Remote Work Digest: November 29, 2022

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

7 Tips to Manage a Fully Remote International Business | Max Azarov, Entrepreneur.com

More companies are ditching the overhead costs of dedicated office spaces and unlocking global growth opportunities by transitioning to a fully remote business operation.

While the potential benefits are significant, business leaders will face various challenges. Follow these tips to manage your fully remote company better.

1.Clearly define your mission and vision

A clearly defined and adequately communicated mission and vision are vital for every successful remote business as this serves as a roadmap to guide the actions of every employee and the organization.

2. Don’t think local. Think global.

A fully remote business gives you access to new markets and a global customer base and opens up opportunities to tap into global talent pools. Don’t fall into the trap of keeping hiring strategies and recruitment drives contained to home markets.

3. Build a company culture based on accountability

The lack of oversight of employee time often causes concern for business leaders as their company transitions from a brick-and-mortar operation to a fully remote business. While keeping tight rein on working hours is tempting, it is vital that every remote business finds the balance between flexibility and accountability. Rigid rules and set hours can stifle innovation and complicate working arrangement.

Instead, give employees the flexibility to structure their workdays around their individual needs, circumstances and preferences. The key is set to clear expectations regarding outputs and deliverables rather than tightly monitoring their inputs.

4. Empower your employees to act independently

Fostering a culture of trust nurtures other positive traits within a remote workforce, such as curiosity, bravery, innovative thinking and bold experimentation. The freedom and confidence to explore, develop and try new methodologies and new ways of working can create a competitive advantage for your organization.

5. Prioritize talent and experience

Bringing in people with expertise and experience means you get staff who can self-manage and work with freedom while delivering the quality outputs they require.

6. Implement technologies that help employees

Technology offers the ideal solution to transcend the geographic boundaries and tie zones that remote international companies deal with daily.

7. Champion international communication

Remote teams must frequently communicate transparently and correctly, regardless of the channel. Management and leadership must ensure they can effectively convey their messages to the right targets. Effective communication fosters trust through transparency and ensures remote employees clearly understand their tasks, roles and responsibilities.

Creating multiple channels for staff to give their feedback and opinions, ask questions, share ideas, profile great work or simply voice their concerns allows remote workers to communicate their value and makes them feel heard and empowered.

4 ways to Make Your Workspace More Productivity | Ali Bajwa,  Techbullion.com

Many external factors have an impact on the productivity of the individual. Studies have shown that changing the state of the workspace can increase productivity by 25%. Many high-end companies optimize the workspace to improve the productivity of the workforce. 

The vibe of the office influences the productivity of the employees and the workplace. A few simple changes like changing the layout of the space, taking short breaks, and limiting the use of social media boost productivity levels.

There are surely some ways to increase productivity, however, you can develop new habits and take the right steps to stay productive in the long run.

Change the Physical Layout of the Workspace

Refining the physical layout of the workspace is crucial to creating a productive office atmosphere. Once you have established what needs to be changed, plan a layout for the workspace considering the major elements, for instance, cubicles, space for new projects, and storage.

Add Colors to Boost Mood

Get rid of dull colors that make you feel tired and bored, conversely, add a pop of colors that increase the employee’s appetite for work. Replace lackluster colors with specific colors that contribute to promoting productivity.

  • Blue – Blue promotes peace, calmness, concentration, and clear thought. Surrounding the space with this color enhances productivity and helps generate fresh ideas.
  • Green – It is a suitable color for a high-stress office atmosphere, making the employees feel relaxed and calm.
  • Red – This color is known to accelerate heart rate, therefore, linked with improved performance. With its aggressive energy, it urges employees to be active and energetic.
  • Yellow – Most experts do not consider it an appropriate color for an office, however, it triggers positive emotional expenses and is associated with increased energy levels.

Organize

Take time to declutter space from time to time and throw out unnecessary stuff. Changing the layout will only work if you keep the space organized and the workforce has easy access to things they need.

It is best to organize digitally so you do not have to spend time sorting through documents, apps, and files. A well-organized physical and digital workspace will save time and boost productivity and performance.

Experts reveal factors in the workplace that could be increasing staff turnover | Rebecca Tomes, Ifamagazine.com

Employee wellbeing experts Loopin have highlighted six of the major factors in the workplace that could lead to a high staff turnover, from lack of opportunities and purpose, to overworked employees, all of which contribute to huge employee turnover costs.  

Little opportunity for growth

Offering promotions for existing employees rather than hiring externally is one way to provide opportunities for growth. Communication is key in this instance to ensure that staff have clarity on how they need to perform in order for this to be possible, for example, a checklist of targets over a realistic time frame – this way, both you and the employees can assess how close they are to the next step. Alternatively, providing relevant training courses for staff allows them to educate themselves and stay up to date with the sector, thus being an excellent opportunity for growth.      

Lack of feedback

Offering feedback to employees is a small implementation that can go far – not only does it show recognition, but it’s also a huge factor that can help them succeed.  Regular 1-1s are an excellent opportunity to provide feedback, as it gives employees the chance to address any areas they are particularly struggling in.    

Lack of flexible working

Flexible working options offer a practical solution for employees. It can help those using unreliable public transport, those who need to take their children to school, or those with pets, to name a few. Implementing flexible working options where employees can be more autonomous and set their own schedules offers a healthier work-life balance; without it, employees may turn to a different company that does provide this benefit.      

Overworking employees

 Of course, there may be times when employees will have additional responsibilities. Particularly whilst many companies are making significant redundancies, resulting in employees having a bigger workload. However, managers must monitor the workload of all employees and find ways to protect them from burnout and stress caused by unavoidable workloads. Without doing so, staff are more likely to search for another role that offers a better work-life balance. On the other hand, employees must have enough work and understand their contribution to the make-up of the organisation’s overall mission, vision, and success.     

Feeling undervalued and unappreciated

Free lunches and table football are great, but they barely scratch the surface when it comes to creating a culture where employees feel appreciated, cared for, and understood. If employees feel their work is not valued and their contributions go unnoticed, they are likely to lack motivation and may consider leaving their current role for a job that is more rewarding and enjoyable.    

Understanding an employee’s concerns, values, needs, and hopes for the future is crucial to retain your top talent. Efforts should be made to communicate and understand individuals’ needs and inspirations, so their hard work can be recognized in a way that has the maximum impact.

Top employee cybersecurity tips for remote work and travel | Roy Zur, Venturebeat.com

While technology has made significant strides in protecting us from ourselves, working remotely can quickly go south if we don’t take basic cybersecurity precautions. This article covers a range of security best practices for remote work and travel. Obviously, not every tip applies to every situation. That said, it is crucial to understand your current and future surroundings, assess their relative risk and take steps to protect your credentials, devices and confidential data.

Here are some tips to help improve your security posture during remote work or travel.

Do this first: Lock your SIM card

Trip or no trip,lock your SIM card. SIM-jacking (or SIM-swapping, unauthorized port-out or “slamming”) is a real and underreported crime where threat actors pretend to be you, contact your wireless provider and “port over” your SIM card to your (their) “new phone.” Imagine someone stealing your entire online life, including your social media accounts.

Cybersecurity tips for remote and traveling workers

Create a strong password (with upper and lower case letters, distinctive characters, and several characters long). Never store passwords on your person or on the phone, including in the notes section. Ideally, your employer should be using a password managerbut chances are they’re not. According to SpecOps’ 2022 Weak Password Report, 54% of businesses do not use a password manager. Even more troubling, 48% of organizations don’t have user verification for calls to the IT service desk.

Patch and update every device you are using, including apps. Do the same for the browsers and everything else you’re running on those devices. In August 2022, Apple put out the word that unpatched versions of iPads, iPhones and Macs could be essentially taken over by threat actors. Make sure everything is current as you step into an unfamiliar environment.

Use two-factor authentication (2FA) everywhere and with everything. When choosing how to receive the authentication code, always opt for token over text as it’s much more secure. At Black Hat 2022, a Swedish research team demonstrated exactly how insecure text authentications are. If a hacker has your login credentials and phone number, text-based authentication simply won’t protect you.

Security and travel: Leaving the home office

Leave sensitive data at home. Don’t bring devices containing personally identifiable information (PII) or confidential company documents. Do you use a particular laptop for online banking and signing mortgage docs? Leave it at home. Want to take your work computer on holiday? Reconsider. What happens to your career if company secrets fall into the wrong hands? Of course, taking your laptop on a business trip is expected, but just make sure it’s free of your personally identifiable information.

Use RFID blockers to shield your passport and credit cards from “contactless crime.” While contactless payments are convenient at grocery stores and toll booths, they can be quite problematic within range of threat actors employing radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners. An RFID scanner in the wrong hands allows hackers to simply walk past a group of people and unmask identifiable card information.

Wrapping up

As you can see, most cybersecurity when traveling involves front-end preparation. Like everything else security-related, it’s crucial to keep systems, software and browsers updated and patched. When traveling abroad, understand that not everywhere is home of the free. Know where you’re going and what their local privacy laws are.

In summary, keep a low profile when working remotely or traveling. Don’t take any chances or unnecessary risks.

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