Remote Work Digest: December 31, 2019

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

The Importance of Regular Feedback | Rob Press, Business2community.com

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With the increased expansion of the gig economy, and when remote work is slowly becoming more and more common everyday (with 16 percent of U.S. companies fully remote), we need to find ways to make our teams, both in-house and remote, engaged and motivated to stay for the long run.

Let’s dive right in and explore how you should embrace feedback and make it a part of your company culture.

Why is feedback important for employees?

In order to motivate your team and increase their productivity and motivation, feedback is crucial.

There are companies out there that are only looking to get the most of their employees and don’t actually care about their wellbeing and motivation. There are also companies that want their employees to feel valued and thrive.

The moral of the the story is this: no matter which category of employee/employer you fall into, regulare feedback will improve your work life, in one way or another, as it:

  • Boosts employee engagement and productivity
  • Provides clear goals and milestones
  • Allows employees to recognize their strengths and work on their weakest points
  • Improves connections between employees and managers

Why is feedback important for managers and leaders?

When you are looking to improve employee performance, you should never forget about optimizing yourself as the manager.

You may be trapped in a feeling of “providing feedback takes time and effort, and I’m not quite sure what to say”. While all of this might truly represent how you feel, when you look at the benefits you as a manager and team leader will tap into, you might want to reconsider the ROI of your time and effort put into feedback:

  • You will know where each employee stands in terms of performance and goals
  • You will be able to help your employees overcome the hard stuff
  • You will have insider knowledge for future hires

Knowing your team this well makes it easier to understand your team’s culture and hire strong fits.

How will company culture change when you start providing regular feedback?

Once you start listening and providing regular feeback, several things will happen across your organization:

Feedback is a great tool for combating the inevitable snags in the road every business will face in its lifetime.

What kinds of feedback do you need to establish?

There is more than one kind of feedback you need to incorporate into your company culture:

  • Manageer to team member
  • Team member to team member
  • Team member to manager
  • Top level manager to lower level managers

Don’t make the mistake of thinking ‘feedback’ means telling your employees what they are doing well, and what they are doing wrong. Feedback should operate on multiple plains if you are to reap its fullest benefits.

Team members also need to provide feedback to their fellow team members. This will establish better communication between them, help them get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and provide a whole new perspective on their work.

Never forget that you also need to ask for feedback from your team: and they need to feel they can be completely honest. Never make them feel bad or let alone punish them for criticizing any aspect of your work. You want to build trust with your employees and you can do so by 1) listening to their feedback and 2) taking action.

Finally, top level management should also provide feedback to the lower levels of management and let them know how their work is affecting the big picture.

How to deliver positive feedback

Below are some quick tips on how to effectively deliver positive feedback:

  • Be specific, so the person knows exactly what you are talking about
  • Explain how the well done fits into the bigger picture
  • Make it know to more than just the person you are praising and give company-wide recognition
  • Deliver feedback in real-time and as close to the time of achievement as possible
  • Personalize your message and be thoughtful
  • Mean it!

Once you grasp a clear understanding of what motivates your team and how often they would prefer to receive and five feedback, you can come up with a system that works specifically for your workforce.

How to deliver negative feedback

  • Never do it in public
  • Never do it over email if you can prevent it
  • Do not pile it on
  • Start with something positive
  • Be precise and always give examples of how to improve
  • Listen before you speak
  • Never use it as a way to vent or punish someone
  • Be prepared to be proved wrong and accept it
  • Never let your emotions run away and remain calm
  • Follow up

Establishing a regular feedback routine will take time, effort, a lot of dedication, and getting used to. Expect some initial shock and even resistance from your employees. But onve it becomes the norm, expect to see all of the positive side effects of feedback we have been discussing above. Good luck!

50 Work-Life Balance Jobs for Anyone Who Wants to Leave Work at Work | Leigh Weingus, Parade.com

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If you want to pick a job or career that will get you off on the right foot, there are surprisingly a lot of them. Don’t believe us? Here are 50 best work-life balance jobs in various categories.

Best work-life balance jobs in tech:

  1. UX designer. If you’ve got tech tech skills and a solid sense of design, considering applying for a position as a UX designer.
  2. Data scientist. Are you a stats and data nerd? With a median salary of $112,000 a year, you’ll be paid well.
  3. Mobile developer. Have you alwayd dreamed of creating an app?
  4. Social media manager. If you have a knack for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., a position as a social media manager may just be perfect for you.
  5. DevOps engineer. It’s no secret that engineers are in high demand and make a good salary, but it turns out they have great work-life balance, too.
  6. Research engineer. If you’re great at interpreting and analyzing research and have engineering skills, this may be for you.
  7. SEO manager. If keywords and work-life balance are both of interest to you, consider a job as an SEO manager.
  8. UI designer. UI designers are responsible for making sure mobile devices, computers, and more have a positive user experience.
  9. Technical account manager. If your tech skills are top-notch and you crave a good work-life balance, this may just be the job for you.
  10. Front end developer. If design and technology are both your strong suits, front end development will be, too.
  11. Game designer. The masterminds behind some of your favorite iPhone and video games have great work-life balance, too. Why not become one of them?

Best work-life balance jobs in communications:

  1. Corporate recruiter. Corporate recruiters are responsible for finding talented people to fill positions at large and small companies.
  2. Talent acquisition specialist. Talent acquisition specialists are experts at both assessing and analyzing the staffing needs of a company and finding good talent.
  3. HR manager. If your whole job is to help out employees, having a good work-life balance is pretty much your job.
  4. Strategy manager. This job requires fewer people skills, but it does require an ability to think long and hard about all the elements a company needs to succeed and grow.
  5. Creative manager. Advertising and promotions managers are skilled in finding smart ways to generate interest in a product or company.
  6. Marketing coordinator. Marketing coordinators have a knack for what sells and develop, implement, and coordinate marketing and advertising campaigns.
  7. Marketing assistant. Not at coordinator level just yet? Marketing assistant jobs have solid work-life balance, too.
  8. Content manager. Ever wonder who does all the writing, editing, and uploading of content to some of your favorite websites?
  9. Scrum master. A scrum master manages the process for how information is exchanged and helps a team self-organize and make changes quickly.
  10. Real estate agent. Most real estate agents are self-employed, meaning they can create their own schedule. The result? All the work-life balance they want.
  11. Tour guide. Got a lot of knowledge about your hometown or city and some great people skills?
  12. Project manager. Project managers usually have the option to work from home and have predictable, reasonable hours.

Best work-life balance service jobs:

  1. Substitute teacher. The hours may be unpredictable, but substitute teachers have a great sense of work-life balance.
  2. Hairdresser. Hairdressers don’t always have a typical Monday through Friday schedule, but they do have set hours and don’t bring their work home with them.
  3. Dental hygienist. Cleaning teeth for a living may not be the most glamorous job, but you’ll be able to leave it behind as soon as you walk out the door of your office.
  4. Civil engineer. Engineering jobs don’t just have to be mean software—civil engineers deal with design, construction and maintenance of bridges, roads, canals and more.
  5. Fitness instructor. Although you may have to work nights and weekends as a fitness instructor, it will give you a lot of flexibility. As a nice bonus, you’ll probably get a free gym membership and built-in workouts out of it.
  6. Office support. Whether it’s a secretarial job of office manager, most office suport jobs have a good work-life balance.
  7. Logistician. Although occasional overtime work is required of logisticians—who handle the oversight of bringing products and services to a customer—for the most part, the work-life balance offered is great.
  8. Research technician. It’s not the job for everyone—but if you have these skills and want to maintain work-life balance, this may just be the job for you.
  9. Registered nurse. While there’s no question that the job of a nurse is incredibly demanding, you usually have a set number of hours that allow you to leave work behind when you walk out the door.
  10. Medical assistant. Medical assistants, who provide a variety of administrative and clinical work, have much more flexible hours than a lot of people think.
  11. Home health aide. Home health aides can hand-pick their patients for the hours that fit their schedule.
  12. Medical coder. Medical coding jobs, which are crucial to large hospitals and medical centers, have set hours and great work-life balance.
  13. Sports coach. Whether it’s coaching kids at a school or a high-level coaching gig, this type of has flexible hours and good balance.
  14. Massage therapist. The job of a massage therapist is demanding, but it pays well and you can make your own hours.
  15. Bookkeeper. You have to be detail-oriented to be a bookkeeper, but the job is a straightforward one and allows for great work-life balance.
  16. Optician. Opticians have great flexibility, low stress level, and are paid well.
  17. Law Clerk. While law clerks have to work long hours at times, a lot of them can be done at home.
  18. Firefighter. Yes, firefighting is a stressful career, and it can entail night, weekend, and holiday work. Hours can be flexible, though, and firefighters often end up with a lot of free time during the day.
  19. Curriculum developer. Ever wonder who comes up with the curriculums that are handed to teachers?
  20. Speech pathologist. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, a career in speech pathology is a great way to make an impact and leave work at work.

Best work-life balance jobs in finance:

  1. Economist. People who work in finance aren’t exactly famous for having great work-life balance. But if you work as an economist, you’re in good shape.
  2. Financial cleark. Financial clerks are responsible for making sure financial transactions are on track at at banks, doctors offices, government agencies, and more.
  3. Personal financial advisor. Stocks, bonds, retirement funds, ETFs! If these are terms you’re familiar with and you’re certified to advise people on them, you’ll be in a good position to leave work at work at the end of the day.
  4. Accountant. Helping people or companies out with their taxes, budget, finance reports and more is a great way to make a living while keeping a solid sense of work-life balance.
  5. Risk analyst. Risk analysts look at a firm’s investment portfolios and help them decide where they should take risks and where they should be more conservative.
  6. Investment advisors. These are the people who make sure individuals’ portfolios are in the best possible shape.
  7. Online tax advisor. As an online tax advisor, you can help people file their taxes without leaving your home.

5 Things To Ask Your Boss In The New Year | Avery Blank, Forbes.com

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Consider this your nudge. This is your push to ask for what you want in the New Year. Here are five things to consider asking for from your boss next year:

  1. Business goals.

If you do not understand why you are doing the work you are doing, it is difficult to understand the purpose of your work.

Ask your manager, “What are this year’s goals for the organization?” “What are your upcoming priorities?” The answers to these questions will help you understand how your role plays a part in reaching your company’s goals and helps to ensure that your efforts continue to meet goals.

  1. Expectations

To avoid confusion or misunderstanding, ask your manager what is expected of you. When you are clear about what people expect from you, you will increase your chances of meeting or exceeding expectations.

  1. Flexibility

If you think some form of flexibility would help you be more productive with work, inquire about it. Communicate how the change will help you with your work. If you are already demonstrating solid work, it will be easier for you to ask for more flexibility.

  1. Money

If you want a raise, ask for it. If you need more resources for a project, ask for it. Assuming you are producing quality work, ask for what you need to continue to be the best professional that you can be and produce great work.

  1. A promotion

If you continue to prove your worth, consider asking your manager for a promotion. Don’t run the risk of not asking and build up resentment that may undermine your work product and impact your relationships with colleagues.

A successful career is built on years of experience and climbing the ladder. The higher you go on the ladder, the move opportunity you will have to ask for what you want.
When you demonstrate your worth, you have the leverage to ask for things like flexibility, a raise or a promotion. Questions have answers. Ask the questions to know the answers and see the road that will help you reach your goals.

Want More Value Out of Your Day? Focus on Creating Time Blocks | Bruce Eckfeldt, Inc.com

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If you’re struggling to find the time to work on long-term strategy, try these steps to create more focused time for these important, but not urgent, tasks.

  1. Determine your allocations

Figure out how much time you ideally need to spend each week. Note if you need one big block of time or if you need to do a little each day. If you keep a good calendar, look back over previous weeks to catch things you may have missed on your list.

  1. Identify your peak times

Our hours vary wildly in terms of quality and focus. Before you plan your schedule, it’s important to know what time of day you should be working on which types of tasks.

If you’re a morning person, your best hours might be right after breakfast or even when you first wake up. For others, it might be after dinner when you can focus for longer stretches of time and be more creative. To identify your peak times, create a journal and make notes for a few days on the times you feel like you have the greatest mental focus and clarity.

  1. Allocate your time blocks

Once you have your prioritized task list and your peak times have been identified, you can begin mapping out your week. Start with the big blocks of time you need for focused, uninterrupted work. This could be each day, or this could just be one or two days a week. Better to start with too many than too few.

  1. Defend your schedule

When someone calls you for a meeting, make sure to offer them the box you had allocated for that activity. If you forgot to plan for it, give them one of your buffer blocks. But don’t move your other blocks! This is the key to this strategy. Make other people adjust to your plan.

  1. Adjust and optimize

Force yourself to shift things around to keep your blocks together as much as possible. Even if you need to move blocks between days and reschedule other meetings.

If you run out of time in a day, move blocks between days. And if you absolutely need to drop something, make sure you’re dropping the block that is the least important of all of your tasks. Don’t just delete the block that has the conflict; move things around to optimize your schedule.

Adopting this strategy can be hard at first. It will take time to figure out your most important tasks, optimal block size and timing, and your natural energy flow during the day. But once you dial it in, you’ll find yourself not only getting more done but getting more of the right things done to accomplish your biggest goals.

Remote Work Digest: November 26, 2019

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

How to Actually Practice Work-Life Integration | Jackie Moss, Thriveglobal.com

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If you’re in a management role or if you own your own business, and you want to support your team and better practice work-life integration, here are a few tips for you.

Be mindful about your “tone from the top”

Being aware of how you communicate with your employees is crucial in maintaining a positive workplace. If you treat your employees with patience and kindness, that will be the tone of your workplace, and folks will enjoy their employment a lot more.

Prioritize you, and your employee’s health

Daily work stress mounts up over time and takes a toll on our health. By setting an example of going on vacation, your employees will feel comfortable doing the same. If no one on your team takes vacation, no one will feel comfortable going on vacation which results in a lot of tired, burnt out people who aren’t as productive and who aren’t enjoying coming to work.

Set expectations about emails

Be sure to set the expectation of when “on hours” and “off hours” are. My employees know that if I email them at 6 a.m., they’re not expected to email me back as soon as they wake up, they can email me when they get in the office. If you know that you’re going to be sending emails at odd hours, have a conversation with your employees beforehand setting expectations.

Be flexible

If you expect your employees to always be in the office from 9-5 (or longer hours), and always accessible via phone or email, you probably want to be more flexible. While I like my employees to be in the office because it’s more collaborative and easier to get things done quickly, if they need to work from home for a day, or need flexibility in their schedules because of appointments, I’m more than open to it. It’s important, and helps keep my employees happy, healthy and productive when they’re in the office!

Using these tips might seem simplistic , but, give them a try. They could help you and your employees more than you know.

50 Work-From-Home Jobs Paying as Much or a Lot More Than the Average American Salary | John Rampton, Msn.com

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Whether that’s working remotely for a company or starting your own business, there’s no shoratge of work-from-home opportunites. Here are 50 optioms many which can generate annual earnings that equate to more than the average American salary.

  1. Affiliate Marketer

For those unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, it’s simply referral marketing where you can earn a commission. People love affiliate marketing because they can start earning money passively with few startup costs.

  1. Animator

Are you an artistic and creative individual who is able to create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games and other types of media? Then you can work at home as a freelance animator.

  1. Baker/Caterer/Chef

If you have a knack for baking or cooking, then turn your passions into a side business. You could start a catering business or become a personal chef. If you’re a baker, you could sell goods to friends, neighbors, online or at local farmer’s markets.

  1. Blogger

It could be as simple as you just writing about your favorite music or food, and eventually, you can start generating money from your site. Just keep in mind that you need to pay patient when it comes to cashing in on your blog.

  1. Bookkeeper

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a CPA to start bookkeeping. Just sign up for a bookkeeping course at a community college or even online (such as this course from The Accounting Coach). Once you complete a course, you can start earning, and the median salary is reportedly $34,000.

  1. Child Caregiver

Whether if it’s just for a couple of hours or for the entire day, running a childcare business from your home can be lucrative. Just make sure that you obtain the correct licenses and permits.

  1. Clinical Resarch Coordinator

Clinical research coordinators help manage operations for clinical trials. You could make more than $48,000 with this job, and you don’t need a bachelor’s degree.

  1. Consulting

If you’re an accountant or lawyer, you can provide advice to small businesses for a pretty penny. You could also consult businesses on how to use a new software program or how to become more environmentally friendly.

  1. Customer Service Representative

Do you possess excellent communication skills? Do you also have a landline and reliable internet? Then you can earn between $8 and $15 per hour as a customer service representative.

  1. Data Entry

Inputting data for businesses isn’t the most of exciting of jobs. However, you don’t need any previous experience, and you can start at $10 per hour.

  1. Copy Writing

You can write copy for businesses from your home and, in some cases, earn up to six figures.

  1. E-commerce Store Owner

There are five types of e-commerce business models: dropshipping, wholesaling, manufacturing, white-labeling and subscriptions.

  1. Editing and Proofreading

Companies like Book in a Box pay around $20 per hour to editors, book jacket designers and proofreaders.

  1. Event Planner

Whether if it’s planning a wedding, birthday party or corporate event, people are looking for organized individuals to do most of the event planning for them.

  1. Film and Post Instructional Videos

Are you really good at something? Try creating a YouTube account and filming yourself instructing others on how to do what you’re skilled at.

  1. Grant Writer

Universities, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations often need to apply for grant money. Since these applications can be difficult to write, these businesses often turn to talented grant writers.

  1. Graphic Designer

Many businesses are in need of someone to design their logos, websites or visual ads. If you have a degree or certification in this area, you can make a comfortable salary annually (reportedly $45,000 and up).

  1. Handmade Crafter

Do you make handmade products like jewelry or furniture? If so, try setting up an Etsy shop and selling your handmade crafts online.

  1. Instructor

Whatever your knowledge or experience, some people will pay you to share that information with them, whether in person or online.

  1. Internet Security Specialist

Given the attention that online security has been receiving, this job is expected to grow steadily over the next several years.

  1. Online Juror

When attorneys prepare for a trial, they often seek feedback on their case. Depending on the mock jury website you choose, you can make between $5 to $150 for your opinion.

  1. Online Teacher

Are you a teacher who’s looking for a more flexible schedule? Then consider teaching via Skype or via a pre-recorded session through organizations like K12 and Connections Academy.

  1. Patent or Intellectual Property Lawyer

If this is your area of the law, you could reportedly make between $112 and $121 per hour.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Lender

Thanks to sites like Lending Club and Prosper, you can easily lend money to a business or individual. As an investor, you’d make money on the paid interest of the note.

  1. Pet Groomer

Do you love being around animals? Are you also patient enough to clean and style pets? If so, this could be a great home-based business.

  1. Photographer/Videographer

Even though everyone has a camera on their phone these days, there’s still a need for these types of professionals like for events like weddings.

  1. Product Reviewer

You can make a decent living (reportedly between $20,000 and $95,000) just by reviewing the products that you use daily.

  1. Programmer

If you’re interested, here’s a handy programmer guide to get you on your way.

  1. Realtor

While you can run a reality business from your home, as long as you have your state’s real estate license, you still need to show potential buyers the home. Thanks to technology, you can become a virtual realtor where you can show a property without having to be there in person.

  1. Renter

Do you have an extra bedroom? How about a car you don’t drive everyday? Are there household items laying around collecting dust? If so, try renting them out to people who could use them.

  1. Repairer

If you have a knack for fixing things, like bicycles, cars or computers, then consider launching your own repair business.

  1. Short Tasks

A short task is a job or assignment that can be completed quickly. Examples include writing a review, taking a survey, or watching a video. They may not pay much, but it’s a fast and easy way to make money from home.

  1. Social Media Manager

There are a lot of organizations who need someone to manage their social media accounts, and some may even want you to completely develop a social media strategy for them.

  1. Stylist

If you love fashion and want to work from home, then you can become an online stylist. Some reportedly make up to $15 an hour.

  1. Survey Taker

You can be paid between $1 and $50 each time you take an opinion poll, answer questions about your shopping habits or review a product.

  1. Tax Preparer

Even though this is a seasonal gig, you can make a salary of over $30,000. Don’t forget to register with the IRS before you start this home-based business.

  1. Become an Expert

A growing trend is hiring an expert versus hiring a large company to come in and help fix problems. One resource is Catalant, which hires out experts from $15 an hour to $280 an hour.

  1. Telephone Nurse

If you’re a registered nurse, then you could work for health insurers or health management companies like Humana, Aetna and UnitedHealth Group. They hire nurses remotely to handle case management, treatment authorization and patient education.

  1. Transcriber/Transcriptionist

This job essentially means listening to audio files, such as lectures or doctors’ medical dictations, and then typing out what you hear. It’s an entry-level gig that can pay up to $25 an hour.

  1. Translator

Start earning a living off of this skill by translating documents or becoming an interpreter.

  1. Travel Agent

Despite the fact that there are numerous travel sites that make planning a trip a breeze, it can still be time-consuming. What’s more, there may be certain travel conditions that you are not aware of. That’s why there’s still a market for travel agents to scour the web for the best deals, share advice or plan itineraries.

  1. Virtual Assistant

If you’re organized and can handle office duties like replying to emails, calendar management, entering data and assisting with social media, then this job is perfect for you.

  1. Virtual Public Relations Representative

Some small- to medium-sized businesses don’t have the budget for a dedicated chief marketing officer, a vice president of marketing or even a public relations firm. But they may have the funds to hire a virtual public relations representative to take care of duties like promoting a business or managing a crisis.

  1. Virtual Recruiter

This is pretty much the same position as an in-house recruiter except you get to work wherever you want. The other major difference is that you search the web to find the right employee for the right position. You’re also responsible for screening the applicant and being a part of the interviewing and negotiation process.

  1. Virtual Tutor

If you have extensive knowledge in a specific area, then you could earn between $12 to $35 per hour by tutoring students either over the phone or on Skype.

  1. Voice Acting

If you have a golden voice, you can make somewhere between $56 and $72 per hour.

  1. Web Developer

You could bring in between $55,000 and $175,000 per year building websites from scratch.

  1. Web Search Evaluator

In order to deliver the most accurate service to customers, search engines pay individuals to analyze search results.

  1. Website Tester

Businesses want to make sure that their websites are intuitive and easy to navigate. As such, they’ll assign instructions for people to follow to check out their site.

  1. Writing Gigs

There are thousands of writing gigs available that pay anywhere between $10 to $100 per hour.

How to Create a Green Office Space in Five Easy Steps | Staff Reporter, Latinpost.com

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If you are considering making your office greener, here are five easy ways to do that.

  1. Create a Recycling Program

Most offices generate a lot of waste, particularly paper waste. You can create programs in your office that will recycle as much of these wastes as possible. For paper, you can put bins in areas of your office where everyone can easily access the bins. Used paper can be re-used for reprinting, taking down notes, or other purposes as long as they are not going to be used for printing important documents. You can also parternup with a local recycling firm and have the accumulated paper trash picked up.

  1. Get Indoor Plants

Offices that have plants report that employees have shown a 26% increase in employee productivity and well as a 30% decrease in sickness-related employee absences. What’s more, 6% of employees have even reported that they experienced better sleep quality.

  1. Cut Down on Single-Use Items

Encourage your employees to use reusable cups, plates, and utensils to reduce plastic waste in your office. If you have an employee break room, you can have your employees store their reusable items there safely. If you want to take it a step further, you can even encourage your employees to bring a bagged lunch from home! Using bagged lunches will further decrease the amount of plastic and paper waste that your office produces.

  1. Invest in Renewable Energy Sources

If you really want to make a statement with your green initiative in the office, you should consider switching to renewable energy sources. These days, there are so many affordable and accessible renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy. Wind energy is probably not a practical solution for most offices. However, you can switch to solar and replace the lights to reduce your energy need.

  1. Utilize Your Office’s Layout

If you don’t have the budget for major renovations, you can utilize the existing layout in your office. Open windows to allow natural light and fresh air inside as much as possible. You can also move large furniture away from the window so that they don’t block the heat and sunlight coming from the outside.

Using a thermostat to regulate heat is one of the biggest expenses during wintertime. Use thick curtains to block cold drafts from the outside, and you can also move large furniture toward the windows to preserve heat inside your office. You can also encourage your employees to wear thicker office wear so that you won’t need to rely on office heating too much.

9 time management skills to meet your goals | Kenneth Franks, Jotform.com

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In this post, we’re sharing nine of the most important time management skills you can use to organize your workday and improve your productivity.

  1. Prioritization

Lots of people recommend starting your day off with a to-do list. But our CEO, Aytekin Tank, suggests using the “hunter strategy” to get things done: Choose the one thing that must get done today, and do it.

  1. Organization

Staying organized is crucial for staying on track. This goes beyond having a tidy workspace. You should maintain a calendar with all of your deadlines. If you prefer the traditional pen and paper, then get a planner or journal. If you do better with digital tools, there are plenty of productivity and calendar apps available.

  1. Delegation

Delegating your workload is an important part of managing your time. This isn’t to say that you should pass off all of your work to an intern. Delegating means handing off the tasks that could more efficiently be done by someone else.

  1. Focus

Contrary to popular belief, research has proven that a singular focus is more effective than multitasking. When you multitask, you have to break the flow of what you’re working on to switch to a different task. Switching gears takes time.

  1. Learning to say no

Saying yes to anything and everything is a surefire way to kill your productivity. You don’t want to disappoint the person asking something of you, so you automatically say yes to the request — no matter the cost. Not only does this add to your busy schedule, but you’re likely to do a poor job on the task.

  1. Batching

Batching your tasks is an excellent way to stay focused. Instead of switching gears between unrelated tasks, you can lump similar tasks together and knock them out at once.

  1. Minimizing distractions

Whether they’re out of your control or you create them yourself, distractions can drain your time. Take a moment to think about what distracts you throughout the day. Then find ways to eliminate or reduce those distractions.

  1. Managing stress

Stress can quickly kill your productivity. The goal isn’t to pack as much as possible into a day but to manage your priorities effectively. It’s OK to give yourself a break. Outside of work, engage in activities that relax you, like meditating.

  1. Asking for help

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you find yourself struggling to comprehend a task or just need another hand.

You don’t have to change everything all at once. When you work on one skill at a time, you can see which levers impact your productivity the most.

Remote Work Digest: October 29, 2019

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

5 Ways Natural Light Improves Productivity | Henry Martin, Thebossmagazine.com

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While companies all over the world are implementing a range of innovative perks, the overriding benefit on employees’ wish lists is quite simply: natural light.

Here are five ways natural light can improve productivity:

1. Improves sleep

Research carried out by Northwestern University of Chicago showed that employees who worked in an office with windows slept for an average of 46 minutes more every night than those who worked in offices with no windows.

Those who have a better night’s sleep are generally more productive at work, because being well-rested means your attentiveness and concentration improves.

2. Enhances mood

Exposure to natural light can not only improve mental health, but it will also have benefits on employee morale on the whole. With a sunny disposition, staff will exhibit keenness and an increased willingness to work.

3. Supports vision

With natural light, eye health can be properly sustained. This means a decrease in strain on the eyes at work, and therefore more comfort whle being in front of a screen.

4. Improves Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones because it facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphates. These minerals help strengthen bones, teeth, and muscles, which of course go hand in hand with overall health.

5. Encourages creativity

With more natural light streaming into your office space, you could inspire your employees and encourage the generation of new ideas and lateral thinking.

The evidence offers a number of significant reasons to opt for natural light rather than artificial, not forgetting the financial advantages too. Consider installing generously sized windows to improve the overall morale and productivity of your workforce.

8 Ways to Boost Productivity in a Start-up | Sam Dolbel, Entrepreneur.com

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Entrepreneurs, businessmen, and women worldwide come across many challenges daily. Funding, finding the right talent and time management are only some of the issues they are faced with on a daily basis.

Here are eight tips on how to increase productivity as a start-up:

Be as efficient as possible

Do you ever come out of a meeting and think “gosh, this could have been an email!” While I agree with that, a lot of the time I actually find that a quick face-to-face conversation allows us to get things done more efficiently.

Of course there are other alternatives which use technology, allowing us to minimize face-to-face meetings – options like Microsoft Teams for example, can be used to call, text and share files with team members at a much faster pace than an email would.

Be as digitally-savvy as possible

In today’s fast-moving environment there are many other business tasks that can be completely digitalized. My two cents: Find which tasks your company wastes too much time on, there’s probably an app for them.

Join an Accelerator

Don’t underestimate the power of joining an accelerator. These specialized organizations can expand your growth by offering access to investment, office space and mentorship from industry leaders.

Location, Location, Location

For your start-up, it’s critical you understand your criteria, what exactly is it that what you want to do, and which location will best help serve your needs. Ultimately, you need to understand the specific tools you need to put in pace for your idea to flourish, and location is a key component in that. Also, don’t feel limited by geographies, go out and find the right place.

Create structure

Having defined roles and tasks gives the team a sense for responsibility and promotes accountability, both of which are crucial to any start-up’s success.

Invest in the culture

Early on in your journey, you need to find out exactly what kind of culture and values will your start-up stand for, and how do you plan to communicate that to both your team and your customers.

Invest in marketing smartly

Identify your targets and what channels and tools would help you effectively and efficiently drive your message through. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside the box – what works for one company may not work for another.

Encourage autonomy, don’t micromanage

The best way to encourage productivity and creativity in your team is for the manages (and founders!) to step back. Let your team manage their tasks freely and independently; you trusted them enough to join your start-up, so you should be able to give them a task and let the fly with it. This increases motivation, and you’ll find that the more ownership someone is able to take of their role, the better job they will do at it.

Everyday Routines To Help The Remote Worker Stay Active (And Stay Sane) | Darcy Cudmore, Thriveglobal.com

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Working remotely is not as easy  as many people think and many employees notice harmful changes to their mental physical health after only a short time. It’s important to stay in a healthy and productive routine, and many people can adopt bad habits that have serious side effects on their life.

1. Exercising at home

Many remote workers regularly get outside and walk around the neighborhood in the morning before their shift, or as needed – but when the Winter weather hits, this can become difficult.

If you purchase one of the best home treadmills or indoor cycling bikes, you don’t have to rely on the weather. You can get exercise in whenever you want, at any time during the day as you work from home.

2. Communicate with Coworkers or Other Remote Workers

Whether it’s setting up a communication software where you can regularly communicate with coworkers and managers, or scheduling a time every week to catch up with them, you should plan out a process. A meaningful conversation will keep your mind stimulated and your neural skills in operation.

3. Set Time Limits

It’s important to set up time restraints for when you are going to work and stick with them religiously.  Make sure you don’t push the limits too often or your work (and life) will begin to suffer.

4. Clean Yourself Up

Waking up, jumping in the shower, and getting dressed is an important human routine to keep up with, even when you are continuously working from home.

5. Get Out of the House

I recommend heading to a coffee shop or co-working space every now so often to change up your scenery and work space. By changing your work space, you’ll inject some excitement into your day just when things are getting a little stale.

Working from home is comfortable and dangerous. Heading out the door in the morning might be just what you need to keep things fresh every few days.

Creating A Conscious Business: Simple Practice to Help Implement A Business That Feels Good | Tasnlem Titus, Forbes.com

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People are always evolving and changing, and for this reason, they want to work for organizations that do the same and exist to make a difference. A conscious business is, according to author and leadership development at Google Fred Kofman, Ph.D., how organizations build value through values.

This illustrates the shift of organizations toward a value-based, conscious business model that benefits both the employees and the environment. For leaders aiming for this, here are a few simple practices.

1. Create a culture of health and wellness. 

There is no activity that brings people together and emits positive energy, good endorphins and the right chemicals better than sports withing a workplace. It is a bonding activity that provides healthy competition and enables people to connect and come together.

2. Connect in a collaboration room. 

Collaboration rooms are fun spaces where people connect and play. It is in these rooms whre co-workers can switch off and build social connections with each other. The better the connection and collaboration-building, the better people work with each other.

3. Connect through food and sharing experiences.

Every quarter, my company celebrates with a potluck where we choose different themes and people share parts of their cultures and memories with us through the bonding experience of food. They bring dishes according to their cultures and explain what the dishes mean to them. This enables connection, and at the same time, we share our recognition awards.

4. Give back to charities, and do good in the community.

Whether it id by donation money to a worthy cause or collecting donations to feed the hungry, a business that places charity and paying it forward as a priority is usually a conscious business. It sends out a message that community is important. We cannot exist alone and in isolation; our community is a part of us.

5. Do business with other conscious businesses.

Who we spend our time with is important, and this shows that we take our business seriously – and it is not only about profits.

6. Spend time on mindfulness. 

Building time within the day for people to be mindful and breathe is important. Thinking and “just being” more helps enhance thinking patterns and brain waves for creativity. Known benefits of meditation and mindfulness include less stress, less reactivity, more creativity and improved focus, to mention a few.

7. Develop a culture of learning and curiosity.

Creating a culture of learning and curiosity makes it possible for us to learn from our mistakes, ask questions that are important for our business and ourselves and learn what to do differently with our practices toward our customer, each other and ourselves. This deep inquiry shifts people toward willingness to learn from each other.

8. Make meetings productive. 

Before each meeting, ask, “What is our intention together? What are the key things we want to achieve?” Send out agendas beforehand so people can prepare. Meetings should be creative generation think tanks and short spaces to determine whether we have implemented what we needed.

Are you suited to be a remote worker?

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Do we need traditional office spaces anymore? Because remote work statistics and research prove we don’t.

2015 study by Stanford University pointed out the benefits of employees working remotely — such as less time spent commuting, lower costs, and greater autonomy. Over the years, experts have given advice on how to be more productive at home, and on remote work trends.

But what about the actual, on-the-job requirements? What do professionals need to do to succeed as remote workers? And are companies investing in these employees just as much as their on-site counterparts? How much training do remote workers get, and how is this remote workforce training delivered? This survey answers all these burning questions.

We took a peek inside the notebooks of 450 remote workers.

We asked remote workers how they work on a daily basis. We used their responses to reveal some new remote work statistics that portray the state of global employment.

We also used our data and answers provided by remote workers to create a quiz and help you determine whether you’re suited to be a remote worker. Fingers crossed you are!

As of 2019, the number of companies with remote workforce is getting bigger — 66% of companies allow remote work and 16% are fully remote.

Time to know if you’re suited to join them, and how to do it.

Remote work: What is it?

Remote work comes in different forms. There are people who work remotely a few days a week, and others whose companies are hundreds of miles away, so their entire work is remote.

No matter its rising popularity, remote work is still in its infancy. So, businesses are still testing different models to see which ones work for them.

In this survey, we defined remote workers as those who work at least 3 days a week remotely and only have one employer at the moment.

 

Remote workforce training: Viable, popular, valuable.

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Businesses are investing in training now more than ever. For instance, Siemens invests $500 million a year in employee training. Training remote workers cannot be an exception.

In fact, 87% of remote workers get regular training, with 70% receiving it directly from their company. And, as for those who do want training but their company doesn’t provide it, they choose and pay for courses they find online.

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No matter who pays for training, it seems like remote workers want more of it.

Sixty-seven percent of remote workers say they need more work-related training, and it comes as no surprise that 85% receive it online.

More specifically, 50% take online courses, 22% use their mobile phones to learn, and 13% attend webinars.

Fifteen percent receive training by attending seminars.

Whether you want to onboard or train them in regular intervals, remote employees work in a completely different way. Do you want to know how? Keep reading to find out.

Remote work: A business life choice.

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Remote work is gaining popularity. And not just because more businesses understand what remote work is and decide to run without a physical office.

So, 85% of remote workers say that remote work was their decision because they wanted more flexibility, to make their own hours, and to live a carefree lifestyle.

But do they get what they want?

Flexible and remote: A big, fat myth.

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Sixty percent of respondents have to follow a 9-5, 5-days-a-week work schedule. How’s that more flexible than an on-site, average job?

Regardless, working wrapped up in a blanket, in your PJs, is far cozier.

This could be the reason only 20% of those who work from the comfort of their own home would rather go back to working in a company office.

A day in the life: Profiling the home office scouts.

Let’s take a more extensive look at our remote work survey statistics and demographics.

Most of our remote workers are women (58%), married (46%) with no children (41%), and an income between $25,000 and $80,000, earned by working remotely in the US. Thirty-nine percent are university graduates and 20% have finished high school.

Seventy percent of employees working remotely are between 25 and 44 years old. Of course, as the age rose, both income and educational background rose as well. This finding alone suggests that remote workers advance naturally within their company — exactly as if they worked on site.

Our respondents come from many different industries, and they’re all employed for wages. For the record, 72% found their jobs online, with Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor taking the first three places.

Contrary to popular belief, only 28% of our remote workers describe themselves as introverts. Thirty-eight percent identify themselves as ambiverts and 34% as extroverts.

When they feel lonely, 43% use communication apps, 37% visit the office, and only 15% work from a public space.

Apps: Combating 9-5 loneliness.

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The general feeling of loneliness remote workers might feel became more obvious when we asked them about the tools they use the most. Three out of the top 4 apps they use are all about communication — either with their team or their friends.

With 14%, Dropbox is the first non-communication tool remote workers use. With only 3%, Trello is the second one.

Other apps remote workers use include Asana, Zoom, Evernote, as well as apps made by their company.

Loners: Productivity freaks.

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Some remote workers might feel lonely, but almost no one feels unproductive.

Ninety percent feel they get more work done when working remotely. To boost their productivity, they’ve worked on skills like organization, communication, and time management.

But what about staying focused?

Noise: The sound of remote work.

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Spending most of their time in front of a computer, remote workers rely on their ears to stay focused. Twenty-five percent work with their TV on to feel like someone is talking in the background (hello again, 9-5 loneliness), while 21% focus in silence.

As for the music they like? Forty-two percent work with music on, whether meditative or loud, and 11% prefer new-age, ambient sounds.

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Home tour: Where do remote workers really work from?

Most remote workers want to keep working from home. Do you want proof of that? Take a look at their floor plan. Most of our respondents have invested in creating a special, dedicated space to work from.

More specifically, 31% work in a home office; a finding which proves remote workers are, indeed, changing the housing market and help the home office furniture market grow.

In any case, looks like remote workers need a separate, distraction-free space to increase remote work productivity, gather their thoughts, and work.

Satisfaction and remote work: A love story.

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As for what the future of working from home holds, 35% of remote workers want to work more days remotely, while 16% want to go freelance someday and work with multiple employers.

However, 6 in 10 remote workers would like their job less if they had to say goodbye to their home office and visit their company every day to do the exact same job.

Remote work: Highly recommended.

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The truth is that word of mouth favors remote working. A lot.

A whopping 88% of those surveyed would recommend a remote work career to a person they love and care about.

Go ahead and ask a remote worker you are friends with. You must know one or two. And if you don’t, with this growing pace of change, you’ll definitely meet one in the near future.

Do you have what it takes to be a remote worker?

As part of the TalentLMS Remote Work Survey, we asked our respondents to pick the most important skills a successful remote worker should master. Some of them include:

  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication
  • Self-discipline

After combining the data, and remote work statistics aside, we created this quiz to help you determine whether you are a good fit for a remote work career.

This article was originally published on Talentlms.com, a super-easy, cloud LMS to train your employees, partners and customers. It is fully customizable to your own needs, with simple and comprehensible analytics about everything that happens inside your eLearning environment. You can create your eLearning portal with TalentLMS in just 30”, here: https://www.talentlms.com/create

 

Remote Work Digest: June 20, 2019

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

5 Tips For Working From Home With Kids | Anthony Caruana, Lifehacker.com.au

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In this era where working from home and freelancing from a home office is common, there’s a new challenge to overcome. While working from home can help with the work/life balance, there are times when the kids can tip the scales away from work at exactly the wrong moment. After almost a decade of working from home with kids around, and after speaking with a few similarly challenged friends and colleagues, here are some of our favourite tips.

Establish some ground rules
Set some ground rules and stick to them. For example, if the kids see you with headphones on, they need to know that means you’re on a call and can’t be disturbed unless it’s urgent.

Communicate
Firm communication that teaches them about your work day and commitments is key. For example, while I was working yesterday, both my step-sons were home from school. I explained to them that I had an important call and that for those 30 minutes I needed them to keep a little quieter than usual.

Schedule time for work and kids
It may be a work day but if the kids are around you need to make time for them. Plan your day so there’s a mix between work, play and other activities. For example, schedule meal breaks and allow for time every hour to chat, organise an activity or to join in with play time.

Be creative
If you’re planning to work from home, have a list of different activities you can use to keep the kids busy. Mix up the indoor and outdoor play – six hours of iPad time is not a good way to encourage healthy life habits.

On the work side, if you need an escape hatch with some quiet, why not take calls and process email in the car, where it’s quiet, while it’s parked in the driveway and the kids are playing outside.

Involve the kids in your work
When you plan your work day, look for opportunities to involve kids in your work. For example, when I think about story ideas I sometimes ask the kids what stories they think are most interesting and why. I get them to read some of my work and ask them to write about things that interest them. That way, we’re working together.

How to take a Working Vacation That Actually Works | Serenity Gibbons, Thriveglobal.com

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Not all “workations” are created equal. A productive one takes planning and balance: Too much work and too little vacation (or vice versa) can defeat the purpose. But done correctly, working vacations are an opportunity to experience the world without having to worry about falling behind.

Ready to try a working vacation? Before you book:

1. Get your team on board.
Remote work may be a staple at many companies, but not all of them are used to team members taking working vacations. Make sure everyone knows you’re not totally unplugging; you’re working intermittently.

Once your team knows you’re not going AWOL, determine your priorities together. Outline what you want to accomplish while you’re gone. Even if you’ll have access to phone and email the whole time, account for times when you won’t be strictly available, such as on flights.

2. Choose the right destination.
Your working vacation should be somewhere you actually want to go, of course, but that shouldn’t be your only consideration. Think about the factors that might influence the work you’re doing and how productively you’re able to do it.
Wherever you go, make sure the place you stay at has internet, phone service, and anything else you need to get work done. Get an international cell phone if you frequently take calls. Pay for a hotspot if you’re worried about Wi-Fi reliability.

3. Plan your workplaces.
Cafes and libraries aren’t always what they appear from online photos. That coffee shop might be so busy you can’t find a seat. The library might only offer Wi-Fi to library card holders, and you may need a local address to get a card.

Plan for those moments by creating “always,” “sometimes,” and “never” lists. You might have a nearby friend, for instance, whose house has Wi-Fi you can always use. Starbucks is another good option for your “always” list. Local coffee shops and grocery stores should be “sometimes” choices.

4. Give yourself some breathing room.
A working vacation should still be a vacation. Give yourself at least three free hours during each workday, and plan at least one day when you don’t work at all. To give yourself stress-free time away, productivity site Calendar suggests communicating those hours to your second-in-command.

We all need vacations to feel relaxed and satisfied with our lives. When we overwork, we steal from our future for the sake of the present. Taking a working vacation is the best way to balance the two.

8 Side Hustles You Can Use To Supplement Your Remote Work | Abdullahi Muhammed , Forbes.com

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Getting a side hustle becomes a necessity from time to time. With no guarantee of a paycheck if you are freelance, you have to keep money flowing in. The key is finding something that works with your schedule, and is lucrative enough to shore up your income when you need it. As you start exploring your options, consider the following eight side hustles.

1. Consulting
With consulting, you take your existing skills and use them to help other businesses. There’s a great market for this as so many businesses need help, but aren’t able to bring on full-time staff. So no wonder that consulting is a $250 billion industry.

2. Running an ecommerce store
E-commerce is a low-cost, low-barrier way of starting your own business. You can set up shop online, and sell products from all over the world. Thanks to dropshipping and other schemes like Amazon FBA, you don’t even have to purchase stock or manage inventory/logistics. Even better, you set up your online store quickly and easily with the help of Shopify marketing experts.

3. Teaching and tutoring online
There’s a growing market for online education. Students and their parents need help from skilled tutors. Others are seeking alternatives to formal education when it comes to developing skills they need to get ahead. If you already have the in-demand expertise, and an ability to break concepts down so they are easy to master, teaching and/or tutoring online might be for you.

4. Flipping websites
Not every entrepreneur wants to build a website from scratch. Others prefer to take existing sites, and turn them into profitable ventures. You can get in on this by flipping websites on the side. There are loads of websites that no longer serve their owner’s interests, or have been abandoned altogether. As a website flipper, you find these pages, purchase them, and sell them at a profit.

5. Affiliate marketing
If you have an active blog or website, affiliate marketing is a natural next step towards building a passive income stream. With just a little effort, you can market the products and services you like to others on your website.

6. Writing an ebook or creating other digital assets
With digital products you create something once, then sell it multiple times. You can share your expertise with an eBook, provide your target customers with templates, even use your own photographs to sell as stock images.

7. Real estate
Real estate is both the most popular and most lucrative side gig that can pay up to $90/per hour. This could be due to the fact that you have so many options for entering this niche. You can take a course and obtain your real estate license, and work selling properties on the side. You can pool your money with other investors to purchase and sell properties.

8. Working as a translator/interpreter or voice tester
If you’re proficient in two or more international languages, you can make good money off of that. You can offer translations services on freelancing websites or join a company like Para Plus Translations where you get the opportunity to work on exciting projects involving translation or interpretation services.

There’s no need to enter the world of full-time employment to enjoy the benefits of good wages. Instead leverage your skills and flexibility to land a side gig.

9 Ways to Stay Productive When Working from Home | Sophia Bernazzani, Learn.g2.com

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It’s easy to assume working from home leads to less productivity, but in reality, it’s usually quite the opposite. Keeping remote employees engaged and on track isn’t impossible. In fact, it can help boost productivity. As 52% of employees work from home at least once per week, remote work is beneficial for a reboot and recharge while maintaining a strong work ethic away from the office.

To help you with time management and remain optimally productive, we’ve compiled this list of 9 ways to stay focused when you’re working from home.

1. Find an optimal space to remain productive
It’s important you have a space that signals to your brain that it’s time to focus. Plus, it’s equally critical you save spaces like your bedroom for relaxation, so you can continue to have good work-life balance. Otherwise, you might find yourself checking your email from your bed at 9 p.m. because you haven’t mentally left the office.

2. Keep a consistent routine
To ensure productivity, a time management tip is to kick off your day with the same routine you’d use if you were heading to the office. Make some coffee, take a shower, and put on a pair of jeans rather than staying in your bathrobe and slippers. Maintaining a morning routine helps you to mentally prepare for the day and get in a productive state-of-mind.

3. Stick to a schedule
When you’re working from home, there are often other demands you need to pay attention to: cooking, taking your dog for a walk, picking a child up from daycare, or switching laundry from the washer to the dryer, to name a few. To maintain focus throughout the day, it’s crucial to set a schedule and stick to it.
For instance, if you’re most productive first thing in the morning, try tackling your most difficult tasks right when you wake up. Later in the day you can complete easier tasks, like responding to emails or editing a blog post while you multitask on some of those other non-office-related responsibilities.

4. Eliminate distractions
If you think casually checking email or quickly opening Facebook isn’t a big deal, consider this: research from the University of California, Irvine found that the typical office worker spends only 11 minutes on a task before getting interrupted, but once interrupted, it takes them about 23 minutes to get back on track. To ensure long-term productivity, implement strategies to ensure you don’t get interrupted in the first place.

5. Take breaks
To ensure you’re consistently making wise professional decisions, take breaks to mentally refresh. While it might seem counter intuitive, regular breaks can actually make you more productive, particularly if your breaks include a form of exercise.

Additionally, breaks can help prevent decision fatigue. A study found Israeli judges were more likely to grant parole to prisoners after their two daily breaks. As decision fatigue sets in, however, the rate of granting parole dropped to nearly zero percent because judges resorted to the easiest option – just saying no.

6. Be transparent about when you’re online and offline
You’ll be more productive if you set clear online and offline boundaries. If you need to take your dog for a walk, set an “Away” status on your Slack. At 5 p.m. (or whenever you choose to be done working for the day), don’t respond to any more emails, so coworkers know you’re unreachable until tomorrow. If possible, incorporate those times into your Gmail calendar so when you’re offline, your coworkers will know why.

7. Make a to-do list
Checking off a to-do list is one of the simplest pleasures of a work day. When working from home, it’s necessary to have specific goals you need to meet to ensure you stay on track when Netflix or your bed is calling your name.

8. Have a set end time
To ensure proper balance, try setting up a logoff routine at a reasonable end time each day, regardless of how much you’ve finished. Jot down a to-do list of tasks you want to tackle the next day, set an away status on your messaging apps, and put your work supplies back away until the morning.

9. Maintain relationships with coworkers via messaging or video conferencing software
Working from home could hinder your ability to catch up with coworkers and form those deeper bonds like you would if you ran into them in the office kitchen. To combat this, it’s vital to maintain connections with them through internal communication tools like Slack or video conferencing software tools like Zoom. Set up regular 1:1 virtual meetings simply for the purpose of catching up so you’re never out of the loop.

Remote work is hard work
Even though you might have the luxury of sitting on your sofa while working from home, it doesn’t mean you’re not working. The work you do from home can be as productive – if not more productive than your time in the office. Don’t second guess yourself!

Remote Work Digest: May 16, 2019

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

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Image from Pgi.com

Ways for parents to make money from home | Punchng.com

To get you started on your job search to fit your unique parenting situation, interests and skills, here are 18 job ideas and businesses that require little to no start-up costs and can done from home.

College application/financial aid consulting business
From 2003 to 2013, the number of college applicants who used a “private admissions consultant” or independent educational consultant” tripled.

A college application consultant may have a background in guidance counselling, college admissions or teaching – there is no accreditation or degree required except experience and the ability to shape a candidate’s application so that it’s complete, on time and presents candidates to the best of their abilities. Naturally, having an understanding of the college scene and what individual schools can offer and are looking for will help your clients.

Freelance writer/editor
Define some areas where you already have contacts and knowledge, and make sure you have a website that showcases your best work and features your contact information. (If you don’t have samples of published work, then that’s where you need to start.) The average base pay for a freelance editor is $51,104.

Some places to start looking include the part-time jobs website FlexJobs, which features writing gigs in specific categories, such as gaming, financial or medical writing; Freelanced, a freelancer social network where you can search for jobs and share your portfolio; and FreelanceWritingGigs, which lists freelance writer and editor jobs across a variety of industries.

Transcriber
Transcription jobs can be done remotely — all you need are fast and accurate typing skills, typically 80 words per minute. The average salary for a transcriptionist is $26,882. To get started, you can do a search of “transcription” or “transcriber” on job sites, such as Glassdoor. Or you can register as a freelance transcriber on job marketplace sites, such as TranscribeMe, Go Transcript and UpWork.

Tax Accountant
As an accountant, you prepare tax returns and reports and stay current on tax regulations and reforms. Tax work clearly isn’t for everyone, but good accountants are always in demand. The skills needed for this job are knowledge of accounting procedures, attention to detail, familiarity (or ability to learn) accounting software and, of course, good math skills.

Grant Writer
Certain skills are required for this position. Obviously, you need to be a good writer. You’ll be writing what is essentially a proposal for why a funding agency should give money to the organisation you are working for. Also, you need to be good at research and getting answers. Many grant applications require particular information on the organisation seeking a grant, and the grant writer’s job is to track down the information and present it within the funding agency’s guidelines. Finally, you need to be deadline driven.

Bookkeeping services
“You can sign up for a bookkeeping course at a community college or online,” recommends Entrepreneur.com contributor John Rampton. (For example, there’s this free course from the Accounting Coach.) The services that you can offer are providing income statements and creating balance sheets and monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports. What’s more, you can take advantage of free invoicing and online payment tools.

Virtual Recruiter
To be a recruiter, you definitely need to have solid communication skills and be able to read people in order to closely match them with jobs and the work culture. While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree for this work, you should have at least an associate’s degree or related experience. Go to any job site and type in “virtual recruiter” to find available positions.

4 Quick Tips To Make Working From Home Work From You | Tomas Svitorka, Thriveglobal.com

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To be productive and make the most of your day working from home, you need to create the right environment. Here are some tips to make working from home work for you:

1. Know what stimulates you best and work with it.
Make a list of things that you know would help you get into work mode and keep you focused, then do what you can to include what you can into your setup. Be aware of what’s really important, however. Sure, maybe one more motivational poster in a glass frame would look great, but if it clutters more than helps, don’t force it.

2. Get the lighting right.
A well-lit home office is much more conducive to work than a dim one. Dimness could trigger your mind to start winding down – something that’s much more tempting when you know your bed is close by.

3. Avoid parking.
This can mean one of two things: First, it’s when I start or carry out an activity in the wrong place. For example, when I’m on my way to make myself some coffee, and I stop in the middle of the kitchen to respond to an email or a message, and then another, and then another. Or it might refer to “parking” things into a temporary place instead of putting them back into their proper places. These things pile up, and before you know it, you’ve been “parking” documents, books, notebooks and pens for weeks and it just becomes less appealing to restore the order.

If it’s time for a break, take a break and leave the work at your desk. If you won’t need that document again for the rest of the day or even week, put it back where it should be. Don’t be your own disruptor of your environment.

4. Keep the distractions at bay.
If you use your laptop or tablet for work and games, try to use it only for work while you’re in your home office, and go to the living room to play. In the same way that bringing work into the bedroom is discouraged, respect your work environment enough to keep whatever distracts you away from it.
However much – or little – you have to do to improve your workspace, what matters is that you keep it that way. There’s no point in a cleanout or room makeover if, within a few weeks’ time, it’s back to how it was before. An environment conducive to creativity and success is not just a matter of creating, it’s a matter of maintaining – until you can again take it to the next level at least.

How to Become a Virtual Assitant So You Can Work From Home | Jamie Ballard, Womansday.com

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This job, though not for everyone, could be the perfect fit someone who is organized, sociable, and knows how to use a computer.

What does a virtual assistant do?
According to FlexJobs, a virtual assistant often works for businesses or entrepreneurs, handling a variety of tasks, from customer support, to administrative tasks, to social media management.

Personal finance site DollarSprout has some information about some of the things virtual assistants frequently do, which can include:

• Responding to emails or messages, processing orders or returns, communicating about products/services with clients, etc.
• Entering data, managing calendars, scheduling meetings, booking travel arrangements, etc.
• Posting to the organization’s social media channels or website, moderating comments, updating profiles, editing or writing posts, etc.
• Emailing newsletters, designing email templates, updating email lists, etc.

The duties of a virtual assistant are determined by the business’ needs and what you can offer to it. Ashlee Anderson, who runs the blog Work From Home Happiness, suggests picking a niche and emphasizing any specialized skills you bring to the table, like basic programming or proofreading.

Where can I find virtual assistant jobs?
There are people or businesses seeking virtual assistants on sites like Indeed, Monster, and Upwork. You can also find gigs on other virtual-assistant-focused websites including Fancy Hands, Belay, and Time Etc.

In the mean time, build up your own online presence through a simple website and professional social media channels.

How much can I make as a virtual assistant?
According to Glassdoor, a virtual assistant can expect to make $22,000 a year, on average. Many of these jobs pay hourly, and rates can be anywhere between $9/hour on the lower end, or $25/hour on the higher end, according to Glassdoor’s salary reports. Some companies may also pay monthly or weekly for your services, so it’s worth checking before you commit to taking on a job.

How can I grow my virtual assistant business?
Once you’ve worked with a couple of clients, you can ask them to provide reviews or testimonies that you can share on your own site or social channels. Ali the Happy VA, who blogs about working from home as a virtual assistant, suggests asking clients for feedback shortly after delivering a project so that your hard work is fresh in their minds. Having these testimonials available for prospective clients can go a long way in building your virtual assistant business.

12 Time Management Mistakes That Set You Up for Failure | John Rampton, Entrepreneur.com

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It’s not shocking that we seek out as much time management advice as possible. Unfortunately, much of this information is so unhelpful it is setting you up for failure.

1. You think there isn’t enough time
Complaining that you don’t have enough time isn’t going to grant you any more time magically. It may make you feel better, but only momentarily. It’s not getting to the root problem, which may be that you’re lousy at time management. Admit to yourself that there is enough time — you don’t know how to get the most out of it. Now, you can start improving your time management.

2. Believing that there’s a one size fits all solution.
Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you. For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool like Calendar that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool like SaneBox to help tame your inbox.

3. Failing to distinguish being busy and productivity
Believing that just because you’re busy means that you’re productive. That’s great that you cleaned out your inbox and spent some time connecting with customers on social media for the last couple of hours. But, was that the best use of your time at the moment?

Here’s how you can be productive instead of just busy:

  • Identify what is both important and necessary, as opposed to focusing on something that can wait.
  • Implement an organizational strategy. For example, every night I have a routine where I lay out my clothes, list my three most important tasks, review my schedule, and make sure I have all my gear for tomorrow. A little prep the night before ensures I have a smooth and productive day.
  • Eliminate distractions, like email and text messages.
  • Don’t worry about being perfect.
  • Only say “yes” to time requests that serve a purpose.
  • Be willing to make certain sacrifices, like quitting an organization that is no longer beneficial.
  • Surround yourself with other productive people.
  • Weigh the pros and cons before jumping on a trend.
  • Be honest about your progress.

4. You’ll have less anxiety.
Take the favorite Getting Things Done method. This system requires five steps: capture, clarify, organize, reflect and engage in everything you have to do. Phone calls, emails, meetings, shopping and the projects you have to do around the house. For some, this is going to cause anxiety and overwhelm.

Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don’t let the system dictate your entire life. In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.

5. Miscalculating the time needed for specific tasks.
The best course of action is to track your time for a couple of weeks. You can manually do this by jotting down your daily activities in a notebook and calculating how long each will take and see if you are realistic. By having a more accurate idea of how you’re spending your days, you can dedicate the right amount of time to specific activities.

6. Focus on time management, instead of task management.
“Task management is the process of managing a task through different stages: planning, development, and completion,” writes Laura Sima in the Teamweek Journal. “It works both on an individual and on a group level by getting people to accomplish their goals.”

“Effective task management involves all the steps from planning it to setting a priority, including status, outlining the necessary resources for completion, notifications, and observation,” adds Sima. Tools like “online calendars, workflow software, and even project management software” will “help you outline different projects, tasks and clear statuses from all of them.”

7. Always grabbing the low hanging fruit.
To be the most effective — don’t pick the “low-hanging fruit,” meaning the easiest. Devote your energy to your most important priorities — and know which work will provide you with the most production. Quickly find a way to have menial tasks either automated, delegated, or saved to do during your energy lulls.

8. Having to wake up early.
If you get up early — you can’t stay up all night. You have to have a bedtime schedule — and stick with the routine. Many people suggest that in order to improve your time management you have to wake up early.

If you’re not a morning person, then don’t force yourself to change. Instead, base your schedule around your specific ultradian rhythms.

9. You’ll reduce your workload.
Remember, when it comes to productivity, follow the 80/20 productivity rule. Instead of loading up on even more work, use those open slots to meditate, daydream, or add flexibility to your schedule.

10. Get everything done in the shortest amount of time possible.
Remember that Aesop Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare?” The same idea applies to time management; slow and steady wins the race. There’s a misconception that if you get as much work done as quickly as possible, you’ll be more effective and productive. This notion that you’ve done more only works temporarily before you burn yourself out. Even machines need to be shut down and rebooted occasionally.

11. Never, and I mean never, waste your time.
Instead of working all day — take some time to read, listen to a podcast, exercise, or catch-up with an old friend or colleague. It may sound counterproductive. But, wasting time can be an asset preventing burn out. You’ll unwind, it’ll spark creativity, and give you a chance to reevaluate your priorities.

12. Not taking control of your life.
Instead of letting others control your life, take over the reins. Set boundaries on when it’s time to work and when it’s not. Only help others when you have the availability. Accept meetings when they have a purpose, and if you already have plans, don’t try to commit to something else in addition to what’s already in your calendar.This set of suggestions is the key to time management. Knowing when to accept and deny new projects, clients, appointments, and social functions.

Remote Work Digest: April 25, 2019

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

7 Signs of a toxic work environment | Hrdrive.com

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HR departments must regularly assess all employees on an individual basis and look for instances of discriminatory beliefs, lack of accountability, hostile leadership styles, retaliation and information guarding. With an infrastructure that doesn’t tolerate these behaviors, it becomes much simpler to steer clear of a toxic workplace environment.

1. Employees Aren’t Taking Vacation Days
Workers fail to take their vacation days because of a fear of falling too far behind or that none of their co-workers can take on their workload. Encouraging workers to plan their vacation days ahead of time increases the likelihood the employees will take them.

2. Lack of Bonuses and Incentives
Employers lose talented employees left and right when appreciation isn’t common in the workplace. A sure-fire sign of a toxic work environment is when there’s a lack of bonuses and incentives.

Extra paid vacation time and even small bonuses can translate into happy employees. Gifting employees with branded items, like portable speakers and coffee mugs with company logos, has a two-fold benefit: it shows appreciation and serves as an effective way to increase brand awareness.

3. Employees Stuck Behind a Desk All Day
Sprucing up the office with standing desks is a feasible way to encourage workers to stand more often. These desks easily switch back and forth between sitting and standing desks, which makes it simple for workers to stand when they want and sit and relax during downtime. Standing desks are also known to improve employee morale because workers tend to engage with their coworkers more when they don’t feel so tied to their desks.

4. Lack of Proper Training
No one wants to come to a job each day when they don’t know how to adequately perform their duties. Training employees shows you’re willing to invest in their future and that you’re truly concerned with how they perform. Training should begin when workers are hired and should continue on a regular basis.

5. No Break Room
Your employees need an area to step away from their desks and simply relax. Ideally, you will have an indoor and outdoor break area. These are the places employees can congregate and talk about the latest twists on their favorite TV shows and which of their kiddos won an award at school.

6. Everyone’s Gossiping
Gossip tends to trickle through poor communication channels, and it starts at the top. When senior-level employees engage in gossip, it sets an example to lower-level workers that gossip is tolerated. Did you know gossip is actually a form of workplace violence? It’s the HR department’s job to create and enforce a strict no-gossip policy with reasonable consequences to any violations.

7. Weak Foundation
A toxic workplace can’t be created unless it has fertile ground to take root in, and the values and ethics of a company’s leaders play a large role in that.

Want to be irresistible to hiring managers? Avoid these 6 mistakes at all costs | Peter Yang, Cnbc.com

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From verb tense to resume length, hiring managers notice even the tiniest details. Here are six common resume mistakes they spot almost immediately:

1. Using an unprofessional email address
This is a big red flag to hiring manages because it makes you look incredibly unprofessional. In today’s world, employers want tech-savvy individuals — even if the job they applied for has nothing to do with tech.

2. Deleting important details because you think your resume is ‘too long’
A 2018 study of 20,000 resumes found that hiring managers were more than twice as likely to prefer two-page resumes. So don’t feel the need to delete important details if your resume comes out to more than one page.

3. Using an over-the-top template
Hiring managers actually prefer the boring, old-fashioned templates because it’s much easier for them to quickly skim and digest. Submitting a crazy, over-the-top design will not only frustrate them, but can lead to wonky formatting issues. Also, applicant tracking systems are very common these days, and if your fancy template isn’t compatible, it won’t be parsed properly. If you’re a strong candidate, the content — and not the colors — on your resume will speak for itself.

4. Being inconsistent with sentence structure and verb tense
When describing your previous job history, all bullet points should start with an action verb. And if you choose to write in complete sentences, be consistent and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll have a sloppy resume that doesn’t flow well. While this may sound like pretty basic stuff, you wouldn’t believe how often applicants make this careless mistake.

5. Not including your LinkedIn profile
If you have one, make sure it’s updated and include it at the very top of your resume. If you don’t have one, create an account immediately and start adding people in your network. A study from earlier this year found that applications who submitted a link to a “comprehensive” LinkedIn profile on their resumes were 71% more likely to get an interview.

6. Not including basic skills
Hiring managers receive piles and piles of jargon-filled resumes that it’s difficult for them to assume what skills you do or don’t have. Play it safe and include even the most basic soft skills, especially the ones that are listed under the “minimum requirements” section of the job listing.

3 Ways To Stay Healthy When Working From Home | Uwe Dreissigacker, Zumper.com

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You need to stay healthy, it should be a number one priority. In fact, since it can be too easy to neglect it and fall into the trap of not leaving the house just because you don’t have to. Well, the good news is that you can do both, work from home full time and stay healthy.

Here’s how:

1. Set up a personal work station
Consider separating yourself from everyone, and claim a corner as your personal work station. Make sure you have a good chair that supports your posture and doesn’t strain your back, and that you can work from there uninterrupted.

The sooner you can enter a deep state of concentration and focus – the sooner you can finish your work and move on to personal time. So, it’s better to get used to being able to finish all your work from one specific place in order to get into the habit.

2. Take frequent breaks
Working for long periods of time without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refresh your mind, and replenishes your mental resources so that you can come back with a fresh state of mind. If you continue giving a single task more attention, even when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, you’re just going to be more unproductive in the long run.

3. Set a schedule and stick to it
Essentially, if you can afford to have extra time, through time-management, you can afford to be healthy and more productive. It can be tempting to stay up late and start working whenever you feel like it, but your mental health and body will thank you if you set up a schedule and stick to it instead.

While waking up early might feel like a chore if you’re working from home, it’s a great way to start your day. Now, you don’t have to get up as early as 4 am, like some entrepreneurs suggest, but setting up your alarm a little earlier than usual can give you a lot of extra time in the evening.

This way, you can either use that extra time to go to the gym or exercise at home in the morning, or finish working earlier than usual – and then spend some time working out. Either way, the idea is to finish your workload earlier than before and then spend that time being healthy.

Conclusion
Winging it doesn’t really work when you’re working from home. If you start to associate where you live with a workplace you don’t enjoy being in, due to work, it’s really easy to get depressed and want to quit.

Meanwhile, if you set some time aside to stay healthy and look after yourself, you’re more likely to be more productive and efficient in the long run.

After all, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.

4 Ways to Prepare for a Remote Job Interview | Maurie Backman, Fool.com

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Remote interviews and in-person interviews are very different beasts. Maintaining an engaging discussion with an interviewer can be difficult when that person isn’t actually in the room with you, and technology issues can make connecting remotely all the more difficult. If you have a remote interview coming up, here are a few key things you can do to prepare for it.

1. Establish the right space
If you happen to already have a home office, doing it there is probably your best bet. Chances are, that space already looks somewhat put-together, and it also shows your prospective employer that you do, in fact, have a suitable area in your home for doing your job. If that’s not an option, then aim for something neutral — perhaps a corner of your living room, or a chair at your dining room table. No matter what spot you choose, just make sure there’s no visible clutter peeking out to distract the person you’re meeting with.

2. Look the part
Just as it’s important to dress professionally during an in-person interview, you should also do so for a remote interview. Dressing the part sends the message that you’re taking the opportunity at hand seriously.

3. Do a tech test run
Chances are, your interviewer will indicate what sort of software you’ll be using to connect remotely, whether it’s Skype or something else. Before your interview, try a test run with that platform to make sure it works for you. This way, you’ll have time to troubleshoot hiccups to avoid having to deal with them on the spot.

4. Eliminate distractions
When you’re participating in a job interview from home, there are a number of potential distractions that can throw you off your game, like a persistently ringing landline or a doorbell that sounds at the least-opportune time. To avoid getting too distracted during your interview, aim to address these potential trip-ups beforehand.

Interviewing for a job remotely can be challenging in its own right, especially if it’s your first time doing so. But as is the case with an in-person interview, the more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel going into it.