Remote Work Digest: March 29, 2022

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

You want to work remotely. Your boss wants you back in person. Here’s how to negotiate | Jane Their, Fortune.com

It’s a source of friction at workplaces nationwide now that the pandemic is receding: The boss wants everyone back in the office, but the workers are just fine at home.

Because of work-at-home benefits like more family time, more sleep (on account of no commute) and better work-life balance, many employees are staunchly against reverting to old ways.

If you’re being pressured to return, and don’t want to, there’s hope. You can frame your argument for staying at home — at least a few days a week — as a win-win, according to Shannan Monson, a women’s leadership expert and serial entrepreneur who outlined a four-step approach to that conversation with your boss.

Step #1: Determine what’s best for you

Before you go to your boss, define your goals. What would make you happy? Working two or three days from home or working remotely full-time? 

At heart, this is a negotiation, Monson says. “You’ll probably meet somewhere in the middle, but you have to remember you have the power, and you’re in control of what you say yes or no to.”

Monsoon recommends practicing the conversation in advance to ensure you sound level-headed and clear. “The worst thing they can do is say no,” she adds. “You won’t be fired for wanting more.”

Step #2: List all your wins

Before the conversation, compile all your achievements over the past two years of lockdown, and highlight the wins you can take credit for. Bosses tend to have short memories — don’t hesitate to remind them of your successes, she says.

In this way, the work-from-home negotiation resembles the conversation you’d have when asking for a raise. 

“You want to be the most prepared person in the room,” she says. Plus, you have leverage. “You’re not asking to work from home so much as asking to continue being your most productive self.”

Step #3: Request the meeting

Once the talking points are in order, it’s time to get the meeting on the books. Monson recommends opening with a line like “Hey, I’m excited to be coming back to work. I’d like to discuss what that looks like.”

Acknowledge, outright, the discomfort your boss may be feeling. “Say, ‘I know there’s been a lot of uncertainty around what returning to work might look like. I want to discuss how I can keep bringing my best work and productivity to the team,’” she recommends. Then launch into your ideas, pitching them as net positives.

Step #4: Pitch the idea

How do you convince your boss that working remotely would be good for your company? By presenting evidence. 

Monson recommends a script like: “Based on the work I have been able to do from home in the past two years, and what I’ve accomplished, I’d like to continue doing so. Here’s evidence that that would be good for the company too.”

Most important, Monson adds, is for employees to not be scared, and to recognize how much power they currently hold. “The entire workforce is facing a massive labor shortage, and it’s really hard and expensive to hire and train talent right now,” she says. “Don’t go in with a fear of getting fired. Your boss knows you’re valuable, so don’t you forget it.”  

Remote work isn’t enough: 5 tips for the future of flexibility at work | Keren Rubin, Enterprisersproject.com

No longer is remote work seen as a perk – it’s now a common offering that’s here to stay. To compete for talent, companies need to focus on being “people-first.” This means providing employees with the flexibility they need, and merely offering remote work will no longer cut it.

5 tips for work flexibility

1.Create a remote work guide

Consider creating a remote work training program for new employees that outlines remote work expectations, including company hours and a flexible schedule policy. By establishing clear parameters, employees have the opportunity to work as they please within those boundaries.

2.Encourage time blocks

As a fully remote manager, I encourage my teams to block time on their calendars throughout the day to ensure they have time to step away, have lunch, or walk the dog. Working from home doesn’t mean employees can’t take breaks.

3.Establish meeting-free times

Meeting-free time is a simple concept, but implementing it takes careful planning. While meeting-free days are most successful when the entire company can adopt them, implementing them on a team-by-team basis can also be impactful.

4.Create opportunities for mobility

The ongoing technology worker shortage presents new opportunities for companies to fill vacant roles internally. Many organizations are now looking to remove the high (and sometimes unrealistic) barriers to entry for certain roles to increase the talent pool. If you take this approach, clearly outline roles and responsibilities for all roles and be transparent with employees about how they can reach the next level. When roles are clearly written out, it’s easier to evaluate how well your existing talent might fit with internal opportunities. It also gives your employees a goal to work toward.

5.Focus on continuous learning

Continuous learning empowers a flexible workplace. Consider providing sessions hosted by outside experts or internal executives on topics such as eliminating bias, improving team communication, and best practices for leading virtual teams. These will help “normalize” flexible work and equip your workforce with new tools for long-term success.

Why Flexible Work Boosts Employee Productivity | Carline Castrillon, Forbes.com

Flexible work helps attract top talent, but it also makes employees more productive. In the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of respondents said that flexible working hours helped them achieve more productivity, and 30% of those surveyed said that less or no time commuting allowed them to be more productive. Here are some reasons why flexible work boosts employee productivity.

Flexible work allows employees to work more

Flexible work arrangements allow employees to work more during the hours they are most productive. In a survey conducted by Airtasker, remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year, than office workers. And on those days, they were more productive. While office employees reported an average of 37 minutes each workday not getting work done, remote employees only lost 27 minutes of each workday to distractions.

Flexible work reduces turnover

Allowing employees to work flexible schedules can help retain valuable staff. Without a doubt, flexibility is one of the most important perks workers want from their employers. In fact, a Flexjobs survey found that 80% of respondents said they’d be more loyal to their employer if they provided flexible working arrangements, and 52% said they’d already tried to negotiate flexible work with their current employer. When your workforce is engaged, they spend more time on their work and less time looking for new opportunities.

Flexibility increases engagement

According to a Gallup study, flexible work also drives employee engagement. Engaged employees are more enthusiastic, energetic and have better physical health. And, as decades of Gallup research shows, when employees are engaged, their performance soars. In addition, highly engaged workplaces claim numerous benefits like 40% fewer quality defects, 41% lower absenteeism and 21% higher profitability.

Flexible work allows for better work-life balance

Statistics around the effects of work-life balance on productivity show that companies can double employee output by embracing flexibility. Flexible work gives workers the autonomy to create a schedule that benefits their physical and mental health. That could mean going to a yoga class, spending time with family or going to the gym. With more control over their time, they have a greater sense of freedom to complete work tasks and still take care of their own personal responsibilities.

5 Tips to Boost Employee Productivity | Todd Smekens, Muncievoice.com

Follow these tips, and you’ll see a big improvement in the quality of work and productivity of your team.

Provide training

Invest in regular training sessions, whether that means bringing in an outside expert or simply having someone on your team who is responsible for providing training on a regular basis. And don’t forget about ongoing training. As your business changes and grows, so too should your employees’ understanding of how it works.

Regular training will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected of them. It will also help you to identify any areas where employees are struggling and need additional support.

Give feedback often

Giving feedback is essential if you want to improve employee productivity. But it’s not enough to simply point out when someone has made a mistake. You also need to explain why it was a mistake and how they can avoid making the same error in the future.

Constructive feedback will help your employees understand their errors. It will also give them the opportunity to correct their mistakes. It’s important to be clear, specific, and objective when giving feedback. This will give your employees precisely what they need to work on. 

Offer incentives

Offering incentives is a great way to motivate your employees to do their best work and avoid making mistakes. If you know that there’s a financial reward for doing a good job, you’re more likely to be careful and double-check your work before handing it in.

Set clear expectations

Be specific about the standards you expect your employees to meet, and make sure they understand what will happen if they don’t meet those standards. This will help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal and that mistakes are less likely to be made.

Encourage a culture of learning

Encouraging a culture of learning will help your employees to understand that mistakes are part of the process and that they can learn from them. Encourage your employees to ask questions, share their ideas, and experiment with new things. Encouraging a culture of learning will help your employees to feel more comfortable making mistakes. It will also help you to identify any areas where employees are struggling and need additional support.

In conclusion, following these tips will help you to get your employees to make fewer mistakes. By providing training, giving feedback, and offering incentives, you can motivate your employees to do their best work and avoid making costly mistakes. Invest in your team’s development, and you’ll see a big return on investment for your business.

Remote Work Digest: January 28, 2022

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

Is Remote Work Working? 7 Insights Into the Future of Remote Work | Ravepubs.com

What researchers have learned through studying trends and reactions about remote work may surprise you. Read on for some of the top insights into the future of remote work and how your business can adapt accordingly.

1.The percentage of people working remotely is only expected to increase

The trend of people working outside of the office setting is expected to continue. Forbes recently highlighted a survey that found that working remotely was expected to double in 2021. Looking further into the future, it’s predicted that 70% of the workforce will be working remotely by 2025.

2. Some industries have better potential for future remote work than others

Industries that have the least potential to integrate remote work into their future are ones that rely on physical care, labor, or the operation of machinery, like a construction worker or a dialysis nurse, and tasks that rely on collaboration and have a greater impact on success when done in person, like an elementary school teacher. Overall, however, the sectors that have the most potential for remote work are concentrated with workers with college degrees or higher.

3. Productivity doesn’t have to suffer when working remotely

How to monitor and improve productivity when working remotely has been a large area of concern for managers and other business leaders who were thrown into the work-from-home waters headfirst. The data now proves it – we can work remotely without losing productivity. In fact, many people report feeling more productive when working outside of the office, and employers report feeling more confident in staff productivity as the popularity of remote work increases.

4. A remote work plane requires frequent, robust communication

According to McKinsey and Company, the lack of communication around future of work planning is a high source of anxiety for over half or remote workers, leading to lower levels of employee satisfaction and productivity, adding that businesses who have clearly articulated policies around their future of work plans have noticed employee productivity and well-being on the rise. Even if the future is uncertain or policies are undecided, employees expect to be kept abreast of updates.

5. A remote work place requires a different type of performance management

Forbes predicts that “rethinking how goals are set and identifying key performance metrics will be critical to managing remote workers in the new normal”. Employee well-being and engagement will be essential factors when it comes to delivering high-quality work performances. Part of that can be achieved through thoughtful digital planning.

6. A hybrid work model may be the way to go

Simply speaking, a hybrid work model combines remote working with time in the office. Target, Ford, Microsoft, and Amazon have all announced plans to implement a hybrid work model in the future. A hybrid model may offer the best of both worlds – it can mean lower business costs for the company while still keeping its employees happy, healthy, and motivated. As with any remote work, however, staff are at risk of burnout, so companies need to take care that their digital communication plans are just as solid as if their business were fully remote.

7. Digital investment is critical to the future success of remote work

Because productivity is the key to the future of remote work, businesses need to invest in digital solutions that allow staff to work and collaborate efficiently. Nothing brings productivity to a screeching halt faster than slow networks, insufficient software, or cumbersome hardware.

3 Ways to Stay Family-Focused in the Face of a Demanding Career | Martin Rowinski, Entrepreneur.com

Who you are in business is an important aspect of who you are as a whole person, but it’s not the only or most important one. For maximum growth, fun and success in your career, family and individual life, a healthy balance of all three is essential. When you dedicate focused time to each, you prevent burnout, better regulate emotional responses and build and maintain strong relationships.

Here’s how I do it.

1.Keep things separate

I use “boxes” to organize my schedule — one for my entrepreneurial life, one for family and another just for me, and any events scheduled into each day go into one or another. In doing this, I set limits on where I want my focus to go at any given time so that it stays where it belongs.

Scheduling in these boxes also makes sure events don’t overlap. A bad day at work needs to stay in its box, and so off the soccer field when I coach (which goes into the family box: time dedicated to my kids and the team). 

2. Manage one thing at a time

It’s important to be upfront with everyone involved about what time is dedicated to which box, and stick to it. Being an entrepreneur is not a 9-to-5, clock-in and clock-out life, after all: It could easily take all your time and creativity if you let it. At a certain executive level, and definitely as an entrepreneur, free time never happens unless you make it happen.

3. A break can be the best medicine

Burnout among entrepreneurs is wildly common, and so breaks are vital self-care needed to inspire energy and creativity. Plus, I come up with some of the best ideas or savviest moves while on vacation — relaxed and away from the office environment. When you allow yourself a total change from the demand to be creative, you leave room inside yourself to do just that.

The busy life of business pulls you in many different directions, but defining and committing to your personal and business missions separately and in a balanced way lets you handle it exponentially better. Strong family connections can give you emotional stability when business gets hectic, and prioritizing personal time forces you to take a break from an often exhausting work schedule. Balancing these elements teaches you to be more present, nurture stronger relationships and to see the bigger picture. The joy you feel with your family revitalizes a passion for business and prioritizing each element of your life allows for the greatest levels of success in each.

Energize Your Team for Better Productivity with these 5 Activities | Pratik Dholakiya, Smallbiztrends.com

Companies with worn-out employees encounter a myriad of obstacles. They have high absenteeism rates, high employee churn, less production, or low-quality output.

However, with a highly energetic and productive team, you can put in more work into your marketing and sales initiatives, fulfill more orders, and have a positive work culture, which lowers employee churn.

Productivity Activities for your Business

1.Run games or contests

You’d be surprised how organizing games and contests can do wonders to reduce your team’s stress levels. Games are a great breather for employees, especially when they’re reaching the point of getting burned out.

2. Conduct community service

It’s not uncommon for people who do volunteer work to gain better social and relationship skills. They can learn more about themselves and their peers — helping your company cultivate a more cohesive team with a high level of self-awareness.

If your team is well bonded, they can work better. The work environment becomes conducive to teamwork and removes needless, destructive drama.

3. Invite motivational speakers

Even though your employees are just sitting and listening to the inspiring message of the speakers, the experience can be life-changing for them.

Just a single statement can turn your lifeless, demotivated employees into workhorses that produce double or triple of what they are currently producing.

4. Conduct financial literacy training

Helping your employees manage their finances better will improve their energy levels. When they aren’t burdened financially, they are less stressed and have more energy to deal with their tasks.

Before you put together a training program, run surveys or polls to know which finance topics your employees are more interested to learn. Some might be more interested in how to save, others about how to pay debt, while others might be into investing.

5. Do a fitness challenge

The healthier a person, the more focused and energetic they are to deal with their to-dos. In short, they’ll be more productive.

That’s why holding a fitness challenge can do wonders for your team’s energy and productivity levels.

The healthier the employees in your company, the more energetic and productive they become. This puts your company in a better position to create amazing products, market your services, and provide better customer support — all of which ultimately help to skyrocket your revenue.

8 Effective Strategies to Develop (and Keep) Your Employees | Td.org

Here are eight strategies you can implement to build a culture in which employees feel engaged, motivated, and driven to succeed and grow alongside your business:

  1. Treat employees with respect. Show employees that you respect and value what they bring to your organization. This motivates them to be as invested in your company’s success as you are.
  2. Ask for feedback. Ask employees why they work at your company and if they feel any improvements could be made. This not only promotes trust; it also gives you the specific information you need to make things right.
  3. Provide mentorship. Mentor your employees regularly to build trust. Having a mentor helps them envision a path to success within your organization.
  4. Play fair. Being fair is an essential quality for managers. Showing favoritism or playing office politics has a negative impact on the team.
  5. Have their back. Stand up for your employees whenever the need arises. When employees know they have your support, they learn to trust.
  6. Show recognition. Recognition of good work boots morale and encourages productivity.
  7. Provide opportunities for growth. Be sure to provide training activities for employees. Giving employees new skills makes them feel valued and helps you assess their strengths and skills gaps for future development.
  8. Give them a platform. Empower employees to present their current projects, performance, or other activities. Taking credit in this way increases their confidence, improves their sense of role ownerships, and boosts productivity.

The eight strategies above are just a small number of initiatives organizations can take to generate a positive and productive work environment.

Remote Work Digest: December 30, 2021

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

How to Ask to Work Remotely Full Time | Robin Madell, Money.usnews.com

Asking your company to work remotely – particularly full time – can be nerve-wrecking. Not only is it challenging to understand exactly how to tell your boss you want to work remotely, but there’s also the worry that your request to work from home full time might be turned down.

Craft Your Personal

You’ll need to work steps into your proposal that will convince your boss that you’re work-from-home worthy, reveal evidence of why working from home works for you, and show you care about team connections, communications and contacts.

Prove You Can Get the Job Done

To prove that you are work-from-home worthy, gather tangible, data-driven evidence that shows your results and your value. If you’ve made yourself indispensable to your team and company where you work now and can show proof of that in your proposal, this will help justify that you are ready and responsible enough to be entrusted with full-time remote work.

Compile Evidence of How and Why Remote Work Works

Despite how common and popular remote work has become, some bosses and employers still prefer to have everyone in the office, so proving how and why virtual work helps teams and companies thrive can help break through that mindset and gain strength for your work-from-home proposal.

Care About Team Connections and Contact

If your boss has concerns about you working from home full time, it likely traces back to a worry that you’ll be harder to communicate with when you’re working off-site. Your proposal should thus address exactly how you plan to stay in close touch with your colleagues, foster team connections and maintain regular contact for collaboration when needed.

Carefully Consider the Answer You Hear

Even with a solid remote work proposal, it’s possible that your manager won’t want you to work from home – at least not full time. If your boss offers a hybrid model that allows you to work remotely some of the time, consider whether this setup will get you close enough to your goals.

Many more companies offer the opportunity for remote work today, so it’s more possible than ever to find a full-time, work-from-home job. If your remote work proposal is rejected or modified, think about whether you want to accept the compromise – or whether a full-time, work-from-home arrangement is important enough for you to seek another position.

Are Your Employees Happy with the Support You Provide? | Saurabh Kumar, Entrepreneur.com

Employees are the building blocks of an organization, and their contributions to a company’s growth are invaluable. Just like you cater to your customers by providing them with personalized customer support, it is equally important to understand the needs of your employees and resolve their issues. Ensure you are always there for your employees whenever they need you and provide them with a friendly workplace. Employee engagement and productivity are directly connected to the support you provide to them. 

Does conducting employee satisfaction surveys matter?

Here are some of the reasons why an organization needs to conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys:

1.Making unsatisfied workers productive

Employee satisfaction surveys help you identify the employees who are not satisfied working in your organization. Once they are identified, managers can understand their issues, resolve them, and increase their productivity while ensuring they are more engaged.

2. Preventing a toxic environment

Taking regular surveys and working on the findings prevents a toxic environment. Disgruntled employees lead to increased turnover and reduced productivity.

3. Increasing employee retention

Without conducting employee satisfaction surveys, you will not understand how your employees genuinely feel about working in your organization.

4. Improved customer relations

When employees are engaged and motivated, they build healthy and lasting relationships with your customers.

Essential questions to include in employee satisfaction surveys

Here are some of the most important questions that you should include in your employee satisfaction surveys to reach conclusive findings:

1.Do you feel connected to your peers

Workers spend a large part of their day interacting with each other. If they do not feel connected to their peers, it will affect their overall work experience.

2. Do you like the company’s culture?

Your employees must be in tune with your company’s culture. If they have issues with your culture, talk about it with them and work to find a solution.

3. Do you think the organization is open to change?

In the age of digitization, organizations need to be dynamic and implement flexible approaches to work. If your employees feel the company follows stringent rules that curb their free will, it affects their performance.

4. How seriously do the managers take your feedback?

This question helps you ascertain how well the management responds to the feedback provided by your employees and how valued your employees feel.

5. Do you feel that your efforts are recognized enough?

Management should acknowledge and show appreciation for efforts put in by employees. If employees feel managers do not value their contributions, productivity and engagement will take a hit.

6. Do your managers keep you updated about company news on a timely basis?

When your employees are regularly updated about important company news, they feel valued. Conversely, if they feel kept in the dark because of inadequate communication, they may feel like they don’t matter.

Effective ways to keep your employees happy

Here are some of the most critical ways in which you can keep your employees happy with seamless support provided to them:

1. Implementing Conversational AI

Modern help desks use conversational AI to facilitate seamless interactions between your employees and AI chatbots. Implementing this technology makes it easier for your employees to obtain personalized primary support without relying on support agents every time.

2. Automating the ticketing system

Traditional service desks often make the ticketing process tedious and complicated. By implementing a modern employee service desk, you can automate the entire ticketing system. These platforms allow your employees to create support tickets simply by initiating a chat with virtual assistants.

3. Integrating your employee help desk with a collaborative platform

You can leverage the support provided to your employees by integrating your help desk with your collaborative platform. Doing so would provide your employees and HR managers with a centralized platform to interact with each other.

4. Easy communication of employee benefits

Instead of reaching out to the HR managers to obtain every tiny detail about employee benefits, try automating communication of these benefits. Modern HR help desks allow your employees to get all relevant information about their benefits by chatting with virtual assistants.

The final word

Addressing the issues faced by your employees would help you leverage engagement and productivity. First, however, remember that it all starts by asking your employees if they are happy with their support. You’ll be surprised by what they are willing to share!

Having Trouble Embracing Remote Work? You Need To Overcome These 3 Limiting Beliefs | Larry English, Forbes.com

Companies that embrace the new world of work are reaping the benefits. For instance, they’re able to attract a significantly larger talent pool. A recent report found that employers that fail to offer remote work will be passed over by 58% of candidates.

“Why are some organizations wildly successful? It’s not by doing the same things they’ve been doing for the last few decades,” says Amy Lescke-Kahle, vice president of performance acceleration at The Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP Company. “It’s because they’ve acknowledged and adjusted to the changes to work, the world and the market.”

Shed These 3 Little Beliefs To Finally Embrace Remote Work

To move forward, these leaders need to reexamine their beliefs around work and how they measure employees. Some of the most pervasive myths or limiting beliefs that need busting include:

Myth 1: Employees Need Babysitting

The best thing you can do in a remote setting is to simply trust your people. Yet many leaders are going in the opposite direction, using tracking software to keep an eye on employee activities. The 2021 ADP Research Institute People at Work report found that 62% of workers say they’re being more closely monitored than ever before.

Myth 2: In-Person Collaboration Is Always the Most Effective

Studies have shown that the traditional approach to collaboration—with people gathered in the same room—isn’t always the most effective method for generating good ideas. A few people end up dominating the conversation, leaving introverts and junior team members behind. In fact, a concept called Bartleby’s Law says that meetings waste 80% of the time for 80% of attendees.

Asynchronous communication and collaboration, necessary elements of remote work success, help solve this problem. When collaboration doesn’t always happen in person (or over videoconference), you remove the on-the-fly pressure and end up getting more input from more people.

Myth 3: Remote Work Just Adds Another Layer of Organizational Complexity

Reimagining work offers an opportunity to rethink all our systems—many of which are more complex than necessary, wasting time and causing major employee heartburn, Leschke-Kahle points out. Instead of making things more complicated, leaders should use the shift to remote work to streamline and simplify.

“We’ve so over-engineered the world of work with policies and processes that are not necessary in a grown-up version of work,” Leschke-Kahle says. “Simplification must be a big piece of what we do next.”

Welcome To The Great Work Experiment

Change can be scary, but as Leschke-Kahle points out, work is an easy, relatively low-risk place to test new practices. “This is really the great work experiment, and we should be digging into what works and what doesn’t. If you’re slow and hesitant to change, both your employees and your business are going to end up suffering, because the market will pass you by.”

6 Time Management Techniques To Utilize In The Forthcoming Year | Steve Johnson, Newsakmi.com

We all know how chaotic things can get at work: constant changes, slipping deadlines, and a to-do list that seems never-ending. Especially now that the year is coming to an end, many people claim that their New Year (business) resolution is “managing time better” or “becoming more efficient.” But is that possible, or will better time management become another New Year resolution that never came to be? Fortunately, you can enter the year more relaxed, as this article includes 6 effective time management techniques that will help you always be on schedule from now on.

1.Make Your To-Do List

This is the most important step, and yet many people skip it. There’s no reason to go into the office and take each day as it comes. Instead, start by gathering the notes that are stuck on your computer, the scribbles in your notebook, and your mental notes, and make a checklist of all your tasks. Having everything in one place helps you create a daily to-do list that gets you easily through the day. 

2. Prioritize Your Tasks

Try to delegate or eliminate unimportant and non-urgent tasks, and bring important and urgent ones to the top of your list. Important tasks that don’t require your immediate attention should become part of a long-term plan. 

3. Invest In Time Tracking

If lack of time management techniques is a company-wide problem, you should consider utilizing time tracking software. That would allow you to see when your employees clock in and out and how much time they’re spending on specific tasks. It could be that inconsistencies in attendance or excessive time being spent on unimportant tasks are to blame for your missed deadlines. 

4. Resist The Urge to Multitask

Trying to take on multiple tasks at once, or constantly switching from one task to another can be time-consuming and detrimental to your productivity. Instead, you should focus on the task at hand and try to block any distractions. Taking on tasks one-by-one can also help you get through seemingly endless to-do lists without getting overwhelmed and stressed out.

5. Set SMART Goals

As you set your goals for this year’s resolutions, you might want to keep this acronym in mind. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented. These are the characteristics all your goals should have if you’re hoping to achieve them within the accepted time limits.

6. Learn To Say No

The final and very important time management technique we’re sharing with you is learning to say no. It might seem hard for you, but you should know that you can’t successfully manage your time at work if you don’t say no once in a while. When someone comes to you with a request, pause for a beat. If you have some free time, by all means, help them. However, in case you’re truly swamped and have to neglect your own tasks to accommodate them, don’t hesitate to politely decline. 

Conclusion

If your New Year resolution is to become more productive, efficient, and better at managing your time, you should consider the time management techniques we shared in this article. Follow them and organize your time to become less stressed and more successful.

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: 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.