Remote Work Digest: February 28, 2020

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

10 Reasons Why Time Management is Important | Mark Pettit, Thriveglobal.com

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The ability to manage your time effectively is important if you want to have more time for the people that matter and to reach your goals quicker.

Effective time management leads to improved productivity, quicker results and more success in business and life.

Understanding the importance of time management can create more time, more opportunities, less stress and the achievement of bigger goals.

Here are 10 time management tips to help you manage time and reach your goals quicker:

  1. Create a time audit

Time audit will help you identify activities to eliminate and activities to invest more time on. Simply list all of the activities do you in a week and time spent on each. Then ask yourself if that time investment is the best use of time.

Eliminate activities where appropriate and spend more time on the activites that will help you reach your goals quicker.

Focus on results not time spent.

  1. Become a planning master

If you’re clear on your goals, lay out clear plans to achieve those goals. This should include quarterly planning, monthly planning, weekly planning and daily planning. If you have no direction or focus for your day or week then you can easily become distracted and waste time.

  1. Focus time on your most important activity

Multi-tasking can waste hours of time every day. Choose the one thing and use time blocking to remove distractions. This will help mind and body stay focused and energised.

  1. Use the Pareto Principle to manage time

Use the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80:20 rule, to prioritise your time and energy. This rule suggests that 20% of something produces 80% of the results. Using the Pareto Principle look at how you can focus less time to produce a bigger result.

The Pareto Principle is all about leveraging a small amount of time and effort to deliver bigger results.

  1. Don’t worry about being perfect

Perfectionists think that nothing will ever be perfect so they spend too much time tweaking and amending to ensure that a project is perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. Use your best capabilities to start a project and then work with someone else or delegate the rest.

  1. Prioritise your time

By focusing, and staying away from low value work you can achieve more by working less. This focus comes from being clear on your goals and an ability to prioritise and work on projects in blocks of time until completed. If you can free up an extra hour of time a day think how much more productive you’ll be.

  1. Celebrate progress

There are always things to celebrate and achievements made in every day. At the end of each day list three you’ve achieved. This will ensure you end your day feeling motivated and energised.

  1. Achieve goals faster

Many people have big goals that they don’t achieve. But without understanding the importance of time management, you may always big goals that you don’t achieve.

The reason. Too short deadlines.

If you want to achieve goals faster, set bigger goals with longer deadlines and smaller goals with shorter deadlines.

Every goal achievements build progress and momentum so make it easy on youself to achieve your goals.

  1. Increase energy by freeing up time

The answer is to take more time our of your business and life for rest and rejuvenation. This could be taken just for you or to spend with the people in your life that are most important.

More time out increases energy and motivation.

  1. Create time to do more of what you love

In business focus more of your time on the activities that you’re great at and love to do.

When you spend more time doing things you’re passionate about with people you want to work with, you creat a much bigger impact.

In your life, spending more time doing the things that you love is exciting and motivating.

What to Look For in a CV When Hiring a Remote Candidate | Andrew Fennell, Theundercoverrecruiter.com

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Hiring a remote candidate is a little different from hiring someone to work in-office or on-premises. Remote workers have certain attributes that make them awesome at working independently and as any recruiter knows, there will be little “tells” hidden and sometimes not so hidden in a remote candidate’s CV.

What should a recruiter look for in a remote worker’s CV?

Commitment

A remote worker has to be committed and dedicated to getting their job done. If you can find that perfect level of commitment in a candidate, you can be sure that despite any of the comforts or distractions of working from home, and with the trust of working unsupervised, they will get their job done, and well.

Self-discipline

Self-discipline could be seen as the ability to consistently achieve or to regularly perform an activity, by using willpower to overcome distractions or hurdles.

Enthusiasm and passion

A remote worker doesn’t have a team to bounce ideas off or someone they can look to for words of encouragement. Their willingness to complete their tasks and do so well needs to come mostly from within themselves. This takes the form of enthusiasm and passion for what they do and who they do it for. If a remote worker doesn’t enjoy what they do, they won’t do it well.

Organization and time management

A remote worker’s CV should either visibly demonstrate or infer that the candidate is organized. If a remote worker loses focus or gets behind in their task, the impact for a business may be greater as it might not be noticed immediately.

Attention to detail

Remote workers are usually expected to submit completed work of one kind or another or perform duties that might not be checked by another employee. It’s mistakes in particular that will be costly to employers especially errors that aren’t picked up, perhaps until a customer is impacted.

Communication skills

Although they might not need to communicate, or even report in all the time, it is expected that when they do that communication is accurate and concise. A remote worker needs to be able to convey, perhaps even in an email or by telephone, if they are having problems or need a task carried out by a colleague.

Positions of trust

If you can see a remote working candidate has held a position of trust, this illustrates they were relied upon by another business to get their job done, effectively. And, it doesn’t have to be a remote position of trust. A supervisory or management role indicates a candidate had less supervision and was expected to be self-disciplined as well as making sure others performed their roles effectively.

An aptitude for technology

Technology is empowering remote working; employees can work as seamlessly remotely as they could in the same building with colleagues and on-premise technology. Remote workers need to use, sometimes multiple, communication and collaboration platforms.

Problem-solving skills

When working alone they’ll need to be resourceful when facing a challenge, as they may not be able to contact another employee or a manager immediately for assistance. Equally, a remote worker can’t be on the phone to a head-office or senior every five minutes.

Ability to work independently

A remote worker is unlikely to be successful if their personality is such that they excel only in a team environment. Look for jobs that show a remote working candidate has worked predominantly alone and enjoyed it.

Remote working experience

With the number of remote working jobs growing daily, the pool of available and experienced remote workers is falling, especially those with plenty of experience. As such, it’s the soft skills and attributes above, and others, either innate or gained during other work experience that will indicate if a candidate has what it takes to be a high-performing remote worker.

5 Breathtaking Ways to Inspire Your Employees in 2020 | Jacklyne Kweyu, Thriveglobal.com

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Here are some tricks that you can use to keep your employees inspired.

  1. Respect your employees

Always treat an employee, the same way you would want someone else to treat you. Be courteous, polite, and kind while dealing with them. Put in mind the voice tone that you use and body language displays; matters too. Whenever an employee speaks to you, learn to listen first before reacting. By doing so, you inspire your employees; they have no reason to look for work elsewhere.

  1. Invest in your Employees

Experts say that investing in your employees is synonymous with investing in your company’s future. If you do not invest in them, turnover will be high, hampering your success.

You can have individual development plans for all your employees. Have them set and write down both their short term and long term goals. Do a follow up in cooperating one-on-one coaching if need be to help them achieve these goals.

Another way to invest in your employees is by organizing team building activities. Not only will they make work to be fun, but they will also create friendship and encourage teamwork.

  1. Be Transparent

Be open about what’s happening within your business that employees have a right to know. In a working environment, transparency inspires your employees and creates positivism by eliminating fear. Moreover, it makes employees open up about their achievements and shortcomings.

  1. Give Incentives

Always strive to inspire your employees by giving them an incentive whenever they do a good job. This is among the oldest known psychological principals of inspiring employees.

Create monthly awards and recognition events where people who worked exceptionally well get to be recognized and rewarded. You can give them a promotion if a vacancy is available or a handwritten thank you note. This will create healthy competition that business needs.

Inspiring your employees is all that it takes. Always recognize them whenever they do a good job, be open with information. Give them price incentives and above all respect them.

Once you perfect these motivation strategies, you will create a perfect working environment, and your result will definitely be superior dedication and optimistic perception of the company’s future. On top of it, your employees will be happy and your turnarounds will be minimal.

10 remote leadership jobs for virtual workers | Esther Shein, Techrepublic.com

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The 10 remote leadership jobs listed by FlexJobs all offer some type of remote work arrangement, ranging from partial remote work to 100% remote, the company said. The positions include average salary information from PayScale, which may slightly differ depending on location, FlexJobs said.

Some common executive-level remote job titles include director, executive director, vice president, medical director, and various C-level jobs such as COO, CFO, and CEO.

Chief Marketing Officer

The CMO oversees developing marketing plans that help companies gain brand recognition and customers. The CMO needs to understand the company’s marketplace position and heavily rely upon performance analytics to develop detailed strategies in this remote leadership job.

Chief Technology Officer

A CTO is in charge of the technological needs of a company or organization. The role finds and implements technology solutions to help a company succeed and leads the development and maintenance of a technology road map.

Director of Communications

Communications directors help create a positive image of a company to the public by overseeing strategy and messaging. They may act as a spokesperson and contact for journalists and also monitor the public perception of the company.

Director of Content Strategy

In this remote leadership job, typically more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications, or publishing can qualify you for this role. Common duties include determining a company’s content strategy based on the company’s and users’ needs, managing writers, creating an editorial calendar, and conducting SEO research.

Sales Director

Sales directors lead sales teams by providing vision and guidance. Approving sales projections and budgets, hiring sales managers, and working with marketing and logistics teams are some typical tasks.

Vice President of Business Development

This executive-level role develops and executes an organization’s sales and marketing plans. Creating new client relationships, writing proposals, managing a sales team, and setting team and company-wide goals are tasks of this job.

Vice President of Engineering

A VP of engineering will manage a team to get products completed. This role has a big-picture view of what stakeholders or clients need and the route to meet these needs. Many times, seven to 12 years of experience are needed to qualify for this executive-level job.

Vice President of Operations

An operations VP most often works with the company president to assist with daily operations. With a thorough understanding of company operations, this role will provide business performance leadership, monitor finances, and evaluate operational procedures.

Vice President of Project Management

This role provides direction and leadership on project management tasks. A project management VP handles developing road maps, prioritizing projects, communicating with key stakeholders, and creating best practices.

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Remote Work Digest: December 31, 2019

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

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

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

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

Why is feedback important for employees?

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

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

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

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

Why is feedback important for managers and leaders?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kinds of feedback do you need to establish?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to deliver positive feedback

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

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

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

How to deliver negative feedback

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

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

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

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

Best work-life balance jobs in tech:

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

Best work-life balance jobs in communications:

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

Best work-life balance service jobs:

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

Best work-life balance jobs in finance:

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

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

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

  1. Business goals.

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

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

  1. Expectations

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

  1. Flexibility

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

  1. Money

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

  1. A promotion

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

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

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

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

  1. Determine your allocations

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

  1. Identify your peak times

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

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

  1. Allocate your time blocks

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

  1. Defend your schedule

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

  1. Adjust and optimize

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

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

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

Group Chat and Collaborative Work: The Future of Online Job Interactions

collaboration_group_chatThe Internet has made many things possible across the world. People from the opposite hemispheres can chat in real time consistently and constantly. However, the real revolution is how the Internet makes it easier for people to work together. Companies can hire global freelancers and even set up whole businesses based online. Of course, a company can still live with using different silo tools to handle their collaboration, such as using Skype for text and voice chat, join.me for screen sharing, gotomymeeting.com for full-blown team meetings,  Asana for project and task management, Google docs for document sharing. The list goes on. The more technologies a company employs, the more pressing it has become to maintain, search and collaborate on the dispersed information in an effective way. A new breed of application has emerged to take on such challenges presented by trend of dispersed work locations, variety of devices and wide range of SaaS tools used. These products almost all started with the cornerstone capability, Group Chat. But as things evolve, there have become much more advanced than group chat and now encompass a spectrum of functionality ranging from video conference to interconnectedness of all relevant apps. The grand vision is to provide everything you need to get your work done. For businesses that need to bring their collaboration to a whole new level, here are some of the best such collaboration suites. Continue reading