Remote Work Digest: October 30, 2020

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

The 10 Best Ways To Make The Most of 2020 | Amy Blaschka, Forbes.com

From a global pandemic, countless natural disasters, growing social and racial unrest, and a substantial political divide to balancing working from home and remote learning, navigating the uncertainty has been challenging.

The good news is that we still have a chance to salvage the year. Here are the 10 best ways—one for each week left of the year—to finish strong

1.Protect your time

How and with whom you spend your time and your productivity while doing so, demonstrate your focus and commitment to what—and who—matters most. When you master time-management, you’ll learn to say no, do, decide, delegate or delete tasks, batch routine tasks, eliminate distractions, embrace mono-tasking, get to know—and work—your own rhythms, and build in breaks to recharge.

2. Become more self-aware

Self-awareness is not just about knowing how you move through the world; it’s about knowing how your energy affects others. This perspective allows you to understand that everything is connected—your interactions with other people, how they perceive you, your attitude, and your responses to them in the moment—and all can be enhanced through better self-awareness.

3. Brush up on your soft skills

Last year, LinkedIn released its annual Global Talent Trends report, which explored the four big trends fueling the future of the workplace. Topping the list? Soft skills. 

This finding underscores a fundamental truth: At its core, business is about relationships. No matter your job function or title, to succeed, you must interact with other people. And those who find a way to combine their hard skills with soft skills create environments that empower and ignite their teams, delight their customers, and fuel sustainable growth.

4. Embrace four words to communicate and connect better

No matter your industry or profession, four words have the power to change your results instantly: It’s not about you.

The finest leaders understand that by putting others first and adopting a service mindset, they can improve their communication and connection, establish trust, deepen relationships, and build business.

5. Get curious

When you’re curious, you’re open. Open to exploring new ideas, experiences, and possibilities. Open to meeting new people and learning new things. Open to leaving behind outdated mindsets and limiting beliefs to make room for your highest and best self. And it’s that openness—that curiosity—that fuels growth.

6. Dare to be a “career contrarian”

“Career contrarians” share the ability to adopt an often unpopular perspective and make it work for them. Instead of conforming to conventional or practical approaches, education, or paths, they seek alternative means to career fulfillment.

7. Listen more than you talk

The benefits of listening are numerous. Active listening demonstrates respect, builds trust, and makes people feel valued. It creates a virtuous cycle: we naturally gravitate toward those who listen to us, and when we feel heard, we open up and share.

8. Stop hiding behind fear

Fear is a powerful emotion. It often masquerades as a cloak of protection, keeping us from doing things that may cause us harm. But sometimes, the real damage comes from the inaction that fear enables.

We avoid at all costs those things that make us uncomfortable, but there is no growth in the status quo. Sooner or later, that caution and those fears that prevent you from getting hurt or put on the spot stagnate you.

9. Share your wisdom

Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. But it transforms into something truly powerful when it is shared.

Why? Because all the wisdom in the world is meaningless without application.

10. (Re)tell your career story

Properly crafted, your career story helps to differentiate you from your competitors, highlight your value, and to draw others to you. It provides a common thread that weaves together your personal and professional experiences, as well as your transferable skills, making it easy for others to connect the dots.

5 Reasons To Invest In An Employee Time Tracking Software | Thebossmagazine.com

Working remotely comes with its challenges. One of the major challenges is keeping a check on work productivity, which can be made easier with the help of an employee time tracking software.

Tracking Productivity

The biggest benefit of a time tracking software is that you (as the manager) get to see how your employees spend their time. Once you are aware of this, you can set work priorities in order to achieve optimum results within a given timeline. This in turns helps in maximizing work productivity.

Measure of Progress

An employee tracking software helps you gain an insight of the employee’s current position and provides a measure of his overall capacity. With this knowledge you can motivate them to work on a particular aspect that is lacking from their end.

Prioritizing of important tasks

A time tracking software gives a clear view of the progress of an ongoing project by the number of hours being spent on each task within the project. This enables the manager to prioritize urgent work by re-assigning resources for high-priority projects. 

Better project management

The better the management, the more confidently you can take up new work. Whether it is resource capacity estimates or the work timelines – all this data will help you establish your upcoming projects and even keep your budget in check.

Transparency in billing

Since time tracking is transparent, it removes confusion around what role each employee is fulfilling. It also clearly reflects how an individual employee is utilizing their time. This helps in reducing discrepancies regarding time and cost when discussing a new project with a client. 

Conclusion

Investing in a time tracking software can increase the revenue being generated whilst focusing on higher productivity at the same time. Every organization can utilize it in their own way and reap its benefits.

How to reduce your energy bills when working from home this winter | Naomi Gordon, Housebeautiful.com

With personal finances under strain and a long winter ahead, Michael Meiser at LED lighting specialists, Lumilum, gives his top tips for lowering your energy bill while working from home.

  1. Reorganise your workspace

If you aren’t alone in working from home, setting up a shared office space will mean you use less electricity for lighting and will stay warmer without heating the whole house. If you need to take a call or jump on a video conference, temporarily move to another room.

  • Be clever with your heating

‘Check the temperature your boiler is set to for hot water. Even decreasing it by 1°C could save up to 10 per cent on your heating bill,’ Michael reveals. ‘So that you only get the heat you need, put the boiler on a timer. You can also set your thermostat so that the boiler will kick in if the house gets too cold. An acceptable indoor temperature for office workers is 20 degrees.’

  • Switch off at the end of the day

Working from home means more devices will be powered and charged, but ensure that you fully switch off any device you are not using, chargers included. Even in sleep mode, devices use energy and lose charge, so avoid leaving them on standby. This simple change could save you an average of £80 a year, according to The Energy Savings Trust.

  • Get the right lighting

Aim to set up your workspace in a room with plenty of natural light to reduce your use of artificial lighting. Remove anything that’s blocking natural light and keep curtains and blinds fully open.

  • Find a better deal

Seeing as working from home and a more flexible approach to remote working is here to stay, it’s time to revisit your energy plan, and that means not settling for standard tariffs, which are often the most expensive.

  • Cut back in the kitchen

The kitchen is often seen as the forgotten cost of working from home. ‘If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, only boil the amount of water you need (it’ll be quicker too!), use the right size pots and pans to cook food faster, and defrost your dinner the natural way during the day,’ Michael explains. ‘Just like when you’re in the office, prepping lunch for the week ahead by batch cooking will save you time and energy.’

The complete guide to remote IT support for small business | Chris Souza, Itproportal.com

Here is a complete guide to help small businesses initiate remote IT services.

Begin with considering these critical aspects to support employees who work from home.

Check if employees have access to the required productivity tools

Your remote teams should have complete access to all the essential cloud-based productivity tools. This will help facilitate the sharing of files, effective communication, easy collaboration on projects, and initiation of meetings.

Consider a situation where employees experience technical issues with centralized productivity tools during a pandemic outbreak like the Covid-19 pandemic. This critical scenario demands the need for the availability of a robust remote platform that works offline while providing access to all productivity tools.

List tasks that can be handled remotely

This will help stakeholders plan the completion of important tasks to be prioritized and specifically handled from home.

Audit available technology resources

Obtain an overview of hardware and software resources that are available and if there is a need to purchase or upgrade resources. This will include an upgrade of internet packages and cloud-based productivity suites.

Take charge of cybersecurity

Remote employees should be educated about the sensitivity of data they will be handling and the risks that accompany this task.

For example, cybercriminals may take advantage of the current Covid-19 pandemic to entice victims into clicking on malicious links that offer information about a “cure.” Such instances can be better managed by having all the employees connect over a virtual private network (VPN) remotely.

Set a communication protocol

It is important to put into effect a protocol that defines how regularly communication among the team members needs to take place to improve collaboration. This should include the following:

  • Appropriately schedule check-ins and meetings, breakout sessions, and project updates on a particular time of the day
  • Have a structured facilitator and agenda to take care of the preparation work in advance
  • Ensure to send follow-up emails to summarize discussed points and outcomes of meetings
  • Test the technology used in advance when addressing a larger audience

Train employees on cybersecurity

Employees should be provided with comprehensive training on handling sensitive data, the features available in tools provided, and how best to use them. This kind of training will help them understand their responsibilities and remain productive.

Maintain helpdesk support services

It helps to maintain a 24*7 help desk support services for the remote workforce to address any technical or functional issue. This helpdesk support service should be able to troubleshoot and answer questions remotely.

Manage the team with empathy

A survey by Buffer reveals that remote employees grapple to unplug from work, tackle loneliness, and have problems with collaborating with their team. Organizations must address these social elements and use technology to overcome these challenges during a pandemic. Managers can plan one-on-one meetings or team meetings through video conferencing. They can also arrange for brainstorming sessions to generate ideas. 

Wrap up

Implementing effective work-from-home policies is slowly but surely becoming the new normal. The above-mentioned aspects and best practices will help organizations in the seamless transition of their workforce to the remote working environment. This information will also provide you with a deeper understanding of the significance of maintaining productivity tools and data security for the remote workforce.

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