Remote Work Digest: September 21, 2017

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


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7 Tips For Training Remote Teams | JTRipton,

Remote work enables professionals (both salaried and freelance) to perform their duties without having to commute to an office, while employers have fewer overheads to cover. However, to achieve the best results, your team of remote workers require the same in-depth training as your in-house employees.

Here are 7 key tips to help you train your remote teams better than the rest.

1. Consider Meeting in Person First
If this is simply impossible due to time or geographical restraints, that’s fine. However, bringing them into your workplace and immersing them in your company culture helps to build a stronger bond, foster a deeper knowledge of the business’s operations at an early stage, and helps the team get to know each other better.

If this can’t be done, there are other options, including video conferencing.

2. Embrace Video Chat
Video chat is a terrific alternative to bringing remote workers in for an initial introduction. You can still take them on a tour, introduce them to colleagues, and engage face-to-face.

Video chat should be used to check-in, whether this covers upcoming tasks, brainstorming sessions, or just to discuss progress. This collaboration and bonding helps to form a more cohesive company, but choosing the right service is key.

3. Cover Every Tool
One early priority in your training should be to educate remote workers on the tools they will be using, and ensure these are as free of bugs as possible. Remote workers can be seriously hampered by inefficient platforms, and in-house tools should be as user-friendly for them as everyone else.

Don’t expect remote workers to know exactly how to use your bespoke software without any training, and always have information to hand for their own reference.

4. Set Homework to Build Workers’ Knowledge
Provide remote workers with a wide range of company-specific files to read at their own leisure. This will help to develop their knowledge of your business, your mission, your company values, your working practices, and other critical areas. The better remote workers understand your company’s culture and profile, the more their work will suit your expectations.

5. Record Training for Future Reference
Recording training sessions helps to save time and enables more individuals to get involved. Rather than expecting one or two employees to handle training, you can give others the details they need to get future remote workers up to speed.

6. Allow Remote Workers to Progress Their Own Way
Even with the best training and the most in-depth resources, some remote workers may need a little more time to settle into your business’s style of communication, your schedule, your project-management, and other aspects.

Be patient, and offer the help workers need without pressuring them to ‘fall in line’.

7. Keep Your Door Open
Any businesses which fail to be welcoming or keep their doors open to remote workers may find that mistakes are made, or that telecommuters quit at the first opportunity. Misunderstandings and questions are common in the early days of a working relationship, but ensuring remote workers feel happy to say when they’re uncertain helps to inspire loyalty and drive.

Training remote teams as best you can is vital to motivate workers and reduce the risk of costly mistakes. Follow the tips explored above to improve your chances of building a successful relationship with your remote workers for years to come.

Have you tried any of these techniques, and if so, how did they affect your business?

Why online etiquette in remote workplaces matters | Robyn Shulman,

Remote workplaces can differ significantly from the traditional office spaces that Baby Boomers and Generation-X workers know so well. Given the lack of face-to-face interaction and a global workforce filled with cultural differences, etiquette, communication rules and understandings can vary. In turn, this can make digitized workspaces a challenge to navigate.

Whether you are communicating in an online group, or sending an email, the tips below can help you best navigate your online workspace while providing advantages for all members.

Tone of voice

One of the biggest issues with remote or digital workspaces is the ease with which tone can be misconstrued by those posting and commenting. Often when we communicate digitally, our sound can get lost in translation. Before commenting in a remote workplace community, it’s best to read your comment twice before you post. You can also read the statement out loud or share it with a family member who can provide feedback. In turn, this ensures that your true intentions get across properly.

Don’t let your emotions get in the way

Reacting immediately to a problem or statement can be problematic in face-to-face conversations, but becomes even more troublesome in remote or digital workplaces. Because our words online are never truly deleted, it’s imperative to think twice before posting anything. If you’re angry or upset, it may be a good idea to take the time to cool down and organize your thoughts before making a comment or sending an email that may sound rash and filled with emotion.

Consider cultural differences

Given the flexibility of working online, people from various cultures and beliefs can make up one working community. When different countries come together to work, it is in your best interest to research cultural habits, behaviors and expectations. Having an understanding of where your colleagues come from and how they work can help to enhance active communication, prevent arguments, and promote compassion.

Maintain a positive space

While remote work lifts the travel burden, it’s important to remember that digital working forums and communities are still professional places of communication. It is important to keep the community clear of attacking others.

A good rule of thumb to remember: If you wouldn’t say something in the brick and mortar office, don’t say it online.
By working as a team, you can promote a balanced presence in your remote workplace, and can also help your colleagues thrive.

Consider privacy

Be aware of your online surroundings when you share information and resources. Consider the private lives of the community and those involved when deciding what to share with your online group.

It’s easy to take your emotions out on the computer and walk away. However, any comments, whether negative or positive, can have a significant impact on your career immediately or ten years down the road.

This Is How To Actually Work Smarter, Not Harder | Gwen Morgan,

What does it really mean to work smarter?

“It means figuring out better, faster ways to work,” says personal productivity expert and trainer Peggy Duncan. But before you enroll in a time management course or start playing “beat the clock” with your project list, consider these counterintuitive ways to get more done.

Don’t Dive Right In
Write down what you’re doing, how long it’s taking you, and who is interrupting you and what they wanted. “Because the biggest time-management mistake people make is not realizing how much time they waste. When you analyze it, you see what’s going on,” Duncan says. And you’ll have a good data set to figure out how you can shift your time usage, minimize interruptions, and learn a few key lessons.

Let Someone Else Do It
For Tomer Yogev, cofounder of leadership and performance consultancy Tandem Spring, working smarter means focusing on the areas in which you’re strongest—and letting go of things you’re doing for other reasons. To be more effective, you’ve got to ask for help and enlist people who are better at certain tasks and functions than you are, he says. That requires taking a hard look at your strengths and having the humility to admit that there are some areas you’re more skilled in than others.

Work When You Feel Like It
Paying attention to your energy cycles is critical to working smarter, says performance consultant Heidi Pozzo. When you’re feeling focused and energetic, you’re going to get more work done in a shorter period of time. “A lot of people are really good at high concentration work in the morning. So, if you can, block your day in a way that the first thing you work on is the most impactful,” she says. Of course, if you’re not a morning person, shift that advice to when you feel at your best.

Prepare For Your “Wasted” Time
Duncan recommends preparing to make the most of that time. Cloud-based tools that let you work from anywhere and a to-do list that reminds you of calls that need to be made, email messages that need to be written, and work components that need to be completed keep you ready to use those pockets to get more done.

Read The Manual
Investing time in reading the instruction manual and getting appropriate training can yield many hours of return on investment. Macros, shortcuts, and other time-savers may not be immediately apparent, but can simplify your work.

Be More Bureaucratic
Look at the tasks you perform on a regular basis and how you can create a more efficient way of getting them done. Are you wasting time scheduling many appointments every day? Look at automating that function with a scheduling app. Are you managing a project with many contributors and version control issues? Look at how you can create a system of capturing feedback and ensuring everyone has the most current information, perhaps with a cloud-based collaboration system that color-codes and date-stamps feedback for easy tracking.

Lay Off The Junk Food
If you’re tired and feeling bad because you’re not getting enough sleep, good nutrition, or exercise, that’s going to reflect in your efficiency and productivity. The Centers for Disease Control call insufficient sleep a public health problem that costs the U.S. up to $411 billion per year in lost productivity.

Stare At A Photo
Think about the reason you want to work smarter and not harder. Do you want more time for yourself to do the things you love to do? Are you just feeling burned out? Do you want more time to spend with loved ones? Whatever the reason, put a photo or group of photos that represent those reasons nearby so you can see them, Duncan suggests. This will act as a touchstone to help keep you on track when you’re procrastinating, spending too much time on social media, or otherwise undermining your efforts to get your work done in less time.