Remote Work Digest: July 22, 2016

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

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4 Signs You’re Not Cut Out to Work From Home | Shereisa Ngo, Cheatsheet.com

Being able to work from home full-time is great, but it’s not right for everyone. Do you have what it takes? Here are a few clear signs that you don’t have what it takes to maintain employment in a work-at-home arrangement.

1. You’re too relaxed about work
Do your best to stay on top of deadlines and submit quality work. Now is not the time to kick back and relax. Don’t forget that you still have an employer to answer to. Show your appreciation for being able to work from home by doing your best work. You can relax on your own time.

2. You have poor time management
If you don’t know how to manage your time well, the day can easily slip away from you. Try creating a to-do list of everything you need to accomplish for a specific work day. This will help you stay on track and stay focused on what you need to do.

3. You’re lazy
If you need help finding your get-up-and-go, enlist the help of a work buddy who also works from home. You can check in with each other throughout the day and help each other stay motivated. Also try to create a strict work schedule for yourself so that you can reduce opportunities to waste time.

4. You have too many distractions
Think about some of the things that get you off track during the work day. Is there a TV in your office space? Get rid of it. Are your children yelling and screaming all day? Hire a reliable babysitter or ask a family member to take over for a couple of hours. You’ll be surprised to see how much more productive you can be with just a few small changes to your environment.

How To Fix Three Of The Biggest Project Management Problems Your Business Faces | Maren Hogan, Forbes.com

97% of organizations believe project management is critical to organizational success and business performance. Something so crucial to small business success shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the wrong project management processes can completely destroy business growth.

Problem No. 1: Your Team Doesn’t Understand The Project
One of the most obvious problems occurs when your team doesn’t understand the project. This is the result of a lack of communication between upper management, the project manager and you. As the owner of the company, it’s your duty to ensure your management team and project managers (PMs) are equipped with the tools they need to seek accurate information regarding the projects.

Problem No. 2: The Project Manager Is Either Too Relaxed Or Uptight
Not everyone is cut out to be a project manager, and having someone who is too lax about deadlines or the work that needs to be involved leaves your team idle and frustrated. On the other hand, a project manager who is too rigid and micromanaging can overwhelm and demotivate your team. If you have a project management novice, make sure to pass out peer evaluations after major projects.

Problem No. 3: The Goal Time Line Is Impossible
If your PM can’t envision the big picture and understand the team’s workload, then projects will never be finished on deadline. PMs need to be able to see that every member of the team contributes to each ongoing project and foresee the end results.

If you already have or are thinking about delegating project management, be on the lookout for these three issues. Be proactive in fixing these problems, and consider how project management software may help you. Don’t forget to conduct peer reviews after projects are completed, and give your PMs access to all important information they need to complete the work. After all, the success of your business is ultimately dependent on the performance of your team.

3 Modern Products For The Work-At-Home Entrepreneur | Melanie Nathan, Huffingtonpost.ca

As a professional, you already understand that organization is one of the key components to the success of any venture. Thankfully, there are new tools that you can pack in your toolkit to help you also stay well-rested, healthy and stimulated — making work-at-home life a little easier.

Blackout Blinds
Blackout blinds are ideal for the business owner who needs to grab some shut-eye during the daylight hours. Blackout blinds cover the window completely and are well-sealed, so there will be no bright rays of sunshine peeking through while you sleep. Blackoutblinds.ca (created by an entrepreneur), offers an effective product created especially for those in need of sleep during daytime hours. Whether your business requires shift work or you are a night owl with the height of your productivity occurring at night, these will help you get the rest you need whenever you need it.

Treadmill Desks
Many health reports though, tell us that sitting for extended periods of time is not good for your overall health. Apparently our bodies were made to move.
The Lifespan treadmill desk takes the idea of moving around while at work one step beyond the sit to stand desks (which we will discuss below). With the treadmill speed set ideally at less than two miles per hour, they offer ample space to accommodate your laptop or monitor and keyboard (though jogging and typing simultaneously is not advised), as well as smart phone and other desk utensils.

Sit to Stand Work Space
Maybe you are not so inclined to enjoy the advantages of the treadmill desks, but you still do not want to acquire the fabled “secretary’s spread” from sitting at your desk all day.
The height adjustable sit-to-stand Varidesk is a great option for those looking to move around more while working. This is the height adjustable base that can be placed on top of your desk and raised or lowered, accommodating your need to sit or stand at various periods during your work day. This style has room for single or dual monitors, keyboard and note-taking.

Gadgets Galore
There are a ton of fun but functional gadgets to bring more ease into your world and break up the monotony without taking you off course for the day.

Establishing your boundaries to separate your business hours from the daily meanderings of home life is key to your sanity. The aesthetics and functionality of your work at home space will encourage your productivity and help to keep you on task. Ensuring that you have all the business tools, technology and gadgets you need, you are setting yourself up for complete work-from-home entrepreneurial success.

8 Managers Share The Best Way To Ask For A Raise (And Get It) | Elana Lyn Gross, Forbes.com

How do you ask for a raise and get it? Elana Lyn Gross asked managers to share best practices for asking for a raise.

1. Share your goals and ask for feedback.
Have an honest and open conversation with your manager. “If you’ve been in your current role for at least six months, then in a non-pushy or self-serving way, have a conversation with your supervisor to let them know that, while your first priority is to excel in your current role, your long-term goal is to advance and that you want to make sure you’re doing everything that you can to set yourself up for success,” says Danielle Harlan, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of The Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential.

2. Take on more responsibility.
“My best advice to fast-track a promotion is to dress for the job you want — and the job you have,” recommends Jenna Tanenbaum, the founder of the smoothie delivery service, GreenBlender. “First, command the tasks and responsibilities in your current role, and then start solving the problems that your soon-to-be self would be working on. The only way to effectively do this is through careful time management. Understand the core strategy of your organization, ask lots of hard questions, and align your priorities with that of the company. You’ll be running the show in no time,” she says.

3. Proactively communicate wins.
Jenn Grasso, vice president of product at the fashion subscription service Le Tote, says she gave an unplanned promotion to a product manager. “The most important thing she did was consistently exceed expectations in terms of her current role and job responsibilities. She always took on more than was expected of her, and managed these projects as well as her more senior colleagues,” she says. And she didn’t wait to share all of her accomplishments at once. “She was also great at proactively communicating her accomplishments to me. When she approached me with her request for a promotion, I already knew she deserved it! Every step of the way, she made it easy for me to see that she was a star performer who deserved a better title and salary.” Moral of the story? Share your accomplishments early and often.

4. Demonstrate your accomplishments and added value.
Show your value. “You want to be able to demonstrate that you have taken on additional responsibilities, as well as provide specific details about your accomplishments. Share examples of projects you have completed and how they’ve positively impacted the business. Was there an increase in revenue? Did you save a customer? If you’ve received positive feedback from colleagues or other leaders regarding your work, be prepared to share that with your manager as well. These are not only good indicators of your contributions, but also of your future potential,” recommends Kim Mullaney, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Monster.

5. Focus on why you deserve it (not why you need it).
Before you can convince your boss that you deserve a raise, you need to believe that you’ve earned it. “The best approach to asking for a raise is to focus on deserving one versus needing one. Too often, people argue that a raise is important because of very real costs in their lives, however, an employer is looking to give raises to people based on performance,” says Beth Monaghan, CEO and co-founder of the public relations firm, InkHouse.

6. Practice your pitch and anticipate questions.
“This sounds strange and unnatural to a lot of people, but conversations in which you are asking for something almost always go better if you’ve rehearsed in advance and have considered the many possible responses that you’ll get to each of your requests, and how you’ll address these responses. After role-playing the part of a resistant boss, having the actual conversation with her will be infinitely easier—and you’ll have more confidence since you will be able to anticipate their responses and know how to address them,” says Harlan.

7. Do you research.
Use sites like PayScale, Glassdoor, and Salary.com to find out the market rate for your role or intended one. It will be useful when your boss asks you for the amount you’d like to make or tells you the amount she’d give. Researchers at Columbia Business School found that it’s best to give a precise number instead of a round number because it makes the person seem informed. They found that people who gave a precise number were more likely to get conciliatory counteroffers. Instead of saying you want $60,000 or $65,000 ask for $63,500. It’s also helpful to know the average raise is between one and five percent. You don’t want to suggest a number that is completely unrealistic.

8. Talk about the future.
Show you’re invested in the company. “Every manager values loyalty. Start the conversation on a positive note, and explain how much you like working for your manager and the company. Then explain what you want to do in the future, and how you plan to contribute to grow the business,” explains Mandy Gilbert, founder of the recruitment firm Creative Niche and tech school RED Academy. Volunteer for a project or create one by being a proactive problem-solver.

9. Be prepared to hear no.
Don’t be discouraged by a no. “If you don’t get the pay increase or new position you requested, it doesn’t have to be the end of your negotiation. Request an interim performance appraisal with clearly defined goals and salary adjustment before your next annual review. This puts you in line for a possible increase sooner and also communicates how seriously you take your career,” says Julia Bonem, a senior career consultant at Resume Strategists. If a raise and promotion isn’t going to happen right now, she suggests asking for things beyond salary such as bonus, incentives, professional development opportunities, or more vacation time.
The worst that can happen is that your boss says no. Either way, you’ll learn to advocate for yourself and understand and appreciate your worth. And there’s not much chance you’ll get more money if you don’t ask!

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