deep, Focused Thinking Early in Your Day

As the first task on your list, you should think really hard about what you’re trying to get out of the day and how to clear your schedule of other activities that will prevent you from investing time in what really matters.

Write and Manage Lists (Efficiently)

Give your brain a chance and make a list. You should get good at writing task lists and crossing them off as you go.

Learn How to Say No and Get Brutal About Protecting Your Time

If you’re going to maximize the time in your day, you will need to get selfish with your time and consider every request that places demand on it.

Get Ahead with Meetings

You should be particularly brutal with meetings. I think the best strategy is to:

Deeply qualify whether any meeting requires your presence.

Book meetings for no longer than 30 minutes while spacing meetings apart by 30 minutes just in case. This approach ensures you have “buffer time” if you need it.

Think Back on Your Past Week

A good way to test your time management performance is to look in the rearview mirror every now and then to see how you’re doing.

Forgive Your Self Breaks

The time you spend thinking about something else or nothing much at all could be the moment when you come up with your next big idea.

So, put your feet up and let yourself off every now and then – it could be good for business.

Remote work is here to stay: The benefits are just too good to overlook | Larry Alton, Theamericangenius.com

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Happy employees mean healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases, with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

5 Hacks to Maximize Work Productivity at Home | Kimberly Wilson, Essence.com

Looking to supercharge your productivity? Easier said than done, right? Here are a few tips to help you maximize your productivity while at home.

Plan your day ahead.

Because of all the competing demands trying to navigate home, social and work life, it’s imperative to spend time prioritizing what needs to get done.

Meal prep.

Meal prepping can save you a lot of time and hassle in your week, plus it helps to boost productivity levels. Not to mention, a well-thought-out meal plan can help you improve your diet quality or reach a specific health goal while saving you time and money along the way.

Set a schedule, and stick to it.

Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance.

Focus on three big tasks a day.

I once took a leadership training that emphasized the importance of tackling little rocks vs big rocks. The big rocks are the larger tasks that take up the most time, and are critical to your success, while the little rocks are the day-to-day tasks such as emails, meetings, etc. While both are extremely important, it’s easy to get caught up in the inevitable day-to-day emergencies, but it’s important to remember your larger goals. One of the best ways I do this is by focusing on getting three big tasks done every day.

Practice self-care.

Your mental state plays a huge role in how productive you are on a day-to-day basis. No matter how free your schedule is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it’s like still not going to get done – or well, at least. And self-care doesn’t just mean massages and bubble baths. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to meditate, or ensuring you’re getting enough sleep each night.

These 10 well-known companies offer fully remote or hybrid work arrangements | Coann Labitoria, Hcamag.com

Fully remote companies are organizations that do not have physical offices for their employees to work out of. Instead, all work is done completely online – which means employees can accomplish tasks, have meetings, and attend events from anywhere with a stable and fast internet connection, such as co-working spaces, coffee shops, and home offices.

Meanwhile, partially remote companies or hybrid companies have staggered arrangements that see employees working remotely some days in the week and at a physical office on others. The hybrid model is more common than fully remote companies because it’s easier to implement and requires less investment in new equipment and infrastructure.

Well-known companies with fully remote or hybrid work setups

1. Apple

Apple is a multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, online services, and computer software. The company is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and has been the world’s most valuable company since January 2021.

The tech giant announced in June 2021 that employees are expected to work in the office three times a week with the option to work from home twice a week starting September – a date that was postponed to January 2022 due to the sudden surge of Delta variant cases.

2. Microsoft

Microsoft is a multinational technology company that manufactures and develops computer software, consumer electronics, and personal computers.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company adopted a hybrid work model that allows employees to work from anywhere for 50% of their work week, with the option to go 100% remote with management approval. The company even released a guide to hybrid work that outlines its approach, such as updating conference rooms, hiring across geographies, and tightening online security.

3. Shopify

Canada-based Shopify is a multinational firm that offers a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform is used to set up, design, and manage stores across multiple sales channels such as web, mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar spots, and pop-up shops.

Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted in May 2020 that the company will be “digital by default,” taking on a remote-first hybrid setup. Lutke added that most employees will permanently work remotely post-pandemic. When available, employees can work in the company’s offices in Canada and Ireland.

4. Slack

Slack develops real-time collaboration applications that provide messaging, video and voice calls, integrated file sharing, and other services to organizations across the globe.

The Silicon Valley firm announced in June 2020 that they would offer its current employees the option to work from home on a permanent basis while keeping the offices open in some form. The company will also open most of its upcoming new roles to remote candidates, and indicated that it is moving towards a more asynchronous work pace by encouraging employees to work hours that make sense for them.

5. Spotify

Spotify is a digital music streaming service that allows subscribers to search and discover music, build personal playlists, and allows artists to post tracks.

The company has taken a hybrid approach for its workforce, allowing employees to work from anywhere across the globe. Spotify also provides a company-paid co-working space if an employee chooses to work in an office but does not live near an existing Spotify location. The firm also announced that it would continue to pay at San Francisco or New York salary rates, based on the type of job.

6. Twitter

Twitter is a social networking and news platform that enables users to send and read short messages known as “tweets” through web and mobile apps.

Twitter was one of the first companies to announce allowing employees who wish to work from home to do so permanently, as long as their role enables them to. The company offers a hybrid remote work setup with offices in San Francisco, New York, and nine other cities across the US available for employees who choose to work on-site.

7. Upwork

Upwork operates the world’s largest freelance marketplace platform. It allows businesses to connect with professionals specializing in numerous skills such as writing, web and mobile development, customer service, and marketing.

Upwork CEO Hayden Brown tweeted in May 2020 that the company is permanently adopting a remote-first hybrid work model. They continue to operate two office spaces located in Chicago and San Francisco for its employees who opt to work on-site.

8. Quora

Quora is a question-and-answer social media platform created, edited, and organized by its community of users.

Adam D’Angelo, co-founder and CEO of Quora, announced in June 2020 that the company would take on a remote-first hybrid work setup after most of its employees opted not to return to the office post-pandemic.

9. Pinterest

Pinterest operates a pinboard-style social networking site where users can create, manage, and share theme-based image collections based on events, interests, and hobbies.

In 2020, Pinterest announced they would follow a remote-first hybrid work model after stating the company will not be expecting employees to return to the office due to the pandemic. Subsequently, the company paid US$89.5 million to cancel a large lease on its San Francisco office. The company is also looking into hiring talent across the globe who were previously excluded due to geography. Pinterest still manages physical offices in eight US cities.

10. LinkedIn

Linkedin is a professional networking site which allows online members to create, manage, and share their professional identities, find career opportunities, and be able to connect with likeminded individuals.

The pros and cons of a fully remote or hybrid company

Perhaps the biggest benefit of remote work to employers is the opportunity to tap into a wider talent pool by allowing them to hire skilled applicants from anywhere in the world. Employers can now find the right applicant for any given position regardless of their location.

Hiring remote workers can also reduce an organization’s operating cost, especially in areas such as office rents and supplies.

Remote work can also present some challenges for employers, such issues of employee disengagement. Having all communications online means that managers also need to be more proactive in setting clear goals for deliverables, as well as overcome challenges in tracking work progress and resolving work-related conflicts.

Despite these issues, fully remote and hybrid arrangements are well on their way to becoming the new normal, with more organizations expected to adopt similar setups as the pandemic winds down.

Remote Work Digest: September 29, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

The right flexible work approach can benefit everyone | Bob Helbig, Energage, Ajc.com

Today, companies are reaping the benefits of workplace flexibility, including greater employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.

Flex work makes it easier for employees to achieve a better work-life balance. Workplace flexibility practices aren’t limited to working from home. Other examples include flexible work schedules, compressed workweeks and job sharing. Companies benefit when employees are able to deliver their personal best.

Here are a few essential recommendations to consider when adopting workplace flexibility best practices.

Setting Expectations

The key to managing flexible working arrangements is to set clear expectations. Be sure to communicate clear deadlines, collaboration expectations and measures of success.

Communication

Communication is one of the characteristics of good management. Find convenient meeting times so everyone can participate in communication efforts. Identify which of the many messaging, video conference and file-sharing platforms support the best communication methods for your organization, and use them in unison.

Encourage Flexibility in All Aspects

Companies need to encourage their employees to think creatively and work with managers and teammates to find an arrangement that supports workplace flexibility for everyone. The workplace must also consider barriers that prohibit a flexible approach, from family care to technology.

Focus on Measuring Outcomes

While it may seem counterintuitive, giving employees greater control over how they work can ultimately lead to greater productivity. An outcome focus also gives employees a clear understanding of performance expectations and the metrics that will measure their work.

Accountability

Personal accountability plays a vital role in shaping best practices for flexible workplaces. Employees should understand they will be held accountable for the results of their work and productivity, even if they are working from home.

Companies that offer different types of flexibility in the workplace stand out as employers of choice with forward-thinking approaches that focus on the changing needs of their employees. Flexibility is appealing to current employees as well as top talent in search of a work-life balance. Employees will be more productive and committed to your organization.

5 ways to use décor to enhance your work-from-home life | Ismat Tahseen, Timesofindia.indiatimes.com

From handy work spaces that have makeshift desks to choosing a quiet spot as your nook and placing plants around for some zen, there’s a lot that folks are doing to create their work nooks. Here are a few other décor ideas that can build a beautiful home-work environment.

Make it vibrant

Dull grey or pastel green adds a to a relaxed ambience in the bedroom, but it won’t foster a charged-up energy to a work area. How about painting one wall in a bright shade of yellow or green, to do so?

Fun lighting

Place around a set of vintage bottles filled with micro led party lights. Stick a few berries into it for that rustic look. Add a potpourri bowl to the table as well.

Go minimal

The less clutter the better, is the mantra here. Avoid sticky posted notes popping up on tables, strewn paper and a bunch of files around which hamper your focus.

Try and sit where you get enough natural light

Health experts advocate the importance of getting enough sunlight, which gives the daily dose of vitamin D. Sunlight boosts productivity, it is serotonin-producing, said to boost bone health and lead to better immune function.

Use the principle of Hygge

The Danish lifestyle principle of Hygge is something else you can try. It’s about warmth and cosiness using colour and textures. Get a pretty rug, maybe a cushion or two, place a motivational message on the wall as well as a few clay planters, all of which add to a feeling of peace and happiness.

The Impact of Remote Work on Climate Change | Emagazine.com

The gradual migration from corporate to remote work has varying effects on climate change. Here’s some of the pros and cons of remote work.

The Positive Effects of Remote Work on Climate Change

Significant Drop in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

According to The Natural Conservancy, the average American produces sixteen tons of greenhouse gas annually. Greenhouse gases have very harmful effects on the environment and the population at large. They cause extreme shifts in weather patterns resulting in drought, floods, and even tsunamis.

Furthermore, they contribute to an increase in wildfires and smog. Smog has been linked to respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders and even lung cancer.

By telecommuting, you reduce your carbon footprint, thereby minimizing your environmental impact and supporting the human race as a whole.

Reduced Paper Usage

Telecommuting embraces a more digital approach where workers use applications and software to record, store and share information. By embracing note-taking programs and cloud storage software, remote workers reduce their paper usage, reducing their carbon footprint.

Improved Air Quality

Remote working means fewer people are on the roads. As already mentioned, the transport sector is among the number one producers of greenhouse gases. When people work from home, it means less fossil fuel combustion and better air quality.

Less Plastic Usage

Plastic is a non-biodegradable substance and takes hundreds of years to disintegrate. Due to its long life span, it can present challenges for us and future generations. Working from home helps cut back on plastic use as it allows you to use reusable cups, bowls and cutlery, instead of relying on single-use plastic foodware.

Reduced Power Consumption

By working from home, you help reduce the extremely high electric bills and reduce the energy burden of society.

The Downsides of Remote Working

Only Partial Carbon Footprint Reduction

Hybrid work, a form of remote work where employees combine working from home with working at the office, doesn’t fully eliminate the need to commute nor the energy consumption habits of office buildings. While alternating between the office and remote working may go some way to reducing your carbon footprint, it stops short of having a sizeable impact on it.

Energy Consumption

Does working from home really help cut back on energy consumption? Thanks to the ever-evolving tech industry, more and more people are embracing technology to simplify their lives.

Virtual work is a great example. Instead of driving or taking the bus to work to attend meetings or get work done, we use video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Skype. We now email whenever we need to pass official communication. All these devices use electricity.

Remote Working is a Net Positive for Climate Change

Remote working is a crucial player in helping fight climate change. By working from home, you help:

  • Reduce greenhouse emissions
  • Improve air quality
  • Decrease single-plastic use
  • Reduce paper consumption

Even though some models of remote working, specifically hybrid work, encourage commuting, thereby maintaining certain greenhouse emission levels, remote work continues to make great strides in reducing environmental degradation and helping manage climate change.

How to increase employee productivity in the workplace | Cyprus-mail.com

Keeping your employees happy is a must as it will boost their engagement and interaction at work. Some simple techniques that can boost employee productivity that can bring about some surprising results.

Seven ways to boost employee productivity effectively in the workplace

Communication

Establishing strong communication is one of the first changes you can integrate into your business. When assigning responsibility roles to the members of your company, ensure that there is no confusion or misunderstanding in the job expectations. 

Setting up communication protocols will establish clear performance goals which will allow your employees to understand their job descriptions better.

Technology upgrade

As a company, you must learn to invest in the right tools as it improves productivity and also saves time in getting a task done. Some really simple tools can bring about big changes in office productivity and efficiency.

Reduce meaningless meetings

Some meetings lead to unproductive discussions that can cost time and energy which could have been sent in an email. By reducing meaningless meetings or restricting meetings to 15-20 minutes can improve productivity at work.

Keep goals clear and focused

Employees who understand the value, mission, and expectations of the company clearly are compelled to accomplish their given tasks efficiently.

Before you assign any work to an employee, ask yourself if that particular employee will be able to achieve the task at hand. Regular interactions with your employees will help you understand them better and appreciate a job well done. 

Encourage self-care

Encouraging employees to take care of themselves is vital as it not only keeps them physically and mentally healthy but also improves productivity. 

As a company, you should offer health insurance for your employees as it will help them take advantage of the health benefits. Sometimes the workload or work pressure can be quite stressful. 

As a business owner, you can offer time management and stress relief programmes so that employees can learn some useful self-care techniques. 

Improve Office Conditions

Investing in good lighting, comfortable chairs, high-quality tables, air conditioning, soundproof walls, etc can help boost employee productivity. 

Delegate responsibility

Allowing them to take on tasks by themselves will boost their morale and gain leadership experience. If you are constantly breathing down their necks, it will impact the performance and growth of your company. 

Final thoughts

Keep in mind that you must learn to focus on quality more than quantity, so make sure that you create realistic and achievable goals for your employees.

Since many businesses are allowing their employees to come back to work, getting vaccinated has been many people’s concern. Here are some ethical questions that have been raised regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.

Remote Work Digest: August 31, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

How to Improve the Efficiency Of Your Small Business: 6 Tips | Yucatan Times, Theyucatantimes.com

Growing your business will largely depend on how efficient you run it and what is certain is that it won’t happen overnight. Though some companies will experience faster growth than others, improving your business is primarily a matter of time. There are many things you need to do to improve the efficiency of your business for it to grow, including: 

Review Existing Processes

The first and foremost thing you have to do to improve your business’s efficiency is to evaluate the existing process. To make anything better, you first have to assess its current state. By reviewing the existing processes of your business, you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

Understand Your Customers

A vital thing you have to do to improve the efficiency of your business is to understand your customers. They are the backbone of every small business and will help you grow even in difficult times.

One of the best ways to reduce the inefficiencies in your business is to embrace feedback. Collect information from your employees and customers through research and surveys and find ways to improve your business efficiency.

Use Technology

One of the best tools to use to improve the efficiency of your business in the modern age is technology. If you embrace technology, you can dramatically improve business efficiency and have great results.

Automation of business processes has become incredibly popular in the recent past, and it will continue to do so. The greatest benefit automation offers to small businesses is eradicating menial, time-consuming tasks from your staff so they can focus on higher priority tasks.

Consider Outsourcing Your Payroll

Managing payroll is a time-consuming task that burdens most HR departments or payroll offices. It can make business processes very inefficient, negatively affecting employees, which further increases inefficiency.

Companies that outsource their payroll can free their employees for much more critical work. The increase in efficiency should also increase profitability and employee satisfaction. 

Get Funding

All small businesses need access to capital for them to grow and improve their business processes. Investing in technology, collecting and receiving customer feedback, among other activities, will require finances.

Therefore, you should figure out a way for your business to obtain some financing which can be difficult for small businesses. Loans are one way for small businesses to get funding for their endeavors.

Set Realistic Goals

The goals you set for your business should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Moreover, it would be best to give your business ample time to incorporate the necessary changes and then review their effects in six months to a year.

It would be best if you did not let change management become more important than improving efficiency. If you correctly set goals, improving the efficiency of various business processes will take a functional and stable approach. 

In conclusion, improving the efficiency of your business is a challenging undertaking. The six tips above will be of tremendous help. They will help your business become more efficient without compromising other essential elements.

Work From Home Set Up Ideas: 5 Easy Tips For Any Space, Floridanewstimes.com

Establishing a work-from-home location that’s practical, pleasant (and relaxing!), and at the same time feasible should be among the first things on your to-do list.

And, because we’re all hoping to prevent traveling to the supermarket, and many establishments are presently shut, you would like to construct this temporary workspace out of items you already have at home. The good news is that if you become imaginative, you will probably already have everything you need.

Get the correct equipment.

Before we set up ideas for a remote office, we need to understand what the required equipment is for such a place to work.

Listed below are the basic requirements of any workspace that is required daily to work professionally.

  • A desk for all your things.
  • A chair to support you.
  • A strong Wifi connection for proper functioning.
  • Proper and adequate lighting to not put any stress on your eyes.
  • A calendar to mark the important dates and timeline.
  • A to-do list so you can keep track of all your activities and pending work that you need to pay attention to and complete.
  • Plants and other things brighten the room and calm you to give you the inspiration to work better.

To succeed in working independently and designing your own schedule, you’ll need motivation, strategy, and support from your manager and organization. The atmosphere has a tremendous impact on people who are looking to effortlessly convert to telecommuting.

Decorate your wall with canvas prints

It becomes easier for visual learners to work efficiently and effectively and at the same time increase their productivity. It also helps in increasing the level of focus while working and increasing creativity at the same time.

Walls with chalkboards for artistic remote working

For individuals who desire to live on the go, contemporary work from anywhere lifestyle offers some inventive alternatives. An extremely creative and innovative idea for artistic workers is to make use of walls with chalkboards. This does not require a lot of space at all and, at the same time is very easy to set up. Moreover, it is an extremely useful thing for workers who need to constantly chalk out ideas or do calculations frequently.

Try to get hold of a desk with storage

The best idea for creating an office at home with minimal space is to try to incorporate a desk that has multiple storage spaces to make optimum utilization of free space. This would help when the space is compact and needs to be utilized. If you do not possess space for a filing cabinet or a cupboard, try getting a table with some built space to keep all of your essentials hidden.

Working office under the stairs

This creative office is capable of including a storage area, a table and workstation, and sometimes even houseplants if a little greenery is the magic recipe in your personalized learning pot. This innovative room, which would be around 18 square feet in size, would incorporate everything required to work from home by incorporating built-in bookcases and also a tiny desk chair. This is the idea you most definitely need to create an efficient home office with very little space that you can set up yourself.

Conclusion

More worldwide workers are functioning from anyplace than ever before in the post-COVID-19 era. Gone are the days of mandatory on-site work and strict daily commuting. However, one reality about modern work stays constant: having a dedicated location where you can concentrate, work quickly, and be creative without distractions is critical.

How to improve employee productivity and well-being | Bmmagazine.co.uk

Employees form the backbone of every organization; they are integral for success, so how do you improve their productivity?

First, you should try to improve their well-being and happiness at work. Research has consistently shown that workers who feel acknowledged and appreciated at work perform better than unhappy employees. To help improve employee productivity and performance, here are some of the most effective tips:

Recognize Employee Achievements

Recognizing employee achievements is one of the best ways to increase employee well-being and happiness. Whether you applaud an employee’s recent hard work on a project or how they helped another coworker, any recognition can go a long way to making employees feel more appreciated and satisfied at work.

Encourage Employees to Take Care of Their Physical Health

Physical health plays a huge role in mental health and overall well-being. Management should encourage employees to take care of themselves by routinely going on walks and eating healthy foods.

Provide Mental Health Resources

Offering mental health services from Human Resources or an external mental health agency is crucial for preventing employee burnout or depression. Mental health “sick days” have also been effective at lowering worker stress and anxiety. Management should encourage employees to seek out help if needed and promote awareness of mental illnesses and burnout.

Reward Employees with Fun Outings

Employee performance is often increased if fun rewards or outings are offered for good performance. Some ideas include having a company-provided lunch once a week, going out for group dinner or drinks after a big sale or project, or getting breakfast for workers in the morning. These activities are also great for building teamwork and collaboration between coworkers, which in turn can improve productivity and project success. 

Conclusion

By simply acknowledging helpful or hard-working employees, promoting positive physical and mental health habits, and offering incentives such as group meals can help employees feel more motivated to go the extra mile at work.

The 4 essential skills to include on your resume to find remote work in 2021 | Cristina Fernandez Esteban and Qayyah Moynihan, Businessinsider.com

These are the top four skillsets Infoempleo says you should include if you’re looking for a job while working from home.

Digital and programming skills

With a growing number of companies moving towards remote working or hybrid working models, it’s crucial to have an understanding of digital tools and programs needed for remote work.

Social network skills

Being able to navigate and manage social networks is a professional skill that has been growing in demand for some time, but demand has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic.

Tech skills

Tech skills in fields like robotics, augmented reality, the internet of things, or AI can be invaluable to companies in the context of the changes brought about by the pandemic.

Soft skills

Self-discipline, communication skills, and initiative are generally considered to be very sought-after traits but are particularly so if you’re looking to work from home.

These skills are even more essential now that, often, your colleagues and those to whom you report are at a physical distance. 

As a result, you need to make it clear on your resume that you’re able to put these skills and qualities to use.

Remote Work Digest: August 2, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

How Leaders Can Maintain Efficiency During Difficult Times | Josee Larocque Patton, Forbes.com

In the years to come, there will likely be studies on how the past 16 months have changed the business world, whether it’s for better or worse. Since the future of business is unknown, it is up to leaders to continue to create the best employee experience they can. Leaders are just like everyone else – they can excel, they can make mistakes and they, too, need guidance to stay abreast of trends.

Here’s what leaders can do to help themselves while supporting others:

1.You don’t have to know everything.

Showing vulnerability is actually a good thing. If you want to be a progressive, fair and equitable business, then 100% honesty is the way to go. Not everyone will like it; however, I truly believe they will respect you for it and that is what matters.

No matter who we work with — peers, subordinates, clients — we all want to feel we are being treated with respect. There really is no substitute for this. Own the fact that you do not know everything but will do your best to help.

2. Work on your time management.

Time management is about prioritizing how much time you are willing to give to tasks or even social events.

Leaders need to have good time management to be able to teach their team about efficiency. One of the worst mistakes a leader can make is to not use their time effectively. I have heard many times how people feel there are too many meetings, too many calls, meetings to discuss the agenda of meetings, etc.

3. Offer clear direction.

Over the years, I have adapted the “interpret after me” mechanism. If I am sharing something with a client or direct report, I ask them to reiterate what I am sharing with them in their own words to be sure they understand the task/message. Or, for example, if you are sending out a company-wide message, always ensure it could be read and understood by a 5-year-old. This is not to dimmish anyone’s intellectual abilities, but drafting a simple message is a great way to feel confident that everyone will understand what you are trying to share no matter their age, language ability, etc.

These are just a few suggestions of what leaders can do to help get through unchartered territory. There is no doubt that we all want to do what is best for the company we work for as well as the employees who are part of our team. But when we are unfamiliar with what comes next, we can only do our best to help navigate the future. The three tips above are transferrable to any organization, any industry and are relevant no matter the situation. 

As leaders, it is important to know that our role is to set others up for success and, by doing so, we get to be teachers and learners at the same time.

How Technology Can Boost Your Business Productivity | Analyticsinsight.net

In the business world, technology has revolutionized almost all industries and became a lifeline for several companies. Nowadays, businesses are always on the lookout for innovations that can enhance their efficiency. Here are some notable ways how technology can significantly affect the productivity of your business.

Connect employees

Technology helps companies ensure that everyone remains connected. You can now hold virtual meetings through the use of video conferencing tools such as Google Meet, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, and Cisco Webex. Messaging applications also allows your employees to efficiently communicate with one another, improving business communication and employee productivity. With the help of technology, you can efficiently expand your workforce in a more cost-effective way. 

Improve collaboration

Technology redefined how employees collaborate. If you want your employees to have a certain degree of autonomy in handling their tasks, there are several web-based project management tools that you can utilize such as Basecamp and Zoho Projects. Additionally, your managers can proficiently coordinate with their teams and oversee their tasks without the need for face-to-face meetings. 

Enhances customer service

Innovations such as chatbots and artificial intelligence can efficiently manage customer transactions, enhancing the overall customer experience. These tools are also more cost-effective in the long run.

Strengthens marketing

With the help of digital marketing, you can now reach a more comprehensive network and target a more diverse clientele. To drive more traffic to your business, you can leverage on social media, as it is a proven effective marketing tool. Aside from social media, establishing a website, utilizing search engine optimization, and using data analytics can also further boost your business productivity and yield stronger results.

Reduce business expenditures

Since employees are working at home or remotely, companies can save on overhead costs. As a business owner, you have the option to move your operations and scrap the need for a physical office. Doing so can give you a lot of savings while ensuring that your employees are safe. Aside from saving money for the overhead expenses, you also don’t need to spend on expensive office furniture and equipment. 

Facilitates continuous employee education

An online learning management system can enhance your staff’s knowledge and expertise, which can heighten their engagement and retention. By continuously providing skill development training to your employees, it will make them more appreciative of their work, making them productive and motivated to stay in your company. 

Simplifies planning and time management

Utilizing time trackers or scheduling applications can help them accomplish their tasks within their deadlines. You can also keep track of their progress, which will motivate them to be more conscious of how they manage their time. 

Easy access to data

Having instant access to information will save your company valuable time. Investing in cloud computing or in a database system that enables your employees to have immediate access to their business files can help increase your business productivity. Your employees can exchange and retrieve sensitive documents eliminating the need for them to waste countless hours going through manual storage. These data management platforms also have security measures that can mitigate the chances of a cyber breach.

Technology has undoubtedly changed how companies do their businesses. Investing in the right technological innovations can help you improve your business productivity and boost your chances of success.

Best freelance websites 2021: Find jobs & remote work | Lena Borrelli, Zdnet.com

Today, there are many job websites that claim to help you find immediate employment, but the freelance gig industry is a world of its own. As a freelancer, your needs are far different from the average commuter and salaried employee, which is why a specialized freelance job website can better suit your needs.

Though seemingly similar, these services are much different from one another, not only in available jobs but also your membership structure. Pricing can include whatever charges and finder’s fees come with using a third-party provider of this nature. Accessibility and job quality can also vary based on the freelance website you choose. 

To help, we have compiled the five best freelance websites to find work in 2021. This is how they compare.

Upwork

For the new freelancer

Upwork is great for jobs both domestic and international. You can make a free profile to advertise your skills, and then you can either wait for jobs to find you, or you can take a more proactive stance to find and apply to jobs yourself. Upwork uses a currency called Connects that allows you to apply to jobs. Connects are refreshed on a monthly basis, and up to 200 can roll over each month. 

There are two plans that you can choose from. The Basic Freelancer plan is standard, or you can opt for the Freelancer Plus at a monthly subscription rate of $14.99 per month. With the Freelancer Plus, you receive a total of 80 Connects per month, plus a customized profile URL, confidential earnings reporting, and competitor insights when bidding on a job.

Fiverr

For the gig freelancer

Fiverr advertises that it has been used by over “11 million satisfied businesses” for freelance projects. It has an impressive client roster that includes notable companies like Facebook, Netflix, and Google. Through the Fiverr business plan, entire teams can use the platform to connect with freelancers who have proven business experience.

For freelancers, there are over 200 different categories with gig work and ongoing projects. It services a host of different professionals, such as graphic designers, developers, writers, musicians, social media marketers, and voiceover artists. To help out, there is also 24/7 customer support.

Freelancer

For the international freelancer

Based in Australia, Freelancer is a popular global platform for freelancers the world over to connect with employers. Employers hire for specific projects, choosing from a pool of more than 50 million freelancers possessing over 1,800 different skills. Freelancers bid on the projects they want and then wait for an approval or denial. 

Similar to Upwork, projects are either hourly or fixed-price. Payments are secured by the Milestone Payments System, so you do not have to worry about whether a client can pay. Payments are also available in 39 currencies, and there is 24/7 customer support if you have any issues. Freelancer takes a 10% fee for projects and contests and 20% off services.

Toptal

For the discriminating freelancer

Exclusivity is the name of the game with Toptal. The company has made a name for itself in hiring just 3% of freelance talent. The platform connects employers with specific freelance professionals, including software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers. 

However, you have to apply and be approved before you can officially join. After approval, recruiters and industry experts help filter the applicant pool and pair freelancers with jobs. Hiring usually happens within 48 hours. 

LinkedIn

For the professional job seeker

LinkedIn is a great resource for the job-seeking professional. There is a strong emphasis on networking, and using your family, friends, and colleagues to build a professional network, collect references, and build recommendations. It is also known for excellent job opportunities for both corporate jobs and freelance positions, especially in copywriting, graphic design, and translation.

What is a freelance job website?

A freelance website is a service that links job seekers with employers. Users are able to advertise services, post jobs, interact, and complete work all within the service platform.

How does a freelance job website work?

Every service has different requirements to get started, but typically, you begin by creating an account. There will likely be terms and conditions that you must agree to before you can begin searching for work or advertising your services.

How much does it cost to use a freelance job website?

The cost to use a freelance job website depends on which service you use. It is common for freelance websites to take a commission off your earnings, but this percentage can vary. 

Which is the right freelance job website for you?

These are some factors to consider when choosing the best freelance website to find work:

Fees and penalties: The amount that a platform charges is important to consider when choosing a freelance site for work.

Payment: Some services may pay right away, while others may pay in milestones or require a waiting period.

Ease of use: Accessibility is important in a job website because you are likely to spend a lot of time on the platform. 

Membership requirements: While some sites help brand-new freelancers get started, a la Freelancer, others like Toptal have strict requirements and search for more experienced workers.

Customer support: If you hit a snag while racing to meet a deadline, you may need customer support to help out. That is why you should consider what types of customer support are available through your chosen site to help out during the hours you need it most.

Terms and conditions: All services will have their terms and conditions available for review, and you want to be sure that you agree to these terms before you accept any jobs and complete any work on the platform.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

Although these services did not make our top five list for 2021, they still may be worth your consideration based on your needs:

  • Craigslist: This is an email-based platform that allows users to post and apply to jobs via email.
  • FlexJobs: This membership-based service features handpicked jobs based on your skills and preferences.
  • TaskRabbit: This is a great option for the everyday person looking to make money off traditional gigs like shopping, errands, yard work, and home services.

Be sure to carefully explore your options and review the terms so you can find the best freelance website to get you back to work in 2021.

The Top 3 Soft Skills Of The Pandemic And How To Cultivate Them | Amy Blaschka, Forbes.com

According to Prudential’s latest Pulse of the American Worker survey, the top three soft skills workers gained last year include adaptability, problem-solving, and time management; here’s how to cultivate them in a post-pandemic world:

  1. Adaptability

In the business world, change happens—and not just during a pandemic. Between mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, and management changes, those who remain flexible hold the key to career success. Maintaining the ability to adapt your thinking and actions to handle unforeseen circumstances can help position you as an indispensable member of the team who can roll with the punches.

To build your adaptability:

  • Challenge yourself to consider new possibilities instead of falling back on “because we’ve always done it this way” thinking.
  • Offer up alternative solutions, even—and especially— when initial ideas are turned down.
  • Keep calm and confident under pressure when faced with unexpected challenges and changing circumstances.
  • Move away from a one-size-fits-all mentality when managing your team, and instead, ask each person their goals and how you can best support them.
  • Look for opportunities to stretch yourself and showcase your adaptability by volunteering for new assignments and proactively increasing your skillset and knowledge base.
  • 2. Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills help you solve issues quickly and effectively and often use the additional soft skills of awareness, creativity, innovation, curiosity, and grit to be most effective.

To hone your problem-solving:

  • Use awareness to identify and anticipate issues. When you pay attention, you’ll notice details other people miss.
  • Change your mindset to see problems as hidden opportunities.
  • Employ creativity to come up with solutions. Creativity is the ability to perceive the world in new ways, find hidden patterns, make connections between seemingly disparate things, and generate innovative solutions.
  • When you implement and evaluate solutions (especially new ones), don’t get discouraged if they fall short. Use grit to determine what worked and what could be improved, and then make tweaks to keep going and find a way to solve the problem.
  • 3. Time management

Your ability to prioritize and focus your attention to tackle work projects is crucial. How and with whom you spend your time and your productivity while doing so demonstrate your focus and commitment to what—and who—matters most.

To master time management:

  • Learn to say no to things that don’t support your short- or long-term goals. 
  • Realize that not all tasks are created equal. Do, decide, delegate or delete tasks based on their urgency and importance.
  • Batch routine tasks (like responding to emails) by carving out specific times in the day for it—and let others know to call you if something is really important.
  • Eliminate distractions by turning off notifications, putting your phone on airplane mode, and closing your door.
  • Establish (and maintain) boundaries. You are not obligated to be on 24/7, so limit your availability. 
  • Embrace mono-tasking to make progress on one thing at a time.
  • Work with your own circadian rhythms, doing your most important work during your peak time, whenever that is.
  • Don’t forget to build in breaks to rest and recharge so you can tackle another day.

Remote Work Digest: June 30, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

How to become a digital nomad: Pros, cons, and common jobs | Flex Jobs Editors, Theladders.com

Telecommuter. Remote worker. There are quite a few names that describe people who work from home. And more recently, there’s another one: digital nomad.

Digital nomads are people who work virtually, and often from various locations, even around the world. 

What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad lives a nomadic lifestyle, moving from location to location and staying connected digitally. Digital nomads use technology and communication tools to complete work remotely in order to travel the country or the world.

Digital nomad vs. location independent

A digital nomad with a remote job is a location-independent worker, but they travel nearly full-time. They have possibly sold their home and live fully on the go.

A location-independent worker typically has a home base but may pick up and travel for a couple of weeks. Their job does not tie them to a specific city, state, or country, but they likely live in one place.

How do you become a digital nomad?

Determine if it’s a good fit

Before you dive in head-first, it’s a good idea to poke around and figure out what it’s really like to be a digital nomad. As romantic as working while traveling may sound, the reality is that combining career and global travel isn’t for everyone.

Figure out your budget

Whether you’ll have a full-time job or freelance gigs, determine how being a digital nomad will add expenses to your budget and if the money you’re bringing in each month is enough.

Decide on a destination(s)

Figure out your priorities (seeing a certain amount of countries, getting a change of scenery, learning a new language, etc.) and research the best locations for your needs and goals.

If you feel a bit intimidated by traveling and working at the same time, you could also do a test run and join a co-working space, or try an organized coworkation—a coworking retreat for digital nomads—for a few weeks and set your sails then. Working from your laptop every day isn’t for everyone!

Spruce up your skills

You’ll need to make sure that you have the necessary skills in order to work from any location successfully, such as being able to manage your workload, meet your deadlines, and still work well with your colleagues, even if they’re thousands of miles away.

Research the work-from-anywhere job market

When you conduct your job search for flexible work you can do from anywhere, keep an eye out for companies that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting true work-from-anywhere jobs.

Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad

Pro: Exposure to different cultural experiences. You should know from the outset whether you enjoy being exposed to all sorts of cultural norms, foods, work attitudes, and other parameters.

Pro: A more simplified lifestyle. Traveling to new cities and countries means you’ll be limited in what you can bring with you. Many digital nomads sell their homes and many of their possessions in order to live a simpler life and travel more easily.

Pro: Less stressful work environment. Studies have shown that remote workers are more productive. Focused, uninterrupted time can allow you to complete your work faster.

Con: Loneliness. Just as with other at-home employees, digital nomadic workers may find themselves grappling with isolation, but their attempts at connecting to colleagues may be even more extreme. 

Con: Time zone issues. Time zone differences might require you to work at night or in the early morning. It could mean your 3 p.m. deadline or meeting is actually in the middle of the night if you’re in a different country than your employer. Have a clear understanding of how different time zones affect when and how you meet your work obligations, and how to set boundaries with co-workers or clients.

Con: Internet/connection problems. Plan for internet access problems and have lots of backups

Common Jobs for Digital Nomads

A digital nomad job can be an avenue to help you see the world, without short-changing your career aspirations. If your current employer won’t allow you to work remotely, finding a work-from-anywhere job will be your best bet. 

Writer/Editor

Writing and editing jobs are perfect to do on the road. They can be found abundantly as freelance gigs or part-time or full-time roles. Many digital nomads even run their own blogs detailing their traveling adventures.

Project Manager

Project managers who work remotely need to be adept that staying on top of communication with clients and coworkers.

Online Teacher/Tutor

Virtual teachers and tutors may work with students individually or in a class setting. Some roles may require you to set specific meeting times, but others may allow you to log on when you’re available.

Social Media Manager

Many digital nomads have a robust social media presence where they share photos and updates of their adventures. This could parlay well into a social media career.

Customer Service Rep

While some customer service roles may require a quiet space to make phone calls, many are entirely web- and email-based.

Web Designer

Creativity can spike while you’re traveling. Use it to work as a web designer. This role will create web designs and mockups, and you’ll likely need JavaScript, HTML, and CSS experience.

Using FlexJobs for Your Digital Nomad Lifestyle

FlexJobs is a great resource for a digital nomad adventure. Our job listings are updated daily with many remote jobs you can take with you on the road. We verify every job and company on our site to ensure you spend less time worrying about scams, and more time finding work that fits your life. Our positions span more than 50 career categories and range from freelance to full-time, and many options in between.

10 Effective Methods for Measuring Employee Happiness | The Young Entrepreneur Council, Smallbiztrends.com

The more satisfied employees are, the more likely they’ll stay with the company long term and the higher their productivity will be. But how can you know if your staff is enjoying their work, especially when they may not feel comfortable expressing their true feelings with their superiors?

To help, 10 small business experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answered the following question:

“What’s one effective method small business leaders can use to gauge the happiness and fulfillment of their employees? Why is this so important to do regularly?”

Here are some of the top strategies they recommend.

1. Ask Them in a Safe Environment

“Keep it simple and just ask. Create a safe environment for team members to give you feedback at any time. You’ll be amazed at what they bring you, how much personal responsibility they hold for the business’s success and how quickly the team will grow. Stop treating employees like subordinates; they’re your team members and you’re the coach.” ~ Steven Knight, Mosaic Home Services Ltd.

2. Be Authentic While Interacting with Them

“Speak to them authentically. The problem is that an environment that encourages forced answers is one in which it’s hard to gauge happiness. When a boss is accepting and authentic with their staff, the staff will feel the ability to communicate authentically as well.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

3. Measure Productivity and Well-Being Twice a Year

“Small employers need to act like large employers when it comes to measuring the productivity and well-being of their workforce. Productivity and well-being build a resilient, engaged and hard-working workforce and help to attract and retain your top talent. Measuring these factors twice a year is easy for any leader to do.” ~ Tom Finn, LeggUP Inc.

4. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

“Relationship-building and fostering a culture that encourages both feedback and open dialogue are key. We sometimes swap out weekly team calls for all-team check-ins where each member of the team is given the space to share how they’re really doing, personally and professionally. No one is compelled to share, but most often do. It’s a good way to get a quick temperature check on where folks are at.” ~ Danielle Allen, Building Impact

5. Examine Initiative and Innovation Levels

“Gauge the level of initiative in your organization. If your employees are spearheading new projects, adding new elements to their positions and finding new solutions for problems, then you have a winning company culture. If they’re only doing what they’re told, then you have a stale environment without any creative energy. That’s a major momentum killer. So, encourage innovation and initiative.” ~ Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

6. Look at How Often They Are Tardy

“It may sound simple, but keeping an eye on employee tardiness can give you real insight into how employees feel about their work. Being late for work can signify many things, but if it’s consistent, then the employee may be struggling with their work-life balance. This in and of itself can imply that they are not happy in their work.” ~ Ismael Wrixen, FE International

7. Look for Consistency in Performance and Attitude

“You can ask all the questions you want, but an unhappy employee won’t tell you the truth anyway. Actions speak louder than words and so the best way to really know if an employee is still happy with you is by checking how consistent an employee’s performance, attendance and attitude are. This acts as a check and balance for you and your employee to both improve for the better.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

8. Provide a Feedback Box for Anonymous Opinions

“Small business leaders can gauge their employees’ happiness and fulfillment by creating a feedback box, which gives the team the option to remain anonymous and give more transparent feedback about what improvements can be made. It’s crucial to regularly receive feedback so you’re aware of what happens behind the scenes and can make well-informed decisions moving forward.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

9. Give Periodic Employee Surveys

“Every quarter, year or month send out a quick questionnaire or survey to track and trend employee satisfaction. A great question to ask in your assessment is how likely they are to tell their friends and family to work at the company. This is a quick way to determine whether they are happy at work and proud to be your company’s employee.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

10. Assign a New Task and Examine Their Response

“Periodically ask an employee to do something for you that would require a bit more effort on top of their day-to-day tasks. If your request is met with enthusiasm, you have a happy employee who is motivated to grow with your company. If you are met with resentment, that employee is most likely not happy or fulfilled. This is a good exercise to gauge fulfillment and motivation in your teams.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

How to enhance the work from home experience? | Dr. Tim Sandle, Digitaljournal.com

While some wrestle with the ‘work from home’ vs. ‘back to the office’ debate, for many others working at home remains a necessity. For those undertaking remote work, how can the experience be strengthened, especially when it comes to mental health issues?

With mental health and home working, feeling stress, boredom, anxiety and uncertainty is often a normal set of feelings. When these are prolonged and unwavering, problems develop.

What are some tips to help enhance your work from home experience? Dr. Teralyn Sell, psychotherapist explains to Digital Journal about how working from home impacts mental health in different ways for people.

Tip #1: Set apart your workspace

It is imperative that your workspace not stare at you every day and night. Even if you don’t have a dedicated office space, use a corner of your room and put a divider screen around your workspace when you are not working. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is a workable statement here.

Tip #2: Create boundaries and stick to them

While working from home we have a tendency to work longer hours than when we are in the office. This is good for your business, but bad for work and life balance. Create office hours for yourself and stick to them.

Tip #3: Create a transition time

Though the traffic during commute times was terrible, the commute itself allowed us to transition between work and home. However, when you work from home, there isn’t much transition there. In order to shake off the workday a transition is important. Perhaps it’s as simple as closing up your office and taking a few minutes to meditate or even just breathe.


7 Cybersecurity Tips For Working Remote | Catherine, Newsanyway.com

As remote working relies primarily on the Internet and devices, it’s not safe from cybercrimes either. Regardless, if you’re working from home or outside the company and want to stay safe online, this article can help. Below, we’ll discuss seven cybersecurity tips for remote workers; please read on.

  1. Switch to cloud applications

Contrary to common beliefs, while cloud applications run over the Internet, in most cases, they’re much safer than native and local ones. Why? Unlike installed programs on a personal computer, a cloud app runs on a remote server. Moreover, remote servers used by cloud apps are more private, use strong encryption, and are harder to infiltrate.

  • Get a VPN

If unfamiliar, a VPN or Virtual Private Network is a secure server where a request from a computer will go first instead of directly to a website server. As a result, the connection is more secure as it masks the user’s IP address or location and encrypts data packets. Aside from accessing region-locked content and avoiding censorship, it’s also beneficial for the corporate side.

  • Use a password manager

Since the early days, email, username, and password have been the primary ways to identify an account. Today, with countless websites, apps, and services, it has gotten quite challenging to remember login credentials. Consequently, reusing passwords became a common practice among individuals.

A password manager can help one secure multiple logins. With only a single master password, a user can generate strong entropy passwords, store and sync them across devices.

  • Try an email search and reverse phone lookup tool

Though it’s easy to ignore strangers, workers typically need to entertain anyone trying to do business with the company regardless of who they are.

Luckily, there are ways to review a caller or sender’s identity and intent before opening a message, transacting, or following any links.

One way to do this is by using Spokeoan email and phone number search tool. Using Spokeo‘s reverse number lookup tool and email search feature, one could learn a stranger’s name, address, social profiles, and even past criminal records. This way, it’s easier to avoid scams and phishing techniques that hackers use.

  • Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks

As a safe practice, it’s best only to use the Wi-Fi connection at home, especially when doing work-related tasks. Additionally, using firewall and security tools helps protect the house network from intruders. Lastly, if necessary, using a portable Wi-Fi device or enabling the phone hotspot will do the job when working outside.

  • Employ two-factor authentication (2FA)

2FA or two-factor authentication is the act of sending a code through email, phone number or using an authenticator app to unlock an account after typing the password. With this method, even if a hacker manages to learn the username or password, it’s still hard to proceed as the login form requires a unique code after that.

  • Ensure backups

Ensuring backups is a practice that can save one from potential data loss after a breach or hack. In the digital world, there is a thing called the “3-2-1 Backup Rule”.

According to the rule, one should have at least three (3) copies of a file, two (2) backup devices (like a computer and a drive), and one (1) remote drive (cloud storage). This way, it’s almost impossible to experience data loss in normal circumstances.

Prioritize Safety When Remote Working

Apart from ensuring the quality of output, work, and service, prioritizing cybersecurity is also essential when working remotely. As almost everyone is using computers and communicating through the Internet, safety is more critical than ever as criminals can now do things anywhere and anonymously.

Remote Work Digest: May 29, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

5 Strategies to Boost Employee and Client Retention | Matt Goebel, Mytotalretail.com

It’s critical for retailers to understand that what’s happening on the inside of an organization is often felt on the outside by its customers. Luckily, there are a few workplace management strategies that retailers can integrate into their operations to help boost employee and client retention:

1. Prioritize Open, Two-Way Team Communication

Effective communication helps retailers identify workplace issues and gaps in employee engagement or performance, gauge team and customer satisfaction, and more. One way to support two-way communication is to provide an easy-to-use, one-stop platform that eliminates confusion and operational errors that stem from juggling too many touchpoints.

2. Centralize Workplace Operations

One study found that 40 percent of workers said they left a company because they lacked access to state-of-the-art digital tools. In addition, 45 percent of employers complain that outdated technology keeps them from being productive.

3. Establish Clearly Defined Team Roles and Responsibilities

This helps employees understand how the quality of their efforts feed into the overall success of the company. Employees crave meaning and ownership in their work with 49 percent of employees stating that they would trade a portion of their salary to continue in their role with an added sense of purpose. When a team is striving toward a common goal, productivity spikes, improving customer satisfaction.

4. Re-evaluate and Modernize Employee Training

Proper training takes education and experience, that’s why for long term results, employee training should be continuous. Using a performance and assessment based training program that provides employees with feedback and rewards for skill development is a great step to producing desired workplace outcomes.

5. Foster a Positive Workplace Culture That Thrives on Teamwork – Not Competition

A strong workplace culture can directly impact employee productivity, making positive culture a key factor for business success. In order to build a positive culture, management must offer opportunities for employees to engage with their leaders and peers.

Addressing major pain points like employee and customer retention in retail can seem daunting, but taking the time to evaluate your operations strategies is the first step. Building a more positive and employee centric workplace will help you retain top talent and in turn, retain your customer base.

Why prioritizing employee wellness is more important now than ever | Anjan Pathnak, Yourstory.com

Employee wellbeing is not limited to physical health; various other factors determine an individual’s overall functioning. Employee health and wellbeing have always been a priority for employers as they boost employee productivity, reduce burnout, improve workplace culture, and offer many other benefits.

The use of technology and AI to derive the appropriate wellbeing solution for the organization will ultimately help revive employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Here are effective steps to address employee wellness:

Encourage communication

This will make them feel included and help them deal with stress, personal or professional. You also need to make sure that they receive the correct information on time.

Recognize their efforts

Appreciate and reward them for their hard work and dedication. Recognizing employees for their work will boost their confidence and fuel productivity. This enhances working relationships and workplace culture

Be a good listener

If you let your employees speak up about their challenges and struggles, and empathise with them, it will create employee trust. They will feel valued and may also feel little less burdened by life.

Introduce wellness challenges

Wellness challenges will help employees remain intellectually and socially motivated. You can try workouts, cooking, online games, learning, or writing challenges that will boost morale and motivate teamwork.

Ensure financial wellness

Finance is one of the significant stressors today. Employers must ensure their employees’ financial wellness, especially during the time of COVID-19. Financial literacy is a must-know subject and you must keep employees aware or wise financial practices.

Host informal online sessions

Keeping your employees entertained during these tough times can be a stress buster for them. It also nurtures the connection among team members.

Reward your employees

Special incentives always contribute to a better workplace with an agile workforce. Employee rewards and recognition are the buzzwords in the human resource management space and the most substantial for employee engagement.

Host online sessions

Creating awareness on mental health issues is very vital now. When the leaders can build trust among their employees and encourage them to share their issues, whether or not they share, they feel a little relieved to realize having a shoulder.

Wellness is a broad term with multiple dimensions. Employee wellness programmes are vital to attract top talent, keep them happy, and decrease employee turnover and absenteeism.

A healthy organization starts with healthy employees; it safeguards company culture. Thus, prioritizing employee wellness is crucial for growth and development.

5 Things to Know about Your Remote Workforce | Barbara Weltman, Smallbiztrends.com

Now that the economy is opening up, businesses are deciding whether to retain remote work arrangements. A PwC survey found that 55% of employees expect to continue working from home even after the pandemic passes. In making the decision, employers should keep the following factors in mind.

1. Productivity may be better

Many companies are concerned about whether employees who work from home are as productive as those who work at company headquarters, offices, or other locations. A 2-year study by Great Place to Work reported that most employees working remotely said they were at least or even more productive.

2. Tax issues become very complex

If all employees live within the same state where the business is located, then permitting remote work arrangements does not impact payroll and income taxes. However, if employees live in a state that’s different from that of the employer, taxes get complicated. ADP has an extensive article explaining the complexity of this problem. 

3. Workers’ comp may need to be expanded

A remote work arrangement raises 2 issues for workers’ compensation:Whether an employer needs coverage in more than one state. Usually, a claim depends on the state in which the injury occurs. If the company is in one state and the employee is working from home in another state, the company may need coverage in both states (i.e., “extraterritorial coverage”).

Whether a worker’s injury at home is covered. Workers’ comp covers liability for injuries sustained by an employee in his or her own home if it’s considered to “arise out of and in the course of employment.”

4. OSHA isn’t a problem

The DOL said its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have any regulations regarding telework in home offices.  The agency issued a directive in 2000 stating that it would not inspect employees’ home offices, would not hold employers liable for employees’ home offices, and did not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees.

5. Cybersecurity is a big concern

Employers allowing remote work arrangements to continue should adopt policies to protect company data. This could include, for example, providing employees with devices to be used only on company business, educating employees about best practices for security, and helping them secure their networks.

It’s not going to be easy for all small businesses to decide on whether and to what extent they permit remote work arrangements. Many employees like this option and it may be an important way to attract and retain good workers in a tough labor market. If you decide to allow employees to work from home some or all of the time, be sure you address various issues to protect you and your employees.

9 Ways Your Company Can Save Money With Telecommuting | Recentlyhear.com

Whether you are an employer looking to save money and become more environmentally responsible or an employee who would rather skip the commute and work out of their house, there are many reasons to turn employees into telecommuters.

Here are 9 ways your company can save money with telecommuting:

1. Reduce the Rent – Fewer employees in the office means less office space needed. Down size the office and save on rent.

2. Lower Utility Bills – Less employees in the office and smaller digs translates to lower utility bills.

3. Purchase Less Furniture – With employees supplying their own office furniture at home, the company does not need to supply desks for them in the office. If you already own desks and chairs that will no longer be needed, sell or donate them.

4. Lower Insurance Premiums – Smaller office space and less furniture should lower your insurance premiums.

5. Fewer Sick Days – Someone that is feeling sick but still able to drag themselves out of bed can work even if they need to visit the bathroom 12 times during the day. What’s more, sick employees will not be spreading their germs to everyone else.

6. Flexible Work Hours/Working Part Time – When employees do not have to drive 30 minutes to and from work, they are generally more willing to work part time hours. Do not pay for a full 40-hour week if the job can be done with less.

7. Save on Office Supplies – With more employees working at home and less in the office, office supplies will not be so rapidly consumed.

8. All Employees Are More Productive – Let’s accept that when you have several employees working near each other, they find ways to distract each other from their job. Some isolation can lead to better focus and more productivity.

9. Less Overhead – Your overhead will be dramatically less when you start saving money on rent, utility bills, furniture, insurance, sick days and paid hours. With less overhead, it will be easier to generate a profit.

Remote Work Digest: April 29, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

Remote work meeting overload: 10 ways to ease your team’s pain | Stephanie Overby, Enterprisersproject.com

Now is the time to get serious about improving your meeting culture. Elizabeth Freedman, executive advisor and head of consulting at executive coaching and assessment firm Bates Communications (recently acquired by global strategy consultancy BTS), says, “One of the most important things that leaders can do right now that would have a significant, powerful, and positive impact on the company is to have fewer, better meetings – more than any other corporate initiative push for growth, or effort to reduce costs.”

Poor or excessive virtual meetings drain an organization’s energy, engagement, and expenses. Here’s what you can do about them in 2021:

1. Conduct a meeting audit

Make a list of all the meetings you currently lead or attend and eliminate those that are low value.

Not sure where to start? Freedman suggests pulling up your calendar and asking questions. Are there any meetings that can be killed without further discussion? Would there be consequences if you stopped attending the meeting? How would meeting attendees evaluate its effectiveness? Can you describe the purpose of the meeting in one sentence? Do attendees prepare for the meeting?

2. Don’t substitute a meeting for connection

“My key recommendation is businesses should train managers and employees that meetings are not a substitute for informal office chats or a water cooler,” says Cynthia Watson (formerly Spraggs), CEO of Vitira and book author. “Businesses need to introduce collaboration workspaces where informal updates can occur 24-7, synchronously, and asynchronously.”

3. Go back to basics

Consider each meeting’s purpose, necessary attendees, and length before considering setting it up. Then choose the right platform for the purpose. “Failure to consider these factors contribute to energy-sapping meetings, be they in person or online,” says Axelrod. 

4. Send agendas ahead of time

“People do not want to be caught off-guard or appear to be stupid during a meeting,” says Axelrod. “Having meeting materials ahead of time increases certainty, which in turn reduces meeting stress.”

5. Embrace meeting excellence

“High-performing teams create guidelines for how they will engage with each other during meetings – from defining a meeting purpose, to making decisions, to handling conflict, to preparing for meetings,” says Freedman. “The best teams we’ve worked with don’t leave good meetings up to chance or assume people will just automatically know what to do. They take the time to get very concrete and specific about defining the relevant behaviors, processes, or actions that will create meeting success.”

6. Incorporate breaks

Taking frequent breaks allows time for the brain to go idle, which increases the possibility that insights will occur.

7. Normalize turning off the camera

Sure, face time is important, but allowing employees to dial in can reduce the pressure to “look good” on-screen and thereby relieve associated tension.

8. Inject some humanity

This is particularly important when real social interaction is at a minimum. “Some of our clients start their meetings with a quick round of weekend updates. Others start their meetings with questions like: What would you like people to know about you that they wouldn’t know by looking at you?” says Axelrod. “These questions build connections between people, which in turn makes the work go smoothly.”

9. Assign rotating roles

This can increase engagement and also improve outcomes. Some roles to consider, says Freedman: notetaker, meeting facilitator, timekeeper, and devil’s advocate (someone appointed to deliberately challenge or present an opposing view to an idea).

10. Try to establish meeting-free days

If that’s not possible, cut meeting times in half or reduce their frequency. “At a minimum, better manage meeting time itself,” advises Freedman.

How to Ask Your Boss To Work From Home Permanently | Julia Wuench, Forbes.com

If you want to continue working remotely but aren’t sure how to approach the conversation with your boss, implement the below suggestions. The goal is to engage in a productive dialogue with your boss that supports your goal of a more permanent work-from-home arrangement while also expressing its immense benefits to your employer.

1. First, schedule a call with your boss. Make the goals of the call clear up front: Send them a formal written request in advance to continue working remotely instead of returning to the office.

Within your request, illustrate your reasoning for permanent remote working and explain how working from home permanently will benefit your employer. Some examples could include:

  • Detail your productivity on specific work from home projects
  • Suggest the ability to use fewer PTO or sick days because you’re able to work through mild illnesses, be home for sick children, etc.
  • Highlight your faster turnaround times due to increased focus outside of typical office distractions.
  • Cite your past/current availability and flexibility both inside and outside of traditional office hours.
  • Illustrate the recently enhanced team creativity, streamlined project functionality and stronger working relationships gained through new collaboration and communication tools.
  • Express your commitment to upholding your work contribution and quality while simultaneously gaining the capability to address out-of-work circumstances.

2. Next, propose a potential work schedule and communication cadence to put your employer at ease, set expectations and create a visual of how working remotely can function successfully.

  • Determine how many days you’d like to work remotely.
  • Volunteer to make office visits as needed for in-person meetings, gatherings, events, etc.
  • Commit to maintaining outstanding communication to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Reassure your availability during work hours through phone, email, text and chat with collaboration tools.
  • Plan to announce your daily arrival and departure everyday as you did your office.
  • Dial into all meetings and use video whenever possible.

Lastly, express your gratitude for your employer’s consideration of remote work; it is a privilege, not a right.  If your employer is uncertain, suggest a trial period to see how remote work affects your performance and team collaboration.

5 Ways Lean Teams Can Work Smarter and Get More Done | Peter Daisyme, Entrepreneur.com

Entrepreneurs are obsessed with productivity, and for good reason. Most startups work with small teams on short timelines, which means they need every member contributing at their highest level.

Here are five proven ways to make your team more productive and efficient.

1.Set achievable goals and benchmarks

The best goals are SMART — specific, measurable, actionable, results-oriented and time-bound. They should be challenging but still achievable. If goals are too big or too long-term to feel achievable, break them down into smaller short-term goals. It can also be helpful to track your team’s progress visually and celebrate important benchmarks.

2. Automate routine tasks

Whenever you’re trying to get more done with a small team, one of the fastest ways you can boost productivity is through automation. According to a McKinsey report, 45% of all work activities can be automated using existing technology. You can automate tasks in HR, marketing, sales — the sky’s the limit — but it’s best to start with tasks that consume a lot of resources. 

3. Allow team members to design their own workdays

Research shows that employees who have the freedom to set their own schedule put in an additional 7.4 hours per week. Additionally, 73% of people who engage in “windowed work” report greater productivity. Essentially, these workers break up their day into “windows” of work time and personal time. These windows can change to accommodate meetings, errands and childcare around blocks of focused work.

4. Keep meetings to a bare minimum

The average employee attends eight meetings per week, with more senior employees attending up to 17 meetings. But it’s not just the time lost to the meetings themselves that impact productivity. Poor scheduling wreaks havoc on critical thinking and your team’s ability to engage in deep work. This is why some of the brightest minds have ruthless tactics for avoiding wasteful meetings.

5. Use project-management software to keep everyone on the same page

The best way to keep track of projects and tasks is project management software, especially if your team is dispersed. This ensures your team stays on top of goals without duplicating work and keeps important tasks from falling through the cracks. 

Small teams can be incredibly powerful, but only when each individual is firing on all cylinders. Micromanaging your employees goes against the principles of building a lean team, and it can lead to disengagement that erodes productivity. It’s far better to make changes through scheduling, automation, and workflow optimization to free up your team to do their very best work.

5 mindful ways to enjoy work from home | Deblina Chatterjae, Pinkvilla.com

Mindfulness productivity is the ability to be in sync with inner feelings and emotions. Garima Juneja, Psuchologist, founder of Lightroom Therapy and Counselling, talks about 5 mindful ways to work from home.

Kick start your day on a good note

We all like to dive directly into the pool of our phone into social media waking up every morning letting ourselves drench in the excessive useless information. This clutters our minds and makes us anxious or sad or cranky. This is certainly not a good way to start our day.

Create a mindful workspace

External environment clearly has a significant impact on setting the tone for our internal well-being. Creating a clean workspace undoubtedly works wonders for internal calmness.

One thing at a time

Concentrating on one thing or task at a time is always more beneficial. It improves your work quality and keeps you away from overthinking.     

Go slow

Eat slow, work slow, listen attentively. Doing everything slowly provides the edge of micromanagement and increases proficiency. And most importantly, working in a slow pace makes you enjoy every moment of work and life.

Love yourself

Shower yourself with love. Meditate and work out daily. These will help in the release of endorphins which is a hormone responsible for your happiness. Spend time with your loved ones. Take breaks as they enthuse you with fresh energy to bounce back. Resting at the end of the day is pivotal. Fill in the gratitude and accomplishment journal. Pat yourself on your back, give yourself that pep talk.

Remote Work Digest: March 30, 2021

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

Start fresh or anew: Remote work is available to entry-level job seekers | N.F. Mendoza, Techrepublic.com

The job market appears to be improving, and many companies are moving to either permanent remote/hybrid workplaces. Job seekers without much experience now have the option to secure jobs that don’t require going into the office.

Entry-level job openings are available in nearly every job category, according to Remote.co’s list of jobs, which listed in alphabetical order, positions that meet the following criteria:

  • Fully remote/work-from-home jobs
  • Entry-level career level (0-2 years of experience required)
  • Active as of March 25, 2021

It’s no surprise that for the best jobs on the market, competition is fierce. Because tech work can be found in pretty much every industry, it opens up the possibilities further.    

Remote.co’s career expert Brie Reynolds outlined four key strategies to help job applicants stand out.

  1. Discuss your skills that prove you’ll be a competent remote worker. “Include the specific skulls that make you a good remote worker, such as written and verbal communication, independent worker, organized and productive, great time and task manager and having a growth mindset are all good ones,” Reynolds said.
  2. If you’ve already worked remotely, highlight that info. Any position in which you’ve worked at a distance from your coworkers, across time zones or physical distances counts.
  3. One application does not fit all. Customize your resume for each remote job application. “You don’t have to rewrite the whole resume, but you should absolutely spend time making sure your document is keyword-rich in at least those top two sections, summary and key skills, using the same language from the job description.”
  4. Expect to be asked “Why do you want to work remotely?” Talk about how “you’re better able to focus, or you’re not worrying about catching a train home” or battling traffic at the end of the day or because you plan for a home office space that energizes and focuses you on your work. “Don’t discuss the personal benefits because employers already assume these things like getting more time back in your day and having better work-life balance.”

Guide to protecting the business when staff are working from home | Nicki Robson, Thehrdirector.com

With many companies planning to introduce software to monitor staff productivity remotely, HR experts have highlighted top steps to protect business owners when staff are working from home.

Here are the steps you can take to protect your business when staff are working from home:

1. Provide key training around the GDPR legislation

It is a key requirement for all business to train their staff on GDPR legislation. Ensure that you are providing adequate training for your team and have a data protection policy in place.

2. Sharpen management skills

Implementing good management practices that employers can follow while staff are working from home can increase staff efficiency and trust without the need for micromanagement and productivity monitoring software.

3. Strengthen communication

Make sure your business has robust communication mechanisms in place to keep employee/employer relationships strong.

4. Offer technology training

Provide employees with the opportunity to take up technology training or computer refresher courses. Once staff members are aware of how to use their technology, they will also be less likely to accidentally breach data protection laws while remote working.

It is important that you comply with data protection legislation and have adequate policies and procedures in place.

5 most common mistakes project managers make |Angela Scott-Briggs, Techbullion.com

Too often we forget how much of a difference this can make in delivering a project on time. Thus, instead of stressing about the outside factors, you should first take a look inside your own company and review how things are done. A faulty process will cause you to miss a lot more deadlines than any other factor.

To help you get started, here are the 5 most common mistakes project managers make. Correct them and you will be on your way to a more efficient timely process.

1.Lack of direction

One of the most common reasons for missing deadlines is ineffectiveness. Instead of working on a project, teams and companies lose a lot of time in trying to determine what should be done next. Thus, wasting valuable time and resources on something that should already have been done.

2. Lack of information

Similar to not knowing what should be done next, teams can also struggle to deliver work on time if they are unsure of what the task is. While it is clear to the manager what each work item entails, this information is often lost in the communication and thus time is spent on clarification.

3. Lack of visualization

Another big mistake when we talk about meeting deadlines is not visualizing your process and monitoring the flow of tasks. To make sure everything is going according to plan, it is important to track progress and identify which blockers can affect your timeline.

4. Lack of employee engagement

Employee engagement is a crucial part of any project’s success. A motivated team will deliver better results faster, while those with less incentive will be more prone to missing deadlines. But how can you engage your team without punishing them about a missed deadline? Try to involve them in the decision-making process.

5. Lack of actionable decisions

Lastly, one more mistake that causes your team to miss deadlines is too many report meetings and too few decisions. Surely, meetings are important to get in touch with your team and find solutions to issues, but too often this time is used to only report on status. In such cases, everyone simply presents what they are doing at the moment and which issues they may be facing, but no actionable decisions are discussed. Leaving the person in trouble with no help.

To make sure your meetings are about troubleshooting and helping your team, use your project management tools to track progress and evaluate project status. This way, you will not need to spend time learning what everyone is doing at the moment, and can instead discuss solutions for issues or improvements to your process. Time is the most valuable resource of any project, so make sure you spend it wisely.

How to Improve Your Work-From-Home Experience (Even After Months of Doing It) | Lucas Miller, Entrepreneur.com

In a January 2021 survey from PWC83% of employers felt that their company’s adaptation to virtual work has been successful. Also noteworthy: 55% of employees said they would prefer to work remotely three or more days per week even after pandemic concerns have completely subsided.

Of course, some people would love to return to a normal office environment, but find that corporate policies are keeping them at home a while longer. Still others are enjoying the remote-work lifestyle, but find it could use some improvements. Here are a few ways to enhance your experience.

Set clear boundaries

When you work in the same place that you live, it’s all too easy for the boundaries between work and home life to blur. This is a problem that goes both ways. If you are answering work-related messages at the dinner table, your family won’t be too thrilled with you. On the other hand, if you allow your family to constantly interrupt you throughout the day, your productivity will go down and you’ll need to work longer hours to get everything done.

Schedule regular breaks

Taking a short break every hour will actually make you more productive, not less. Breaks help you avoid decision fatigue and stay motivated to complete the task at hand. By refreshing your mind with a short break, you can also improve creative thinking.

So, if you’ve gotten into the rut of trying to get everything done all at once so you can be done with your current task before your kids need you again, call a mental mulligan. Set an alarm for each hour if needed, but don’t neglect your breaks.

Clean up your workspace

If you’ve been working from home for several months, chances are you’ve allowed a fair amount of clutter to accumulate in your workspace. However, as Joel Falconer explains for Lifehack, “Even if you are anti-minimalist, you should declutter. We’re defining clutter here as distracting material, including mess. Nothing is worse for your mental state than living and operating in a mess. Expect lethargy and crankiness and a particular level of apathy towards your state of affairs. Anything you don’t use on a daily basis should be put away, and anything you don’t use should be thrown straight in the bin.”

There is no denying that while working from home can be convenient for many, it also comes with its own unique set of challenges. By taking these steps to improve your work environment, you will be able to better enjoy your day-to-day routine, while still remaining productive.