Remote Work Digest: June 9, 2015

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

Image from Communitytable.com

Image from Communitytable.com

The Remote Worker’s Guide to Office Etiquette | Life Hacker India

Communicating with your coworkers is much harder when you’re working remotely. Alan Henry from Gawker Media, says that, a little empathy can keep you happy on any remote team set up. Face to face interaction may be completely avoided but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any awkward silence when in conference calls or online meetings. In order to avoid that, here’s a helpful list of office etiquette that shouldn’t be forgotten:

  • Respect Everyone’s Time Zones and Busy Time
  • Use Technology to Make Remote Communication Easier, Not Harder
  • Navigate Office Chat Like a Pro
  • Communicate Clearly: Your Works Matter More Without Non-Verbals

Working remotely has a lot of benefits, Henry explains that you’ll have to put in a little extra effort and make sure you’re clear when you need something, respect other people’s boundaries, and reinforce your own. As long as you can get those things down you’ll be fine.

12 Ways to Stay Focused and Productive When You Work From Home | Lifehack

Having the option to work from home brings a lot of benefit to employees and employers alike. You can set your own hours, dress how you want and work in a way that maximizes your time and skill set. However, working from home, whether it is on a part time basis or full time job, is not without challenges.

Here are Kristen Brown’s best ways to make working from home easier:

  1. Be Honest
  2. Designate a Space
  3. Make it Pretty
  4. Stick to a Schedule
  5. Dress for Success
  6. Take Breaks
  7. Go Public
  8. Multi-Communicate
  9. Be Human
  10. Create a Calendar
  11. Find Your Tribe
  12. Prioritize Right

Following the tips mentioned above will greatly help you increase your productivity levels while still enjoying the perks of working from home.

Does Working From Home Really Save You Money | Bplans

There are countless benefits when working remotely, such as having control over work schedule and personal life, expenses, and greater productivity. There is no longer a need to question why so many people choose to become virtual employees. On the other hand, working from home also adds a few lines to the budget that might not have been there previously.

If you’re thinking about making the switch to a home office, here are Kelly Gurnett’s list of financial pros and cons you keep in mind:

Pros:

No More Commuting Costs

Even if you ride the bus or own a car, commuting a long distance is not really helping you save money at all. There are more expenses that just gas to take into account such as tolls, parking, vehicle wear and tear and maintenance, and the lost time spent driving or commuting when you could be doing other important things.

No More (or At Least a Lot Less) Eating Out

Eating right helps you work better, think better and play better. When you work from home, it’s a lot easier to find the time and motivation to make healthy and budget-friendly meals.

Childcare Savings

Childcare can be really expensive, but working from home allows you to spend more time with your kids depending on the schedule you have established.

No more peer pressure purchases

We might feel the need to keep up with everyone and sometimes you have to spend money to do so. Working remotely relieves you of peer pressure and unnecessary purchases.

Cons:

Healthcare

Cutting ties with a traditional job also means losing your healthcare coverage and if you’re used to having your insurance covered, this can be a big adjustment.

Taxes

In order to know more about working from home tax implications, you should do more research and ask a CPA to fully understand how taxation works. There are a number of rules, and the rules differ depending on whether you’re self-employed or an employee.

Misc. Business Expenses

If you want a smooth work flow, spending extra for computer upgrades, higher internet speed and additional equipment is a must. The good thing is you might be able to write off a number of them come tax season.

How to work from home efficiently | KnowHowNonProfit

With long commutes and budgets cuts, more people are working from home. But how can you make sure you do work and not watch TV? Stephanie Hill shares her tips on how to work efficiently.

1. Know the flexible working policy of your organization.
Flexibility can be challenging, especially in small organizations. In order to get a clear understanding, you should take time to ask your HR department for their homeworking policy.

2. Prepare your workload the day before

3. Set up your home office
Creating a home office that provides comfort and contains everything you need to work with is very important if you want to be more productive in what you do.

4. Be present from home
Take advantage of modern technology to establish an online presence. If you want to ask a question or discuss work related issues, don’t be afraid to call the office as well.

5. Review it
Is working from home right for you? Make notes of what works and what does not.

4 Challenges of Managing Remote Teams | ReadWave

Telecommuting is getting a lot of attention lately. According to the research, there are more than 53 million Americans working remotely, on a freelance basis. The report says that approximately 20% of the entire global workforce work on a telecommuting basis and about 29% of them work from home at least part of the week while 10% of them work full-time from home.

Working from home is a dream, but for many, it also has its pitfalls. Christoper Calhoun, from ReadWave, writes about the challenges of building and managing a team remotely.

Communication

Every member of the team must have great communication skills and share a common vision and culture. Aside from the occasional video conferences, you should also take advantage of the numerous tools that can help virtual teams communicate better. Skype, GoToMeeting and Yammer are just some of them.

Security

Telecommuting will always bring with it certain security issues. Thankfully, Proxy Networks says that most of the security problems a remote help desk team may encounter can be sold.

Company Culture and Team Building

Building a company culture remotely can be a true challenge. Slack, Uncover and Google Hangouts are some of the tools that can help you build a team that knows how to have fun remotely and not just work remotely.

Concentration and Focus

Concentrating while in the comfort on one’s home can be challenging with so many distractions near by. This can be solved when your team is properly motivated and everyone are all professional and driven.

5 Million Hours Tracked

5million_hours

We are happy to announce the milestone of 5 million hours logged on Worksnaps. It is a nice round number, but we understand that it is the result of lot of trust and support given by our customers to use Worksnaps to manage their work, time and teams. We have heard a lot of excellent feedback from our users. We will continue to prioritize them, translate them into product features and enhancements, and make our product better. In addition to addressing customer requests, we have many exciting features in our pipeline to be released, such as

  • Project Weekly limit — Manager can budget weekly hours allowed for all the users in a project
  • User Weekly Limit — Manager can budget weekly hours allowed for a user to log in all the projects
  • Auto-clicker Detection — A comprehensive mechanism to fend off fraud by using auto-clicker programs
  • Time Approval Workflow — A light weight work flow for submitting offline time by users and approve offline time by managers

We will write separate blog articles to introduce these features in the near future.

We are also actively working on upgrading back-end infrastructure to provide higher scalability and performance. We believe all these will give better overall user experience to our customers.

We would like to thank our users for your support. Your inputs are invaluable and we believe you are also our partners to drive our product better. Therefore, we look forward to hearing any idea, comment and feedback from you.

Worksnaps Reaches over 80 Countries

We are excited to announce that Worksnaps service is now being used by users from more than 80 countries around the world. There is strong evidence that more companies are turning to remote workers to augment their workforce, and online work has spread to many places around the world. While we see that we have strong user base in the traditional IT outsourcing hotbeds such as India, the Philippines and many parts of Eastern Europe, we are delighted to find users from countries such as Madagascar, Kenya, Andorra and Fiji.


Meanwhile, we are also happy to realize that the time tracked on Worksnaps system has now exceeded 2 million hours. Back in January of this year, we reached the milestone of 1 million hours. It has taken us about 8 months to achieve the second million hours. We want to thank all the users, especially those who give us feedback, suggestions and constructive criticisms. We understand that the 2 million is just a number. The most valuable asset we have is our user community. We will continue to humbly listen to our users and enhance the product to better serve their needs.

Continue reading

Introducing our New Help Desk


In order to provide better customer support and user experience in the ticket process, we are happy to announce that we have upgraded our help desk system. We had been using OSTicket, an open-source ticketing system. OSTicket has been adequate in handling our customer issues and serving ticket workflow. However, with the growing customer base and the increasing demand for enhanced features such as streamlined email process, flexibility in customization and better integration with knowledgebase, we have chosen a new ticket system – Freshdesk. We met the Freshdesk team in this year’s Launch Festival in San Francisco. By talking with them in person, we were very impressed by their passion in providing the best customer service experience, something that we wholeheartedly share, let alone the comprehensive feature set in their product. We did a pilot run, simulated many use cases and tailored the system to our needs. We did run into a few bumps, but with their timely customer support, we were able to iron out the kinks easily. Now we feel that we are ready to move ahead to make Freshdesk as our new help desk system.

Continue reading

Worksnaps Offers its Product via Founder Institute’s Partner Program

Worksnaps is excited to offer its time-tracking product via the partner program of the Founder Institute. The Founder Institute is the world’s largest startup accelerator. It operates across 40 cities and 24 countries. The Founder Institute has launched more than 750 startup companies in 2013 and is now on pace to launch over 1,000 companies per year.

Continue reading

Worksnaps Launches Service End Point in Asia Pacific Region

Worksnaps is excited to announce the launch of its service end point in Singapore to better serve the customers in Asia Pacific Region.

We have seen great momentum in adoption of Worksnaps service in the Asia Pacific Region, especially in the Philippines, India and Vietnam. In order to allow those customers to have better connectivity and higher service reliability, we see a compelling reason to place a new service end point in the region. Singapore is known as a global tech center and for its advanced infrastructure, and it is why we choose to put our service end point there. Our engineers have worked hard to make the software architecture to be one that supports distributed services. With the enhanced architecture, we see ourselves better positioned to scale up and serve customers worldwide.

We look forward to many more improvements in the future.

Good Time at EverywhereElse Conference


We were honored to be a part of the Everywhere Else Conference last week in Memphis, TN. It was an amazing experience to be in the same room with so many other like minded people, those with lofty ambitions of changing the world with their startup.

We set up our booth in the middle of the Memphis Conference Center next to a number of startup exhibitors and a couple thousand attendees. On the first day of the conference, we did a presentation and demo to a full room of people.

Continue reading