Remote Work Digest: April 10, 2017

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

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8 Little Time Management Tips for People Who Are Always Procrastinating | Grace Beuley Hunt, Purewow.com

You have a big work project looming over your head, and you’re ready to get down to business…until you notice a stain on the rug. Hmm, maybe you should buy some rug cleaner. Or just get a new rug. Are there any sales at West Elm? Let’s check the website. Oooh, what a cute end table. Hey, procrastinator. You’re not alone. Here are seven unexpected tips to kick your habits to the curb for good.

Build a Procrastination – Free Zone
Designate a space whose sole function is serving as your perch for getting sh*t done. Set up a study if space allows, carve out a small nook in the living room for a writing desk or even consider renting a shared workspace. Keep this zone neat, orderly and distraction-free (read: leave your cellphone elsewhere).

Surround Yourself with Color
A study published by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that red, for example, has been shown to increase attentiveness, and a separate study by the University of British Columbia found that blue can boost creativity.

Experiment with surrounding yourself with more color across the board—from rainbow-hued desk accessories, to your wardrobe, and even bringing more color into your diet.

Take More Showers
There’s nothing better for jump-starting a productive stretch than literally giving yourself a fresh, clean slate.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Public Library of Science, quality of work may benefit from that shower break.

Spend More Time with Doers
Prioritize spending time with the people in your life whom you consider hard workers, go-getters and all-around inspiring human beings. Their can-do energy and company will be good for your soul, as well as a serious motivator.

Assign a Procrastination Police Officer
Ask someone whose respect you value (whether that’s your S.O., close friend or family member) to act as your procrastination police. According to findings from the American Psychological Association, shame can be hugely motivational. But in this case, that “shame” will actually come from a safe and positive place.

Wake Up Earlier
Getting something accomplished first thing in the morning is truly the antithesis of procrastination. So challenge yourself to rise an hour or two earlier and see how many to-dos can be checked off before you even leave for the day.

Get Playful When It Comes To Getting Organized
Play can boost output. So whether it’s flipping heads or tails to decide if you’ll tackle those thank-you notes this evening or singing out your to-do list every morning, find a state of play and humor in the banal…and reap the rewards.

Stop Comparing Yourself with Others
Instead of sizing up the competition, focus on your own vision. That means no need to “research” a project for five hours before getting started—just start it already. You’ll feel so much better, we promise.
3 Ways to Overcome Remote Hiring Challenges | Holly Wade, Business2community.com

Whether or not you set out to look for remote workers, they may be the best hires for your organization. Because remote workers do not have to travel and generally feel more productive and happier about their jobs, they are more likely to work beyond the 40-hour work week. This is just one of the benefits of hiring remote workers as well as higher employee engagement and improved health and well-being. Some studies show that telecommuting also saves organizations money. According to one report, allowing employees to work from home about half of the time would save as much as $11,000 per year.

1. Interview with Video – If your employee will be working remotely, it makes a lot of sense to interview them remotely too. Screening with video will also allow you to screen candidates more heavily without an additional time commitment, and you can ensure standardization of questions for all candidates.
2. Know Where/How to Look – If you’re looking for a freelance remote worker, try searching websites dedicated to seeking freelancers, and avoid highlighting the job’s remote needs unless you’re prepared to wade through more applicants.
3. Set Expectations – Employee trust and communication are vital to allowing individuals to work remotely because business leaders need to trust that workers are doing their jobs.

Screening candidates more efficiently and searching for them the right ways can help you locate the right remote worker that you trust to work independently, communicate well and get the job done.
How to change your mindset when you go from full-time to freelance | Lindsay Deutsch, Usatoday.com
To prepare for the changes, USA TODAY’s Lightpost lays out an expert-sourced comprehensive plan to help you ease into this life transition. When you’re just getting started, remember to keep these tips in mind:

Monitor your finances more closely.
As a freelancer, you need to play a more active role. A good app to track your finances and spending is Mint. ShoeBoxed can also help you scan and organize receipts, business cards, create expense reports, track mileage and more for expensing and tax purposes, as well. It may also be worth checking out the services available from Intuit Small Business.

Don’t pass along the blame.
When something doesn’t work out during the span of your 9-5 traditional job and it’s not your fault, it’s easy to pass along the blame and move on with your job. As a freelancer, you need to things to work out. That means you need to figure out how to best work with the person who is going to pay you so you can complete the gig and actually get paid. So, take a deep breath before you reply to a frustrating email and brainstorm ways you can make things work.

Be deliberate about your downtime.
You need to be more deliberate about your productivity and downtime. Think about the money you could be making while you’re wasting time on mindless social media. What could you do with your time?! AND CO is a good time tracking (and tool for expense tracking, invoicing, payments, and reporting services) for freelancers and small businesses that could be helpful.

5 Ways To Train A Remote Workforce | Chip Espinoza, Training.co.uk

Since remote work is on the rise, remote training is on the rise too. Unfortunately, remotely training employees can be easily blundered if an employer isn’t prepared for the challenges. Rather than leaving your employees stumbling or send them through inadequate training, take the time to prepare a useful and applicable training program for remote employees in order to maximize both productivity and employee satisfaction, decreasing the chance that they’ll quit out of stress or frustration.

1. Look for remote work experience
The best way to minimize the difficulties that could arise from training remote workers is to ensure that your employees are coming to you with some remote work experience to begin with. Although the remote workforce must grow by hiring inexperienced remote employees, prioritizing or looking for employees who have that experience will ease your training burden.

2. Establish peer-to-peer informal learning
Informal learning through fellow employees will help your training along by giving participants real life examples to model after and more resources to turn to for help. Avoid keeping your remote employees separate; connect them and encourage them to communicate amongst themselves, or set up some sort of employee social media network that will let them easily communicate and keep track of what other employees are doing.

3. Look for at least one face-to-face meeting
The best way to prepare an employee for training and bring them into the company fold is to begin with face-to-face meetings and training sessions before remote work can start. However, this is not an option for everyone; in that case, a series of Skype calls can substitute to help provide the face time and familiarity that in-person meetings offer.

4. Have all training documents prepared
If you’re just transitioning into remote work, it is critical you make sure that you have training documents, guides and manuals prepared for employees before they arrive. These documents should be extremely extensive and detailed – as detailed as you can. A good strategy for training employees is to assume nothing about the technical knowledge they bring to the table.

5. Give them flexibility in pace
Your remote employees are almost certainly going to be mostly left to complete work on their own, which means their training styles should follow a similar method. Although it’s critical to check in, talk to your employees, make yourself available to clarify when needed and follow up to see if they’re learning what they need to, it’s best to give your employees the information they need and let them travel through it at their own pace.

Remote employees bring unique challenges for employers. Standard training practices will not work for such an arrangement. By modifying your training to one that suits remote workers, you’ll have better success in training and retaining.

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