Remote Work Digest: November 24, 2017

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


Image from


Four Ways to Improve Your Focus When You Work from Home | Stephanie Vozza,

Working from home can be a lot more productive than working in an office if you set some parameters.

“Working from home can be successful only if organizations and individuals embrace work-life integration instead of work-life balance,” says Holger Reisinger, author of Get S#!t Done! and senior vice president of headset manufacturer Jabra. “Rather than trying to balance work and personal lives, employees should organize their work so it seamlessly blends with family and recreational time. This enables employees to achieve tasks when they’re most productive, and when it’s most convenient.”

Instead of fleeing to the local coffee shop, maintain your business focus at home by using these four tricks:

Find your rhythm by keeping track of the time of day you feel most focused and the time you feel fatigued. During those left-brain cycles, tackle important tasks, and during right-brain cycles, take advantage of working from home and by using the time for your favorite activities like reading a book, practicing yoga, or grabbing your favorite snack from the kitchen.

If you work from home and there are others around, don’t just assume they’ll know you’re busy or need to concentrate—tell them, says Reisinger.
“You’re rarely interrupted if your spouse or kids truly understand that you’re under pressure to perform,” he says. You can also use a subtle reminder, such as closing the door to your home office or putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your desk.

When you’re working in an office, you can clearly see when colleagues are signing on and off for the day, but when you work from home you will likely create your own schedule. If your employer allows for a flexible workday and you aren’t needed to be online or available at a particular time, then form your own workplace traditions , says Doherty, whose company recently implemented a “work-from-anywhere” policy, encouraging employees to work wherever they feel most productive.
“The beauty of being a remote worker is having the flexibility to tailor your workday to your personal needs,” he says. “Embrace it.”

Focusing at work can be easier, because being in the space reminds you that you’re there to work. When you work from home, however, you don’t have that separation, so you might need to rely on tools to get in the right mind-set, says Patric Palm, CEO and cofounder of the planning and collaboration app Favro.

“Use noise-conflation earphones,” he says. “Even if you’re in a quiet area, there’s something about noise-conflation earphones that get you in the zone to focus. Additionally, listening to instrumental music with a good rhythm can minimize distractions while working from home.”

Would a Remote Tech Team Work Out for Your Startup? | Sanchita Das,

For a lot of startups, before building the business side of things, getting the product right is of utmost importance. Here comes in the tech team – the coders and believers who stay up until late hours furiously coding on their laptops until they have a eureka moment and the product runs perfectly. But their work doesn’t just end with product development. Given the changing needs of the audience, the product needs to be improvised at every step while ensuring there are no bugs or failures. So, needless to say the tech team is core to the growth of the business.

Outsourcing The Tech

Abhishek Daga, co-founder of Thrillophilia, who does have an outsourced department, believes that the need arises if you are working on specific technology and you aren’t finding the right resources in your city to match the pace of development. While he agrees that outsourcing could get expensive, he said that it is advisable if one already has an in house technology team.

“The people working remotely should be individual contributors, engineering managers working remotely seldom works. Also, having freshers or people with less experience in remote teams in initial few years is not advisable. They need to be an integral part of the product and adopt the culture of the company. However, this way, you can hire across the globe and build capability fast,” said Daga.

Better Access to Talent

Ashwin Ramesh, from Synup agrees that it is talent that drives most of these remote tech teams. At Synup, they create tech products for US clients, where they become the remote tech team. “The cost is significantly lower for our clients while also giving them access to some of the best tech talent in the world. With technology like Slack or Skype where one can easily communicate and align their tasks with the clients, collaborative work from far off locations has seen a huge boost,” he said.

For them at Synup, it also becomes easier to allow their employees to work out of anywhere, giving them flexibility of timing as well. Talking about how coding and creating a product is a process that requires a lot of mental thought, Ashwin believes it gives their employees the ease to work better and increase efficiency. “Now, our employees work out of anywhere be it from a cafe or if they are working from home or even while they are travelling, giving them a break from monotonous work schedules,” he said.

Communication Plays an Important Role

While functioning with a remote tech team, brainstorming too becomes complicated. In remote teams, someone needs to own the workflow as interaction with other business unit gets challenging, believes Daga.

So, a clear communication process is essential when you have a remote team. Having said that, most entrepreneurs agree that the pros of outsourcing your tech far outweighs the cons. With collaborative softwares that enable the process, it leaves the entrepreneur focus on expanding the business operations while having the technology sorted at the same time.

5 signs you’re appreciated at work (and what to do if you’re not) | Anna Johansson,

Studies show that employees who feel appreciated and are shown signs of gratitude can be up to 50 percent more productive. On top of that, appreciated employees have higher morale and satisfaction, leading to lower rates of turnover.

If you’re not appreciated at work, you’ll get less work done, you’ll be unhappy and your entire environment may become less conducive to collaboration and productivity. So how can you tell if you’re not being appreciated, and what can you do if it’s affecting your performance?

Signs of Appreciation

The following signs of appreciation are general indicators that you work in a positive workplace:

  • Verbal praise. Verbal praise is one of the simplest and most effective forms of appreciation. It costs nothing, can be given in a matter of seconds, and can easily make someone’s day. A simple comment like “excellent work on that project,” at least a few times a week, is usually enough to make employees feel appreciated. If you aren’t getting any at all, it’s a problem.
  • Raises and promotions. As a complement to the verbal praise, your company should be doling out at least occasional raises and promotions. These don’t need to be constant, and don’t need to be extensive, but even a small raise as a reward for a job well done can give employees the positive feedback they need to maintain their productivity.
  • Employee appreciation events. Employee appreciation days are also effective ways to show employees they’re valued. Again, these don’t need to be expensive or grandiose; something as simple as a lunch party in the middle of a Friday can be enough to make people feel good.
  • Feedback. Strangely enough, even negative or critical feedback — telling employees they need to improve or have missed their goals — can be an effective tool to making them feel more integrated with the group.
  • Peer commentary. Showing support for your fellow employees with words of kindness, sympathy, or even acknowledgment can make people feel like an engaged part of the community.

4 things you can do if you feel under appreciated on the job

Do you feel under appreciated? It might seem like a helpless situation, since appreciation comes from other people. However, there are some key strategies you can use to make yourself more appreciated in the workplace:

  • Talk to coworkers more openly. Be more open in talking to your coworkers and colleagues; give them feedback on their work, support them when you collaborate, and make them feel appreciated.
  • Request more feedback. Tell your supervisors and bosses you’d like to receive more frequent, critical feedback on your performance, and thank them when they give you the opportunity.
  • Prove your worth. If you want to receive extraordinary feedback, consider accomplishing more extraordinary feats. For example, you could take on new projects outside your usual realm of responsibilities, or put in extra hours to demonstrate your full potential.
  • Consider finding a new environment. If you aren’t receiving the benefits of an environment of mutual appreciation, consider moving to an environment where you can.

Employee appreciation isn’t especially common, but it’s incredibly valuable for any work environment. Working with your coworkers and supervisors, it’s possible to create a more robust, appreciative environment— and one where both you and your colleagues can be happier and more productive.

3 Practical Tips To Stay Active At Work | Sharon Schweitzer,

Staying physically active can reduce your chances of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. It can also give you more energy, help you handle stress, and activate your mind for productive tasks – all important skills to succeed in your professional career.

Here are 3 ways you can stay active at work and the numerous health benefits you can gain.

1. Implement a Workout Session Dopamine is what gives us the natural high after going on a jog or working out at a nearby gym. Workout sessions will release these happy chemicals and create a stronger bond among coworkers and make the everyday work atmosphere fun and exciting.

2. Move Around Every Now and Then If you’re feeling sleepy or unmotivated at work, get up and walk around the office for a couple of minutes. Try to walk to the nearby coffee shop or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stretching your body can also help you feel more focused and ready to work.

3. Customize a Personal Workout Plan If you’re a morning person, motivate yourself to take a jog before work. Working out early in the morning jump starts your metabolism, regulates your body, and avoids the afternoon slump, or nap time. If you’re a night owl, utilize the treadmill or do yoga at least 2 hours before you sleep to avoid post-workout alertness before going to sleep. It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses to customize the most ideal workout plan.

Don’t let laziness get the best of your health and well-being. Stay active at work by implementing these three practical steps to help you achieve personal and professional accomplishments.