Remote Work Digest: August 24, 2015

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

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Keep Virtual Workers Engaged From the Start With These 4 Simple Onboarding Practices |

When you work with remote employees, an exceptional and thorough onboarding program is critical. It’s even more challenging to keep remote workers engaged. Setting the right tone at the onboarding stage will improve engagement, productivity and employee satisfaction.

If your company utilizes remote workers, here are Beth Miller‘s four best practices to set up your entire team for success.

1. Recognize that onboarding starts at hiring
Always look for signs that candidates are self-starters and will thrive in an often isolated work environment. It’s important to remember that working remotely is very different from working on site. Assessing skills is important, but it is equally imperative to assess a candidate’s ability to thrive while working from a distance.

2. Deploy the right technology
Choose your technology based up on the needs of the group, and be sure that your company has the bandwidth and capabilities to keep those technologies up and running. These technologies humanize the digital experience, and foster a connection with remote employees that’s stronger and better that a phone call or email.

3. Maintain a continuous connection
Remote employees and managers should speak each day for the first two to three weeks. During those check-ins, managers should make sure the employee is clear on his or her priorities and what needs to be done.

4. Help telecommuters help themselves
Managers aren’t the only team members challenged by telecommuting. The employees themselves also face challenges. Working from home can be isolating, and employees face a daily onslaught of distractions. Virtual workers can also face challenges when it comes to establishing connections with team members and colleagues.

Through strong hiring practices, the strategic deployment of technology, continuous communication and some creative thinking, managers can set the tone for a great working environment for even their most geographically distant team members.

Is Remote Working Right For You? |

Is working from home right for you? Taking a telecon in a hip cafe; commuting ten paces to work in your pajamas; fitting a trip to the gym into a long lunch hour…what’s not to like about the attractive and endlessly flexible ways of modern remote working? But is the grass really as green as it looks? Here are a few things to consider if you are considering asking to telework.

The pros

Remote workers can look forward to saving time on commuting, and having more control over their working time, often helping them to reconcile work and home life.

Benefits to workers include:

  • the potential to work virtually anywhere you want
  • freedom from the time-consuming distractions of the office
  • contact with other teleworkers could help stimulate more creative approaches to your own work

Employers can also benefit. They save on desk space to cut office overheads, and create more agile workforce. There is also evidence that trusting staff to organize themselves effectively to do their job can boost morale, nurture greater responsibility and pride in their work, and ultimately deliver better results for companies and organizations.

The cons

There are some great benefits to teleworking for both employees and employers. You should weigh these against the pitfalls of teleworking. Here are just a few;

  • People working from home often find themselves going ‘stir-crazy’ after a day or two away from the social life of the office.
  • Slowly losing some of the workplace social and professional skills you need to keep aquiring to develop in your career.
  • Slipping into bad work habits is very easy without traditional work structure around you.
  • Flexible working needs boundaries and it’s easy for your colleagues to assume you are absolutely flexible and perpetually ‘on call’.
  • Teleworking: your rights

If you have started to telework but found it isn’t for you, you should be able to change your mind.

Why Home-Based Jobs for Moms Work for Stay-at-Home Mothers |

There are so many opportunities online that only require a little of your time, and you can earn money, which you can use for perhaps, additional budget on groceries. You just need to treat technology as your best friend and know which websites offer legitimate work.

If you have experience doing administrative or technical tasks, you can check out Upwork, formerly known as Elance – oDesk, or FlexJobs, where you can search for data entry, medical transcription jobs and the like. If you are considering a full-time career even while at home, there are so many available jobs out there that you can fit in your busy schedule. Here are some jobs being offered online.

  1. Call center representative/ Tech support specialist
  2.  Writer / Editor
  3. Online Teacher / Tutor
  4. Web Developer / Designer

Having a work from home career is very stressful at first, but if you have the support of your family, this will be easy as a pie in the long run.

How to Take Advantage of your Brain’s Hidden Productivity Powers |

If you think keeping everything you need to know neatly packed away in your head is a smart way to run your life, you’re probably hurting your productivity and stifling your creativity. Mental lists, like keeping track and remembering appointments, meetings, deadlines, and to-dos, distract you from more productive uses of your brain like solving problems. According to Scott Shafer, associate dean and professor of management at Wake Forest University School of Business, Mental lists are more difficult to manage than physical lists. Shafer recommends doing a brain dump and to – do lists out of your head and onto a physical list and calendar.

Brain Dumps Fill Your Calendar

One a week, set aside a half hour and write or type all the loose thoughts in your brain about what you have to do or need to remember. Capture this information in whatever way feels most comfortable to you, says Shafer, such as in a Word document, Excel file, task list or legal pad.

Brain Dumps Can Also Jumpstart Creative Projects

According to Barnet Bain, producer of the Oscar – winning film What Dreams May Come and author of The Book of Doing and Being: Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love, and Work, “You need to be willing to let your inner censor take a break, just as you would suspend criticism of a child who is sharing an idea with you or showing you an art project.”

Using your head as a place to store information and ideas is not an effective use of your brain, nor is it an efficient way to keep track of your work, says Shafer. “Trying to keep track of everything that way just creates mental and physical stress,” he says.

10 Ways to Identify a Bad Manager! |

There are several books, articles, and papers that show you ways to be a good manager. Here are ten characteristics of a bad manager:

Manages everyone the same – Bad managers manage everyone the same. It doesn’t matter to them whether you are able to perform at the same level as other members of the team, the expectations are the same.

Picks their favorites – Bad managers pick favorites. Not necessarily because they are better performers than you, but because they simply like them better than you. The favorites will get the best assignments, the most kudos, the best yearly reviews, and the biggest raises.

Their point of view is the only point of view – Bad managers are terrible listeners. They neither want to hear nor do they accept others’ opinions and even if they do listen, they will come up with an excuse why that won’t work in their department.

Technical to management – Technical people are good at managing technical things, not necessarily managing people. They simply don’t have the people skills and empathy to deal with subordinates’ problems, both work-related and personal. Technical people, for the most part, should stay technical.

Heart is not in the game – Bad managers really don’t want to manage. They don’t want to put in the time, energy, and effort to become better managers. If you want to be a manager, then you really need to want to manage people.

Lack of empathy – Bad managers don’t care about their subordinates. They spend more time finding things that their subordinates are doing wrong instead of rewarding things they are doing right. They have little tolerance for people who may need help and don’t want to take the time to train, coach or improve each member of the team.

Lack of management skills – Many managers have never taken a management, leadership, or communication workshop or class. Many have never managed people before. Many don’t believe they need to take any training, seek any advice, or accept any coaching to be able to manage people. They are wrong.

Lack of time – Bad managers don’t want to invest the time necessary to become good managers.

Lack of effort – Managing people takes effort. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen by chance. It is an ever-learning process where the emphasis is on the end result of being able to effectively coach, mentor, and improve your subordinates.

Lack of smart goal setting – Bad managers set terrible goals. They are generally nonspecific, non-measurable, non-attainable, non-realistic, and not time bound so it is up to the manager to determine if the subordinate actually achieved the goals set forth.

Bad managers come from those who realistically do not want to manage people. If you have the heart, and are willing to put in the time and effort, you can be more than a manager. You can be a good coach and mentor, which is what all managers should strive for anyway.



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