Remote Work Digest: February 10, 2017

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

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Image from Mashable.com

 

7 office décor tips that will improve productivity at work | Sangeeta Ghosh, Knowstartup.com

What makes everyone enjoy working there so much? The answer is simple: their design strategy is creative, customized to every location and the offices are not just sad places designed to bring money. We could learn a thing or two from those examples and make our own work spaces more enjoyable with these tips:

1. Smart Setup
A well-arranged office adjusts to the way employees work, and functions to create a convenient, easy-to-navigate environment. Workers are more relaxed and able to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Aesthetics are important in the modern office but should not take priority over efficiency.

2. A rooftop social space
Even if the office is in the middle of the city, away from forests and nature in general, there’s a way to revive that connection by creating a rooftop social area decorated with planters, perhaps even trees and from where the views can be admired.

3. Everything in it’s place
Invest in folders, filing systems, desk organizers, boxes- anything to prevent random stacks of paper. Not only will this likely reduce confusion, and time wasted sifting through piles of paper searching for the right document…but this strategy will also make your employees feel more organized and less stressed.

4. Choose stimulating colors
Colors can have a significant influence on the mood of the employees. It can also help with productivity, creativity, and concentration of the workers.

5. Plants
Interacting with nature can have very positive effects on the mood but while working it is not possible to spend much time in the sunshine and greenery. You can make use of plants to spruce up the working space.

6. Personal touches
Encourage your employees to style their desks with things they like. A little bit of office supply budget spent here will go a long way when it comes to employee happiness, productivity, and less absenteeism.

7. Natural light in the workplace
Properly utilizing daylight in your work space not only increases productivity but will save on energy bills. Place desks near to a window to maximize the amount of natural light which falls over your work space.

Environment is very important in a work setting, but it all depends on what kinds of work is taking place in the office. If the design of the office is not something that can be changed, simple changes can be added, like adding a few bright colors or plants. Think about the tone of your office space, and try a few of these additions. You might just notice a change in you and those working around you.

Working from home is the new key from breaking out of the daily grind | Victoria Heckstall, Groundreport.com

More scientists are concluding that 40-hour work weeks are damaging to our health. Sitting down in an office for long periods of time is bad for both our physical and mental health and could be contributing to the accelerated decline in brain power.
But why is it the case?

Office Culture is Toxic
Sitting in a room for 40 hours every week with people you don’t necessarily like is crushing to morale and motivation.

The Numbers Add Up to More Productivity
Many remote workers have stated that they feel more productive because they have full control over their work environment.

Leisure and Family Come First
Study after study has demonstrated that when employees can put leisure and family matters first they are more productive and more motivated to do better.

More Motivation Through Gaining Personal Responsibility
Personal responsibility helps us to encourage creativity and gives us the confidence to speak up when we believe we have a solution to a problem.

How to Get Your Boss to Offer Remote Working
Explain to them the benefits of remote working. Don’t think about what it will do for you think about what it will do for them. Focus on productivity benefits and how you’ve demonstrated the personal responsibility needed to separate your work and home life.

Working From Home is the Answer
If you’ve yet to convince your boss that you should be able to work from home, even on a part-time basis, keep trying. Make them see what it can do for their business.

4 ways to take care of remote employees | Dennis Healy, Employeebenefitadviser.com

Here are four ways you can keep remote workers in the loop:

1. Help them create personal connections with you and other employees. The only time remote workers get to interact with colleagues is on a conference call. Because I am a remote myself, it’s easy for me to remember to make time for “virtual water cooler talk” — I call my direct reports, who are also remote employees, to just catch up on whatever is on their mind.
2. Include remote workers in all-company events and activities. Does your company have an annual party? Make sure remote workers are invited and it’s easy for them to attend. Do you have company meetings? Don’t forget to set up a video chat or call-in number so that remote workers can participate.
3. Give them tools to be successful. There is so much technology available these days to help remote workers communicate and engage more effectively with coworkers. The most critical thing, especially for those of us who spend lots of time on conference calls, is quality audio. It may sound basic, but if the connection doesn’t pick up quiet or low talkers, it’s a real struggle to follow conversations and remain an active participant.
4. Encourage them to embrace the flexibility of working remotely.

The popularity of working remotely is only going to increase in coming years, particularly with millennials — a group that values flexibility, control and a good work-life balance. Having remote workers can be incredibly powerful when you do it right and make sure they feel like they are an integral part of the company.

How To Get Your Boss To Let You Work From Home | Nancy Collamer, Forbes.com

The key to getting permission to work from home: knowing how to ask.

Working from home has become increasingly popular and possible. According to a 2016 study by consultancy PWC, 38% of U.S. workers can work from home at least one day a week, a fourfold increase over the 9% in 1995. Small businesses are more likely than their larger counterparts to offer this flexibility. According to PWC, over half of small business workers telecommute, but only 26% of large-company employees do.

Since your employer might need convincing, here’s the best way to approach your boss about telecommuting and how to make working at home work well, according to Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and Founder of FlexJobs and Remote.co and the Q & A section of Remote.co:

7 Tips to Work from Home

1. Decide how much telecommuting you need or want. Options range from occasional telecommuting on an as-needed basis all the way up to a full-time work-from-home schedule. Try negotiating with your boss to start off working a few days a week from home and eventually you might find yourself telecommuting all of the time.
2. Focus on the benefits that telecommuting would offer your employer, not you. Explain how telecommuting will make you a more productive, focused and engaged worker. For example, less time spent commuting will give you more time for completing reports.
3. Anticipate your boss’s concerns. Make sure your boss understands exactly how often, and by what means, you’ll stay in regular contact with your colleagues and which tasks you’ll accomplish when you work from home.
4. Suggest a trial run. Your manager may be hesitant about letting you telecommute, so offer to do it as a trial run for a month or two. Then, the two of you can assess how it went and you can prove that the arrangement is beneficial to your boss.
5. Create a dedicated home work space. Jan Lindborg, who works remotely as a Global Sales Training Operations Director for Dell, recommended on Remote.co to treat your working space like a recording studio. “No red light, but when my door is shut, I am at work,” he writes. He also suggests switching off your laptop when finished for the day to delineate between your work hours and the rest of your life.
6. Establish disciplined work habits when telecommuting. “It takes a lot of discipline to work remotely, as you’ll find that it is very easy to put off a piece of work when you’re sitting at home,” warns Ben Dodson, who works out of his UK home as a full-time freelance ios developer. To help maintain his focus, Dodson puts on noise-cancelling headphones to serve as a signal that it’s time to get into work mode.
7. Keep connected with your employer and associates to combat feelings of isolation. “Consider what you will miss about the office environment and find ways to recreate it or compensate for it, says Lauren Antonian, who works as a full time remote manager in proposal development for Anthem. “For example, if you are an extrovert who enjoys socializing with colleagues, make a point to communicate with them via instant message or email as you would have if you were available in person.”

Andrea Bing, who works remotely as a project manager for Cigna, joins an assortment of company-sponsored virtual communities, such as a book club and finance group. She also schedules lunch dates with coworkers on a monthly basis. Sometimes, working remotely is just the next best thing to being there.

Introducing Project Template

You might need to create and manage multiple projects, and in many situations you want to set up the projects in a similar way. For example, you want to allow users in your projects to be able to add tasks, you do not want the Observers to see the rate of the users in the project, you want to prevent your users in the project from discarding logged screen shots, and etc. These options are not the default options therefore currently you need to adjust them manually after the project is created. When the number of projects is large, this could become quite tedious and time consuming. Now we have come up with a new feature called Project Template that allows you to pre-build a set of settings of a project and save them as a template. When you create a new project, you can use the Project Template to populate the settings to the new project. This will greatly reduce the effort to configure each new project and make the process much more efficient.

Here is how it works. First, you go to Manage >> Manage Templates to create a new Project Template. You will be presented with a 3-step wizard that guides you through setting the necessary options. These options are pretty much replica of those in a real project.

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Remote Work Digest: December 13, 2016

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

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Image from Pixabay.com

Six ways to keep employee productivity high during the holidays | Coadvantage.com

With so many major events crammed into a relatively brief period, the holiday season is often one of the busiest and most demanding times of year for everyone – employers and employees alike. That, in turn, can have a negative impact on productivity, if employees are distracted by being pulled in too many directions at once, or they are fretting over meeting all the demands on their time and energy, or the workplace is unprepared. Here are six tips for keeping productivity high during and after the holidays!

Relax. Consider online holiday shopping: many employers monitor such activity (48%) or even block online shopping sites (25%), per a survey by staffing firm Robert Half Technology. But those numbers have fallen over past years as employers have relaxed their vigilance.

Clarify. Confusion can be a productivity-killer, as can poorly articulated leave policies that inadvertently allow too many employees to take time off at the same time.

Adapt. Consider offering flexible hours during the holidays, whose extra demands on employees can result in burnout if not managed well.

Slow. This may sound counter-intuitive, but your office might consider allowing for extra time off (and thus lower productivity) during this period to promote greater productivity later.

Comply. Compliance can be a concern during the holidays; for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires that employers accommodate religious differences in the workplace, and that can impact how employers handle holiday-themed events and activities.

Appreciate. The holidays are a great time of year for employers to show that they appreciate employees. That, in turn, can boost employee morale and engagement. Employers can show appreciation through employee bonuses, small gifts, personalized thank you notes, catered events, fun outings, award ceremonies, etc.

How To Convince Your Boss To Let You Work Remotely | Rachel Ritlop, Forbes.com

If you are a part of the 84% of millennials seeking greater work-life balance, how can you join the roughly 25% of the US workforce that telecommutes and reports being happier as they enjoy greater flexibility and freedom? Check out these five negotiating tips to convince your boss to let you work remotely:

Timing is everything.
Figuring out the best time to have the conversation with your boss is vital. Tricia Sciortino, president of an all-remote workforce eaHelp, suggests it’s best “during peak season or other busy times.” The logic here, she says, is that “many times managers will be looking for employees to put in some overtime to meet deadlines”.

Know your worth.
If you can quantify your value to your boss you will have greater leverage when making the argument that you will be more productive and creative while working from home with fewer distractions.

Get your facts straight.
Research supporting telecommuting has been overwhelmingly positive for both the employer and employee. For instance, many companies are looking to implement green initiatives, and by allowing employees to work from home a day or two a week, they will be significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

Anticipate concerns or red flags.
Many companies today deal in sensitive information that they may not want you to bring home. “[This] makes leaders uneasy to welcome telecommuting,” says Sciortino. Try to be mindful of this and other potential red flags or concerns your boss may have about you working remotely.

Suggest a trial run.
Your boss may be skeptical to let you work from anywhere on a whim. Ease into it with a trial run. “Ask for one to two days a week and see how it goes,” suggests Sciortino. She also recommends offering to come in for team meetings, and create a check-in schedule with your boss to gauge comfort and determine what could be improved on within the new working arrangement.

The more specific you can be with your boss in terms of how you will remain a part of the team, boost creativity and productivity, and track your progress on deadlines, the better of you both will feel. Once the trial run is successful and both parties are feeling confident about the roles, you can always re-negotiate for more flexible hours or remote days.

Everything You Need to Know About How to Land a Remote Job | Cameron Chapman, Skullcrush.com

Not everyone gets to have the same kind of natural transition into remote working, though. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how you can purposely start working remotely.

Everything you need to know about how to get started working remotely is included in the completely update Ultimate Guide to Getting a Remote Job You Love.

If you’re not sure if working remotely is right for you, check out these amazing reasons:

Work From Anywhere
Home office, front porch, kitchen table, coffee shop, coworking space, RV traveling across America, an exotic beach somewhere, camping in the woods (thank you, 4G hotspot!), or pretty much anywhere else you can connect to the Internet.

Set Your Own Schedule
Not every remote job allows for this, but a lot of them offer at least some flexibility around when you work. That means if you find you’re more productive at a specific time of the day, you can roll with it.

Save Money
You won’t need an entire work wardrobe if you’re working from home every day. And you’ll save a lot by not commuting every day. You can also avoid the costs of the big city and choose to settle where the cost of living is lower, and your paycheck goes further.

Make More Money
That means you can live in the middle of nowhere but make the kind of salary you’d make in NYC.

Be More Efficient
This one might come as a surprise, but meetings done via Google Hangouts or Skype always seem to stay on task and operate more efficiently than those that happen in person.

The best paying remote jobs are almost all at least somewhat related to tech, whether it’s content marketing (design and basic HTML & CSS skills come in super handy there) or web development (which requires, you know, coding skills), tech knowledge makes you way more hireable as a remote worker.

5 Legal Risks Freelancers Face | John Rampton, Huffingtonpost.com

Being a freelancer and working from home can be great. You can wear whatever you want and not have to worry about having a boss. But the reality is that there are also disadvantages to becoming a self-employed freelancer. For instance, it might feel like you have several bosses if you don’t have good boundaries set with your clients.

If you are considering becoming a freelancer, here are 5 legal risks you need to know about.

Non-payment issues

Because you are providing a service instead of a product for them, it can be difficult to collect payment in these situations. Make sure you get a contract signed by your client that is clear about the service being provided and the payment you expect. In addition, check very carefully to make sure there are no errors or falsified information. Also have a 3-5 percent penalty per month if you are not paid on time.

Defamation of character

You must use caution in your wording when talking about other businesses or famous people to avoid a lawsuit for defamation of character. Do not make statements that slander or harm someone else and certainly do not make false statements or accusations.

Taxes

As we all know, paying taxes is unavoidable, and depending on the volume of work you are doing, you are probably paying quarterly self-employment taxes. What you pay every three months may seem steep, but it helps you in the long run when you file your tax return and send that final, somewhat smaller, check to the government.

Additionally, make sure you keep good records so you can avoid legal ramifications.

Introducing Always-Active Task

Sometimes, a user does not always use computer to do his work. For example, one might need to make phone calls, have meetings, read documents, or write notes. These tasks are not necessarily performed using computer. Even on computer, the user might just be having a Skype call, in which case he does not really need to interact with computer therefore he might appear to be idle. In order to facilitate the tracking of these activities, we have introduced a new feature called Always-Active task. When a user logs time by selecting an Always-Active task, the time logged is always considered to be active, regardless whether the user has been interacting with the computer or not. This way, when a user needs to go to do work off the computer, he can simply switch the task to an Always-Active task and keep logging his work time.

When creating a task, a Manager can set the option to make the task Always-Active. It is completely to the discretion of the Manager.

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After a user logs time to the Always-Active task, it appears slightly different on the Track Time page. The color indication is little different and the activity meter is always in full strength. Here is an example.

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By logging time using Always-Active task, you have the benefits of (1) eliminating the need to manually add offline time later, and (2) still keeping the screen shot record if you do work on computer such as Skype call or watching video.

We hope that you find this feature useful. For more information about the feature, you can find it in this help document.

As always, we will be glad to hear your feedback and comments.

Basecamp 3 Integration is Available

We are happy to announce that Worksnaps now works with Basecamp 3. Basecamp 3 is the newest incarnation of the hugely popular project management tool. It is the 3rd revision and 37 Signals (the company that created Basecamp) claims that it is so much improved that it is a game changer. You can read more about Basecamp 3 here.

Worksnaps has been supporting integration with the previous two versions of Basecamp (called Basecamp Classic and Basecamp New, or Basecamp 2). Now Worksnaps can work with Basecamp 3. The projects and to-do’s from Basecamp 3 can be imported into Worksnaps and users can log time against those projects and to-do’s (we call them “tasks” in Worksnaps). For those who use Basecamp as project management tool, you will find Worksnaps enhances Basecamp with time tracking  and makes it even more powerful.

To integrate with Basecamp 3 in Worksnaps, you can go to “Profile & Settings” >> “3rd Party Integration“, you will find the Basecamp 3 section where you can link your Worksnaps account with your Basecamp 3 account. Then you will be import your Basecamp 3 projects and to-do’s into Worksnaps and start tracking time against them.

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For a detailed description on how to set up the integration with Basecamp 3, you can look up this help document.

We hope that you find the Basecamp 3 integration useful and look forward to hearing your feedback.

 

 

 

 

Remote Work Digest: October 27, 2016

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

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Image from Onecom.co.uk

How to Reduce Distractions, Improve Productivity and Leave On Time | Julia Naughton, Huffingtonpost.com.au

Whether it’s your never-ending inbox or finally working on that creative project you didn’t get to during the working day, we can all agree that in 2016, staying back late doesn’t exactly reflect flawlessly on your time management skills.

Though, it’s not entirely your fault.

Michael McQueen, author of Momentum: How to Build it, Keep it, or Get it Back explains the modern workplace doesn’t make it any easier for us.

“The rise of technology has placed immense pressure on us in the form of expectations, both from others and the expectations we place on ourselves, which can be detrimental to our productivity,” McQueen told The Huffington Post Australia.

Ahead, McQueen reveals his top 6 productivity tips for canceling out the noise and ticking off your to-do list so that you can get home on time.

1. Turn off notifications… all of them!
“Interruptions are an inevitable part of modern life, but by simply turning off all notifications for new mail, texts, alerts and requests you will immediately lessen the blow.”

2. Make this new approach known
Basically, if you’re only doing your emails in batches three times a day, let your colleagues know so they understand and adjust their expectations around receiving an immediate response.

3. Make friends with your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” function
“When you hear the ping of your phone, even if you have no idea what the alert is about, knowing it’s there impacts your ability to focus,” McQueen said.

4. Get out of the office
Remove yourself from the environment by heading out to a cafe, park or a quiet room.
“Even if the cafe is a little noisy, you still would have removed other distractions like conversations happening around you and interruptions from other colleagues.”

5. Put your headphones in
“If you can’t get out of the office, try plugging in some headphones,” McQueen said.
Depending on what kind of work you are doing, McQueen said listening to some music or even some white noise will help you to focus on the task at hand.

6. Set clear boundaries
“The big trend in the last five years is having office workers work from home one day a week,” McQueen said.
While this has many positive effects including increased productivity due to less people spending time commuting and a decrease in cost for office space, McQueen said many people, especially those who are extroverted struggle to stay motivated in the absence of accountability.
“Sure, you have less colleagues interrupting you but at home there might be kids and piles of dirty washing waiting for you — so there’s a whole set of new issues.”
This is where setting clear boundaries becomes important otherwise any distraction that comes up becomes an opportunity to procrastinate,” McQueen said.

10 ways to help employees achieve better work-life balance | Lauren Steed, Hrmorning.com

Many American simply feel overworked — despite what the numbers say.
As a result, people are clamoring for more of a work-life balance.
Sometimes what’s needed isn’t more time off, but the right time of day off. In most instances, employees want to find a way to juggle both work and their personal lives.

Here are 10 ideas that could help your company create that balance:

1. Make sure management is promoting the right image. Each employee has a different work style. But some managers may be workhorses. And guess who’s setting the expectations and culture for the workplace? Your managers — and not every employee can match a feverish pace set by a manager without risking burnout. Solution: Consider having managers promote more short breaks throughout the work day.
2. Draw a hard line on work hours. Some employees take work home with them or answer emails at night or during the weekend, making their actual work hours harder to track — and setting yourself up for overtime liability. Establishing defined boundaries can help prevent burnout and overtime headaches.
3. Offer flexible scheduling or a work-from-home option. This is always a good option to help people manage their various responsibilities, if it’s the right call for your workplace.
4. Promote vacation time. Some employees need convincing to take their vacation time. Make sure they know it’s not only OK to do so, but it’s also encouraged.
5. Allow pet (or kid) visit days. One way to help people balance their working and personal life is to occasionally allow the two to mix. It helps boost morale around the office by giving people a much needed quick mental break.
6. Ban tech from face-to-face meetings or corporate outings. Sometimes emergencies do spring up, but chances are it’s going to do more good to completely disconnect from the digital world.
7. Remind people hours aren’t a competition.

An efficient employee may not need a full eight hours to finish his/her work for the day, while another may have a more relaxed working style and need more time to complete his/her tasks.
8. Allow specific time off to contribute to a charity. Giving people some time off or incentives to go out and pursue a cause they find meaningful boosts their sense of fulfillment. The fact that your company will back employees looking to volunteer also boosts its image and propels it into the spotlight when trying to attract top talent.
9. Help employees accomplish their everyday tasks. This could be as simple as providing on-site coffee so people don’t have to go out for their own, or offering dry cleaning services once a month.
10. Finally, educate employees. Providing time-management training to employees can help them help themselves achieve the work-life balance they seek.

Guidelines for Better Time Management and Getting Things Done | Dave Jones, Iamwire.com

Here are methods that bode well with managing time and getting things done by Dave Jones, manager of Live Tecs.

Characterize you needs
Prioritize things that are an absolute necessity, an ought to or a need. Arrange your day around the ‘must’, planning in the rest of stuff from the ought to and need list. Simply make certain to remember what you have to finish in the short term to work towards your bigger, long haul objectives. This conveys me to the idea of significance versus criticalness.

Make a schedule
Schedules will shift incredibly individual to individual, yet they do work best in the event that they genuinely turn into a propensity. For instance, you may begin your day with 30 minutes of activity, drink some espresso while you audit your calendar, and listen to the news. Whatever works for you!

Start your day with the most significant work, end with the simplest
It’s been found that when individuals have remarkable things on their schedule, whether it is everyday family tasks or imperative undertaking for work, thinking simple and focusing gets to be troublesome. So by accomplishing your all the more difficult work right in the morning, your mind can unwind and concentrate on whatever else comes up.

Take a shot at your responsibility each day
Whatever work you have planned, make it a point to do it consistently. The work or discovering that you do day by day will include fundamentally after some time.

Build up a rhythm
You may might be great at maintaining focus for 1, 2 or even 3 hours. The trick is to test and find what works for you, and afterward plan your work in these augmentations, with little breaks in the middle.

Overlook states of mind
You’re not in the mood to work? Gracious well. Show up in any case. This may be the hard, however it’s unquestionably legitimate. On the off chance that something is imperative to you, then you have to do it, paying little mind to whether you need to or not. This will go far in helping you finish your objectives.

Cut the diversions
What intentional things do you invest your time in that suck time and vitality? Online networking or email? Television? Whatever it is, simply stop. At any rate when you have booked your major time for your work. Individuals are bad at opposing enticement, so help yourself out and evacuate it totally.

Cluster comparable undertakings together
It’s best to do comparative assignments together to keep your brain from expecting to switch gears.

Pinpoint why you linger
Do you abstain from taking a shot at a task since you are exhausted? Do you not know how to accomplish something? It is safe to say that you fear feedback? Consider every option and truly make sense of what the issue is. When you know, you can do your best to manage it and proceed onward.

Figure out how to say no
We as a whole are continually besieged with solicitations. Begin adjusting these solicitations to your needs, and say no to the things that don’t affect your objectives.

Remote working, without a remote experience | Adrian Hipkiss, Itproportal.com

Research shows that company culture is key to attracting great employees, with HR leaders considering culture and engagement their number one challenge.
Company culture can be described as the personality of your business, and it’s the personality of the environment in which your employees work that is likely to keep them with you.

The traditional forms of employee interaction to help the work environment prosper – from daily meetings, to after-work drinks, to even simple things like cakes on birthdays – are noticeably more difficult when employees spend barely any time in the same office. However, the key is to focus on bringing your team together virtually if they cannot be brought together physically.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering how to improve collaboration in your virtual office:

Is your communications system fit for purpose?
The first place to start is with your communication system. Do you have a platform that can be easily accessed by all of your staff? Does it really make your life easier – and that of your employees? Ideally, this should be a unified communication system that is simple to use. If you need to have a lot of conference calls, choose a system that is easy to dial in to – complicated passwords and IDs aren’t always the best way to begin a productive call.

Does your remote time often end up being down time?
When most of your team is working remotely, this means everyone has to essentially take some responsibility for the technology they use. As an employer, you need to make this as easy as possible by ensuring that your back office systems are up-to-date and reliable.

Having a suitable system in place can also ensure downtime is kept to a minimum, which stops your remote employees from being stranded without a connection to the virtual office.

Are your employees comfortable?
The next thing to consider is if your employees are able to communicate in the way that is most comfortable for them. This may mean a discussion about the devices they use to communicate – would they prefer to contact you and other members of the team by smart phone, tablet or desktop computer?

Are you in a routine?
Without regular, routine interaction, great company culture cannot be built naturally. Regular rewards are part of this – scheduling in time to talk about success is a really important part of keeping your employees in the loop and enhancing the bond between your team.

Is your collaboration integrated?
Using apps is a great way to keep employees engaged with one another, and nowadays there are plenty of user-friendly programmes that can be used to improve remote communication. For example, Skype can now integrate with an organizations’ unified communications solution, which means that employees can not only use their favorite device but also combine elements that are familiar to help them unify their personal and business life.

It is easier to “get to know” your employees when they have a personalized profile they can share! Overall, with the right tech behind you and your team, working remotely doesn’t have to be a remote experience.

Remote Work Digest: September 21, 2016

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

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Image from News.filehippo.com

11 time-wasting habits that are hard to quit, but you’ll be glad you did | Aine Cain, Uk.businessinsider.com

It’s important to identify and drop harmful time-wasting tendencies before they seriously mess up your career.

Here are 11 awful time management habits that are tricky to quit — but you’ll thank yourself once you do:

1. Multitasking
Contrary to what you might think, multitasking doesn’t boost your productivity.
It’s easy to trap yourself into this work style by convincing yourself that you’re being hyper-efficient. However, the evidence just isn’t there.

2. Procrastination
This is probably one of the hardest bad habits to quit, but it’s possible to break free of procrastination’s stranglehold on your precious time.

3. Neglecting deadlines
Flaunting deadlines is a terrible habit to get into. One of these days, you’ll cross a deadline that really wasn’t meant to be crossed. It’s important to start managing your boss’s expectations — or, you know, just start respecting deadlines.

4. Inability to streamline
In our chaotic, technology-heavy world, this is an easy trap to stumble into. It’s crucial to make the effort to streamline your life a bit — otherwise, you risk becoming disorganized and discombobulated.

5. Never saying no
Try to stick up for your time and become less of a yes man. This can be difficult if you’re a bit of a pushover, but it’s necessary if you’re going to fix your terrible time management habits.

6. Not setting goals
If you have no clue about your destination, you’re probably just going to get yourself lost. It can a bit daunting to sit down and outline all this, but think of it this way: without short and long term goals, you have no foundation to build your schedule upon.

7. Failing to ‘eat a frog’
No, eating an actual frog won’t help your time management skills. This just refers to Mark Twain’s famous quote: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Eat your live frog first thing in the morning. Get all the tasks you’ve been dreading done first. That’ll jump start your productivity for the rest of the day.

8. Forgetting that perfect if the enemy of good
Perfectionism is a hard tendency to drop, but it’s important to realize that this is a trait that can kill, rather than boost, your career.

9. Burning yourself out
Burn out is terrible. Stop killing yourself trying to do everything and start focusing on doing a handful of things very well.

10. Failing to prioritize
Certain tasks are more deserving of your time and attention than others. Unless you’re carefully ranking each item on your list, you risk lacking priorities throughout the day.

Lack of priorities puts you at risk for cutting through busy work while ignoring truly important projects.

11. Forgetting to write things down
You don’t actually have to write things down on paper — using an app to manage your time is great too. You just need to find some way to hold yourself accountable and stay organized.

A Remote Workforce and Its (Non) Impact on The Environment | JTRipton, Theenergycollective.com

Being able to work from home is a dream for many people, particularly those of us with long commutes and dreary offices. Between 80 and 90 percent of the US’s workforce admits they would like the option to work remotely, ideally two or three days each week.

Remote work offers various benefits, not least from an engagement perspective. Research shows that those who work remotely from time to time tend to be more engaged in their work than those who are never given the chance to work from home. Telecommuting is an ideal solution for employees with mobility issues, as well as parents looking to relieve child-care costs.

Beyond these, however, telecommuting is of major benefit to the environment. In this day and age, taking a green approach to business is incredibly important, and adopting a more environmentally-aware mindset will help businesses cultivate a more eco-friendly operation.

Here are four benefits remote working offers businesses today.

# 1: Less Gas Emissions and Expenditure
Traffic is a problem for drivers, for businesses facing widespread lateness, and for the planet itself.

Businesses which offer employees the chance to work remotely can help to increase productivity, cut wasted gas, and help reduce congestion even a little. Research shows that each 1 percent reduction in vehicles can create a three-fold drop in congestion.

# 2: Remote Working Encourages Smaller Business Space
Companies reducing their in-house staff can create a cultural shift resulting in less demand for business properties. One major knock-on effect of this could be a reduction in deforestation and less strain on land resources.

# 3: Remote Work Reduces Businesses’ Carbon Footprints and Energy Usage
Research suggests that businesses allowing employees to work remotely even just half the time can save as much as $11,000 per year through reduced overheads.
Workers based in their own home will be responsible for maintaining a green lifestyle, but a business will need less electricity for lighting, air conditioning, and other essentials.

# 4: Working From Home Leads to Less Food and Drink-Related Waste
For employees working at home, refreshments can be taken from your own kitchen rather than using vending machines or driving to a nearby coffee shop or convenience store. Not only is this more cost-effective, it also leads to less non-recyclable containers, bags, and wrappers being tossed in bins. Even if fewer recyclable items are purchased, this places less strain on recycling plants.

By reducing the amount of waste-materials you direct into bins every day, telecommuting employers and employees can reduce their carbon footprint.

In order to ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for ourselves and future generations, businesses must embrace a greener ethos. Allowing staff to work from home is a major step in reducing carbon footprints, creating a happier workforce, and cutting overheads. By embracing remote work, companies of all size can help to create a safer, brighter future, maximizing their budgets and resources alike.

Work from anywhere: What it takes to be a digital nomad | Monty Majeed, Yourstory.com

According to the 2016 Deloitte Millenial Survey, the most important things that millenials look for in jobs are flexibility, work-life balance and a sense of meaning from the work they do. This is exactly why we are seeing an emergence of remote workers and digital nomads in almost all industries. Unlike remote workers, who are based out of office or out of the location where their employers are, digital nomads are not based anywhere in particular. They are constantly on the move. They are those intelligent ones who combine work and their passion to travel the world – and no, you don’t need to be a travel writer to do that.

Who can be a digital nomad?

Marianne Cantwell, career coach, author, Founder of the Free Range Humans concept and a digital nomad herself, calls such people Cubicle Cage Humans. The whole idea of becoming a digital nomad started with the idea of not having “to be trapped to get paid,” says Marianne. “A free range human chooses when, where and how they work,” she says. “They have freed themselves from societal expectations of fitting into a career-shaped cage and now get paid to do what they really want to do.”

According to author and digital nomad Jodi Ettenberg, of LegalNomad.com, these are a few jobs you can do on-the-rod:

  • Media-related jobs (translator, content writer, journalist, editor, proofreader, technical writer, blogger, photographer, videographer, podcaster, digital marketeers)
  • Finance jobs (e-commerce, product promoter, accountants, insurance agents, online trader)
  • Organisational support roles (virtual assistant, researcher, customer service executive, travel agent)
  • Teaching
  • Computer-related jobs (programmers, database managers, web designers, software developers, software testers, UX designers)

Now that you are armed with a list of jobs that you can pursue while travelling around the world, here are some tips to stay productive while at it.

Keep your connections posted
Let people you work with know at what times you are available for work, meetings and other communication. This will help you manage work communication efficiently and divide your time productively.

Divide work and play times
Divide your time in a day for work and set aside time to relax. A digital nomad has the freedom to work for two hours at a stretch, take a five-hour break and then resume his or her work. Whatever be your schedule, make sure that during your work time, you remain focused on getting things that get you paid done in the best possible way.

Make backups of your work and important documents
You may get lost, get robbed, get stranded in a place with no internet or lose your phone. Work out solutions and alternatives for such problems before you set out. You could use cloud space to securely save your data online, carry portable modems and routers for net connectivity, chargers and power banks for your batteries and so on.

It is empowering to be able to work from anywhere and have full control over your schedule. However, do not forget that working from anywhere comes with its own set of challenges. Make sure that you have access to a reliable internet connection, a well-planned schedule and proper backup systems to turn you into a rather productive and efficient digital nomad.

7 Ways to Help Younger Employees Improve | Rieva Lesonsky, Smallbiztrends.com

Randstad and Future Workplace conducted a survey of Millennial and Generation Z employees and found that, while the majority of both generations believe their educations prepared them well for their current jobs, there are some important gaps. If you want to get the most from your younger employees, how can you help them improve? Here are seven steps to take.

Tips for Managing Young Employees

1. Set Expectations
One-third of Generation Z employees and 29 percent of Millennials say their education did not prepare them to work long hours, and one-fourth of Generation Z workers say it did not prepare them to manage their time effectively.

2. Provide Opportunities for Collaboration
Since project-based work is the number-one way Gen Z likes to learn new skills, try putting younger employees in teams with older workers so they gain experience in getting along with different generations. (Make sure the older workers are prepared and willing to provide some guidance to the younger ones.)

3. Educate Millennial Employees in Management and Conflict Resolution Skills
More than one-fourth of Millennials say their educations did not prepare them to manage others or resolve conflicts. These interpersonal skills are critical as Millennials move into managerial positions. Pair new Millennial managers with more experienced managers who can mentor them.

4. Communicate Often and Honestly
39 percent of both Millennial and Gen Z workers say the most effective way to communicate is “in person.” In other words, you don’t have to text, IM or Snapchat to reach young workers — simply walk around and talk to them.

5. Provide Ongoing Feedback
Forty-six percent of both Millennials and Generation Z say providing quality feedback regularly is the best way to help them excel. Among the highest-performing companies in the survey, nearly one-third provide feedback to young workers on a regular basis (that is, after every project, assignment or task), and 22 percent provide daily feedback.

6. Design a Workspace that Enables Both Collaboration and Focus
An open, collaborative workspace isn’t always the most conducive to focus. Help younger employees focus better by setting up an office space that includes quiet areas for focused work.

7. Help Them Lessen Stress
Regularly review workloads so employees aren’t burdened with more than they can realistically handle. Suggest or teach time management strategies that can help with stress. Create a culture that encourages breaks and downtime in addition to hard work.

Taking the steps to help your young employees improve can pay off big. More than 80 percent of both Generation Z and Millennial employees want to take leadership roles at work. Start now, and you can shape the next generation of leaders to fit your business’s needs.