Remote Work Digest: August 2, 2021

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

How Leaders Can Maintain Efficiency During Difficult Times | Josee Larocque Patton, Forbes.com

In the years to come, there will likely be studies on how the past 16 months have changed the business world, whether it’s for better or worse. Since the future of business is unknown, it is up to leaders to continue to create the best employee experience they can. Leaders are just like everyone else – they can excel, they can make mistakes and they, too, need guidance to stay abreast of trends.

Here’s what leaders can do to help themselves while supporting others:

1.You don’t have to know everything.

Showing vulnerability is actually a good thing. If you want to be a progressive, fair and equitable business, then 100% honesty is the way to go. Not everyone will like it; however, I truly believe they will respect you for it and that is what matters.

No matter who we work with — peers, subordinates, clients — we all want to feel we are being treated with respect. There really is no substitute for this. Own the fact that you do not know everything but will do your best to help.

2. Work on your time management.

Time management is about prioritizing how much time you are willing to give to tasks or even social events.

Leaders need to have good time management to be able to teach their team about efficiency. One of the worst mistakes a leader can make is to not use their time effectively. I have heard many times how people feel there are too many meetings, too many calls, meetings to discuss the agenda of meetings, etc.

3. Offer clear direction.

Over the years, I have adapted the “interpret after me” mechanism. If I am sharing something with a client or direct report, I ask them to reiterate what I am sharing with them in their own words to be sure they understand the task/message. Or, for example, if you are sending out a company-wide message, always ensure it could be read and understood by a 5-year-old. This is not to dimmish anyone’s intellectual abilities, but drafting a simple message is a great way to feel confident that everyone will understand what you are trying to share no matter their age, language ability, etc.

These are just a few suggestions of what leaders can do to help get through unchartered territory. There is no doubt that we all want to do what is best for the company we work for as well as the employees who are part of our team. But when we are unfamiliar with what comes next, we can only do our best to help navigate the future. The three tips above are transferrable to any organization, any industry and are relevant no matter the situation. 

As leaders, it is important to know that our role is to set others up for success and, by doing so, we get to be teachers and learners at the same time.

How Technology Can Boost Your Business Productivity | Analyticsinsight.net

In the business world, technology has revolutionized almost all industries and became a lifeline for several companies. Nowadays, businesses are always on the lookout for innovations that can enhance their efficiency. Here are some notable ways how technology can significantly affect the productivity of your business.

Connect employees

Technology helps companies ensure that everyone remains connected. You can now hold virtual meetings through the use of video conferencing tools such as Google Meet, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, and Cisco Webex. Messaging applications also allows your employees to efficiently communicate with one another, improving business communication and employee productivity. With the help of technology, you can efficiently expand your workforce in a more cost-effective way. 

Improve collaboration

Technology redefined how employees collaborate. If you want your employees to have a certain degree of autonomy in handling their tasks, there are several web-based project management tools that you can utilize such as Basecamp and Zoho Projects. Additionally, your managers can proficiently coordinate with their teams and oversee their tasks without the need for face-to-face meetings. 

Enhances customer service

Innovations such as chatbots and artificial intelligence can efficiently manage customer transactions, enhancing the overall customer experience. These tools are also more cost-effective in the long run.

Strengthens marketing

With the help of digital marketing, you can now reach a more comprehensive network and target a more diverse clientele. To drive more traffic to your business, you can leverage on social media, as it is a proven effective marketing tool. Aside from social media, establishing a website, utilizing search engine optimization, and using data analytics can also further boost your business productivity and yield stronger results.

Reduce business expenditures

Since employees are working at home or remotely, companies can save on overhead costs. As a business owner, you have the option to move your operations and scrap the need for a physical office. Doing so can give you a lot of savings while ensuring that your employees are safe. Aside from saving money for the overhead expenses, you also don’t need to spend on expensive office furniture and equipment. 

Facilitates continuous employee education

An online learning management system can enhance your staff’s knowledge and expertise, which can heighten their engagement and retention. By continuously providing skill development training to your employees, it will make them more appreciative of their work, making them productive and motivated to stay in your company. 

Simplifies planning and time management

Utilizing time trackers or scheduling applications can help them accomplish their tasks within their deadlines. You can also keep track of their progress, which will motivate them to be more conscious of how they manage their time. 

Easy access to data

Having instant access to information will save your company valuable time. Investing in cloud computing or in a database system that enables your employees to have immediate access to their business files can help increase your business productivity. Your employees can exchange and retrieve sensitive documents eliminating the need for them to waste countless hours going through manual storage. These data management platforms also have security measures that can mitigate the chances of a cyber breach.

Technology has undoubtedly changed how companies do their businesses. Investing in the right technological innovations can help you improve your business productivity and boost your chances of success.

Best freelance websites 2021: Find jobs & remote work | Lena Borrelli, Zdnet.com

Today, there are many job websites that claim to help you find immediate employment, but the freelance gig industry is a world of its own. As a freelancer, your needs are far different from the average commuter and salaried employee, which is why a specialized freelance job website can better suit your needs.

Though seemingly similar, these services are much different from one another, not only in available jobs but also your membership structure. Pricing can include whatever charges and finder’s fees come with using a third-party provider of this nature. Accessibility and job quality can also vary based on the freelance website you choose. 

To help, we have compiled the five best freelance websites to find work in 2021. This is how they compare.

Upwork

For the new freelancer

Upwork is great for jobs both domestic and international. You can make a free profile to advertise your skills, and then you can either wait for jobs to find you, or you can take a more proactive stance to find and apply to jobs yourself. Upwork uses a currency called Connects that allows you to apply to jobs. Connects are refreshed on a monthly basis, and up to 200 can roll over each month. 

There are two plans that you can choose from. The Basic Freelancer plan is standard, or you can opt for the Freelancer Plus at a monthly subscription rate of $14.99 per month. With the Freelancer Plus, you receive a total of 80 Connects per month, plus a customized profile URL, confidential earnings reporting, and competitor insights when bidding on a job.

Fiverr

For the gig freelancer

Fiverr advertises that it has been used by over “11 million satisfied businesses” for freelance projects. It has an impressive client roster that includes notable companies like Facebook, Netflix, and Google. Through the Fiverr business plan, entire teams can use the platform to connect with freelancers who have proven business experience.

For freelancers, there are over 200 different categories with gig work and ongoing projects. It services a host of different professionals, such as graphic designers, developers, writers, musicians, social media marketers, and voiceover artists. To help out, there is also 24/7 customer support.

Freelancer

For the international freelancer

Based in Australia, Freelancer is a popular global platform for freelancers the world over to connect with employers. Employers hire for specific projects, choosing from a pool of more than 50 million freelancers possessing over 1,800 different skills. Freelancers bid on the projects they want and then wait for an approval or denial. 

Similar to Upwork, projects are either hourly or fixed-price. Payments are secured by the Milestone Payments System, so you do not have to worry about whether a client can pay. Payments are also available in 39 currencies, and there is 24/7 customer support if you have any issues. Freelancer takes a 10% fee for projects and contests and 20% off services.

Toptal

For the discriminating freelancer

Exclusivity is the name of the game with Toptal. The company has made a name for itself in hiring just 3% of freelance talent. The platform connects employers with specific freelance professionals, including software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers. 

However, you have to apply and be approved before you can officially join. After approval, recruiters and industry experts help filter the applicant pool and pair freelancers with jobs. Hiring usually happens within 48 hours. 

LinkedIn

For the professional job seeker

LinkedIn is a great resource for the job-seeking professional. There is a strong emphasis on networking, and using your family, friends, and colleagues to build a professional network, collect references, and build recommendations. It is also known for excellent job opportunities for both corporate jobs and freelance positions, especially in copywriting, graphic design, and translation.

What is a freelance job website?

A freelance website is a service that links job seekers with employers. Users are able to advertise services, post jobs, interact, and complete work all within the service platform.

How does a freelance job website work?

Every service has different requirements to get started, but typically, you begin by creating an account. There will likely be terms and conditions that you must agree to before you can begin searching for work or advertising your services.

How much does it cost to use a freelance job website?

The cost to use a freelance job website depends on which service you use. It is common for freelance websites to take a commission off your earnings, but this percentage can vary. 

Which is the right freelance job website for you?

These are some factors to consider when choosing the best freelance website to find work:

Fees and penalties: The amount that a platform charges is important to consider when choosing a freelance site for work.

Payment: Some services may pay right away, while others may pay in milestones or require a waiting period.

Ease of use: Accessibility is important in a job website because you are likely to spend a lot of time on the platform. 

Membership requirements: While some sites help brand-new freelancers get started, a la Freelancer, others like Toptal have strict requirements and search for more experienced workers.

Customer support: If you hit a snag while racing to meet a deadline, you may need customer support to help out. That is why you should consider what types of customer support are available through your chosen site to help out during the hours you need it most.

Terms and conditions: All services will have their terms and conditions available for review, and you want to be sure that you agree to these terms before you accept any jobs and complete any work on the platform.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

Although these services did not make our top five list for 2021, they still may be worth your consideration based on your needs:

  • Craigslist: This is an email-based platform that allows users to post and apply to jobs via email.
  • FlexJobs: This membership-based service features handpicked jobs based on your skills and preferences.
  • TaskRabbit: This is a great option for the everyday person looking to make money off traditional gigs like shopping, errands, yard work, and home services.

Be sure to carefully explore your options and review the terms so you can find the best freelance website to get you back to work in 2021.

The Top 3 Soft Skills Of The Pandemic And How To Cultivate Them | Amy Blaschka, Forbes.com

According to Prudential’s latest Pulse of the American Worker survey, the top three soft skills workers gained last year include adaptability, problem-solving, and time management; here’s how to cultivate them in a post-pandemic world:

  1. Adaptability

In the business world, change happens—and not just during a pandemic. Between mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, and management changes, those who remain flexible hold the key to career success. Maintaining the ability to adapt your thinking and actions to handle unforeseen circumstances can help position you as an indispensable member of the team who can roll with the punches.

To build your adaptability:

  • Challenge yourself to consider new possibilities instead of falling back on “because we’ve always done it this way” thinking.
  • Offer up alternative solutions, even—and especially— when initial ideas are turned down.
  • Keep calm and confident under pressure when faced with unexpected challenges and changing circumstances.
  • Move away from a one-size-fits-all mentality when managing your team, and instead, ask each person their goals and how you can best support them.
  • Look for opportunities to stretch yourself and showcase your adaptability by volunteering for new assignments and proactively increasing your skillset and knowledge base.
  • 2. Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills help you solve issues quickly and effectively and often use the additional soft skills of awareness, creativity, innovation, curiosity, and grit to be most effective.

To hone your problem-solving:

  • Use awareness to identify and anticipate issues. When you pay attention, you’ll notice details other people miss.
  • Change your mindset to see problems as hidden opportunities.
  • Employ creativity to come up with solutions. Creativity is the ability to perceive the world in new ways, find hidden patterns, make connections between seemingly disparate things, and generate innovative solutions.
  • When you implement and evaluate solutions (especially new ones), don’t get discouraged if they fall short. Use grit to determine what worked and what could be improved, and then make tweaks to keep going and find a way to solve the problem.
  • 3. Time management

Your ability to prioritize and focus your attention to tackle work projects is crucial. How and with whom you spend your time and your productivity while doing so demonstrate your focus and commitment to what—and who—matters most.

To master time management:

  • Learn to say no to things that don’t support your short- or long-term goals. 
  • Realize that not all tasks are created equal. Do, decide, delegate or delete tasks based on their urgency and importance.
  • Batch routine tasks (like responding to emails) by carving out specific times in the day for it—and let others know to call you if something is really important.
  • Eliminate distractions by turning off notifications, putting your phone on airplane mode, and closing your door.
  • Establish (and maintain) boundaries. You are not obligated to be on 24/7, so limit your availability. 
  • Embrace mono-tasking to make progress on one thing at a time.
  • Work with your own circadian rhythms, doing your most important work during your peak time, whenever that is.
  • Don’t forget to build in breaks to rest and recharge so you can tackle another day.

Remote Work Digest: May 29, 2021

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

5 Strategies to Boost Employee and Client Retention | Matt Goebel, Mytotalretail.com

It’s critical for retailers to understand that what’s happening on the inside of an organization is often felt on the outside by its customers. Luckily, there are a few workplace management strategies that retailers can integrate into their operations to help boost employee and client retention:

1. Prioritize Open, Two-Way Team Communication

Effective communication helps retailers identify workplace issues and gaps in employee engagement or performance, gauge team and customer satisfaction, and more. One way to support two-way communication is to provide an easy-to-use, one-stop platform that eliminates confusion and operational errors that stem from juggling too many touchpoints.

2. Centralize Workplace Operations

One study found that 40 percent of workers said they left a company because they lacked access to state-of-the-art digital tools. In addition, 45 percent of employers complain that outdated technology keeps them from being productive.

3. Establish Clearly Defined Team Roles and Responsibilities

This helps employees understand how the quality of their efforts feed into the overall success of the company. Employees crave meaning and ownership in their work with 49 percent of employees stating that they would trade a portion of their salary to continue in their role with an added sense of purpose. When a team is striving toward a common goal, productivity spikes, improving customer satisfaction.

4. Re-evaluate and Modernize Employee Training

Proper training takes education and experience, that’s why for long term results, employee training should be continuous. Using a performance and assessment based training program that provides employees with feedback and rewards for skill development is a great step to producing desired workplace outcomes.

5. Foster a Positive Workplace Culture That Thrives on Teamwork – Not Competition

A strong workplace culture can directly impact employee productivity, making positive culture a key factor for business success. In order to build a positive culture, management must offer opportunities for employees to engage with their leaders and peers.

Addressing major pain points like employee and customer retention in retail can seem daunting, but taking the time to evaluate your operations strategies is the first step. Building a more positive and employee centric workplace will help you retain top talent and in turn, retain your customer base.

Why prioritizing employee wellness is more important now than ever | Anjan Pathnak, Yourstory.com

Employee wellbeing is not limited to physical health; various other factors determine an individual’s overall functioning. Employee health and wellbeing have always been a priority for employers as they boost employee productivity, reduce burnout, improve workplace culture, and offer many other benefits.

The use of technology and AI to derive the appropriate wellbeing solution for the organization will ultimately help revive employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Here are effective steps to address employee wellness:

Encourage communication

This will make them feel included and help them deal with stress, personal or professional. You also need to make sure that they receive the correct information on time.

Recognize their efforts

Appreciate and reward them for their hard work and dedication. Recognizing employees for their work will boost their confidence and fuel productivity. This enhances working relationships and workplace culture

Be a good listener

If you let your employees speak up about their challenges and struggles, and empathise with them, it will create employee trust. They will feel valued and may also feel little less burdened by life.

Introduce wellness challenges

Wellness challenges will help employees remain intellectually and socially motivated. You can try workouts, cooking, online games, learning, or writing challenges that will boost morale and motivate teamwork.

Ensure financial wellness

Finance is one of the significant stressors today. Employers must ensure their employees’ financial wellness, especially during the time of COVID-19. Financial literacy is a must-know subject and you must keep employees aware or wise financial practices.

Host informal online sessions

Keeping your employees entertained during these tough times can be a stress buster for them. It also nurtures the connection among team members.

Reward your employees

Special incentives always contribute to a better workplace with an agile workforce. Employee rewards and recognition are the buzzwords in the human resource management space and the most substantial for employee engagement.

Host online sessions

Creating awareness on mental health issues is very vital now. When the leaders can build trust among their employees and encourage them to share their issues, whether or not they share, they feel a little relieved to realize having a shoulder.

Wellness is a broad term with multiple dimensions. Employee wellness programmes are vital to attract top talent, keep them happy, and decrease employee turnover and absenteeism.

A healthy organization starts with healthy employees; it safeguards company culture. Thus, prioritizing employee wellness is crucial for growth and development.

5 Things to Know about Your Remote Workforce | Barbara Weltman, Smallbiztrends.com

Now that the economy is opening up, businesses are deciding whether to retain remote work arrangements. A PwC survey found that 55% of employees expect to continue working from home even after the pandemic passes. In making the decision, employers should keep the following factors in mind.

1. Productivity may be better

Many companies are concerned about whether employees who work from home are as productive as those who work at company headquarters, offices, or other locations. A 2-year study by Great Place to Work reported that most employees working remotely said they were at least or even more productive.

2. Tax issues become very complex

If all employees live within the same state where the business is located, then permitting remote work arrangements does not impact payroll and income taxes. However, if employees live in a state that’s different from that of the employer, taxes get complicated. ADP has an extensive article explaining the complexity of this problem. 

3. Workers’ comp may need to be expanded

A remote work arrangement raises 2 issues for workers’ compensation:Whether an employer needs coverage in more than one state. Usually, a claim depends on the state in which the injury occurs. If the company is in one state and the employee is working from home in another state, the company may need coverage in both states (i.e., “extraterritorial coverage”).

Whether a worker’s injury at home is covered. Workers’ comp covers liability for injuries sustained by an employee in his or her own home if it’s considered to “arise out of and in the course of employment.”

4. OSHA isn’t a problem

The DOL said its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have any regulations regarding telework in home offices.  The agency issued a directive in 2000 stating that it would not inspect employees’ home offices, would not hold employers liable for employees’ home offices, and did not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees.

5. Cybersecurity is a big concern

Employers allowing remote work arrangements to continue should adopt policies to protect company data. This could include, for example, providing employees with devices to be used only on company business, educating employees about best practices for security, and helping them secure their networks.

It’s not going to be easy for all small businesses to decide on whether and to what extent they permit remote work arrangements. Many employees like this option and it may be an important way to attract and retain good workers in a tough labor market. If you decide to allow employees to work from home some or all of the time, be sure you address various issues to protect you and your employees.

9 Ways Your Company Can Save Money With Telecommuting | Recentlyhear.com

Whether you are an employer looking to save money and become more environmentally responsible or an employee who would rather skip the commute and work out of their house, there are many reasons to turn employees into telecommuters.

Here are 9 ways your company can save money with telecommuting:

1. Reduce the Rent – Fewer employees in the office means less office space needed. Down size the office and save on rent.

2. Lower Utility Bills – Less employees in the office and smaller digs translates to lower utility bills.

3. Purchase Less Furniture – With employees supplying their own office furniture at home, the company does not need to supply desks for them in the office. If you already own desks and chairs that will no longer be needed, sell or donate them.

4. Lower Insurance Premiums – Smaller office space and less furniture should lower your insurance premiums.

5. Fewer Sick Days – Someone that is feeling sick but still able to drag themselves out of bed can work even if they need to visit the bathroom 12 times during the day. What’s more, sick employees will not be spreading their germs to everyone else.

6. Flexible Work Hours/Working Part Time – When employees do not have to drive 30 minutes to and from work, they are generally more willing to work part time hours. Do not pay for a full 40-hour week if the job can be done with less.

7. Save on Office Supplies – With more employees working at home and less in the office, office supplies will not be so rapidly consumed.

8. All Employees Are More Productive – Let’s accept that when you have several employees working near each other, they find ways to distract each other from their job. Some isolation can lead to better focus and more productivity.

9. Less Overhead – Your overhead will be dramatically less when you start saving money on rent, utility bills, furniture, insurance, sick days and paid hours. With less overhead, it will be easier to generate a profit.

Remote Work Digest: November 26, 2019

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

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

WorkSmarter

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

Be mindful about your “tone from the top”

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

Prioritize you, and your employee’s health

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

Set expectations about emails

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

Be flexible

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

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

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

BBWHGz9
Whether that’s working remotely for a company or starting your own business, there’s no shoratge of work-from-home opportunites. Here are 50 optioms many which can generate annual earnings that equate to more than the average American salary.

  1. Affiliate Marketer

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

  1. Animator

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

  1. Baker/Caterer/Chef

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

  1. Blogger

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

  1. Bookkeeper

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

  1. Child Caregiver

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

  1. Clinical Resarch Coordinator

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

  1. Consulting

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

  1. Customer Service Representative

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

  1. Data Entry

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

  1. Copy Writing

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

  1. E-commerce Store Owner

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

  1. Editing and Proofreading

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

  1. Event Planner

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

  1. Film and Post Instructional Videos

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

  1. Grant Writer

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

  1. Graphic Designer

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

  1. Handmade Crafter

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

  1. Instructor

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

  1. Internet Security Specialist

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

  1. Online Juror

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

  1. Online Teacher

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

  1. Patent or Intellectual Property Lawyer

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

  1. Peer-to-Peer Lender

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

  1. Pet Groomer

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

  1. Photographer/Videographer

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

  1. Product Reviewer

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

  1. Programmer

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

  1. Realtor

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

  1. Renter

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

  1. Repairer

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

  1. Short Tasks

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

  1. Social Media Manager

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

  1. Stylist

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

  1. Survey Taker

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

  1. Tax Preparer

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

  1. Become an Expert

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

  1. Telephone Nurse

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

  1. Transcriber/Transcriptionist

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

  1. Translator

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

  1. Travel Agent

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

  1. Virtual Assistant

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

  1. Virtual Public Relations Representative

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

  1. Virtual Recruiter

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

  1. Virtual Tutor

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

  1. Voice Acting

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

  1. Web Developer

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

  1. Web Search Evaluator

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

  1. Website Tester

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

  1. Writing Gigs

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

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

how-to-create-a-green-office-space-in-five-easy-steps

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

  1. Create a Recycling Program

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

  1. Get Indoor Plants

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

  1. Cut Down on Single-Use Items

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

  1. Invest in Renewable Energy Sources

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

  1. Utilize Your Office’s Layout

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

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

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

time-management-1559x500

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

  1. Prioritization

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

  1. Organization

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

  1. Delegation

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

  1. Focus

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

  1. Learning to say no

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

  1. Batching

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

  1. Minimizing distractions

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

  1. Managing stress

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

  1. Asking for help

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

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

Remote Work Digest: December 23, 2017

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

vero-remote-work-800

Image from Getvero.com

Working from home? Four excellent ways to make it count | Tania Ngima, Sde.co.ke 

The holidays are around the corner. Are you one of the few people going to be fortunate enough to be off work with no demands on your time?

The idea of no dress code, ad hoc meetings and the liberty of walking into the kitchen to fix a snack whenever the need arose seemed like a dream.

The reality, though, is a bit starker. Say you work from home and the usual interruption come knocking. A phone call from a family member – they have an emergency and need help.

Or a friend has a crisis at work and needs a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. If you’re working from the office, it is very easy to say no, albeit apologetically.

When working from home though, it is much harder because you, in reality, could drop what you’re working on and help. But the question is, should you?

Set work hours

Block up a chunk of time to focus on your work. A time that doesn’t allow for other activities.

Grace Saunders, a time management coach says blurring the lines between your work time and personal time is a dangerous precedent. Other research shows that the way the human brain is wired is that if you have work related tasks that need to be completed, especially those that have deadlines, they will be constantly taking up space in your consciousness.

Create structure

Structure your day for success. First, avoid meetings or conference calls during your most productive hours.Most of us know when our most high energy levels are. Use these to work on reports, do analysis and respond to the very important emails.

Disable the notification that comes with your emails and chat messages for this period of time. Become deliberate about what time you sit to work, when you take breaks and when you have lunch.

Set boundaries

Be clear that you’re not simply at home but that you have a task list and need to get work done by the time you knock off.

Stay out of sight for the whole time you are working so it is understood that you’re not game for a quick chat or to play, especially if you have kids.

Be responsive

Working from home may be seen as shirking work-related responsibility.

For this reason, you will need to be available for the conference calls or meetings you have committed to, as well as on email or for important phone calls.

If you do not, the out of sight out of mind adage may apply and lead to you being seen as a less than effective team player.

Yes, You Can Run a Successful Business with a Remote Workforce | Andre Lavoie, Business.com

Distributed teams are difficult to manage – especially with employees in different time zones. Also, collaborative projects and team-building exercises are tougher to accomplish with remote workers.

Even so, success is possible with teams distributed across the country, or globe. Here are three steps to achieve it.

1. Overcome a lack of trust

When you’re not able to physically see employees working, it’s easy to assume they’re slacking off. When you don’t get immediate responses to questions, you can’t tell if the message was received.

Overcome this challenge by encouraging brief but frequent check-ins throughout the day. These can be as simple as a brief status update. Even notice of snack breaks and the like will let you know that the employee is online and connected.

Investing in the right project management software can also help you overcome any trust issues. This software allows workers to see their own tasks and how their personal work factors into the overall project completion. Many platforms also allow you to leave notes and questions to promote frequent communication with employees.

2. Place a priority on communication

Beyond work conversation, it’s important to help remote workers feel connected on a personal level. Don’t overlook the importance of small talk. Online chat platforms allow employees to post thoughts and funny photos, and also notify fellow team members about brief interruptions (lunch breaks, dog walks).

While immediate feedback isn’t always possible with distributed teams, you can still schedule one-on-one project update sessions at least once a month. Connecting in this way creates a greater sense of belonging and loyalty.

3. Be creative with team-building opportunities

It’s difficult to get a distributed team in the same place at the same time. However, that doesn’t mean team building has to suffer. You just have to be creative to keep remote workers connected.

For instance, schedule virtual holiday functions or social video chats. It’s important for employees to see each other and interact on a personal level, rather than an atmosphere of strictly business all the time.

Other fun ways to stay connected include shared music channels and innovative challenges or games. This prompts conversation about preferences and encourages workers to let their guards down.

It’s possible to embrace the growing trend of remote work while still making productivity and inclusion priorities in your company. Through frequent communication and creating an atmosphere of camaraderie, your distributed workforce will feel connected to each other as if they were all in the same office.

Exactly How To Work From Home Without Losing Your Sanity | Christine Chen, Thriveglobal.com

A quick checklist of  things you’ll need before you see if you’re cut out for it.

1. Great Internet – When it comes to that all important video conference with the CEO on your first day working from home, you need your upload speed just as much as your download speed so pay attention to this. It’s worth paying that little extra for FTTC+ rather than scrimping on ADSL and hoping nobody ever calls you or needs you to do anything. You’re not hiding away; you’re boosting your productivity.

2. Space – Prepare yourself a comfortable workspace. This doesn’t have to be an office – though it could be. The dining table is not in use during the day or even your bedroom dressing table could be turned into your workspace with the right amount of tweaking.

3. Collaborative Tools – Something to keep you in touch with the people in the office effectively. This could be anything from Skype to Slack to WhatsApp. Your business needs to or already has made a decision to what they use for communications, this just needs to be extended outside of the office.

4. Cloud Storage – It’s no good being accessible if all your hard, collaborative work ends up stored on your laptop where nobody else can see it. Onedrive, Sharepoint, Dropbox and the likes provide the rest of your organisation access to work on the document you just slaved over all day and gives your boss a clear view of the amount of work you’re doing.

5. Breaks – Go out for lunch if you want to, pop to the gym, walk the dog. It’s just as important to balance your work / rest when you’re in your home workspace as it is when you’re in the office to avoid burnout.

6. Reliable Equipment – Finding the correct office headphones is one of the most significant things that every proficient businessman will need. Selecting the right headsets for desk phones that deliver clear audio and can be used lively is exceptionally essential if you want to uphold high standards and look professional. Selecting a headset for desk phone may appear like a straight forward procedure but with a number of varieties obtainable it can simply become an intimidating task.

7. Dog – Right, maybe not a dog but you will need something to keep you sane. There will be days where you don’t hear from anybody and are fully focused on completing that project with the tight deadline. This could be a really good Spotify playlist, the radio, your secret knitting hobby.

8. Cookery Skills – If you don’t want to be buying food when you’re working at home and know you’ll get fed up with beans on toast everyday then work on your cooking skills.

9. Windows – Imagine looking around in distraction as you remove your eyes from the screen and seeing nothing but walls, notepads and coffee cups. Fresh air and a little scenery go a long way.

10. The Right Company – The company you work for needs to trust that you can be left to your own devices (literally) and help you on that journey. The company you keep in your workstation is crucial. If the thought of making conversation with your parents all day is mind numbing then working at your parents’ house is not for you. Perhaps having your friend over from another company would get you through the day – you’ll find the perfect fit eventually.

How to Discourage Workaholism in Your Remote Workforce | Greg Kratz, Flexjobs.com

In order to avoid this problem, managers should take steps to actively discourage the development of workaholic tendencies among remote employees.

Here are a few suggestions to help discourage workaholism among your employees:

Set clear and reasonable expectations.

Talk to your remote employees about their goals and the company’s plans. Assign tasks and projects that will let them grow, develop, and stretch themselves, but that won’t require them to ignore their personal lives and focus only on work.

Establish regular working hours.

This may be tricky, since remote workers sometimes put in time outside of the normal 9-to-5. It can also be complicated if your virtual team is scattered across different time zones across the country or around the world. Despite the challenges, make the effort to clarify when you expect them to be “on” and available.

Communicate effectively and frequently.

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings via video conference, so you can both see and hear each other while you talk. Be available via email, instant messaging, and online portals, as well. Figure out how they prefer to communicate, and use that method most frequently.

You must be in close contact with them if you want to make sure they’re succeeding, but not tipping over into workaholism.

Build a support system.

Create online chat areas for your team and encourage office personnel to engage their remote coworkers in conversations. It may also help to bring those remote employees into the office for a week or two now and then, to further strengthen those bonds. Not only should this help virtual team members engage with others, but it also could give them friends who will help them fight against workaholic tendencies.

Encourage both short and long breaks from work.

With no external influences nearby, your remote workers may get so engrossed in a project that they work for hours without taking a break. Or, even worse, they may work for weeks and months without escaping for a few days of vacation. Again, this might seem good from a productivity standpoint, but the reality is that people need both short and long breaks from work to relax and recharge.

Offer wellness programs.

Make sure your remote employees can get equivalent benefits, whether that means membership to a local gym or counseling sessions with therapists near them. When you meet with your virtual team members, check that they know how to take advantage of those benefits, and encourage them to do so. Physical and emotional health will help them stave off workaholism.

Pay attention to warning signs.

Do your remote workers seem to be frustrated more frequently? Are they quick to anger, when they were always calm in the past? During your conversations, can you sense they are becoming disconnected from family or friends? Are they starting to turn in sloppy work or miss deadlines? Do they look tired when you’re communicating via video? If you notice any of these things, investigate. Ask about their work habits, and make sure they’re not overdoing it.

Remember that one of your responsibilities as a manager is to make sure all of your employees have the tools and assistance they need to be as productive and successful as possible. While you may think a short-term boost in productivity as the result of sliding into workaholic behaviors is a positive thing, it won’t last. By following these suggestions, you can help your remote workers avoid that problem and build healthy behaviors that will keep them engaged and effective over the long haul.