Remote Work Digest: October 30, 2021

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

Six Ways Business Leaders Can Reclaim Their Time | Ian Tomline, Forbes Communications Council, Forbes.com

They say the only thing you can’t buy is time, and the more of your life you spend in the business world, the more that indisputable truth resonates. You should ignore the activities that make you feel busy and focus on the ones that contribute to the big picture.

Make Decisions About Time

Think back on your last week and what you spent your time on. (Maybe even check your schedule to recap what was in it.) You’ll probably be able to mark up all those things you did that were what I call “hygiene” activities — the things you do to tread water without drowning in emails and paperwork.

Prioritizing Time

Browse through social media articles on leadership and management and you won’t miss the fact that many successful people are clearly better at prioritizing time than the rest of us.

Tools Of The “Prioritize Me” Trade

Make Time for Deep, Focused Thinking Early in Your Day

As the first task on your list, you should think really hard about what you’re trying to get out of the day and how to clear your schedule of other activities that will prevent you from investing time in what really matters.

Write and Manage Lists (Efficiently)

Give your brain a chance and make a list. You should get good at writing task lists and crossing them off as you go.

Learn How to Say No and Get Brutal About Protecting Your Time

If you’re going to maximize the time in your day, you will need to get selfish with your time and consider every request that places demand on it.

Get Ahead with Meetings

You should be particularly brutal with meetings. I think the best strategy is to:

Deeply qualify whether any meeting requires your presence.

Book meetings for no longer than 30 minutes while spacing meetings apart by 30 minutes just in case. This approach ensures you have “buffer time” if you need it.

Think Back on Your Past Week

A good way to test your time management performance is to look in the rearview mirror every now and then to see how you’re doing.

Forgive Your Self Breaks

The time you spend thinking about something else or nothing much at all could be the moment when you come up with your next big idea.

So, put your feet up and let yourself off every now and then – it could be good for business.

Remote work is here to stay: The benefits are just too good to overlook | Larry Alton, Theamericangenius.com

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Happy employees mean healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases, with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

5 Hacks to Maximize Work Productivity at Home | Kimberly Wilson, Essence.com

Looking to supercharge your productivity? Easier said than done, right? Here are a few tips to help you maximize your productivity while at home.

Plan your day ahead.

Because of all the competing demands trying to navigate home, social and work life, it’s imperative to spend time prioritizing what needs to get done.

Meal prep.

Meal prepping can save you a lot of time and hassle in your week, plus it helps to boost productivity levels. Not to mention, a well-thought-out meal plan can help you improve your diet quality or reach a specific health goal while saving you time and money along the way.

Set a schedule, and stick to it.

Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance.

Focus on three big tasks a day.

I once took a leadership training that emphasized the importance of tackling little rocks vs big rocks. The big rocks are the larger tasks that take up the most time, and are critical to your success, while the little rocks are the day-to-day tasks such as emails, meetings, etc. While both are extremely important, it’s easy to get caught up in the inevitable day-to-day emergencies, but it’s important to remember your larger goals. One of the best ways I do this is by focusing on getting three big tasks done every day.

Practice self-care.

Your mental state plays a huge role in how productive you are on a day-to-day basis. No matter how free your schedule is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it’s like still not going to get done – or well, at least. And self-care doesn’t just mean massages and bubble baths. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to meditate, or ensuring you’re getting enough sleep each night.

These 10 well-known companies offer fully remote or hybrid work arrangements | Coann Labitoria, Hcamag.com

Fully remote companies are organizations that do not have physical offices for their employees to work out of. Instead, all work is done completely online – which means employees can accomplish tasks, have meetings, and attend events from anywhere with a stable and fast internet connection, such as co-working spaces, coffee shops, and home offices.

Meanwhile, partially remote companies or hybrid companies have staggered arrangements that see employees working remotely some days in the week and at a physical office on others. The hybrid model is more common than fully remote companies because it’s easier to implement and requires less investment in new equipment and infrastructure.

Well-known companies with fully remote or hybrid work setups

1. Apple

Apple is a multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, online services, and computer software. The company is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and has been the world’s most valuable company since January 2021.

The tech giant announced in June 2021 that employees are expected to work in the office three times a week with the option to work from home twice a week starting September – a date that was postponed to January 2022 due to the sudden surge of Delta variant cases.

2. Microsoft

Microsoft is a multinational technology company that manufactures and develops computer software, consumer electronics, and personal computers.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company adopted a hybrid work model that allows employees to work from anywhere for 50% of their work week, with the option to go 100% remote with management approval. The company even released a guide to hybrid work that outlines its approach, such as updating conference rooms, hiring across geographies, and tightening online security.

3. Shopify

Canada-based Shopify is a multinational firm that offers a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform is used to set up, design, and manage stores across multiple sales channels such as web, mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar spots, and pop-up shops.

Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted in May 2020 that the company will be “digital by default,” taking on a remote-first hybrid setup. Lutke added that most employees will permanently work remotely post-pandemic. When available, employees can work in the company’s offices in Canada and Ireland.

4. Slack

Slack develops real-time collaboration applications that provide messaging, video and voice calls, integrated file sharing, and other services to organizations across the globe.

The Silicon Valley firm announced in June 2020 that they would offer its current employees the option to work from home on a permanent basis while keeping the offices open in some form. The company will also open most of its upcoming new roles to remote candidates, and indicated that it is moving towards a more asynchronous work pace by encouraging employees to work hours that make sense for them.

5. Spotify

Spotify is a digital music streaming service that allows subscribers to search and discover music, build personal playlists, and allows artists to post tracks.

The company has taken a hybrid approach for its workforce, allowing employees to work from anywhere across the globe. Spotify also provides a company-paid co-working space if an employee chooses to work in an office but does not live near an existing Spotify location. The firm also announced that it would continue to pay at San Francisco or New York salary rates, based on the type of job.

6. Twitter

Twitter is a social networking and news platform that enables users to send and read short messages known as “tweets” through web and mobile apps.

Twitter was one of the first companies to announce allowing employees who wish to work from home to do so permanently, as long as their role enables them to. The company offers a hybrid remote work setup with offices in San Francisco, New York, and nine other cities across the US available for employees who choose to work on-site.

7. Upwork

Upwork operates the world’s largest freelance marketplace platform. It allows businesses to connect with professionals specializing in numerous skills such as writing, web and mobile development, customer service, and marketing.

Upwork CEO Hayden Brown tweeted in May 2020 that the company is permanently adopting a remote-first hybrid work model. They continue to operate two office spaces located in Chicago and San Francisco for its employees who opt to work on-site.

8. Quora

Quora is a question-and-answer social media platform created, edited, and organized by its community of users.

Adam D’Angelo, co-founder and CEO of Quora, announced in June 2020 that the company would take on a remote-first hybrid work setup after most of its employees opted not to return to the office post-pandemic.

9. Pinterest

Pinterest operates a pinboard-style social networking site where users can create, manage, and share theme-based image collections based on events, interests, and hobbies.

In 2020, Pinterest announced they would follow a remote-first hybrid work model after stating the company will not be expecting employees to return to the office due to the pandemic. Subsequently, the company paid US$89.5 million to cancel a large lease on its San Francisco office. The company is also looking into hiring talent across the globe who were previously excluded due to geography. Pinterest still manages physical offices in eight US cities.

10. LinkedIn

Linkedin is a professional networking site which allows online members to create, manage, and share their professional identities, find career opportunities, and be able to connect with likeminded individuals.

The pros and cons of a fully remote or hybrid company

Perhaps the biggest benefit of remote work to employers is the opportunity to tap into a wider talent pool by allowing them to hire skilled applicants from anywhere in the world. Employers can now find the right applicant for any given position regardless of their location.

Hiring remote workers can also reduce an organization’s operating cost, especially in areas such as office rents and supplies.

Remote work can also present some challenges for employers, such issues of employee disengagement. Having all communications online means that managers also need to be more proactive in setting clear goals for deliverables, as well as overcome challenges in tracking work progress and resolving work-related conflicts.

Despite these issues, fully remote and hybrid arrangements are well on their way to becoming the new normal, with more organizations expected to adopt similar setups as the pandemic winds down.

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