Remote Work Digest: November 28, 2021

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

Struggling with Time Management? Try These Six Surefire Strategies | John Rampton, Forbes.com

Get a handle on the minutes that make up your day and you’ll improve how you manage your time. Try one or all of these six surefire strategies to get more done in less time than ever before.

1. Commit to single-tasking.

Multitasking has been overused and overhyped and is, quite frankly, counterproductive. Many of us cannot function at a high level while doing multiple things at once. 

2. Use time blocking to your advantage.

Divide your day into distinct blocks of time. Answer your email in two 20-minute chunks, say one at midday and one at EOD. Set aside an hour to complete that entire slide deck instead of leaving it two-thirds finished before heading out for a client meeting. Speaking of meetings, try to cluster them together rather than sprinkling them throughout the day. Time blocking reduces the interruptions and mental adjustments that keep you from doing focused, productive work. 

3. Deploy the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is an amped-up version of time blocking. Avid users commit to doing 25 minutes of concentrated work on a single task. Once the time allotment is up, they take a five-minute break. After four rounds of this, they take a 15- to 20-minute break to fully recharge. This approach simulates a time crunch, which prompts your brain to really zero in on a task and execute it. 

4. Schedule movement breaks

Our bodies simply weren’t made to sit in an office chair for eight or more hours a day. Give your muscles the movement they crave by allowing yourself scheduled breaks throughout the day. They’ll help you make better use of your on-task time.

5. Try task batching

The mindset you need for schmoozing a prospective client is different from the one you need to crunch month-end numbers. By batching tasks that require similar skills or mental processes together, you can accomplish them more quickly and efficiently. 

6. Fuel yourself for success

Fuel yourself throughout the day with foods that make you feel good, allow you to focus and gives you sustained energy. While it can be tempting, especially on a busy morning, resist the urge to subsist solely on coffee. After all, what good is adding in productivity tactics when your body is too tired to put in the work? Fuel your body right, and it will serve you well.

Start wrangling your time.

The time management tactics above will only make you more productive if you’re focusing on the right tasks to begin with. So, prioritize and develop a plan of attack for your workload. Identify key milestones and can’t-miss deadlines using your calendar or project management tool

5 best ways to get and stay organized for the New Year | Theapopkavoice.com

If organization isn’t your superpower, don’t despair. Nail these five organization tips in the New Year and you’ll be golden, no matter where you’re headed.

1.Write it down

Getting organized means being able to prioritize. A planner that can contain everything you need to put in it will help you organize your life, from important birthdays and appointments to business meetings or exams. 

Pro tip: Build in reminders well ahead of important due dates. For example, if you have a presentation due Friday, enter a reminder to “start presentation” Monday. Estimate how much time you’ll need to complete the task completed — with a little cushion built in.

2. Give everything a designated home

If every morning you try to get out the door on time but can’t find your keys, give them a permanent home. The same is true for schedules, deadlines, files, folders, etc. 

Pro tip: Keep your laptop desktop as organized as your planner. Create files to group docs that belong together, then you’ll be able to find them at a moment’s notice.

3. Make priorities when you set deadlines

When you have a plan with deadlines and tasks right at your fingertips, it’s easier to use your time efficiently. Organized people make the most of every minute, and it shows. It’s not enough just to meet deadlines; the work must also be done well. 

Pro tip: Highlight or color code high-priority items on your planner, so you’ll know to put those items first.

4. Don’t procrastinate

Don’t be that person who waits until the last minute to do something, then does it halfway or poorly. 

Pro tip: Build in extra time each day to review your planner and play catch-up. 

5. Declutter, declutter, declutter

It takes only a short time to go through your office, desk or room to know what’s important and what isn’t. Keep only what you need and get rid of the rest. Don’t be afraid to declutter and reorganize continuously and consistently. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by keeping your space clutter-free.

Pro tip: Set a regular end-of-day or first-thing-in-the-morning declutter break for 15 minutes. Your future self will thank you!

Proven ways to improve employee productivity | Gilaherald.com

As a manager, you want to keep your employees focused and motivated enough that they can produce the best possible results for your business.

Here are some tips on how to improve your employees’ productivity:

Set clear goals and expectations

Setting clear goals and expectations is a great way to improve employee productivity. It includes creating SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-sensitive) goals with each team member. Setting clear goals allows your employees to understand what is expected of them. It also allows them to focus on completing tasks rather than questioning their duties every step of the way. 

Encouraging communication

The key here is an open dialogue between your team members and your managers. A lack of communication can lead to miscommunications, misunderstandings as well as low morale among employees. When they feel like their voices are heard and taken seriously, it makes them more productive because they have a sense of empowerment that leads to higher productivity levels.

Providing the right tools for the job

It encourages employees to spend more time doing their work instead of wasting it on figuring out how they can get things done correctly. It includes equipping your team members with technology, such as an efficient computer system or software. 

Track performance

You can also track your employees’ productivity by keeping records of how much time they spend working. It is a great way to identify who in your workforce needs additional training or development, which helps improve their overall performance regarding the work they do each day. 

Allow flexible schedules for employees

Offering flexible work schedules is another way that you can improve employee productivity. Offering telecommuting options allows your team members to work from home on occasion, which will enable them to focus on their job without outside distractions or interruptions. It also helps reduce commute times and stress among employees because it reduces the number of hours sitting in traffic. It also allows them to spend more time with their families and not be away from home for so long, improving morale among your team members.

Show appreciation for a job well done

Not only it helps improve employee productivity, but it also shows your team members that you value them as a crucial part of the company’s success. One way of showing this appreciation is by offering bonuses or additional paid time off on top of what they already receive from your company.

Employee training

Employee training is another way to improve productivity at work. It includes offering a comprehensive orientation program for new team members, as well as ongoing employee development programs that help your workforce stay up-to-date with the latest technology and skills needed in today’s world.

Minimize meeting times

You should only use meetings to handle issues impacting your company’s productivity levels or solving problems together with employees. If you have any other meetings planned, then it becomes more difficult for employees to focus on the day-to-day tasks they need to complete for your organization to run smoothly and without hiccups along the way.

Creating a more positive environment

Creating a more positive environment with a well-rounded fitness program that allows team members to take care of their health and reduce stress can help improve employee productivity by making them more efficient when performing specific job duties.

Improving employee productivity is a crucial part of any business’ success. Employing training programs, tracking performance levels, and managing meeting times are proven ways to improve your workforce’s output regarding what they do each day at work.

15 flexible jobs for people who don’t want to give up remote work | Madison Hoff, Businessinsider.com

HireAHelper published a list of remote jobs that are great for those who often move. Here are 15 top jobs for those who want to work remotely and move around a lot.

15. Advertising sales agents

Median annual wage in 2020: $54,940

Remote work take-up: 51%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

14. Financial examiners

Median annual wage in 2020: $81,430

Remote work take-up: 72%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

13. Urban and regional planners

Median annual wage in 2020: $75,950

Remote work take-up: 68%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

12. Computer network support specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $65,450

Remote work take-up: 52%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

11. Management analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $87,660

Remote work take-up: 56%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

10.Speech-language pathologists

Median annual wage in 2020: $80,480

Remote work take-up: 39%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

9. Environmental scientists and specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $73,230

Remote work take-up: 59%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

8.Civil engineers

Median annual wage in 2020: $88,570

Remote work take-up: 44%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 9%

7.Credit analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $74,970

Remote work take-up: 61%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

6.Financial analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $83,660

Remote work take-up: 68%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

5.Public relations specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $62,810

Remote work take-up: 65%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 10%

4. College professors

Median annual wage in 2020: $90,400*

Remote work take-up: 61%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 11%

3. Advertising and promotions managers

Median annual wage in 2020: $133,460

Remote work take-up: 51%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 12%

2. Computer hardware engineers

Median annual wage in 2020: $119,560

Remote work take-up: 57%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 12%

1.Software Developers

Median annual wage in 2020: $110,140

Remote work take-up: 71%

Percent of people in this occupation who moved in the last year and stayed in the job: 13%

Remote Work Digest: October 30, 2021

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

Six Ways Business Leaders Can Reclaim Their Time | Ian Tomline, Forbes Communications Council, Forbes.com

They say the only thing you can’t buy is time, and the more of your life you spend in the business world, the more that indisputable truth resonates. You should ignore the activities that make you feel busy and focus on the ones that contribute to the big picture.

Make Decisions About Time

Think back on your last week and what you spent your time on. (Maybe even check your schedule to recap what was in it.) You’ll probably be able to mark up all those things you did that were what I call “hygiene” activities — the things you do to tread water without drowning in emails and paperwork.

Prioritizing Time

Browse through social media articles on leadership and management and you won’t miss the fact that many successful people are clearly better at prioritizing time than the rest of us.

Tools Of The “Prioritize Me” Trade

Make Time for Deep, Focused Thinking Early in Your Day

As the first task on your list, you should think really hard about what you’re trying to get out of the day and how to clear your schedule of other activities that will prevent you from investing time in what really matters.

Write and Manage Lists (Efficiently)

Give your brain a chance and make a list. You should get good at writing task lists and crossing them off as you go.

Learn How to Say No and Get Brutal About Protecting Your Time

If you’re going to maximize the time in your day, you will need to get selfish with your time and consider every request that places demand on it.

Get Ahead with Meetings

You should be particularly brutal with meetings. I think the best strategy is to:

Deeply qualify whether any meeting requires your presence.

Book meetings for no longer than 30 minutes while spacing meetings apart by 30 minutes just in case. This approach ensures you have “buffer time” if you need it.

Think Back on Your Past Week

A good way to test your time management performance is to look in the rearview mirror every now and then to see how you’re doing.

Forgive Your Self Breaks

The time you spend thinking about something else or nothing much at all could be the moment when you come up with your next big idea.

So, put your feet up and let yourself off every now and then – it could be good for business.

Remote work is here to stay: The benefits are just too good to overlook | Larry Alton, Theamericangenius.com

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Happy employees mean healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases, with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

5 Hacks to Maximize Work Productivity at Home | Kimberly Wilson, Essence.com

Looking to supercharge your productivity? Easier said than done, right? Here are a few tips to help you maximize your productivity while at home.

Plan your day ahead.

Because of all the competing demands trying to navigate home, social and work life, it’s imperative to spend time prioritizing what needs to get done.

Meal prep.

Meal prepping can save you a lot of time and hassle in your week, plus it helps to boost productivity levels. Not to mention, a well-thought-out meal plan can help you improve your diet quality or reach a specific health goal while saving you time and money along the way.

Set a schedule, and stick to it.

Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance.

Focus on three big tasks a day.

I once took a leadership training that emphasized the importance of tackling little rocks vs big rocks. The big rocks are the larger tasks that take up the most time, and are critical to your success, while the little rocks are the day-to-day tasks such as emails, meetings, etc. While both are extremely important, it’s easy to get caught up in the inevitable day-to-day emergencies, but it’s important to remember your larger goals. One of the best ways I do this is by focusing on getting three big tasks done every day.

Practice self-care.

Your mental state plays a huge role in how productive you are on a day-to-day basis. No matter how free your schedule is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it’s like still not going to get done – or well, at least. And self-care doesn’t just mean massages and bubble baths. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to meditate, or ensuring you’re getting enough sleep each night.

These 10 well-known companies offer fully remote or hybrid work arrangements | Coann Labitoria, Hcamag.com

Fully remote companies are organizations that do not have physical offices for their employees to work out of. Instead, all work is done completely online – which means employees can accomplish tasks, have meetings, and attend events from anywhere with a stable and fast internet connection, such as co-working spaces, coffee shops, and home offices.

Meanwhile, partially remote companies or hybrid companies have staggered arrangements that see employees working remotely some days in the week and at a physical office on others. The hybrid model is more common than fully remote companies because it’s easier to implement and requires less investment in new equipment and infrastructure.

Well-known companies with fully remote or hybrid work setups

1. Apple

Apple is a multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, online services, and computer software. The company is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and has been the world’s most valuable company since January 2021.

The tech giant announced in June 2021 that employees are expected to work in the office three times a week with the option to work from home twice a week starting September – a date that was postponed to January 2022 due to the sudden surge of Delta variant cases.

2. Microsoft

Microsoft is a multinational technology company that manufactures and develops computer software, consumer electronics, and personal computers.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company adopted a hybrid work model that allows employees to work from anywhere for 50% of their work week, with the option to go 100% remote with management approval. The company even released a guide to hybrid work that outlines its approach, such as updating conference rooms, hiring across geographies, and tightening online security.

3. Shopify

Canada-based Shopify is a multinational firm that offers a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform is used to set up, design, and manage stores across multiple sales channels such as web, mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar spots, and pop-up shops.

Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted in May 2020 that the company will be “digital by default,” taking on a remote-first hybrid setup. Lutke added that most employees will permanently work remotely post-pandemic. When available, employees can work in the company’s offices in Canada and Ireland.

4. Slack

Slack develops real-time collaboration applications that provide messaging, video and voice calls, integrated file sharing, and other services to organizations across the globe.

The Silicon Valley firm announced in June 2020 that they would offer its current employees the option to work from home on a permanent basis while keeping the offices open in some form. The company will also open most of its upcoming new roles to remote candidates, and indicated that it is moving towards a more asynchronous work pace by encouraging employees to work hours that make sense for them.

5. Spotify

Spotify is a digital music streaming service that allows subscribers to search and discover music, build personal playlists, and allows artists to post tracks.

The company has taken a hybrid approach for its workforce, allowing employees to work from anywhere across the globe. Spotify also provides a company-paid co-working space if an employee chooses to work in an office but does not live near an existing Spotify location. The firm also announced that it would continue to pay at San Francisco or New York salary rates, based on the type of job.

6. Twitter

Twitter is a social networking and news platform that enables users to send and read short messages known as “tweets” through web and mobile apps.

Twitter was one of the first companies to announce allowing employees who wish to work from home to do so permanently, as long as their role enables them to. The company offers a hybrid remote work setup with offices in San Francisco, New York, and nine other cities across the US available for employees who choose to work on-site.

7. Upwork

Upwork operates the world’s largest freelance marketplace platform. It allows businesses to connect with professionals specializing in numerous skills such as writing, web and mobile development, customer service, and marketing.

Upwork CEO Hayden Brown tweeted in May 2020 that the company is permanently adopting a remote-first hybrid work model. They continue to operate two office spaces located in Chicago and San Francisco for its employees who opt to work on-site.

8. Quora

Quora is a question-and-answer social media platform created, edited, and organized by its community of users.

Adam D’Angelo, co-founder and CEO of Quora, announced in June 2020 that the company would take on a remote-first hybrid work setup after most of its employees opted not to return to the office post-pandemic.

9. Pinterest

Pinterest operates a pinboard-style social networking site where users can create, manage, and share theme-based image collections based on events, interests, and hobbies.

In 2020, Pinterest announced they would follow a remote-first hybrid work model after stating the company will not be expecting employees to return to the office due to the pandemic. Subsequently, the company paid US$89.5 million to cancel a large lease on its San Francisco office. The company is also looking into hiring talent across the globe who were previously excluded due to geography. Pinterest still manages physical offices in eight US cities.

10. LinkedIn

Linkedin is a professional networking site which allows online members to create, manage, and share their professional identities, find career opportunities, and be able to connect with likeminded individuals.

The pros and cons of a fully remote or hybrid company

Perhaps the biggest benefit of remote work to employers is the opportunity to tap into a wider talent pool by allowing them to hire skilled applicants from anywhere in the world. Employers can now find the right applicant for any given position regardless of their location.

Hiring remote workers can also reduce an organization’s operating cost, especially in areas such as office rents and supplies.

Remote work can also present some challenges for employers, such issues of employee disengagement. Having all communications online means that managers also need to be more proactive in setting clear goals for deliverables, as well as overcome challenges in tracking work progress and resolving work-related conflicts.

Despite these issues, fully remote and hybrid arrangements are well on their way to becoming the new normal, with more organizations expected to adopt similar setups as the pandemic winds down.

Remote Work Digest: September 29, 2021

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

The right flexible work approach can benefit everyone | Bob Helbig, Energage, Ajc.com

Today, companies are reaping the benefits of workplace flexibility, including greater employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.

Flex work makes it easier for employees to achieve a better work-life balance. Workplace flexibility practices aren’t limited to working from home. Other examples include flexible work schedules, compressed workweeks and job sharing. Companies benefit when employees are able to deliver their personal best.

Here are a few essential recommendations to consider when adopting workplace flexibility best practices.

Setting Expectations

The key to managing flexible working arrangements is to set clear expectations. Be sure to communicate clear deadlines, collaboration expectations and measures of success.

Communication

Communication is one of the characteristics of good management. Find convenient meeting times so everyone can participate in communication efforts. Identify which of the many messaging, video conference and file-sharing platforms support the best communication methods for your organization, and use them in unison.

Encourage Flexibility in All Aspects

Companies need to encourage their employees to think creatively and work with managers and teammates to find an arrangement that supports workplace flexibility for everyone. The workplace must also consider barriers that prohibit a flexible approach, from family care to technology.

Focus on Measuring Outcomes

While it may seem counterintuitive, giving employees greater control over how they work can ultimately lead to greater productivity. An outcome focus also gives employees a clear understanding of performance expectations and the metrics that will measure their work.

Accountability

Personal accountability plays a vital role in shaping best practices for flexible workplaces. Employees should understand they will be held accountable for the results of their work and productivity, even if they are working from home.

Companies that offer different types of flexibility in the workplace stand out as employers of choice with forward-thinking approaches that focus on the changing needs of their employees. Flexibility is appealing to current employees as well as top talent in search of a work-life balance. Employees will be more productive and committed to your organization.

5 ways to use décor to enhance your work-from-home life | Ismat Tahseen, Timesofindia.indiatimes.com

From handy work spaces that have makeshift desks to choosing a quiet spot as your nook and placing plants around for some zen, there’s a lot that folks are doing to create their work nooks. Here are a few other décor ideas that can build a beautiful home-work environment.

Make it vibrant

Dull grey or pastel green adds a to a relaxed ambience in the bedroom, but it won’t foster a charged-up energy to a work area. How about painting one wall in a bright shade of yellow or green, to do so?

Fun lighting

Place around a set of vintage bottles filled with micro led party lights. Stick a few berries into it for that rustic look. Add a potpourri bowl to the table as well.

Go minimal

The less clutter the better, is the mantra here. Avoid sticky posted notes popping up on tables, strewn paper and a bunch of files around which hamper your focus.

Try and sit where you get enough natural light

Health experts advocate the importance of getting enough sunlight, which gives the daily dose of vitamin D. Sunlight boosts productivity, it is serotonin-producing, said to boost bone health and lead to better immune function.

Use the principle of Hygge

The Danish lifestyle principle of Hygge is something else you can try. It’s about warmth and cosiness using colour and textures. Get a pretty rug, maybe a cushion or two, place a motivational message on the wall as well as a few clay planters, all of which add to a feeling of peace and happiness.

The Impact of Remote Work on Climate Change | Emagazine.com

The gradual migration from corporate to remote work has varying effects on climate change. Here’s some of the pros and cons of remote work.

The Positive Effects of Remote Work on Climate Change

Significant Drop in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

According to The Natural Conservancy, the average American produces sixteen tons of greenhouse gas annually. Greenhouse gases have very harmful effects on the environment and the population at large. They cause extreme shifts in weather patterns resulting in drought, floods, and even tsunamis.

Furthermore, they contribute to an increase in wildfires and smog. Smog has been linked to respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders and even lung cancer.

By telecommuting, you reduce your carbon footprint, thereby minimizing your environmental impact and supporting the human race as a whole.

Reduced Paper Usage

Telecommuting embraces a more digital approach where workers use applications and software to record, store and share information. By embracing note-taking programs and cloud storage software, remote workers reduce their paper usage, reducing their carbon footprint.

Improved Air Quality

Remote working means fewer people are on the roads. As already mentioned, the transport sector is among the number one producers of greenhouse gases. When people work from home, it means less fossil fuel combustion and better air quality.

Less Plastic Usage

Plastic is a non-biodegradable substance and takes hundreds of years to disintegrate. Due to its long life span, it can present challenges for us and future generations. Working from home helps cut back on plastic use as it allows you to use reusable cups, bowls and cutlery, instead of relying on single-use plastic foodware.

Reduced Power Consumption

By working from home, you help reduce the extremely high electric bills and reduce the energy burden of society.

The Downsides of Remote Working

Only Partial Carbon Footprint Reduction

Hybrid work, a form of remote work where employees combine working from home with working at the office, doesn’t fully eliminate the need to commute nor the energy consumption habits of office buildings. While alternating between the office and remote working may go some way to reducing your carbon footprint, it stops short of having a sizeable impact on it.

Energy Consumption

Does working from home really help cut back on energy consumption? Thanks to the ever-evolving tech industry, more and more people are embracing technology to simplify their lives.

Virtual work is a great example. Instead of driving or taking the bus to work to attend meetings or get work done, we use video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Skype. We now email whenever we need to pass official communication. All these devices use electricity.

Remote Working is a Net Positive for Climate Change

Remote working is a crucial player in helping fight climate change. By working from home, you help:

  • Reduce greenhouse emissions
  • Improve air quality
  • Decrease single-plastic use
  • Reduce paper consumption

Even though some models of remote working, specifically hybrid work, encourage commuting, thereby maintaining certain greenhouse emission levels, remote work continues to make great strides in reducing environmental degradation and helping manage climate change.

How to increase employee productivity in the workplace | Cyprus-mail.com

Keeping your employees happy is a must as it will boost their engagement and interaction at work. Some simple techniques that can boost employee productivity that can bring about some surprising results.

Seven ways to boost employee productivity effectively in the workplace

Communication

Establishing strong communication is one of the first changes you can integrate into your business. When assigning responsibility roles to the members of your company, ensure that there is no confusion or misunderstanding in the job expectations. 

Setting up communication protocols will establish clear performance goals which will allow your employees to understand their job descriptions better.

Technology upgrade

As a company, you must learn to invest in the right tools as it improves productivity and also saves time in getting a task done. Some really simple tools can bring about big changes in office productivity and efficiency.

Reduce meaningless meetings

Some meetings lead to unproductive discussions that can cost time and energy which could have been sent in an email. By reducing meaningless meetings or restricting meetings to 15-20 minutes can improve productivity at work.

Keep goals clear and focused

Employees who understand the value, mission, and expectations of the company clearly are compelled to accomplish their given tasks efficiently.

Before you assign any work to an employee, ask yourself if that particular employee will be able to achieve the task at hand. Regular interactions with your employees will help you understand them better and appreciate a job well done. 

Encourage self-care

Encouraging employees to take care of themselves is vital as it not only keeps them physically and mentally healthy but also improves productivity. 

As a company, you should offer health insurance for your employees as it will help them take advantage of the health benefits. Sometimes the workload or work pressure can be quite stressful. 

As a business owner, you can offer time management and stress relief programmes so that employees can learn some useful self-care techniques. 

Improve Office Conditions

Investing in good lighting, comfortable chairs, high-quality tables, air conditioning, soundproof walls, etc can help boost employee productivity. 

Delegate responsibility

Allowing them to take on tasks by themselves will boost their morale and gain leadership experience. If you are constantly breathing down their necks, it will impact the performance and growth of your company. 

Final thoughts

Keep in mind that you must learn to focus on quality more than quantity, so make sure that you create realistic and achievable goals for your employees.

Since many businesses are allowing their employees to come back to work, getting vaccinated has been many people’s concern. Here are some ethical questions that have been raised regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.

Remote Work Digest: August 31, 2021

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

How to Improve the Efficiency Of Your Small Business: 6 Tips | Yucatan Times, Theyucatantimes.com

Growing your business will largely depend on how efficient you run it and what is certain is that it won’t happen overnight. Though some companies will experience faster growth than others, improving your business is primarily a matter of time. There are many things you need to do to improve the efficiency of your business for it to grow, including: 

Review Existing Processes

The first and foremost thing you have to do to improve your business’s efficiency is to evaluate the existing process. To make anything better, you first have to assess its current state. By reviewing the existing processes of your business, you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

Understand Your Customers

A vital thing you have to do to improve the efficiency of your business is to understand your customers. They are the backbone of every small business and will help you grow even in difficult times.

One of the best ways to reduce the inefficiencies in your business is to embrace feedback. Collect information from your employees and customers through research and surveys and find ways to improve your business efficiency.

Use Technology

One of the best tools to use to improve the efficiency of your business in the modern age is technology. If you embrace technology, you can dramatically improve business efficiency and have great results.

Automation of business processes has become incredibly popular in the recent past, and it will continue to do so. The greatest benefit automation offers to small businesses is eradicating menial, time-consuming tasks from your staff so they can focus on higher priority tasks.

Consider Outsourcing Your Payroll

Managing payroll is a time-consuming task that burdens most HR departments or payroll offices. It can make business processes very inefficient, negatively affecting employees, which further increases inefficiency.

Companies that outsource their payroll can free their employees for much more critical work. The increase in efficiency should also increase profitability and employee satisfaction. 

Get Funding

All small businesses need access to capital for them to grow and improve their business processes. Investing in technology, collecting and receiving customer feedback, among other activities, will require finances.

Therefore, you should figure out a way for your business to obtain some financing which can be difficult for small businesses. Loans are one way for small businesses to get funding for their endeavors.

Set Realistic Goals

The goals you set for your business should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Moreover, it would be best to give your business ample time to incorporate the necessary changes and then review their effects in six months to a year.

It would be best if you did not let change management become more important than improving efficiency. If you correctly set goals, improving the efficiency of various business processes will take a functional and stable approach. 

In conclusion, improving the efficiency of your business is a challenging undertaking. The six tips above will be of tremendous help. They will help your business become more efficient without compromising other essential elements.

Work From Home Set Up Ideas: 5 Easy Tips For Any Space, Floridanewstimes.com

Establishing a work-from-home location that’s practical, pleasant (and relaxing!), and at the same time feasible should be among the first things on your to-do list.

And, because we’re all hoping to prevent traveling to the supermarket, and many establishments are presently shut, you would like to construct this temporary workspace out of items you already have at home. The good news is that if you become imaginative, you will probably already have everything you need.

Get the correct equipment.

Before we set up ideas for a remote office, we need to understand what the required equipment is for such a place to work.

Listed below are the basic requirements of any workspace that is required daily to work professionally.

  • A desk for all your things.
  • A chair to support you.
  • A strong Wifi connection for proper functioning.
  • Proper and adequate lighting to not put any stress on your eyes.
  • A calendar to mark the important dates and timeline.
  • A to-do list so you can keep track of all your activities and pending work that you need to pay attention to and complete.
  • Plants and other things brighten the room and calm you to give you the inspiration to work better.

To succeed in working independently and designing your own schedule, you’ll need motivation, strategy, and support from your manager and organization. The atmosphere has a tremendous impact on people who are looking to effortlessly convert to telecommuting.

Decorate your wall with canvas prints

It becomes easier for visual learners to work efficiently and effectively and at the same time increase their productivity. It also helps in increasing the level of focus while working and increasing creativity at the same time.

Walls with chalkboards for artistic remote working

For individuals who desire to live on the go, contemporary work from anywhere lifestyle offers some inventive alternatives. An extremely creative and innovative idea for artistic workers is to make use of walls with chalkboards. This does not require a lot of space at all and, at the same time is very easy to set up. Moreover, it is an extremely useful thing for workers who need to constantly chalk out ideas or do calculations frequently.

Try to get hold of a desk with storage

The best idea for creating an office at home with minimal space is to try to incorporate a desk that has multiple storage spaces to make optimum utilization of free space. This would help when the space is compact and needs to be utilized. If you do not possess space for a filing cabinet or a cupboard, try getting a table with some built space to keep all of your essentials hidden.

Working office under the stairs

This creative office is capable of including a storage area, a table and workstation, and sometimes even houseplants if a little greenery is the magic recipe in your personalized learning pot. This innovative room, which would be around 18 square feet in size, would incorporate everything required to work from home by incorporating built-in bookcases and also a tiny desk chair. This is the idea you most definitely need to create an efficient home office with very little space that you can set up yourself.

Conclusion

More worldwide workers are functioning from anyplace than ever before in the post-COVID-19 era. Gone are the days of mandatory on-site work and strict daily commuting. However, one reality about modern work stays constant: having a dedicated location where you can concentrate, work quickly, and be creative without distractions is critical.

How to improve employee productivity and well-being | Bmmagazine.co.uk

Employees form the backbone of every organization; they are integral for success, so how do you improve their productivity?

First, you should try to improve their well-being and happiness at work. Research has consistently shown that workers who feel acknowledged and appreciated at work perform better than unhappy employees. To help improve employee productivity and performance, here are some of the most effective tips:

Recognize Employee Achievements

Recognizing employee achievements is one of the best ways to increase employee well-being and happiness. Whether you applaud an employee’s recent hard work on a project or how they helped another coworker, any recognition can go a long way to making employees feel more appreciated and satisfied at work.

Encourage Employees to Take Care of Their Physical Health

Physical health plays a huge role in mental health and overall well-being. Management should encourage employees to take care of themselves by routinely going on walks and eating healthy foods.

Provide Mental Health Resources

Offering mental health services from Human Resources or an external mental health agency is crucial for preventing employee burnout or depression. Mental health “sick days” have also been effective at lowering worker stress and anxiety. Management should encourage employees to seek out help if needed and promote awareness of mental illnesses and burnout.

Reward Employees with Fun Outings

Employee performance is often increased if fun rewards or outings are offered for good performance. Some ideas include having a company-provided lunch once a week, going out for group dinner or drinks after a big sale or project, or getting breakfast for workers in the morning. These activities are also great for building teamwork and collaboration between coworkers, which in turn can improve productivity and project success. 

Conclusion

By simply acknowledging helpful or hard-working employees, promoting positive physical and mental health habits, and offering incentives such as group meals can help employees feel more motivated to go the extra mile at work.

The 4 essential skills to include on your resume to find remote work in 2021 | Cristina Fernandez Esteban and Qayyah Moynihan, Businessinsider.com

These are the top four skillsets Infoempleo says you should include if you’re looking for a job while working from home.

Digital and programming skills

With a growing number of companies moving towards remote working or hybrid working models, it’s crucial to have an understanding of digital tools and programs needed for remote work.

Social network skills

Being able to navigate and manage social networks is a professional skill that has been growing in demand for some time, but demand has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic.

Tech skills

Tech skills in fields like robotics, augmented reality, the internet of things, or AI can be invaluable to companies in the context of the changes brought about by the pandemic.

Soft skills

Self-discipline, communication skills, and initiative are generally considered to be very sought-after traits but are particularly so if you’re looking to work from home.

These skills are even more essential now that, often, your colleagues and those to whom you report are at a physical distance. 

As a result, you need to make it clear on your resume that you’re able to put these skills and qualities to use.

Remote Work Digest: June 30, 2021

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

How to become a digital nomad: Pros, cons, and common jobs | Flex Jobs Editors, Theladders.com

Telecommuter. Remote worker. There are quite a few names that describe people who work from home. And more recently, there’s another one: digital nomad.

Digital nomads are people who work virtually, and often from various locations, even around the world. 

What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad lives a nomadic lifestyle, moving from location to location and staying connected digitally. Digital nomads use technology and communication tools to complete work remotely in order to travel the country or the world.

Digital nomad vs. location independent

A digital nomad with a remote job is a location-independent worker, but they travel nearly full-time. They have possibly sold their home and live fully on the go.

A location-independent worker typically has a home base but may pick up and travel for a couple of weeks. Their job does not tie them to a specific city, state, or country, but they likely live in one place.

How do you become a digital nomad?

Determine if it’s a good fit

Before you dive in head-first, it’s a good idea to poke around and figure out what it’s really like to be a digital nomad. As romantic as working while traveling may sound, the reality is that combining career and global travel isn’t for everyone.

Figure out your budget

Whether you’ll have a full-time job or freelance gigs, determine how being a digital nomad will add expenses to your budget and if the money you’re bringing in each month is enough.

Decide on a destination(s)

Figure out your priorities (seeing a certain amount of countries, getting a change of scenery, learning a new language, etc.) and research the best locations for your needs and goals.

If you feel a bit intimidated by traveling and working at the same time, you could also do a test run and join a co-working space, or try an organized coworkation—a coworking retreat for digital nomads—for a few weeks and set your sails then. Working from your laptop every day isn’t for everyone!

Spruce up your skills

You’ll need to make sure that you have the necessary skills in order to work from any location successfully, such as being able to manage your workload, meet your deadlines, and still work well with your colleagues, even if they’re thousands of miles away.

Research the work-from-anywhere job market

When you conduct your job search for flexible work you can do from anywhere, keep an eye out for companies that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting true work-from-anywhere jobs.

Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad

Pro: Exposure to different cultural experiences. You should know from the outset whether you enjoy being exposed to all sorts of cultural norms, foods, work attitudes, and other parameters.

Pro: A more simplified lifestyle. Traveling to new cities and countries means you’ll be limited in what you can bring with you. Many digital nomads sell their homes and many of their possessions in order to live a simpler life and travel more easily.

Pro: Less stressful work environment. Studies have shown that remote workers are more productive. Focused, uninterrupted time can allow you to complete your work faster.

Con: Loneliness. Just as with other at-home employees, digital nomadic workers may find themselves grappling with isolation, but their attempts at connecting to colleagues may be even more extreme. 

Con: Time zone issues. Time zone differences might require you to work at night or in the early morning. It could mean your 3 p.m. deadline or meeting is actually in the middle of the night if you’re in a different country than your employer. Have a clear understanding of how different time zones affect when and how you meet your work obligations, and how to set boundaries with co-workers or clients.

Con: Internet/connection problems. Plan for internet access problems and have lots of backups

Common Jobs for Digital Nomads

A digital nomad job can be an avenue to help you see the world, without short-changing your career aspirations. If your current employer won’t allow you to work remotely, finding a work-from-anywhere job will be your best bet. 

Writer/Editor

Writing and editing jobs are perfect to do on the road. They can be found abundantly as freelance gigs or part-time or full-time roles. Many digital nomads even run their own blogs detailing their traveling adventures.

Project Manager

Project managers who work remotely need to be adept that staying on top of communication with clients and coworkers.

Online Teacher/Tutor

Virtual teachers and tutors may work with students individually or in a class setting. Some roles may require you to set specific meeting times, but others may allow you to log on when you’re available.

Social Media Manager

Many digital nomads have a robust social media presence where they share photos and updates of their adventures. This could parlay well into a social media career.

Customer Service Rep

While some customer service roles may require a quiet space to make phone calls, many are entirely web- and email-based.

Web Designer

Creativity can spike while you’re traveling. Use it to work as a web designer. This role will create web designs and mockups, and you’ll likely need JavaScript, HTML, and CSS experience.

Using FlexJobs for Your Digital Nomad Lifestyle

FlexJobs is a great resource for a digital nomad adventure. Our job listings are updated daily with many remote jobs you can take with you on the road. We verify every job and company on our site to ensure you spend less time worrying about scams, and more time finding work that fits your life. Our positions span more than 50 career categories and range from freelance to full-time, and many options in between.

10 Effective Methods for Measuring Employee Happiness | The Young Entrepreneur Council, Smallbiztrends.com

The more satisfied employees are, the more likely they’ll stay with the company long term and the higher their productivity will be. But how can you know if your staff is enjoying their work, especially when they may not feel comfortable expressing their true feelings with their superiors?

To help, 10 small business experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answered the following question:

“What’s one effective method small business leaders can use to gauge the happiness and fulfillment of their employees? Why is this so important to do regularly?”

Here are some of the top strategies they recommend.

1. Ask Them in a Safe Environment

“Keep it simple and just ask. Create a safe environment for team members to give you feedback at any time. You’ll be amazed at what they bring you, how much personal responsibility they hold for the business’s success and how quickly the team will grow. Stop treating employees like subordinates; they’re your team members and you’re the coach.” ~ Steven Knight, Mosaic Home Services Ltd.

2. Be Authentic While Interacting with Them

“Speak to them authentically. The problem is that an environment that encourages forced answers is one in which it’s hard to gauge happiness. When a boss is accepting and authentic with their staff, the staff will feel the ability to communicate authentically as well.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

3. Measure Productivity and Well-Being Twice a Year

“Small employers need to act like large employers when it comes to measuring the productivity and well-being of their workforce. Productivity and well-being build a resilient, engaged and hard-working workforce and help to attract and retain your top talent. Measuring these factors twice a year is easy for any leader to do.” ~ Tom Finn, LeggUP Inc.

4. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

“Relationship-building and fostering a culture that encourages both feedback and open dialogue are key. We sometimes swap out weekly team calls for all-team check-ins where each member of the team is given the space to share how they’re really doing, personally and professionally. No one is compelled to share, but most often do. It’s a good way to get a quick temperature check on where folks are at.” ~ Danielle Allen, Building Impact

5. Examine Initiative and Innovation Levels

“Gauge the level of initiative in your organization. If your employees are spearheading new projects, adding new elements to their positions and finding new solutions for problems, then you have a winning company culture. If they’re only doing what they’re told, then you have a stale environment without any creative energy. That’s a major momentum killer. So, encourage innovation and initiative.” ~ Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

6. Look at How Often They Are Tardy

“It may sound simple, but keeping an eye on employee tardiness can give you real insight into how employees feel about their work. Being late for work can signify many things, but if it’s consistent, then the employee may be struggling with their work-life balance. This in and of itself can imply that they are not happy in their work.” ~ Ismael Wrixen, FE International

7. Look for Consistency in Performance and Attitude

“You can ask all the questions you want, but an unhappy employee won’t tell you the truth anyway. Actions speak louder than words and so the best way to really know if an employee is still happy with you is by checking how consistent an employee’s performance, attendance and attitude are. This acts as a check and balance for you and your employee to both improve for the better.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

8. Provide a Feedback Box for Anonymous Opinions

“Small business leaders can gauge their employees’ happiness and fulfillment by creating a feedback box, which gives the team the option to remain anonymous and give more transparent feedback about what improvements can be made. It’s crucial to regularly receive feedback so you’re aware of what happens behind the scenes and can make well-informed decisions moving forward.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

9. Give Periodic Employee Surveys

“Every quarter, year or month send out a quick questionnaire or survey to track and trend employee satisfaction. A great question to ask in your assessment is how likely they are to tell their friends and family to work at the company. This is a quick way to determine whether they are happy at work and proud to be your company’s employee.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

10. Assign a New Task and Examine Their Response

“Periodically ask an employee to do something for you that would require a bit more effort on top of their day-to-day tasks. If your request is met with enthusiasm, you have a happy employee who is motivated to grow with your company. If you are met with resentment, that employee is most likely not happy or fulfilled. This is a good exercise to gauge fulfillment and motivation in your teams.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

How to enhance the work from home experience? | Dr. Tim Sandle, Digitaljournal.com

While some wrestle with the ‘work from home’ vs. ‘back to the office’ debate, for many others working at home remains a necessity. For those undertaking remote work, how can the experience be strengthened, especially when it comes to mental health issues?

With mental health and home working, feeling stress, boredom, anxiety and uncertainty is often a normal set of feelings. When these are prolonged and unwavering, problems develop.

What are some tips to help enhance your work from home experience? Dr. Teralyn Sell, psychotherapist explains to Digital Journal about how working from home impacts mental health in different ways for people.

Tip #1: Set apart your workspace

It is imperative that your workspace not stare at you every day and night. Even if you don’t have a dedicated office space, use a corner of your room and put a divider screen around your workspace when you are not working. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is a workable statement here.

Tip #2: Create boundaries and stick to them

While working from home we have a tendency to work longer hours than when we are in the office. This is good for your business, but bad for work and life balance. Create office hours for yourself and stick to them.

Tip #3: Create a transition time

Though the traffic during commute times was terrible, the commute itself allowed us to transition between work and home. However, when you work from home, there isn’t much transition there. In order to shake off the workday a transition is important. Perhaps it’s as simple as closing up your office and taking a few minutes to meditate or even just breathe.


7 Cybersecurity Tips For Working Remote | Catherine, Newsanyway.com

As remote working relies primarily on the Internet and devices, it’s not safe from cybercrimes either. Regardless, if you’re working from home or outside the company and want to stay safe online, this article can help. Below, we’ll discuss seven cybersecurity tips for remote workers; please read on.

  1. Switch to cloud applications

Contrary to common beliefs, while cloud applications run over the Internet, in most cases, they’re much safer than native and local ones. Why? Unlike installed programs on a personal computer, a cloud app runs on a remote server. Moreover, remote servers used by cloud apps are more private, use strong encryption, and are harder to infiltrate.

  • Get a VPN

If unfamiliar, a VPN or Virtual Private Network is a secure server where a request from a computer will go first instead of directly to a website server. As a result, the connection is more secure as it masks the user’s IP address or location and encrypts data packets. Aside from accessing region-locked content and avoiding censorship, it’s also beneficial for the corporate side.

  • Use a password manager

Since the early days, email, username, and password have been the primary ways to identify an account. Today, with countless websites, apps, and services, it has gotten quite challenging to remember login credentials. Consequently, reusing passwords became a common practice among individuals.

A password manager can help one secure multiple logins. With only a single master password, a user can generate strong entropy passwords, store and sync them across devices.

  • Try an email search and reverse phone lookup tool

Though it’s easy to ignore strangers, workers typically need to entertain anyone trying to do business with the company regardless of who they are.

Luckily, there are ways to review a caller or sender’s identity and intent before opening a message, transacting, or following any links.

One way to do this is by using Spokeoan email and phone number search tool. Using Spokeo‘s reverse number lookup tool and email search feature, one could learn a stranger’s name, address, social profiles, and even past criminal records. This way, it’s easier to avoid scams and phishing techniques that hackers use.

  • Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks

As a safe practice, it’s best only to use the Wi-Fi connection at home, especially when doing work-related tasks. Additionally, using firewall and security tools helps protect the house network from intruders. Lastly, if necessary, using a portable Wi-Fi device or enabling the phone hotspot will do the job when working outside.

  • Employ two-factor authentication (2FA)

2FA or two-factor authentication is the act of sending a code through email, phone number or using an authenticator app to unlock an account after typing the password. With this method, even if a hacker manages to learn the username or password, it’s still hard to proceed as the login form requires a unique code after that.

  • Ensure backups

Ensuring backups is a practice that can save one from potential data loss after a breach or hack. In the digital world, there is a thing called the “3-2-1 Backup Rule”.

According to the rule, one should have at least three (3) copies of a file, two (2) backup devices (like a computer and a drive), and one (1) remote drive (cloud storage). This way, it’s almost impossible to experience data loss in normal circumstances.

Prioritize Safety When Remote Working

Apart from ensuring the quality of output, work, and service, prioritizing cybersecurity is also essential when working remotely. As almost everyone is using computers and communicating through the Internet, safety is more critical than ever as criminals can now do things anywhere and anonymously.

Remote Work Digest: April 29, 2021

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

Remote work meeting overload: 10 ways to ease your team’s pain | Stephanie Overby, Enterprisersproject.com

Now is the time to get serious about improving your meeting culture. Elizabeth Freedman, executive advisor and head of consulting at executive coaching and assessment firm Bates Communications (recently acquired by global strategy consultancy BTS), says, “One of the most important things that leaders can do right now that would have a significant, powerful, and positive impact on the company is to have fewer, better meetings – more than any other corporate initiative push for growth, or effort to reduce costs.”

Poor or excessive virtual meetings drain an organization’s energy, engagement, and expenses. Here’s what you can do about them in 2021:

1. Conduct a meeting audit

Make a list of all the meetings you currently lead or attend and eliminate those that are low value.

Not sure where to start? Freedman suggests pulling up your calendar and asking questions. Are there any meetings that can be killed without further discussion? Would there be consequences if you stopped attending the meeting? How would meeting attendees evaluate its effectiveness? Can you describe the purpose of the meeting in one sentence? Do attendees prepare for the meeting?

2. Don’t substitute a meeting for connection

“My key recommendation is businesses should train managers and employees that meetings are not a substitute for informal office chats or a water cooler,” says Cynthia Watson (formerly Spraggs), CEO of Vitira and book author. “Businesses need to introduce collaboration workspaces where informal updates can occur 24-7, synchronously, and asynchronously.”

3. Go back to basics

Consider each meeting’s purpose, necessary attendees, and length before considering setting it up. Then choose the right platform for the purpose. “Failure to consider these factors contribute to energy-sapping meetings, be they in person or online,” says Axelrod. 

4. Send agendas ahead of time

“People do not want to be caught off-guard or appear to be stupid during a meeting,” says Axelrod. “Having meeting materials ahead of time increases certainty, which in turn reduces meeting stress.”

5. Embrace meeting excellence

“High-performing teams create guidelines for how they will engage with each other during meetings – from defining a meeting purpose, to making decisions, to handling conflict, to preparing for meetings,” says Freedman. “The best teams we’ve worked with don’t leave good meetings up to chance or assume people will just automatically know what to do. They take the time to get very concrete and specific about defining the relevant behaviors, processes, or actions that will create meeting success.”

6. Incorporate breaks

Taking frequent breaks allows time for the brain to go idle, which increases the possibility that insights will occur.

7. Normalize turning off the camera

Sure, face time is important, but allowing employees to dial in can reduce the pressure to “look good” on-screen and thereby relieve associated tension.

8. Inject some humanity

This is particularly important when real social interaction is at a minimum. “Some of our clients start their meetings with a quick round of weekend updates. Others start their meetings with questions like: What would you like people to know about you that they wouldn’t know by looking at you?” says Axelrod. “These questions build connections between people, which in turn makes the work go smoothly.”

9. Assign rotating roles

This can increase engagement and also improve outcomes. Some roles to consider, says Freedman: notetaker, meeting facilitator, timekeeper, and devil’s advocate (someone appointed to deliberately challenge or present an opposing view to an idea).

10. Try to establish meeting-free days

If that’s not possible, cut meeting times in half or reduce their frequency. “At a minimum, better manage meeting time itself,” advises Freedman.

How to Ask Your Boss To Work From Home Permanently | Julia Wuench, Forbes.com

If you want to continue working remotely but aren’t sure how to approach the conversation with your boss, implement the below suggestions. The goal is to engage in a productive dialogue with your boss that supports your goal of a more permanent work-from-home arrangement while also expressing its immense benefits to your employer.

1. First, schedule a call with your boss. Make the goals of the call clear up front: Send them a formal written request in advance to continue working remotely instead of returning to the office.

Within your request, illustrate your reasoning for permanent remote working and explain how working from home permanently will benefit your employer. Some examples could include:

  • Detail your productivity on specific work from home projects
  • Suggest the ability to use fewer PTO or sick days because you’re able to work through mild illnesses, be home for sick children, etc.
  • Highlight your faster turnaround times due to increased focus outside of typical office distractions.
  • Cite your past/current availability and flexibility both inside and outside of traditional office hours.
  • Illustrate the recently enhanced team creativity, streamlined project functionality and stronger working relationships gained through new collaboration and communication tools.
  • Express your commitment to upholding your work contribution and quality while simultaneously gaining the capability to address out-of-work circumstances.

2. Next, propose a potential work schedule and communication cadence to put your employer at ease, set expectations and create a visual of how working remotely can function successfully.

  • Determine how many days you’d like to work remotely.
  • Volunteer to make office visits as needed for in-person meetings, gatherings, events, etc.
  • Commit to maintaining outstanding communication to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Reassure your availability during work hours through phone, email, text and chat with collaboration tools.
  • Plan to announce your daily arrival and departure everyday as you did your office.
  • Dial into all meetings and use video whenever possible.

Lastly, express your gratitude for your employer’s consideration of remote work; it is a privilege, not a right.  If your employer is uncertain, suggest a trial period to see how remote work affects your performance and team collaboration.

5 Ways Lean Teams Can Work Smarter and Get More Done | Peter Daisyme, Entrepreneur.com

Entrepreneurs are obsessed with productivity, and for good reason. Most startups work with small teams on short timelines, which means they need every member contributing at their highest level.

Here are five proven ways to make your team more productive and efficient.

1.Set achievable goals and benchmarks

The best goals are SMART — specific, measurable, actionable, results-oriented and time-bound. They should be challenging but still achievable. If goals are too big or too long-term to feel achievable, break them down into smaller short-term goals. It can also be helpful to track your team’s progress visually and celebrate important benchmarks.

2. Automate routine tasks

Whenever you’re trying to get more done with a small team, one of the fastest ways you can boost productivity is through automation. According to a McKinsey report, 45% of all work activities can be automated using existing technology. You can automate tasks in HR, marketing, sales — the sky’s the limit — but it’s best to start with tasks that consume a lot of resources. 

3. Allow team members to design their own workdays

Research shows that employees who have the freedom to set their own schedule put in an additional 7.4 hours per week. Additionally, 73% of people who engage in “windowed work” report greater productivity. Essentially, these workers break up their day into “windows” of work time and personal time. These windows can change to accommodate meetings, errands and childcare around blocks of focused work.

4. Keep meetings to a bare minimum

The average employee attends eight meetings per week, with more senior employees attending up to 17 meetings. But it’s not just the time lost to the meetings themselves that impact productivity. Poor scheduling wreaks havoc on critical thinking and your team’s ability to engage in deep work. This is why some of the brightest minds have ruthless tactics for avoiding wasteful meetings.

5. Use project-management software to keep everyone on the same page

The best way to keep track of projects and tasks is project management software, especially if your team is dispersed. This ensures your team stays on top of goals without duplicating work and keeps important tasks from falling through the cracks. 

Small teams can be incredibly powerful, but only when each individual is firing on all cylinders. Micromanaging your employees goes against the principles of building a lean team, and it can lead to disengagement that erodes productivity. It’s far better to make changes through scheduling, automation, and workflow optimization to free up your team to do their very best work.

5 mindful ways to enjoy work from home | Deblina Chatterjae, Pinkvilla.com

Mindfulness productivity is the ability to be in sync with inner feelings and emotions. Garima Juneja, Psuchologist, founder of Lightroom Therapy and Counselling, talks about 5 mindful ways to work from home.

Kick start your day on a good note

We all like to dive directly into the pool of our phone into social media waking up every morning letting ourselves drench in the excessive useless information. This clutters our minds and makes us anxious or sad or cranky. This is certainly not a good way to start our day.

Create a mindful workspace

External environment clearly has a significant impact on setting the tone for our internal well-being. Creating a clean workspace undoubtedly works wonders for internal calmness.

One thing at a time

Concentrating on one thing or task at a time is always more beneficial. It improves your work quality and keeps you away from overthinking.     

Go slow

Eat slow, work slow, listen attentively. Doing everything slowly provides the edge of micromanagement and increases proficiency. And most importantly, working in a slow pace makes you enjoy every moment of work and life.

Love yourself

Shower yourself with love. Meditate and work out daily. These will help in the release of endorphins which is a hormone responsible for your happiness. Spend time with your loved ones. Take breaks as they enthuse you with fresh energy to bounce back. Resting at the end of the day is pivotal. Fill in the gratitude and accomplishment journal. Pat yourself on your back, give yourself that pep talk.

Remote Work Digest: March 30, 2021

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

Start fresh or anew: Remote work is available to entry-level job seekers | N.F. Mendoza, Techrepublic.com

The job market appears to be improving, and many companies are moving to either permanent remote/hybrid workplaces. Job seekers without much experience now have the option to secure jobs that don’t require going into the office.

Entry-level job openings are available in nearly every job category, according to Remote.co’s list of jobs, which listed in alphabetical order, positions that meet the following criteria:

  • Fully remote/work-from-home jobs
  • Entry-level career level (0-2 years of experience required)
  • Active as of March 25, 2021

It’s no surprise that for the best jobs on the market, competition is fierce. Because tech work can be found in pretty much every industry, it opens up the possibilities further.    

Remote.co’s career expert Brie Reynolds outlined four key strategies to help job applicants stand out.

  1. Discuss your skills that prove you’ll be a competent remote worker. “Include the specific skulls that make you a good remote worker, such as written and verbal communication, independent worker, organized and productive, great time and task manager and having a growth mindset are all good ones,” Reynolds said.
  2. If you’ve already worked remotely, highlight that info. Any position in which you’ve worked at a distance from your coworkers, across time zones or physical distances counts.
  3. One application does not fit all. Customize your resume for each remote job application. “You don’t have to rewrite the whole resume, but you should absolutely spend time making sure your document is keyword-rich in at least those top two sections, summary and key skills, using the same language from the job description.”
  4. Expect to be asked “Why do you want to work remotely?” Talk about how “you’re better able to focus, or you’re not worrying about catching a train home” or battling traffic at the end of the day or because you plan for a home office space that energizes and focuses you on your work. “Don’t discuss the personal benefits because employers already assume these things like getting more time back in your day and having better work-life balance.”

Guide to protecting the business when staff are working from home | Nicki Robson, Thehrdirector.com

With many companies planning to introduce software to monitor staff productivity remotely, HR experts have highlighted top steps to protect business owners when staff are working from home.

Here are the steps you can take to protect your business when staff are working from home:

1. Provide key training around the GDPR legislation

It is a key requirement for all business to train their staff on GDPR legislation. Ensure that you are providing adequate training for your team and have a data protection policy in place.

2. Sharpen management skills

Implementing good management practices that employers can follow while staff are working from home can increase staff efficiency and trust without the need for micromanagement and productivity monitoring software.

3. Strengthen communication

Make sure your business has robust communication mechanisms in place to keep employee/employer relationships strong.

4. Offer technology training

Provide employees with the opportunity to take up technology training or computer refresher courses. Once staff members are aware of how to use their technology, they will also be less likely to accidentally breach data protection laws while remote working.

It is important that you comply with data protection legislation and have adequate policies and procedures in place.

5 most common mistakes project managers make |Angela Scott-Briggs, Techbullion.com

Too often we forget how much of a difference this can make in delivering a project on time. Thus, instead of stressing about the outside factors, you should first take a look inside your own company and review how things are done. A faulty process will cause you to miss a lot more deadlines than any other factor.

To help you get started, here are the 5 most common mistakes project managers make. Correct them and you will be on your way to a more efficient timely process.

1.Lack of direction

One of the most common reasons for missing deadlines is ineffectiveness. Instead of working on a project, teams and companies lose a lot of time in trying to determine what should be done next. Thus, wasting valuable time and resources on something that should already have been done.

2. Lack of information

Similar to not knowing what should be done next, teams can also struggle to deliver work on time if they are unsure of what the task is. While it is clear to the manager what each work item entails, this information is often lost in the communication and thus time is spent on clarification.

3. Lack of visualization

Another big mistake when we talk about meeting deadlines is not visualizing your process and monitoring the flow of tasks. To make sure everything is going according to plan, it is important to track progress and identify which blockers can affect your timeline.

4. Lack of employee engagement

Employee engagement is a crucial part of any project’s success. A motivated team will deliver better results faster, while those with less incentive will be more prone to missing deadlines. But how can you engage your team without punishing them about a missed deadline? Try to involve them in the decision-making process.

5. Lack of actionable decisions

Lastly, one more mistake that causes your team to miss deadlines is too many report meetings and too few decisions. Surely, meetings are important to get in touch with your team and find solutions to issues, but too often this time is used to only report on status. In such cases, everyone simply presents what they are doing at the moment and which issues they may be facing, but no actionable decisions are discussed. Leaving the person in trouble with no help.

To make sure your meetings are about troubleshooting and helping your team, use your project management tools to track progress and evaluate project status. This way, you will not need to spend time learning what everyone is doing at the moment, and can instead discuss solutions for issues or improvements to your process. Time is the most valuable resource of any project, so make sure you spend it wisely.

How to Improve Your Work-From-Home Experience (Even After Months of Doing It) | Lucas Miller, Entrepreneur.com

In a January 2021 survey from PWC83% of employers felt that their company’s adaptation to virtual work has been successful. Also noteworthy: 55% of employees said they would prefer to work remotely three or more days per week even after pandemic concerns have completely subsided.

Of course, some people would love to return to a normal office environment, but find that corporate policies are keeping them at home a while longer. Still others are enjoying the remote-work lifestyle, but find it could use some improvements. Here are a few ways to enhance your experience.

Set clear boundaries

When you work in the same place that you live, it’s all too easy for the boundaries between work and home life to blur. This is a problem that goes both ways. If you are answering work-related messages at the dinner table, your family won’t be too thrilled with you. On the other hand, if you allow your family to constantly interrupt you throughout the day, your productivity will go down and you’ll need to work longer hours to get everything done.

Schedule regular breaks

Taking a short break every hour will actually make you more productive, not less. Breaks help you avoid decision fatigue and stay motivated to complete the task at hand. By refreshing your mind with a short break, you can also improve creative thinking.

So, if you’ve gotten into the rut of trying to get everything done all at once so you can be done with your current task before your kids need you again, call a mental mulligan. Set an alarm for each hour if needed, but don’t neglect your breaks.

Clean up your workspace

If you’ve been working from home for several months, chances are you’ve allowed a fair amount of clutter to accumulate in your workspace. However, as Joel Falconer explains for Lifehack, “Even if you are anti-minimalist, you should declutter. We’re defining clutter here as distracting material, including mess. Nothing is worse for your mental state than living and operating in a mess. Expect lethargy and crankiness and a particular level of apathy towards your state of affairs. Anything you don’t use on a daily basis should be put away, and anything you don’t use should be thrown straight in the bin.”

There is no denying that while working from home can be convenient for many, it also comes with its own unique set of challenges. By taking these steps to improve your work environment, you will be able to better enjoy your day-to-day routine, while still remaining productive.

Remote Work Digest: February 28, 2021

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

4 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Productivity | Ashley Macdonald, Feedsportal.com

With so many people now working from home, you can’t police your employees’ social media habits or discourage mindless scrolling. What you can do is free up their workday for meaningful tasks by helping them avoid busywork.

Here are a few innovative ways you can save your employee’s time:

  1. Create a Corporate Wiki

Creating a corporate wiki puts all this information in one place. A corporate wiki is a central database of information employees can use to share knowledge. They can update information as policies change, and then that information is available to everyone. It eliminates confusion around outdated documents and preserves the knowledge of your entire staff.

2. Change Your Email Culture

The best way you can save your workers time in their inbox is by changing your workplace email culture. Encourage employees to talk through complex projects in person or on the phone instead of relying on email. Discourage the practice of CCing people who don’t need to be included, and set clear expectations for email response times. Urgent matters that need to be addressed immediately shouldn’t be communicated via email. When your employees aren’t expected to respond instantly, they’ll spend less time checking their inbox and more time actually working.

3. Let Employees Create Their Own Schedules

As your employees return to the office, see if you can shift to a more flexible schedule. Some employees are most productive in the morning, so they may want to shift their workday earlier. Others might get more done if they’re allowed to hit the gym in the middle of the day. It’s better to judge employees based on their output rather than hours spent at their desk.

4. Avoid Recurring Meeting That Don’t Serve a Specific Purpose

To reduce the hours in lost productivity, be judicious about the number of meetings and who’s required to attend. Consider eliminating routine meetings or holding them monthly or biweekly instead. Any meeting that involves an entire team or department should have a clear agenda.

If you can’t bring yourself to cut out the weekly meeting, set a hard time limit at 30 minutes. Much longer than that, and your team’s attention will start to drift to those piles of work on their desks. (This is especially true if you’re conducting these meetings via Zoom.) If the meeting’s purpose is just to keep your team motivated, consider a 10-minute stand-up huddle instead.

These changes may seem small, but they can be transformative. Empowering your employees to find their own answers makes the company more efficient at every level. Communicating with purpose, avoiding time-wasters, and letting employees optimize their schedules allows everyone to get more done. When your employees are free to spend their day contributing at the highest level, you’ll have a passionate, productive team.

26 Highest-Paying Jobs That Let You Work From Home | Gabrielle Olya, Finance.yahoo.com

FlexJobs identified the best work-from-home jobs in several fields where the salaries reach six figures. If you don’t want to deal with a daily commute but don’t want to sacrifice pay, it might be time to consider these jobs that allow you to make $100,000 or more.

Product and Project Manager Jobs

  • Product Manager
  • Salary: $83,188, according to PayScale

Product managers determine the demand for a product a business offers and oversee the development of products to meet this demand. 

  • Project Manager, Operations
  • Salary: $71,781, according to Payscale

Project managers in the operations field oversee customer support, communicate with external and internal stakeholders and lead teams to create, test and revise project processes.

  • Senior Project Manager, IT
  • Salary: $113,565, according to PayScale

Senior IT project managers must not only be masters of the technologies that they are working with but also be able to supervise junior employees.

Sales and Business Development Jobs

  • Business Development Manager
  • Salary: $72,129, according to PayScale

Business development managers create plans to help their companies generate more revenue and improve relationships with customers or clients. 

  • Channel Sale Manager
  • Salary: $124,220

Channel sales is the selling of services or products using a third party, like a reseller or affiliate. Managers in this role hire and work with these third parties and make sure that their company’s products are represented properly. 

  • Senior Account Manager
  • Salary: $72,869, according to PayScale

These managers act as leaders of a sales team to increase revenue, and they are responsible for solving problems the team faces. To get this role, you should be both organized and analytical.

  • Senior Sales Executive
  • Salary: $78,216

These executives work to strengthen relationships with existing clients and bring in new clients. The top 10% of senior sales executives can earn $129,000 per year.

Software Developer Jobs

  • Front-End Developer
  • Salary: $71,400, according to PayScale

Front-end developers are the engineers who make sure that everything you see on a website looks as it should and functions properly. This is a complex job that usually requires a bachelor’s degree in information technology, and may also require additional certifications such as the SUN, IBM, Microsoft or Oracle developer certifications.

  • Java Developer
  • Salary: $73,905, according to PayScale

These developers use Java to create complex website functions. E-commerce sites usually employ this type of developer.

  • Mobile Developer
  • Salary: $73,258, according to PayScale

If you’ve ever used an app on your smartphone or tablet, you have a mobile developer to thank for that. These app creators have a strong understanding of programming languages such as Objective-C, HTML, Java or XML, and may hold special certifications.

Marketing Jobs

  • Marketing Communications Director
  • Salary: $81,074, according to PayScale

Marketing communications directors oversee the programs that market products and services to specific populations. They use analytics and data to make their decisions and have strong leadership skills to help steer their teams to meet performance goals.

  • Marketing Director
  • Salary: $86,811, according to PayScale

Marketing directors oversee the entire marketing team to ensure a company’s marketing campaigns are successful. Their job tasks include developing concepts and budgets for marketing campaigns, resolving issues that arise within their team and maintaining open communication with their company’s clients and vendors, as well as with other managers within their company.

  • Senior Product Marketing Manager
  • Salary: $123,276, according to PayScale

The primary responsibility of a senior product marketing manager is to create marketing strategies that increase brand loyalty and sales.

  • Vice President of Marketing
  • Salary: $145,967, according to PayScale

These VPs develop strategies to improve or maintain the market shares for the goods or services their company sells. They also oversee the various departments that provide the data that help them create these strategies. 

Computer Security Jobs

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Salary: $98,350

These analysts implement the security measures necessary to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Cybersecurity analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field as well as experience in a related occupation.

  • Privacy Office
  • Salary: $81,189, according to PayScale

Privacy officers make sure all departments within their company follow company privacy practices, and they perform privacy-related departmental audits to ensure that this is the case. They help assess and reduce risks to privacy and respond to privacy breaches.

  • Security Consultant
  • Salary: $85,610, according to PayScale

Security consultants can work in various fields, usually for companies that have large digitized databases. These consultants design or improve systems that protect their institution against internal and external data theft, and come up with emergency plans for what to do in case of a data breach.

Medical Jobs

  • Clinical Trial Manager
  • Salary: $98,120, according to PayScale

Clinical trial managers create and carry out protocols for clinical trials to meet regulations and standards. They also manage budgets and schedules for clinical trials, track and write reports on the progress of trials, develop enrollment strategies and come up with solutions for day-to-day issues.

  • Medical Director
  • Salary: $223,633, according to PayScale

Medical director is the highest-paid work-from-home job on this list. These directors manage the operations of a healthcare organization. 

  • Psychologist
  • Salary: $79,010

Becoming a psychologist typically requires a doctoral degree and certification. Some psychologists work in research roles, while others work directly with patients to help improve their cognitive, social or emotional behaviors. Those with a private practice can easily work from home by either having a home office or conducting sessions using a video messaging service.

Computer & IT Jobs

  • Cloud Architect
  • Salary: $121,566, according to PayScale

Cloud architects design, manage and monitor cloud computing strategies for companies. If you want to be a cloud architect, you should have experience with networking, programming languages, operating systems and cloud security, according to FlexJobs.

  • Senior Solutions Architect
  • Salary: $132,769, according to PayScale

Solutions architects turn business objectives and requirements into products and services that meet these needs. Senior solutions architects typically oversee developers and junior architects. 

  • Technical Support Manager
  • Salary: $77,229, according to PayScale

These managers resolve customer issues, identify problems and come up with improvements for technical support processes. They also oversee a company’s technical support team.

Engineering Jobs

  • Research Engineer
  • Salary: $118,370 per year

Research engineers invent and design innovative approaches to technology and find new uses for existing technology. This fast-growing occupation typically requires a master’s degree.

  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • Salary: $103,784, according to PayScale

Senior systems engineers are in charge of the planning, design and implementation of system engineering projects. They are proficient in Windows/Linux servers and usually also have a special area of expertise such as storage, virtualization or large-scale platforms.

  • Software Engineer
  • Salary: $105,590

These engineers develop applications or systems for computers and similar devices. Software engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science as well as strong computer programming skills.

Eight Tips To Create A Work From Home Sanctuary On A Budget | Felena Hanson, Ellevate, Forbes.com

I’ve always been drawn to the feng shui principles of elements in a space. You don’t have to fully feng shui your house (unless you want to) to create a productive environment. When I came up with the concept for Hera Hub coworking space back in 2011, I wanted to be sure to bring those feng shui principles into the workspace. Many of these elements are what we see in a wellness center or spa, so I coined the term “spa inspired” workspace.

You can also bring these elements into your home workspace to create an inspiring environment.

White noise lessens distractions.

Yes, headphones work, but you may not be able to wear headphones all day. (Perhaps you need to keep an ear out for other family members.) Running water – real, flowing fountains are elements we put into every location.

Lighting brightens your mood.

This makes a big difference, not only for Zoom calls, but just for overall wellbeing. If you don’t have good natural light, I recommend purchasing a bright desk lamp with a warm light bulb. Cold overhead lighting is not only bad for video, it’s also harsh on your eyes.

Art adds inspiration.

Put something on the walls that inspires you. It could be art or a mural or inspiring quote. We feature local artists in our spaces (it’s great to support local art). Do splurge, if you can, because this is something you’re looking at day-in and day-out. 

Live plants improve wellbeing.

Houseplants are good for your health — they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. This not only freshens up the air, but also eliminates harmful toxins. Extensive research by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours.

Plants, especially those with broad leaves, will help regulate humidity and increase levels of positivity — seeing greenery and nature help us feel more relaxed and calm, which in turn benefits our mood.

Seating doesn’t have to be a chair!

Want a cheap, fun, ergonomic seating option? Buy a stability ball to sit on — without a stand! It will improve your posture and help you strengthen your core. We recommend buying a slightly larger version (potentially 75cm) so your height is ergonomic to your worktable. Plus, pumping it up is a good arm workout!

Candles set a mood.

They not only smell good, but they also set the mood and can be a centering point for you. 

Separate your space.

If you don’t have a spare bedroom for a private office, then try to at least create a designated corner and use shoji screens to section off your area from visual distractions.

Spa water keeps you hydrated.

It’s that little, healthy twist that can make your workday more enjoyable. Cucumber/lemon is always refreshing. I also love rosemary/lemon water (which lasts for days). It can even be as simple as cutting up a fresh orange and putting it in your water.

It’s these small details that can make a big difference in how you feel throughout your workday, and may even be the inspiration to launch your own business someday!

Leaning Into Remote Work: Tips For Perfecting WFH For The Long Haul | Nicole Silber, Forbes.com

Once we are past this crisis, the workforce won’t return to what it once was. We need to be prepared to make working from home a healthy and productive long-term solution. Here are some ways to maximize your working hours, while also maintaining your well-being in a combined living and working space.

Creating Boundaries

It’s important to establish new methods of transitioning in and out of work. If you have a role where you haven’t had a set work time (such as being an entrepreneur or working for a company with flexible hours), you can pick a time to be on and off the clock. You can even have variations of start and end times throughout the week, as long as you are intentional each day about when you want to start and end your work time. You may even want to set alarms on your phone as a reminder of when your day starts and when it ends.

Try creating rituals at the beginning and end of your work day to establish clear transitions, otherwise it may be unclear when you are in work mode versus personal time.

Before starting work make a point to not check work emails or slack until you are “at work” for the day. You can find routines that are customized to your interests to help as an indicator and transition into your work day. That may be a short walk or exercise routine, making breakfast without work distractions, checking the stock market or news, engaging in a short meditation or anything else that you enjoy doing in the mornings.

Transitioning out of work is equally important. Microsoft Teams (an application you can use) now features the option to schedule “virtual commutes,” wherein, for example, employees are reminded that the end of their workday is approaching, and that some tasks on their to-do list should be moved to tomorrow. You can also use other methods to wrap up your current work day and begin planning for the next day.

Sustaining Human Connection

Collaborating with your colleagues can be beneficial for your work and also your well-being. Working in a silo can help with getting tasks completed, but you may also run the risk of missing a perspective or direction you haven’t thought about. 

Have regular coffee meetings, even as brief as 15 minutes, with different colleagues to check in with them to see what they have been working on, want to work on or in general how they are doing. You can also meet with individuals from different departments to expand your network and knowledge of what other arms of the company are working on.

Maximizing Productivity

Make your office space one that is conducive to uninterrupted work as much as possible. Even if you don’t have the means or space to set up a separate room, creating a designated work space is possible. Purchasing a room divider screen is a good option to create a separate working environment if you don’t have an extra room and it can also act as a nice background for your video meetings. 

We know that remote work isn’t going away any time soon, and it may be the wave of the future. There are some great things about that and some frustrating things, but ultimately the best way forward is to establish proper boundaries between work and home, connect with colleagues to benefit from human interaction, and create a workspace that inspires and supports your creativity. With these tools the benefits of remote work will shine even more brightly, and our lives will be richer for it.

Remote Work Digest: January 30, 2021

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

Top Work From Home Essentials For Small Business | Daniel Atkinson, Londondailypost.com

To ensure a productive work from home experience that helps in increasing revenue, here’s a list of some important elements that are necessary for small businesses to incorporate in their work lifestyle:

Remote Meeting Software:

Business owners and managers need effective means of conducting virtual meetings with employees to discuss work and collaborate on various assignments.

A remote meeting software not only allows you to host business discussions without any travel expenses, but also allows everyone to be on the same page about important work information.

Time tracking app:

To keep schedules organized, time tracking apps are an ideal way to understand how much time is being spent on a given activity. It not only helps you be more aware of your work progress but also highlights your low-productivity and high-productivity hours.

High speed internet connection:

A high speed internet connection is integral for connecting with clients, sharing important documents with colleagues and communicating work progress to managers.

A dedicated workstation:

To work efficiently, a distraction free zone with comfortable seating arrangements is a must. Business owners must provide employees an allowance to invest in a comfortable chair, an adjustable desk and a monitor.

A storage system:

Remote work requires an organized file storage space at home that will ensure you do not end up losing important documents. You can invest in a sturdy filing cabinet or utilize some furniture at home to store important documents.

Conclusion:

With the help of above-mentioned information, small businesses can build a productive work environment for successful results.

How to Motivate Fatigued and Stressed Employees in the New Year | Lisa Rabasca Roepe, Shrm.org

It’s been nearly a full year since employees started working from home or following COVID-19 protocols in the workplace.

Even if staff took some extra time off to unwind during the holidays, most employees probably haven’t returned to work with the renewed sense of purpose that is typically associated with starting a new year. Instead, the first quarter of 2021 will likely feel like more of the same – endless Zoom meetings, no clear end to the pandemic, and home and work lives thoroughly enmeshed.

Here are four ways managers can help motivate employees in 2021.

Have an honest, one-on-one conversation. Even though managers may have conducted a performance evaluation for work done in 2020, now is a good time to have a different type of one-on-one conversation with employees. “Rather than focusing on work, focus on their family, mental health and how they are doing personally,” Halpern said. Ask open-ended questions and, if they say everything is fine, encourage them to be honest by sharing your own concerns and challenges, Halpern said. “If you’re vulnerable and candid, they will respond in kind.”

The purpose is to understand each employee’s current state of mind and what he or she needs to succeed, said Kym Harris-Lee, an executive coach in Atlanta. Consider asking, “As you think about this new year, what are your goals, what do you want to accomplish, how can I help you?”

Encourage employees to think strategically. One lesson most managers learned from 2020 is that employees don’t appreciate back-to-back virtual meetings, because it doesn’t give them much time to think or get actual work done, Harris-Lee said.

She recommended that managers give employees permission to decline one to two meetings a week during the first quarter of 2021, provided they use the time they aren’t in a meeting to reflect on their work.

Create easy wins. Rather than setting long-term quarterly or mid-year goals, set monthly goals that focus on actions staff can control, Halpern said.

Be gentle with feedback. “For the first half of 2021, be selective and intentional with feedback,” Halpern said. “Focus on trends and patterns versus one incident. If you see someone [making a mistake] once, let it go.” Rather than giving an employee feedback on what she did wrong, suggest a way that you can help her succeed.

Time is money: 8 time management tips to help you work smarter | Fool.co.uk

To help you make the most of your workday, here are eight simple time management tips.

  1. Plan your day

Start the day with a clear idea of what you plan to achieve. Write a to-do list the night before so you can get started right away the next day. Set specific, measurable and realistic goals.

2. Turn off distractions

Don’t let messages distract you from the workday, even if you’re working from home.

3. Designate a workspace

Whether it’s the kitchen table or an office, it’s important to label a certain area as your workspace. Over time, your brain associates that space with work and mental focus, so it’s easier to concentrate and get work done.

4. Prioritise tasks

Prioritise tasks based on how important and urgent they are rather than how easy they are to achieve. For example, if something’s both important and urgent, make this the first job on your to-do list.

5. Set time limits

Set clear time limits for each task and stick to them. Otherwise, you could end up spending much longer on a job than is strictly necessary.

6. Track your time

Wonder where your time’s going during the workday? Start tracking it. Set a timer and check how long it takes you to complete specific tasks.

7. Know when you’re most productive

While some of us can be through multiple tasks first thing in the morning, others prefer burning the midnight oil. Don’t fight these natural tendencies – embrace them instead.

8. Take regular breaks

Whether you go for a (socially distanced) walk around your local park or curl up with a book, don’t forget to step away from your work from time to time. Regular breaks give your mind a chance to ‘recharge’.

Time management is crucial to feeling in control of your workday, whether you run your own business or you’re working from home right now. The best part? It’s something everyone can learn, and you can start right away.

Begin with small changes to your daily routine, build on the improvements you make, and find out what productivity hacks work best for you. 

The basics of culture-building in a new hybrid workplace | Sonal Jain, Peoplematters.in

Reshaping culture in a partial or a completely hybrid workplace does not have to be a mammoth task. Keeping the workforce’s needs and lived experiences at the center of management decisions is the first step. Then come the four unassuming, but significant changes that leaders should make to ensure culture becomes a catalyst for success in the new normal –

Be intentional about communication – Create guidelines around how you communicate, how often you communicate and think about ways in which you can avoid the ‘Zoom fatigue’ from kicking in.

Keep traditions alive – Everything that once drove formal and informal culture in the physical workplace needs to be reformatted to ensure inclusivity and connection between the physical and virtual workforces. This includes team-building activities, wellness sessions, happy hours and milestone celebrations, that allow members of a team to preserve social attachments with each other.

Don’t forget D&I – Pivoting policies, ensuring equal access to technology for all employees, and digitizing the work of Employee Resource Groups are some ways in which companies can maintain a shared collaborative and cultural mindset even with a staggered workforce.

Get workplace culture right can be advantageous all around. The shared experience of adapting to the same extraordinary circumstances makes culture more important than ever. And thoughts can only translate to actions with constant reflection, deliberation and collaboration to thrive in this new reality.

Remote Work Digest: December 31, 2020

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

Why remote working and working from home aren’t the same – and how to accommodate both options | Jason Aten, Inc, Businessinsider.com

Too often we confuse remote work with working from home. The two aren’t the same. It isn’t just semantics, either. The words we use, and the way we talk about things is important. It communicates what we value, and using the wrong words can not only cause confusion, it can devalue your team members and the way they work.

Working from home is a temporary thing you do every once in a while.

It means that the work you usually would do in your office at your desk, you do from home for a day, or maybe two. In many companies, working from home is what you do on Thursdays because you don’t have any meetings, so you figure you’ll get caught up on the presentation you’re working on without the interruption of a colleague stopping by your desk.

Remote working is not just a circumstance, but rather a way of working.

If you work remotely, you don’t have a desk at your company’s office somewhere. Instead, you’re probably responsible for providing your own desk in your own workspace, usually somewhere in your own home. 

When you work from home, you still use the tools and technology your company gave you, you just log on to your own internet connection. It’s OK if you don’t have everything you need at home, because you’ll be headed back to the office tomorrow anyway.

That’s not the case with remote work, and it requires a completely different set of tools and systems. Often, you have to create your own systems, and the place you work gets a lot more attention since it’s likely what your colleagues will see every time you log on to Zoom. Don’t underestimate the level of stress that goes into having the perfect background — or at least, one that isn’t cluttered with toys and laundry and pets. Or, as we call it at our home, real life. 

It also means having a different set of skills. Setting your calendar and agenda for the day is different when you work remotely. Productivity and accountability look different as well. It’s time we start treating them that way. 

X Misconceptions Related To Employee Tracking | Bhok Thompson, Greenprophet.com

Not too long ago, time tracking was time consuming.

While tracking time has been widely accepted as a viable way to improve productivity, filling out lengthy Excel sheets has commonly been viewed as an additional task.

As a result, the practice of time tracking has been known to face a lot of resistance in corporate scenarios.

However, things have changed. Today, there are specialized time tracking software that automate the part of time tracking that feels like a “task”.

Time Tracking Leads to Micromanagement

Many employees dread the idea of time tracking because they believe that it will lead to micromanagement. Now, there is no denying that there are many examples of micromanagers in almost all organizations. Be that as it may, if a manager isn’t someone who likes to micromanage their team, a time tracking software is not going to change that.

In fact, after the initial adoption period, employees can use their own historical time tracking data to justify a realistic workload and make realistic commitments to their managers.

Time Tracking Leads to Employee Burnout

This point is especially worrying to many nowadays when remote working is becoming popular. With blurring boundaries between homes and offices, the rigid office timings are also blurring and many professionals are reporting working well beyond their ‘normal’ working hours.

Contrary to popular belief, time tracking can help organisations and individuals solve this problem. With time tracking, employees can stay productive during the actual office hours and set boundaries that allow them to have personal time. At the same time, organisations will be able to ensure that their employees are giving their best during their official working hours.

Employees Will “Forget” Tracking Time

Nowadays, time tracking is automated to a large extent. Therefore, there’s not much left to ‘forget’.

Moreover, it is important for employers to communicate the individual benefits of time tracking to their employees. This way, they will be more motivated to keep track of their own time and the ‘forgetting’ incidents will be limited to a minimum.

Conclusion

The fact that there are so many misconceptions surrounding time tracking has been a significant deterrent in the adoption of this awesome productivity technique. However, we hope that this article will help you see the benefits of time tracking and implement it in your organization.

Checklist: How to effectively lead your remote employees | MYRECRUITMENT+, Smartcompany.com.au

How to lead remote employees effectively is a question on the minds of many SME owners. HR, managers, and executives control a workforce that exists mainly through virtual encounters, and must reassess operations and procedures to ensure efficiency is embedded in every process. 

To assist you in your learning to lead a remote workforce, here’s a checklist for you to use as a guide in revealing where your strengths are and where you can improve.

Communication

  • Do I implement a seamless communication system?
  • Do my colleagues have someone else to communicate with if I’m unavailable?
  • Even when I’m unavailable, do my colleagues know how to contact me in case of an emergency? 
  • Have I implemented scheduled hours? Why/why not?
  • Have I confided in my colleagues and employees whether they are content with the current communication channels?

Collaboration

  • Is there any tension between colleagues that I’m aware of?
  • Do I receive regular feedback from colleagues/employees? 
  • Does the business provide the appropriate tools & resources for efficient collaboration? 
  • Have I put daily/weekly exercises in place for team bonding (thus more effective collaboration)? 

Training

  • Do I have standardized training material?
  • Do I have a procedure in place to ensure the new hire receives training material specific to their department? 
  • Do I have a system in-place that allows full transparency so I can view who has completed their training, and who hasn’t?
  • Do I have a system in-place that allows full transparency so I can view which employee is up-to-date in the latest training material, and which employee requires more training? 
  • Do we take advantage of an LMS? 

Why is this checklist relevant?

Communication

It’s the key to running a remote workforce. 

If employees have a question, they must receive answers within a suitable time frame. In order to overcome misunderstandings, you need to eliminate processes that encourage miscommunication. 

A strategy for this? Ensure all employees have contact numbers and someone they can contact at any time (in the working day) for immediate assistance. You, as a leader, must act as the glue that keeps your team well bonded and functioning holistically.

Consider using tools that provide you with a 2-way bulk sms and email communication channel. This will allow you to quickly and efficiently provide stakeholders with recent updates.

Collaboration

Regardless of the company’s location (remote or in the office) teamwork is crucial for productivity. Employees that are motivated have higher job satisfaction, thus higher productivity.

So, how do you incorporate company culture to a workforce that is spread over states, and perhaps even the country? 

Organize weekly meetings, perhaps a Monday morning (to talk about weekly goals), and Friday afternoon (to discuss achievements). Make it compulsory for everyone to attend. Whilst working from home allows flexibility, don’t forget that working your standard 9-5 job comes with requirements and responsibilities, so don’t be afraid of maintaining compulsory activities.

Training

The global pandemic has resulted in consistent updates regarding operational regulations and restrictions. In order to be compliant with these regulations, your employees must be up to date with training of current workplace procedures.

This includes hygiene practices, wellbeing exercises, operational restrictions, social distancing strategies etc. The consequences of being noncompliant (internally or externally) results in large fines, and an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Business owners should consider investing in a LMS system so new hires and existing employees receive identical training material. This promises consistency in knowledge and expectations.

Communicate, collaboration and training are closely entwined, and are the three main components to be considered when deciding a strategy to lead remote employees due to the dire consequences of overlooking their significance.

15 Ways to Maximize Your Productivity and Earnings | Kim Porter, Dollarsprout.com

Though you might use an eight-hour workday to benchmark your productivity, research suggests workers are only productive for about three hours during that time frame.

Here are 15 ways to boost your productivity and earning potential.

  1. Find your most productive hours.

To find your golden hours, listen to your body to get a sense of when you feel focused and motivated to tackle big projects. Plan your day so you’re doing the highest-priority work during your most productive hours, while routine tasks can be done when you don’t need as much concentration.

2. Figure out which office lifestyle is best for you.

Some people work best independently, while others thrive in an office setting. “In my experience, introverts really tend to enjoy working from home because they are energized by alone time,” says Alexis Haselberger, a productivity, time management, and leadership coach. “Extroverts tend to have a harder time working from home for the opposite reason; they are energized through time with others.”

3. Track and limit time spent on each task.

After a few months in the same role, you probably know how long it takes to complete your normal, routine tasks. When you need to schedule one, allot a reasonable amount of time and aim to get it done within that time frame.

4. Schedule your week.

Racheal Cook, business strategist and productivity expert, says she creates a weekly Google Calendar and first blocks out time for family, friends, and fun. She then blocks out major work tasks during defined hours to help create boundaries between work and her personal life. If you don’t make time for both, “then work can quickly take up every available moment in your week,” Cook says.

5. Give yourself periodic breaks.

Working at 100% capacity at all hours just isn’t sustainable. “If you don’t take regular breaks, you risk burnout,” Haselberger says.

6. Make time for personal and career development

Career development could include attending a training course for the next step in your career, watching a self-development seminar, or reading a book. Investing time in yourself might mean skipping billable client work now, but it boosts your earning potential over time. And focusing on personal goals can help you round out your work-life balance.

7. Avoid meetings if possible.

While meetings can be an efficient way to collectively brainstorm ideas and create solutions, more than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings, according to one estimate. But if you must have one, Haselberger offers these tips:

  • Ensure every meeting has an owner. This person schedules the meeting, sets the agenda, and facilitates the discussion.
  • Only include necessary attendees. Information can be disseminated to others on a need-to-know basis via other means.
  • Always have an agenda. The owner sends the agenda to all attendees. It should state the objective, items for discussion, and any relevant materials to prepare attendees.
  • Define the goal for the meeting. If you don’t know what you hope to accomplish, don’t schedule a meeting.
  • Decision vs. discussion. Decide whether the purpose of the meeting is for decision-making or brainstorming and discussion.

8. Outsource or delegate work if you can.

Whether you’re running a business or part of a large project with co-workers, everyone has a strength and a role. Delegating or outsourcing work means “letting others do what they can do, so you can do what only you can do,” Marshall says.

9. Avoid time wasters.

Distractions can torpedo your workday. These come in the form of household chores, co-workers or kids, and emails and notifications. “Most people check email on average 37 times a day,” Haselberger says. “Every time we are interrupted or distracted, it takes, on average, 23 minutes to refocus.”

10. Create your own work processes.

Creating resources like processes, checklists, and pricing structures allows you to do the thinking and the work just once. Having the documentation will also help if you plan to grow your business in the future, Marshall says.

11. Automate tasks when possible.

Collaborating with project management tools, using accounting software, and scheduling social media posts are some other ways to automate tasks.

12. Exercise regularly.

Exercise does so much more than lower your blood pressure and help you fit into your jeans. In one study, employees who visited the gym said they were more productive, managed their time more effectively, and had smoother interactions with their colleagues. Exercise can also:

  • Boost your concentration, memory, and creativity.
  • Help you learn faster.
  • Lower your stress levels.

13. Take time to rest and recharge.

Rest will look different for everyone, but here are a few ways to make it happen:

  • Block off at least one day a week where no work is allowed.
  • Practice self-care, which generally means sleeping enough, eating well, and exercising.
  • Take a “mental health day” if you need it.
  • Make time to visit friends and family. But don’t be afraid to say “no” to social visits if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

14. Get enough sleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. What’s considered “enough” varies by age and person. But generally, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, the CDC says. Here are some ways to help that happen:

  • Save caffeine for the morning, and cut it from your afternoon and evening.
  • Get into a consistent sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, including on weekends.
  • Don’t use smartphones and other devices right before bedtime. They emit light that can mess with your circadian rhythm and ability to fall asleep.
  • Avoid exercising and eating close to bedtime.

15. Make good food choices.

While any food generally fuels your body, some types of food are better at promoting productivity. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Have healthy food choices available. In particular, fruits and vegetables have been shown to promote curiosity, motivation, and engagement. Nuts are also a healthy option.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. A meal full of protein and complex carbohydrates gives your body the energy it needs to get through the day.
  • Graze. Hunger can lead to lower levels of productivity, so have a steady stream of healthy snacks on hand to eat throughout the day.

Learning strategies to harness your focus and energy will help you use your time more meaningfully and efficiently.

This list serves as a starting point for taking care of yourself, setting goals, and squashing the time wasters that don’t contribute value to your work or personal life. You can start with one or combine a few into a more comprehensive strategy. Whether you’re freelancing or pushing for a raise at your full-time job, one thing is true: greater productivity equals more money in your pocket.