Remote Work Digest: May 30, 2022

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

11 Ways To Increase Productivity While Minimizing Stress | Forbes Coaches Council, Forbes.com

11 members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss how to achieve this “impossible dream”.

1.Create A Detailed Schedule

Everybody has the same amount of time, but it’s how you manage your time that matters. The best thing a client can do is create a schedule. That schedule should be their boss and every single day they should do exactly what the schedule tells them to do. They have to be very detailed because time management matters the most. – Ryan StewmanBreak Free Academy

2.Balance Work And Personal Goals

Balancing work and personal goals is important to remain productive. Increasing productivity requires taking a break from tasks, focusing instead on what is motivating you to achieve your outcomes. Inward reflection through journaling is helpful when recognizing the triggers that may be causing you to become overwhelmed. A conversation with a mentor is also effective for objective clarity and insight. – Reena Khullar SharmaAgilis Executive Consulting

3.Blend Work And Life Responsibilities

Balancing work and personal goals is important to remain productive. Increasing productivity requires taking a break from tasks, focusing instead on what is motivating you to achieve your outcomes. Inward reflection through journaling is helpful when recognizing the triggers that may be causing you to become overwhelmed. A conversation with a mentor is also effective for objective clarity and insight. – Reena Khullar SharmaAgilis Executive Consulting

4.Schedule Time To Rest And Recharge

Productivity is all about focus and energy. If either one is low due to being overworked or overwhelmed, it will ultimately affect the results. I would recommend the client schedule time in their week to recharge by doing things they enjoy, as this has been shown to boost energy. I would also get them to work in time slots with time in between for rest to ensure focus doesn’t dip. – Othman AbdulrasheedBusiness Leadership Consulting

5.Start Each Day With 15 Minutes Alone

Overwhelm and stress take over when we aren’t focused on the truly important things. We become stressed when we allow people and daily crises to distract us. I recommend clients start each day spending 15 minutes alone before responding to emails or calls. They should identify three things that must be accomplished that day to ensure key priorities to move forward, and then allow space for interruptions that deserve attention. – Christine GrimmAria Consulting International

6.Experiment With Faith And Creativity

The first step is always cultivating faith that it’s possible to shift your situation. Many of us never make it past that first step. The more we cling to the idea that we are a victim of our own situation — even our own success — the less able we are to act with faith and creativity to experiment with new structures in working, including boundaries, focus on priorities, saying “no,” etc. – Tevis TrowerBalance Integration Corporation

7.Practice Time Management Techniques

Try time management techniques like prioritization and saying “yes, but not now.” Manage time by date to avoid crushing yourself with commitments. Automate or delegate everything you can, and meditate or exercise first thing in the morning to enhance focus. Change meeting times from 60 to 55 minutes and from 30 to 25 minutes, and do more standing meetings internally (even remotely) to keep them short. – Jennifer WilsonConvergenceCoaching, LLC

8.Apply Creative Procrastination

Apply creative procrastination by focusing on the 20% of activities that give you 80% of the value. Then, procrastinate on the rest. Also, block at least 24 hours a week for your most important client — yourself! And stay away from work. You will be a lot more productive and a lot more clear about what needs to be done, what can be avoided or what should be delegated after that. – Masha MalkaThe One Minute Coach Corp.

9.Focus On Just Thing At A Time

People must remember they can only do one thing at a time. I find stress comes from trying to multitask rather than completing something first and then moving on to another issue. Sometimes there are emergencies, but most often competing tasks can be managed in their own time and not overlap current objectives. – John LoweTy Boyd, Inc.

10.Operate From Your Strengths, Sweet Spot

Operate from your sweet spot. Particularly when facing stress and adversity, you should try to identify what special skills and talents you have that are relevant to the circumstances and operate from that place. By using your strengths, your confidence will go up, your stress will subside, your productivity will increase and you will ease into the challenge. – Agata Dulnik, Ph.D.Global Leadership Experts

11.Get Grounded In Reality And The Now

The most important action for this client is to get grounded in reality and the now. We are really good at “creating a mountain out of a molehill,” to quote my mom. Savagely reduce the to-do list. Last week, a client complained about their to-do list, which had 14 projects on it. In reality, five of those projects were done and four hadn’t kicked off yet, cutting the list from 14 to five. – Pamela ScottMentorLoft

6 Office Design Trends That Truly Boost Employee Productivity | GN Feature Story, Gineersnow.com

While efficiency and productivity are two words that are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Efficiency is a metric that states the amount of output per input. In other words, how much work we get done for each hour we work. Productivity, on the other hand, is a metric that states the amount of output per unit of input. In other words, how much work we get done for each hour we work. This is where office design can truly make a difference. The following are some of the most important office design trends that help to boost productivity.

Flexible space

In this kind of office, it is not uncommon to see people working in a comfortable lounge area, at a standing desk, or in a private cubicle. The ability to choose where to work improves employee productivity because it makes them more motivated. It also allows them to work better in teams because they don’t feel like they have to be in the same area all the time. The ability to choose where to work is also good for employee satisfaction and retention.

A blend of semi-private, private, and open workspaces

Trends in office design are constantly changing, especially when it comes to the way companies treat their employees. As offices are becoming more and more open, the need for privacy is still big. Thus, more and more companies are beginning to use “semi-private” and “private” spaces to cater to the needs of their employees. In fact, a study by Deskmag shows that private, semi-private, and open spaces all contribute to an increased level of employee productivity. Quoting the study: “Private space or semi-private space can be designed to optimize focused work, while open space can be designed to promote collaboration.”

Basic care and nurturing tools

If you’re looking at ways to improve productivity in the office, the first thing you need to do is make the office one that fosters a sense of comfort, connection, and care. The best offices have a few elements of care and nurturing that make it a place for people to come together and be happy to be there.

A safe and healthy workplace design

Building a safe and healthy workplace design should be one of the first things that you do when you start a new business. As a matter of fact, as you’re designing your office, you should keep in mind that employees’ health is directly related to their productivity. For example, one recent study showed that workers exposed to natural light reported less tiredness and were more productive. Creating proper workstation setups with ergonomic seating and standard desk height are other examples of how making your office design more healthy can increase productivity.

More lighting

One of the most important things to pay attention to in your office is lighting. Lighting is not just about creating a good environment but also about increasing productivity. Employees are more productive when they are more comfortable.

Noise masking

One of the most common things we see in offices is noise. Noise, even when it is not a disruptive amount, can be a barrier to productivity. The right office design can help to keep your employees focused and feeling at their creative best with noise masking.

Maintaining A Healthy Company Culture Remotely | Ginni Saraswati, Forbes.com

Company culture is an essential aspect of any organization. In fact, it’s really what breeds success, speed and retention of some of the best talent. But not every company has a culture that supports its employees and contractors well. A positive company culture can be challenging to maintain when there is no central, in-person office environment. Yet investing in how to build and maintain a company culture is one of the most effective components to the company’s success, whether you’re in-person, remote or hybrid.

How a company approaches maintaining a healthy company culture involves several factors. Here are five ways companies can prioritize their company culture even as their team members work from home.

1.Open Communication and Transparency

Leadership should continue to communicate company goals, successes, opportunities and problems with their remote workforce. Leadership can achieve open communication through weekly meetings, an active Slack channel or even in-person, all-hands meetings if that is an option. The important thing is building a connection outside of the formalities.

2.Trust Your Employees and Avoid Micromanagement

Having a remote workforce requires leadership to trust their employees. When it comes to new hires, I like to put all of my trust and faith in them to allow room for the new hire to show up exactly as they intend to. This quickly helps establish how long their tenure will be at the organization. And, if the pandemic taught us anything, it was that companies could still be very productive even if their employees were working from home.

3.Work/Life Balance

Most employees agree that a healthy work/life balance is important to maintain, especially when working remotely. Companies can bolster that balance in a remote work environment by giving employees benefits like generous PTO, reasonable work schedules and the means to prioritize self-care.

4.Onboarding and Supporting Professional Growth

If a remote worker’s onboarding process is confusing, unorganized or doesn’t fall within the job description that they were initially sold on when they were hired, retaining that employee will be difficult. A solid, organized and welcoming onboarding process is necessary to introduce new employees to the company culture and ensure that the people you are bringing in are the right fit.

5.Keep Things Fun

These may sound like buzz words, but a focus on fun can be a boon to healthy company culture. Playing games during company meetings designed to get to know more about our remote co-workers is a great way to break the monotony of staid company meetings. If remote workers live within the same city, organizing happy hours or dinners can give those employees a way to socialize while also giving them something to look forward to.

Remote work is here to stay for the long run. Building a robust remote team takes dedication to the company mission and realizing that healthy company culture is paramount to employee happiness and retention.

Hybrid work: 4 ways to strengthen teams and boost productivity | Patrick Morley, Enterprisersproject.com

As companies shift to hybrid work, we need to redefine teamwork to ensure every employee is happy and productive, whether they’re in the office or remote. Here are four ways to promote better teamwork in a hybrid world.

1.Design your office to make remote workers feel included

Redesigning meeting rooms and boardrooms to make remote workers feel like they’re part of the group can go a long way toward promoting inclusion. Maybe that means investing in higher-quality microphones so remote workers can hear the conversation more succinctly or installing better cameras from higher vantage points so they can get a clearer sense of who’s speaking. Some offices even feature large screens in their conference rooms to display remote participants better.

2.Set up regular ‘meet-and-greets’ for employees

The shift to hybrid work offers a golden opportunity to build camaraderie among your employees through carefully curated meet-and-greets. It may not be as organic as engaging in person on the first day of work, but setting up allotted times for individuals to meet each other one-on-one can help foster that community feeling.

Arrange schedules for employees to meet in person when possible – but if one employee is in the office and the other happens to be working remotely, that can work too. These sessions are intended to encourage colleagues to form relationships with each other. This helps everyone feel more invested in the team and their collective goals.

3.Place more value on the well-being of your employees

Conduct regular well-being sessions with your employees and ask questions that go beyond “Is everything OK?” Consider the following examples:

  • What do you need from me and the business to enable you to work effectively?
  • Has anything changed from when we last spoke about the support we provide? Is your home working environment still sufficient?
  • Which recent company announcements or changes do you have questions about or would like me to clarify?

Ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes-or-no response. Be on the lookout for changes in a person’s body language or mood. Just like at the beginning of the pandemic, this will likely take some time and require patience from everyone. Stick with it, and you’ll get there.

4.Make it fun for everyone

Company pizza parties, happy hours, attending sporting events together – these are all on the table again. Just make sure that you’re considering everyone.

It may be difficult for remote employees to attend these events, so find ways to make everyone feel involved. For example, we recently hosted a wine-tasting event. Because some employees couldn’t attend in person, we set up a video call and shipped them the same wines we had so they could participate from their homes.

Creating a sense of teamwork and camaraderie can be difficult when everyone works remotely. It will be equally challenging as more businesses go hybrid. But every challenge presents new opportunities, and leaders who proactively and intentionally connect their employees will find success in building teams.

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