Remote Work Digest: September 21, 2016

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

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11 time-wasting habits that are hard to quit, but you’ll be glad you did | Aine Cain, Uk.businessinsider.com

It’s important to identify and drop harmful time-wasting tendencies before they seriously mess up your career.

Here are 11 awful time management habits that are tricky to quit — but you’ll thank yourself once you do:

1. Multitasking
Contrary to what you might think, multitasking doesn’t boost your productivity.
It’s easy to trap yourself into this work style by convincing yourself that you’re being hyper-efficient. However, the evidence just isn’t there.

2. Procrastination
This is probably one of the hardest bad habits to quit, but it’s possible to break free of procrastination’s stranglehold on your precious time.

3. Neglecting deadlines
Flaunting deadlines is a terrible habit to get into. One of these days, you’ll cross a deadline that really wasn’t meant to be crossed. It’s important to start managing your boss’s expectations — or, you know, just start respecting deadlines.

4. Inability to streamline
In our chaotic, technology-heavy world, this is an easy trap to stumble into. It’s crucial to make the effort to streamline your life a bit — otherwise, you risk becoming disorganized and discombobulated.

5. Never saying no
Try to stick up for your time and become less of a yes man. This can be difficult if you’re a bit of a pushover, but it’s necessary if you’re going to fix your terrible time management habits.

6. Not setting goals
If you have no clue about your destination, you’re probably just going to get yourself lost. It can a bit daunting to sit down and outline all this, but think of it this way: without short and long term goals, you have no foundation to build your schedule upon.

7. Failing to ‘eat a frog’
No, eating an actual frog won’t help your time management skills. This just refers to Mark Twain’s famous quote: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Eat your live frog first thing in the morning. Get all the tasks you’ve been dreading done first. That’ll jump start your productivity for the rest of the day.

8. Forgetting that perfect if the enemy of good
Perfectionism is a hard tendency to drop, but it’s important to realize that this is a trait that can kill, rather than boost, your career.

9. Burning yourself out
Burn out is terrible. Stop killing yourself trying to do everything and start focusing on doing a handful of things very well.

10. Failing to prioritize
Certain tasks are more deserving of your time and attention than others. Unless you’re carefully ranking each item on your list, you risk lacking priorities throughout the day.

Lack of priorities puts you at risk for cutting through busy work while ignoring truly important projects.

11. Forgetting to write things down
You don’t actually have to write things down on paper — using an app to manage your time is great too. You just need to find some way to hold yourself accountable and stay organized.

A Remote Workforce and Its (Non) Impact on The Environment | JTRipton, Theenergycollective.com

Being able to work from home is a dream for many people, particularly those of us with long commutes and dreary offices. Between 80 and 90 percent of the US’s workforce admits they would like the option to work remotely, ideally two or three days each week.

Remote work offers various benefits, not least from an engagement perspective. Research shows that those who work remotely from time to time tend to be more engaged in their work than those who are never given the chance to work from home. Telecommuting is an ideal solution for employees with mobility issues, as well as parents looking to relieve child-care costs.

Beyond these, however, telecommuting is of major benefit to the environment. In this day and age, taking a green approach to business is incredibly important, and adopting a more environmentally-aware mindset will help businesses cultivate a more eco-friendly operation.

Here are four benefits remote working offers businesses today.

# 1: Less Gas Emissions and Expenditure
Traffic is a problem for drivers, for businesses facing widespread lateness, and for the planet itself.

Businesses which offer employees the chance to work remotely can help to increase productivity, cut wasted gas, and help reduce congestion even a little. Research shows that each 1 percent reduction in vehicles can create a three-fold drop in congestion.

# 2: Remote Working Encourages Smaller Business Space
Companies reducing their in-house staff can create a cultural shift resulting in less demand for business properties. One major knock-on effect of this could be a reduction in deforestation and less strain on land resources.

# 3: Remote Work Reduces Businesses’ Carbon Footprints and Energy Usage
Research suggests that businesses allowing employees to work remotely even just half the time can save as much as $11,000 per year through reduced overheads.
Workers based in their own home will be responsible for maintaining a green lifestyle, but a business will need less electricity for lighting, air conditioning, and other essentials.

# 4: Working From Home Leads to Less Food and Drink-Related Waste
For employees working at home, refreshments can be taken from your own kitchen rather than using vending machines or driving to a nearby coffee shop or convenience store. Not only is this more cost-effective, it also leads to less non-recyclable containers, bags, and wrappers being tossed in bins. Even if fewer recyclable items are purchased, this places less strain on recycling plants.

By reducing the amount of waste-materials you direct into bins every day, telecommuting employers and employees can reduce their carbon footprint.

In order to ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for ourselves and future generations, businesses must embrace a greener ethos. Allowing staff to work from home is a major step in reducing carbon footprints, creating a happier workforce, and cutting overheads. By embracing remote work, companies of all size can help to create a safer, brighter future, maximizing their budgets and resources alike.

Work from anywhere: What it takes to be a digital nomad | Monty Majeed, Yourstory.com

According to the 2016 Deloitte Millenial Survey, the most important things that millenials look for in jobs are flexibility, work-life balance and a sense of meaning from the work they do. This is exactly why we are seeing an emergence of remote workers and digital nomads in almost all industries. Unlike remote workers, who are based out of office or out of the location where their employers are, digital nomads are not based anywhere in particular. They are constantly on the move. They are those intelligent ones who combine work and their passion to travel the world – and no, you don’t need to be a travel writer to do that.

Who can be a digital nomad?

Marianne Cantwell, career coach, author, Founder of the Free Range Humans concept and a digital nomad herself, calls such people Cubicle Cage Humans. The whole idea of becoming a digital nomad started with the idea of not having “to be trapped to get paid,” says Marianne. “A free range human chooses when, where and how they work,” she says. “They have freed themselves from societal expectations of fitting into a career-shaped cage and now get paid to do what they really want to do.”

According to author and digital nomad Jodi Ettenberg, of LegalNomad.com, these are a few jobs you can do on-the-rod:

  • Media-related jobs (translator, content writer, journalist, editor, proofreader, technical writer, blogger, photographer, videographer, podcaster, digital marketeers)
  • Finance jobs (e-commerce, product promoter, accountants, insurance agents, online trader)
  • Organisational support roles (virtual assistant, researcher, customer service executive, travel agent)
  • Teaching
  • Computer-related jobs (programmers, database managers, web designers, software developers, software testers, UX designers)

Now that you are armed with a list of jobs that you can pursue while travelling around the world, here are some tips to stay productive while at it.

Keep your connections posted
Let people you work with know at what times you are available for work, meetings and other communication. This will help you manage work communication efficiently and divide your time productively.

Divide work and play times
Divide your time in a day for work and set aside time to relax. A digital nomad has the freedom to work for two hours at a stretch, take a five-hour break and then resume his or her work. Whatever be your schedule, make sure that during your work time, you remain focused on getting things that get you paid done in the best possible way.

Make backups of your work and important documents
You may get lost, get robbed, get stranded in a place with no internet or lose your phone. Work out solutions and alternatives for such problems before you set out. You could use cloud space to securely save your data online, carry portable modems and routers for net connectivity, chargers and power banks for your batteries and so on.

It is empowering to be able to work from anywhere and have full control over your schedule. However, do not forget that working from anywhere comes with its own set of challenges. Make sure that you have access to a reliable internet connection, a well-planned schedule and proper backup systems to turn you into a rather productive and efficient digital nomad.

7 Ways to Help Younger Employees Improve | Rieva Lesonsky, Smallbiztrends.com

Randstad and Future Workplace conducted a survey of Millennial and Generation Z employees and found that, while the majority of both generations believe their educations prepared them well for their current jobs, there are some important gaps. If you want to get the most from your younger employees, how can you help them improve? Here are seven steps to take.

Tips for Managing Young Employees

1. Set Expectations
One-third of Generation Z employees and 29 percent of Millennials say their education did not prepare them to work long hours, and one-fourth of Generation Z workers say it did not prepare them to manage their time effectively.

2. Provide Opportunities for Collaboration
Since project-based work is the number-one way Gen Z likes to learn new skills, try putting younger employees in teams with older workers so they gain experience in getting along with different generations. (Make sure the older workers are prepared and willing to provide some guidance to the younger ones.)

3. Educate Millennial Employees in Management and Conflict Resolution Skills
More than one-fourth of Millennials say their educations did not prepare them to manage others or resolve conflicts. These interpersonal skills are critical as Millennials move into managerial positions. Pair new Millennial managers with more experienced managers who can mentor them.

4. Communicate Often and Honestly
39 percent of both Millennial and Gen Z workers say the most effective way to communicate is “in person.” In other words, you don’t have to text, IM or Snapchat to reach young workers — simply walk around and talk to them.

5. Provide Ongoing Feedback
Forty-six percent of both Millennials and Generation Z say providing quality feedback regularly is the best way to help them excel. Among the highest-performing companies in the survey, nearly one-third provide feedback to young workers on a regular basis (that is, after every project, assignment or task), and 22 percent provide daily feedback.

6. Design a Workspace that Enables Both Collaboration and Focus
An open, collaborative workspace isn’t always the most conducive to focus. Help younger employees focus better by setting up an office space that includes quiet areas for focused work.

7. Help Them Lessen Stress
Regularly review workloads so employees aren’t burdened with more than they can realistically handle. Suggest or teach time management strategies that can help with stress. Create a culture that encourages breaks and downtime in addition to hard work.

Taking the steps to help your young employees improve can pay off big. More than 80 percent of both Generation Z and Millennial employees want to take leadership roles at work. Start now, and you can shape the next generation of leaders to fit your business’s needs.

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