Remote Work Digest: April 29, 2022

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

Stay Safe While Working From Home: A Helpful Checklist | Southermaylandchronicle.com

Remote workers should know to reap the benefits and avoid common pitfalls – or worse-case scenarios. To help, here’s a health and safety checklist for working from home.

Workstation setup for your health

Common musculoskeletal injuries for remote workers – joint and muscle pain – are no joke and often happen because of poor posture at the workstation. Also, an issue such as an eyestrain can have a domino effect, leading to additional problems like headaches, dry eyes and souble vision.

Chair

Sitting in an uncomfortable chair without proper back and elbow support can lead to spine-related problems in the long run.

  • Has an adjustable seat pan to ensure your elbows can stay at a 90-degree angle when typing.
  • Rounded or ‘waterfall’ seat pan that doesn’t cut circulation at the knees.
  • Five-leg base that’s sturdy
  • Tilt the seat back, or lower lumbar support to fit into the curve of your lower back.
  • Adjust the headrest to keep your head in a neutral, upright position.

Desk

Desk height and desk space can also influence the positioning of your body. Long-term, this can lead to musculoskeletal issues that could impact your quality of life.

  • Desk height allows for 90-degree elbow angle
  • Has depth that allows monitor positioning for visual comfort
  • Keep frequently used items within reach, especially landline phones.
  • Has enough leg space that allows leg movement and the ability to keep your feet flat on the ground.

Monitor/Mouse/Keyboard

The position of your mouse, keyboard, and monitor affect your posture, which can lead to back, neck, and shoulder issues.

  • A mouse is right next to the keyboard
  • Keyboard height allows wrists and hands to be in alignment
  • Monitor(s) is facing you directly to avoid twisting your neck
  • Position the monitor where there is no glare
  • Adjust monitor height and depth for visual comfort

Safety practices to avoid hazards

Your teleworking setup can be potentially hazardous if you’re not aware. Risk management is a key factor. Review this checklist to ensure you avoid a slip and fall or fire.

Fire

Things around your workspace and home office can act as an accelerant for a fire. Make sure to take precautions measures such as below.

  • You have a working smoke detector nearby
  • A fire extinguisher is readily available
  • Portable heaters are away from flammable materials
  • You have a plan in case of a fire

Electrical

Anytime you’re working around electricity, it’s important to ensure that you won’t be injured by shock. These tips are also related to fire prevention.

  • All electrical equipment is connected to a surge protector
  • Your cords and panels are in good condition with no exposed wiring
  • The household electrical system can handle your office equipment
  • You turn off all equipment when not in use

Environment

Creating a safe environment helps to protect you from a slip and fall. Poor ventilation and temperature control can also lead to increased symptoms due to dust and allergies.

  • The area around your workstation is clear of trip hazards
  • Flooring is in good condition to prevent tripping on loose carpet or tile
  • You have good ventilation and temperature control in your work area
  • There’s adequate lighting to reveal any potential hazards

Security practices to keep data safe

Keeping data safe — whether personal or company — when working from home is a top priority. Follow this checklist to ensure you don’t fall victim to identity theft or cause network security issues at work.

Virus

Protecting your computer from viruses and other malware is a key issue for many remote workers that can compromise both security and productivity.

  • Install and update your antivirus software
  • Never click emails from unknown senders on your personal or professional inbox
  • Enable real-time protection within your antivirus software
  • Antivirus software should perform quick scans on reboots and when opening attachments and a deep scan every twelve hours

Information

Personal and corporate data theft costs individuals and companies billions of dollars every year.

  • Don’t forward work emails to your personal account
  • Use a reliable VPN like Surfshark to encrypt data sent and received
  • Unless approved, avoid printing work content at home
  • Use cloud storage and backup your data on the regular

Wi-Fi

Many internet users often think their home Wi-Fi is safe and secure. But in fact, it’s often one of the most vulnerable network security areas exploited by hackers.

  • Choose an inconspicuous Wi-Fi name that doesn’t draw attention
  • Create a unique, long password with at least 16 characters that includes numbers, capitals, and symbols
  • Change your password quarterly. This is also good practice for your computer login credentials.
  • Enable WPA2 network encryption, and use software that detects who is on your network with alerts

Best practices for your health

Now you have a solid workspace, a safe working area, and a secure network. Read on to check that you’re following the best practices for your physical and mental health when working at home.

Working Best Practices

Remote workers often know to exercise and take mental health breaks. But during working hours, there are also things you can do to protect your health.

  • Take a break from screen watching and typing every 30 minutes
  • Use your hand to hold your phone or use a headset
  • Keep your wrists upright when typing and don’t use a support block
  • Monitor your seated posture when working and sit up straight

Physical Activities

Our bodies are not meant to stay in one position for hours at a time. These activities will help keep your body in working shape for the rest of your career.

  • Incorporate outdoor activity and exercise into your day
  • If you receive work packages at home, be sure to use a trolly or other lifting mechanism to help with heavy items.
  • Take stretching breaks throughout the day
  • Rotate head neck and shoulders periodically at your desk

Mental Health

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Mental health issues can impact our focus and productivity, so it’s better to prevent rather than cure them.

  • Establish work hours and boundaries with your partner, children, or roommates
  • Create a pleasant working environment with music and/or scented candles.
  • Minimize distractions in your working area
  • Schedule regular meetings with managers and co-workers to create positive working relationships

Summary

The working environment is changing across the nation. If you’re one of the many employees who work from home, be aware injuries, cyber threats, and other dangers can occur.

With this checklist, you should be able to implement solid ergonomic practices, safety precautions, and network security protocols that will protect your physical and mental health.

6 effective ways to onboard new employees remotely | Coann Labitoria, Hcamag.com

A company does not become an expert on virtual onboarding in an instant. It takes a lot of trial and error, research, and practice to find the right employee onboarding program that fits the company culture of the company and its workforce.Below are some basic tips employers can try to successfully onboard remote workers:

1. Help the new employee set up their workspaces

Compared to onsite employees who have a designated workspace ready for them since day one, a remote worker is left on their own to set up the equipment, workspace, and systems needed for their new job.

One way to make the remote onboarding process easier is for employers to go ahead and help employees set up the needed applications before they even ask for assistance. Shipping the required equipment and providing clear and detailed steps on setting up the equipment, installing, and logging in on the needed applications and software days before their official first day on the job allows them to get a head start on their onboarding process.

2. Provide them a welcome kit or package

Nothing feels more welcoming than receiving a little token of appreciation from your employer in the form of a welcome package or a gift basket. Companies should consider giving out welcome packages to make employees feel included in the organization’s community. The contents of the welcome package could be anywhere from office items like a company mouse pad or an office mug to random tokens such as a company jacket or a small tote bag. 

3. It is crucial to introduce new employees to the team

It is crucial for employees to connect and get along with their co-workers, especially their teammates. When an employee has an open communication with their managers and co-workers, their productivity, employee engagement, and trust increases. Employers could set up virtual first-day lunch meetings with the new employee’s team members to create new work connections and for the new employee to feel a part of the team.

4. Build a buddy system for your new employees

Usually, hiring managers onboard a group of new employees at a time in a bid to be more efficient with the virtual onboarding experience. Throughout the onboarding process, the new employees will rely on each other for help and support as they adjust to the company culture. Creating a buddy system between the new employees allows them to feel more comfortable exploring the company’s work system. 

5. Designate a culture buddy for the new employees

Aside from cultivating a buddy system for new employees, employers could also assign a culture buddy that has been with the company for a while to a new employee. Having a culture buddy allows the new employee to freely explore the company’s culture with the guidance of a current employee.

6. Provide list of stakeholders in the company

HR leaders should provide a list of the company’s key stakeholders to the new employees during their remote onboarding. The list should include the stakeholders that the employee will most likely interact with frequently, the role of each stakeholder, and a brief description of the stakeholder’s position. This allows new employees to understand the company’s operations more and how they fit in with the company’s success. 

Employers need to take the time to observe the effects of their programs and approach – like their virtual onboarding process – on their employees and make the necessary changes to improve the process. Having an open line of communication between employers, managers, and employees is important in making sure employees feel included and important, all the while ensuring their work productivity and quality are high.

8 Remote Work Security Mistakes You Should Avoid | Lando Loic, Makeuseof.com

To mitigate the security vulnerabilities associated with remote work, you need to be aware of common mistakes to avoid and take steps to protect yourself. Let’s dive right in:

  1. Using the Same Password for Multiple Accounts

While having one password for all your accounts is convenient, using the same password for multiple accounts is a significant no-no. you shouldn’t even attempt to use the same pattern while changing a few characters here and there.

If cybercriminals gain access to one of our accounts, you have made it easy for them to break into your other accounts. We bet you have a ton of different passwords to keep track of, and it’s obvious you can’t memorize all of them, but that’s what password managers are for.

  •  Not Encrypting Your Files

One important measure you can take to protect your files is encrypting them. Encrypting your data makes it unreadable to unauthorized individuals. You can use encryption tools like AxCrypt to protect your local files.

  • Failing to Update Your Software

Procrastinating on updating your software leaves you vulnerable to security threats. Cybercriminals are always looking for loopholes in software that they can exploit. This is why software companies release updates frequently to patch up these vulnerabilities.

So, one of the biggest security mistakes you can make is failing to respond to those updates, be it for your operating system, or other applications. That said, when you receive a notification to update your software or system, do it as soon as possible. If you must postpone because you can’t stop the work you are doing at that time, schedule a time for the update and stick to it or set a reminder, so you don’t forget.

  • Not Backing Up Your Data

Although we never hope for the worst, things can go wrong, and they often do. When it comes to remote work, this could be anything from your cat knocking over your laptop to a ransomware attack.

This is why you should prepare for unforeseen circumstances by backing up your data. There are two main ways to do this. You could either use an external hard drive or backup your data to the cloud. If you choose to go with an external hard drive, make sure you keep it in a safe place.

  • Clicking on Links from Unknown Sources

That harmless ad might not be as harmless as you thought. Phishing attacks are on the rise, and cybercriminals are better at making fake emails and links look authentic. They mask emails to make them look like they are coming from a legitimate source, such as your bank or a company you do business with.

This is why you should avoid clicking on links from unknown or even known sources that look suspicious. If you have doubts about the source of an email or link, contact the company it claims to be from to verify its authenticity.

  • Not Using Two-Factor Authentication

Securing your accounts using strong passwords is good practice, but you can take it a step further by using two-factor authentication (2FA).

  • Using Public Wi-Fi

Working from public Wi-Fi hotspots comes with its own set of risks. These networks are usually unsecured because anyone can access them, exposing you to cyberattacks.

Whenever you feel like working in a public place, use a VPN to encrypt your connection and protect your data, or use your phone’s Hotspot feature to create a more secure Wi-Fi network.

  • Not Reading App Permission Lists

When you install an application on your device, it will usually ask for specific permissions, such as access to your camera, microphone, or location. It’s important to take a moment to read these lists to understand what an app will have access to on your device. After all, why would your wallpaper app need access to your microphone?

You can follow these tips to create a more secure remote work environment. But, keep in mind that cybercriminals are constantly adapting, so it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest security threats.

Top 7 Career-Boosting Tips for New Developers in 2022 | Geektime.com

This article features seven essential hacks for junior engineers to create the foundation for a successful and sustainable software development career. The tips will help developers fast-track their careers, make an immediate impact, and stand out so they get noticed by companies seeking skilled and motivated developers.

1.Build your LinkedIn profile

Visibility is key, and LinkedIn is the place to be today. Make sure your online presence is maximized with an active and updated profile. Comment on company updates, participate in group discussions and try to get recommendations from CTOs or team leads you may have engaged with previously. 

2. Participate in dev events and meetups

Once you have established a digital presence on LinkedIn, you need to connect the dots by participating in events, lectures, and conferences. The software engineering space is constantly evolving, and you want to stay in the loop. Being an active participant in developer get-togethers will boost your networking and allow you to stay ahead of the curve.

3. Establish your presence on GitHub

Try to beef up your resume and make a good case by contributing to an open-source project on this dev-centric platform. Practicing with Git and GitHub is a valuable skill you will need to demonstrate sooner than later.

4. Freelance away

It doesn’t matter if you are unemployed or working your first job as a QA professional or junior developer. You’ll want to start freelancing as soon as possible– some great freelancer platforms are Upstack, Upwork, Toptal, and Gun.io. You can also practice new languages and prepare for future challenges.

5. Join dev communities

Get exposed to training opportunities and gain exclusive access to job openings that may not be floated on mainstream channels. Subscribe to newsletters, track industry news via relevant subreddits, and spend time on StackOverflow – a community with almost 5 million developers. It’s worth every minute of your time.

6. Start interviewing even before you’re ready

The reasoning behind this is simple: You need to familiarize yourself with the screening process, learn how to follow up with potential employers, and create a professional identity that works (literally). This is a huge confidence-boosting hack that will also help you in the short and long run.

7. Compromise on Salary Packages

The software developer space rewards experience and demonstrated value like any other industry. Be prepared to earn less in your first couple of jobs. Prioritize landing in companies with fast-paced environments, healthy corporate cultures, and cutting-edge technologies. 

The Bottom Line

Demand for developers is growing, but so are the expectations. You have to demonstrate value instantly and keep growing as a professional to make your mark. Diversify your skillset and learn multiple programming languages to bring more value to the table. Always remember – becoming a successful software developer is a marathon, not a sprint (pun intended).

Remote Work Digest: February 26, 2022

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

Five Ways to Improve Employee Morale with One-on-One Connection | Lydia Vargo, Forbes.com

Because of the pandemic and the switch to remote-first work, managers are finding it increasingly difficult to connect with their employees in meaningful ways. This may cause feelings of isolation, dissatisfaction and low morale, which in turn can lead to poor performance. 

As a leader, you need to invest in your people, which includes treating them like the unique humans they are. With regular one-on-one interaction, you can improve employee morale, productivity and retention all in one. Follow these five tips to improve employee loyalty performance through the power of one-on-one connections.

1.Be Personable

If you want to connect with employees, you need to be approachable. Kick things off by sharing a little about yourself. Be conscious of not oversharing and causing discomfort, but giving some insight into your life and personality can bridge a gap and begin a healthy rapport. Perhaps it’s as simple as placing photos of your kids on the wall behind your desk or sharing what you did last weekend. It doesn’t take much, but a little goes a long way.

2. Connect with Multimedia

Email is okay, but your team is probably sick of answering emails — and their inboxes are full, anyway. Instead, connect with your team through richer media like: 

• A Discord server for audio-only chats. 

• Voice memos, so people can listen to your voice. 

• Vidyard recordings that show your screen and your face.

3. Hone Your EQ

If you want to foster healthy one-on-one connections, you need to boost your EQ as a leader. It might sound like common sense, but how you approach one-on-one conversations can have a big effect on employee morale. 

That means following best practices like: 

Using positive phrasing: Remote employees can’t see your face or hear your voice, so they have to read into every little interaction. Frame things positively and over-communicate so employees know you’re trying to foster a warm, congenial relationship. 

Avoiding micromanaging: Employees will dread talking to you if a one-on-one becomes a forum for critique. Micromanaging lowers morale and makes your team feel on edge and not trusted to do their jobs — not to mention less productive!

Keeping appointments: Life happens, but if you frequently reschedule chats with an employee, they’re going to think you don’t care. Try not to reschedule or cancel one-on-ones if at all possible. 

4. Listen

Give employees your undivided attention when you speak to them. Let them do most of the talking and practice active listening. After all, communication goes well beyond the words that you speak — body language and tone are key to being understood and bridging gaps.

5. Schedule Fun Social Connections

If you allow employees to bond with you in a lower-stakes environment, they’re going to feel more connected and loyal in their careers. With professional boundaries top of mind, it is healthy for your team to blow off a little steam together. Never underestimate the power of non-work-related conversations and activities! 

The Bottom Line

It’s hard to think about retention when you’re dealing with the here and now, but the connection still needs to be a priority if you want to retain your employees. Follow these five tips to foster closer relationships with your team and boost morale, productivity and retention all at the same time.

Top 10 Best Freelance Platform and Marketplace in 2022 | Nishi, Inventiva.co.in

The following are the best free marketplaces and websites for those looking to work as freelancers from home in 2022:

1.Upwork

Upwork used to be known as oDesk but has grown into one of the best places to find freelancers in any field. With over 12M freelancers and around 5M clients registered, it is the largest freelance platform in the world. 

Here, you can find freelancers and projects related to just about any expertise. Despite its user-friendly nature, the website would require you to fill out an application that would be approved or rejected according to the current need for your skills.

2. Fiverr

With over 250 categories of professional services, it connects freelancers and businesses on a digital level. Clients can search for freelancers on this website and give them the project, and Freelancers can post what they are willing to offer.

3. Freelancer

Small businesses looking for website development, logo design, writing and marketing help can find talent and help on this website. Many people are interested in working with big-name companies like Intel, Microsoft, and Boeing on their client list. 

You can sign up with freelancers quickly since their website is very user-friendly. Upload your previous work samples, bid on work, and communicate with the hiring managers. Besides not having to pay a penny to register, you won’t have to pass any interviews or tests

4. Guru

Companies can find freelancers from all over the world through this freelance marketplace. Thanks to their straightforward hiring process, clients can hire freelancers quickly and easily. Even though the website is new, its user base has already reached 1,500,000 million. 

The number of completed jobs keeps growing by the day, and they have now completed more than a million jobs. Making a profile with them is pretty easy; all you need to do is create your profile, and you are ready to go. Various profiles post jobs every day, and there is a lot of competition.

5. People Per Hour

This is one of the biggest and most popular freelance marketplaces because you can find freelance services in audio, video, web development, web design, mobile development, social media, and much more. More than 1 million businesses have earned more than £130 million on this platform. 

The primary goal of the company is to associate customers with suitable candidates. It is unique that they have personally selected every person you work with; consequently, they employ quality people and provide quality work.

6. Toptal

One of the best places to start looking for freelancers when you need top-quality freelancers. Thousands of applications arrive every day, but only a few are accepted due to their rigorous application process. A company can use it to hire from the top tier of top-tier freelancers.

7. FlexJobs

Since it offers on-site jobs, remote work, freelance opportunities, and flexible schedules, it is primarily a platform for flexible employment. They hire freelancers from more than 40,000 companies, and you can select one according to your skills and interests. To find quality job postings, you would have to sift through a lot of trash.

8. 99designs

An attractive logo can draw a lot of attention from consumers, so it is crucial to hire an experienced designer to create this logo for you. 99designs has a reputation for quality and design, so that you can trust their work.

9. SimplyHired

There are freelance jobs in almost all fields on this marketplace, perfect for people looking for part-time employment. This website has the advantage of not charging people for posting jobs, which explains why there are so many job openings there.

As a freelancer, you can upload your resume and get your profile up and running very quickly. Afterwards, you will also be able to view freelance jobs in your local area. As well as seeing a list of top salaries, the site provides a salary estimate tool. 

10. Aquent

Job opportunities are mainly related to marketing, technology, and creative careers. Due to the quality of the work and the incredible talent of Aquent, they have won numerous awards. The company generally accepts candidates with more than two years of experience, though fresh graduates are also welcome to explore their positions.

22 Ways to Be a Little Bit Happier Every Day in 2022 | Integrisok.com

Here are some of our favorite tips to help boost happiness.

Help someone else. Turns out the human brain is wired for altruism. We’re taught from childhood that it is better to give than to receive, and there’s lots of evidence to suggest it’s true. We can now see, thanks to MRI technology, that the act of giving to others lights up the same parts of our brains as do food or sex.

Experiences are more important than possessions. New shoes may make us smile initially, but the happiness they bring fades quickly. The joy we feel when we focus on experiences is longer-lived in part because they foster in us a greater sense of vitality. We also often share experiences with others, which generates happiness.

Practice gratitude. Try this: each day for ten weeks, keep a gratitude journal. Write down three things you are grateful for each day. In an experiment at the University of California, Davis, three groups of volunteers kept journals. One group wrote about life events, another wrote about hassles in their lives and the third wrote about what they were grateful for. At the end, the gratitude group reported feeling more optimistic and satisfied with their lives.

Learn. Conquering new concepts or ideas helps build confidence and pride. US NEWS tells us that “education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”

Get more sleep. Seven to nine hours a night is the gold standard. Good sleep is crucial to having active, happy days. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, it’s worth talking to your doctor.

Get older. One of the biggest perks of having a few decades in the rear-view mirror is that our happiness tends to increase as we age. Multiple studies indicate that as we age, we become happier and more satisfied with life. It may be a matter of having more perspective, but whatever it is, we’ll take it.

Smile. We know. Being told to smile can be annoying, so we are merely making a suggestion. BECAUSE… practicing ‘real’ smiles, AKA smiles that include your eyes, is a proven way to feel less distress in a distressing situation. In the word of psychology, this is called the facial feedback hypothesis, which suggests that our emotional experience is partly influenced by our facial movements. It’s a mind-body connection.

Dark chocolate. The darker the better. It’s science! Chocolate is a mood booster because eating it causes the release of endorphins in the brain. It also contains chemicals known to lift our mood such as phenylethylamine (a natural antidepressant) and tryptophan, which is linked to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that produces feeling of happiness.  

Wake up earlier. First, make sure you’re sleeping seven to nine hours a night. Next, build a pleasant morning buffer into your day. You should enjoy your mornings, which is hard to do if you’re running around trying to get out the door. An extra half an hour (or even 15 minutes) will give you some space and you’ll notice a shift in attitude right away. 

Manage your stress. Get better at time management if you’ve got too much on your plate. Something as simple as a to-do list can give you a sense of control and order, and let’s face it, it feels so good to cross things off the list. 

Tidy up. When we think of self-care, cleaning house doesn’t often make the list but it should. In 2016, a study out of the University of New Mexico found that clutter directly interfered with folks’ ability to feel pleasure in a room. On the flip side, a clean, organized space can increase productivity, boost confidence and imbue its occupants with a sense of control, accomplishment and clarity. 

Start a meditation practice. It’s easier than you think. Mindful.org suggests getting started this way:

  • Find place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
  • Choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes.
  • Make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
  • Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.
  • Notice when your mind has wandered and simply return your attention to the breath.
  • Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back. 
  • When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
  • That’s it! That’s the practice. 

Put down your phone. Unless you’re keeping an online gratitude journal, that is. If you find yourself scrolling through social media, stop. A 2017 article in Forbes (and many subsequent studies) indicate that the more we use social media, the less happy we are. In fact, social media is known to increase anxiety, loneliness and depression.

Take a walk. A walk is good for your mood, your mind and your body. Tie your laces and go!

Avoid gossip. Fact: gossip may feel good in the moment, but really it causes stress. It’s not helpful and it immerses both the teller and the listener in negativity. 

Don’t drink too much. When it’s been a rough day, an alcoholic beverage of choice can sound like just the ticket. Alcohol blunts our feelings, so if we feel bad it will make us feel less bad  –  BUT – it can also crank up feelings of anger and depression or make you feel aggressive.  

Look at the stars. Researchers have found that there is a link between experiencing a sense of awe with feeling greater satisfaction and less stress.

Don’t believe everything you think. In other words, challenge negative thoughts. Here’s a technique: write down your negative thought. Maybe it’s something like “I am having problems at school/work. I don’t think I’m very smart.” Next, challenge that thought. Is there any evidence behind it? Am I misinterpreting the situation? What would someone else think if I told them my thoughts?

Read a story of adventure. Turns out you can reap the benefits of an awe-inspiring experience, like stargazing, by reading about one. Pick up a copy of “Moby Dick,” by Herman Melville; “The Call of the Wild,” by Jack London; or “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed. 

Hang out with happy people. Motivational coaches will tell you that you are an amalgam of the top five percent of the people you spend the most time with. Makes sense to hang with the happy crowd, then, doesn’t it?

Be your own best friend. Treat yourself like you would a dear friend. When you’re feeling sad or negative, ask yourself what advice you’d give a friend feeling the same way. 

Breathe. Controlled breathing is an ancient practice and science is beginning to understand that its benefits are real. Do it any time you need or want to: take a deep breath. Pause. Exhale slowly as you count to five. Repeat four more times. This low-key practice can help reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and more.

9 emerging tech trends IT leaders need to watch | Stephanie Overby, Enterprisersproject.com

Following are some of the new technologies and capabilities with broad applications across companies and sectors for 2022 and beyond.

1.Hybrid workplace enablement tools

Nearly all technology leaders (97%) surveyed by IEEE agree that their team is working more closely than ever before with human resources leaders to implement workplace technologies and apps for office check-in, space usage data and analytics, COVID and health protocols, employee productivity, engagement, and mental health. 

2. Cloud simplification technologies

Looking forward, IT leaders will be looking at cloud-native technologies and platforms to take full advantage of cloud’s core capabilities for greater innovation at speed and scale. Gartner predicts that cloud-native platforms will serve as the foundation for more than 95 percent of new digital initiatives by 2025 (up from 30 percent of workloads in 2021).

3. Cloud control planes

The combination of accelerated cloud adoption and the digitally distributed workforce and enterprise has created some big ol’ surfaces for cyber attacks. As a result, CIOs are rethinking how they protect their organizations in this new normal.

4. Smart space technology

This will be augmented with smart space technologies that help in building intelligent physical spaces, such as manufacturing plants, retail stores, and sports stadiums. IEEE found that 82 percent of surveyed IT leaders agree that implementing smart building technologies that benefit sustainability, decarbonization and energy savings has become a top priority.

5. Automating automation

Many organizations found themselves digitizing and automating critical customer-facing applications in the early days of the pandemic. What they need to do now is create roadmaps for automating more of the business processes for greater efficiency and resiliency in the long term.

6. Collaborative data platforms

Organizations applying insights from data belonging to their partners or suppliers have twice the market capitalization, according to an early 2021 study published by Capgemini. Secure, real-time cloud-based data exchanges, along with solution providers that enable collaboration based on data without the actual sharing of the granular data itself, are key enabling technologies here.

7. Blockchain applications

The enterprise use cases for open-source distributed database and ledger technology are becoming clearer. The four most important uses cases cited by IT leaders surveyed by IEEE will be secure machine-to-machine interaction in the Internet of Things, shipment tracing and contactless digital transactions, keeping health and medical records secure in the cloud, and securing connecting parties within a specified ecosystem.

8. Generative AI

The world is abuzz with the promise of generative AI from natural-language generation models that can write computer code to algorithms that produce deepfakes.

It’s not all hype. There are some meaty enterprise applications for generative AI, which is far more dynamic than the machine learning currently being used in most organizations.

9. Next-generation EDR

As ransomware continues to rile organizations, next-generation endpoint detection and response (EDR) is emerging as a key cybersecurity capability for the next normal, providing increased visibility into threats with machine learning detection for faster response.

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: November 28, 2021

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

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

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

1. Commit to single-tasking.

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

2. Use time blocking to your advantage.

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

3. Deploy the Pomodoro Technique

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

4. Schedule movement breaks

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

5. Try task batching

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

6. Fuel yourself for success

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

Start wrangling your time.

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

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

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

1.Write it down

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

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

2. Give everything a designated home

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

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

3. Make priorities when you set deadlines

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

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

4. Don’t procrastinate

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

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

5. Declutter, declutter, declutter

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

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

Proven ways to improve employee productivity | Gilaherald.com

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

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

Set clear goals and expectations

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

Encouraging communication

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

Providing the right tools for the job

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

Track performance

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

Allow flexible schedules for employees

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

Show appreciation for a job well done

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

Employee training

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

Minimize meeting times

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

Creating a more positive environment

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

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

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

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

15. Advertising sales agents

Median annual wage in 2020: $54,940

Remote work take-up: 51%

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

14. Financial examiners

Median annual wage in 2020: $81,430

Remote work take-up: 72%

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

13. Urban and regional planners

Median annual wage in 2020: $75,950

Remote work take-up: 68%

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

12. Computer network support specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $65,450

Remote work take-up: 52%

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

11. Management analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $87,660

Remote work take-up: 56%

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

10.Speech-language pathologists

Median annual wage in 2020: $80,480

Remote work take-up: 39%

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

9. Environmental scientists and specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $73,230

Remote work take-up: 59%

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

8.Civil engineers

Median annual wage in 2020: $88,570

Remote work take-up: 44%

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

7.Credit analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $74,970

Remote work take-up: 61%

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

6.Financial analysts

Median annual wage in 2020: $83,660

Remote work take-up: 68%

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

5.Public relations specialists

Median annual wage in 2020: $62,810

Remote work take-up: 65%

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

4. College professors

Median annual wage in 2020: $90,400*

Remote work take-up: 61%

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

3. Advertising and promotions managers

Median annual wage in 2020: $133,460

Remote work take-up: 51%

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

2. Computer hardware engineers

Median annual wage in 2020: $119,560

Remote work take-up: 57%

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

1.Software Developers

Median annual wage in 2020: $110,140

Remote work take-up: 71%

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

Remote Work Digest: October 30, 2021

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

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

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

Make Decisions About Time

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

Prioritizing Time

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

Tools Of The “Prioritize Me” Trade

Make Time for Deep, Focused Thinking Early in Your Day

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

Write and Manage Lists (Efficiently)

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

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

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

Get Ahead with Meetings

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

Deeply qualify whether any meeting requires your presence.

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

Think Back on Your Past Week

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

Forgive Your Self Breaks

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

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

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

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

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

Better Overall Quality of Life

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

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

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

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

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

Set Your Own Hours

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

Saves Everyone Time and Money

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

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

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

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

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

Plan your day ahead.

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

Meal prep.

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

Set a schedule, and stick to it.

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

Focus on three big tasks a day.

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

Practice self-care.

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

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

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

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

Well-known companies with fully remote or hybrid work setups

1. Apple

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

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

2. Microsoft

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

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

3. Shopify

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

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

4. Slack

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

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

5. Spotify

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

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

6. Twitter

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

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

7. Upwork

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

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

8. Quora

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

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

9. Pinterest

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

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

10. LinkedIn

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

The pros and cons of a fully remote or hybrid company

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

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

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

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

Remote Work Digest: September 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Setting Expectations

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

Communication

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

Encourage Flexibility in All Aspects

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

Focus on Measuring Outcomes

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

Accountability

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

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

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

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

Make it vibrant

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

Fun lighting

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

Go minimal

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

Try and sit where you get enough natural light

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

Use the principle of Hygge

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

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

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

The Positive Effects of Remote Work on Climate Change

Significant Drop in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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

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

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

Reduced Paper Usage

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

Improved Air Quality

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

Less Plastic Usage

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

Reduced Power Consumption

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

The Downsides of Remote Working

Only Partial Carbon Footprint Reduction

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

Energy Consumption

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

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

Remote Working is a Net Positive for Climate Change

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

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

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

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

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

Seven ways to boost employee productivity effectively in the workplace

Communication

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

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

Technology upgrade

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

Reduce meaningless meetings

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

Keep goals clear and focused

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

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

Encourage self-care

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

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

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

Improve Office Conditions

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

Delegate responsibility

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

Final thoughts

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

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

Remote Work Digest: February 28, 2021

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

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

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

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

  1. Create a Corporate Wiki

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

2. Change Your Email Culture

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

3. Let Employees Create Their Own Schedules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product and Project Manager Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sales and Business Development Jobs

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

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

  • Channel Sale Manager
  • Salary: $124,220

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

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

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

  • Senior Sales Executive
  • Salary: $78,216

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

Software Developer Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Computer Security Jobs

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Salary: $98,350

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

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

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

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

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

Medical Jobs

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

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

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

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

  • Psychologist
  • Salary: $79,010

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

Computer & IT Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engineering Jobs

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

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

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

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

  • Software Engineer
  • Salary: $105,590

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

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

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

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

White noise lessens distractions.

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

Lighting brightens your mood.

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

Art adds inspiration.

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

Live plants improve wellbeing.

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

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

Seating doesn’t have to be a chair!

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

Candles set a mood.

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

Separate your space.

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

Spa water keeps you hydrated.

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

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

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

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

Creating Boundaries

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

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

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

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

Sustaining Human Connection

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

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

Maximizing Productivity

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

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

Remote Work Digest: September 30, 2020

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

6 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill When Working From Home | Lesly Gregory, Apartmentguide.com

Working from home can create a huge drain on your utilities, but there are ways to cut back. Remembering these simple steps can help save money on your energy bill.

  1. Control vampire appliances

Vampire appliances are everyday items that continue to suck electricity when they’re not in use. Simply keeping them plugged means they’re stealing away valuable energy and costing you extra. Some of the biggest culprits in this category are:

  • Cellphone and laptop chargers
  • Video game chargers and console plugs
  • Computer printers
  • TVs
  • Stereos
  • Coffee makers
  • Electric toothbrushes

You can unplug most of these items when they’re not in use. It’s easy to keep chargers next to outlets, but not always plugged in at ready. When you remove electronics from their charger, simply unplug the charger, as well.

2. Drain the power

Consider only charging your device in short spurts during the day to give it an energy boost. A perfect time for a recharge is when you walk away for lunch or take a bathroom break. Concentrate on getting it back up at 100 at night, when you’re done working.

Doing this not only helps you save on your energy bill, but it’s also good for your device’s battery. According to TIME, fully charging your battery stresses it out and can wear it down faster.

3. Put it to sleep

Does your computer stay on even when you walk away from it? Have you turned off sleep mode to make sure you don’t miss a single notification during working hours? Is so, you’re burning up electricity. Engaging power management features or putting your computer to sleep can save you up to $50 per year on your electric bill.

4. Manage your lighting

Whether your home office is at a kitchen table, inside a closet or in a dedicated office space, lighting is key. It’s also expensive. If you haven’t already, convert the bulbs in your office to LEDs. They do not help you save on your energy bull, but the average LED bulb lasts about 25,000 hours. An incandescent bulb only makes it 12,000 hours. If you’re working in an area with windows, open up the blinds. Rely on natural light, if you can, for at least part of the day, giving your bulbs a break.

5. Control the temperature

When you’re not home, it’s possible to adjust your thermostat to temps that make it less likely to run as often. It’s important to have a comfortable temperature when working, which means you’re using more electricity to regulate the temperature in your apartment. When you’re not home, you don’t need to maintain that temperature. Just a single degree adjustment can save you money. This slight change isn’t noticeable either, so consider it a way to save a few bucks.

6. Cut back on data usage

Maxing out your data limits each month not only means your devices are working overtime to raise your electricity bill, but you’re at risk for paying internet overages. Being resourceful with your internet usage can work hand-in-hand with lowering your electric bill. Just remember, even when you’ve put your computer to sleep, it could still drain your data.

To avoid this, make sure to:

  • Turn off location services on your phone while you’re home
  • Download music and videos instead of streaming
  • Use an internet browser that automatically compresses data like Google Chrome
  • Turn off the streaming device on your TV before you turn off the TV. They all keep streaming even when the TV isn’t on.
  • Use some of your phone data instead of Wi-Fi. This saves electricity too!

Save on your energy bill

There are a lot of easy ways to make big changes in your electricity bill, and even save some internet data in the process. The trick is to turn these small actions into regular habits.

10 Time Management Tips for Working Remotely | Barbara Weltman, Thestoryexchange.org

Six months into the pandemic, many of us are still working from home. Here’s advice from expert Barbara Weltman.

Here are 10 ideas to help you with time management while working remotely:

  1. Check your calendar at the start of the day.

There may be special meetings or events scheduled. Take a deep breath and begin your day knowing what’s been planned. As new things come up, note them on the calendar.

2. Use single tasking

Instead of multi-tasking (handling a household chore while trying to work), put full attention into one task. Complete it (or at least a set phase of it) before moving on.

3. Make a list of must-do items

If there are deadlines, be sure to note them. As my mentor told me many times, “do the best you can in the tie you have.”

4. Prioritize activities

There are different theories on how to do this. Some suggest putting the most important items up front and begin to tackle them. Others say to handle the little activities first so you can concentrate on important matters.

5. Schedule time for checking email.

Some prefer to limit viewing and responding to communications at a set time (e.g., before starting on other business tasks). Others use emails viewing to break up their work time. Learn what works better for you.

6. Watch the clock.

Whether you use a wall clock, the clock on your computer or mobile device, or a wristwatch, check where you’re at. Compare the actual time to what you have done and what you need to do before the end of the day.

7. Delegate activities.

Call upon others to help where needed. For example, those with young children at home need. For example, those with young children at home need to arrange supervision. If there are two working parents, it’s likely one must take charge to enable the other to work.

8. Communicate with employees.

One of the key problems for employees is understanding what’s expected of them and whether they’re doing it. Even without regular meetings, good communication can help employees with their time management.

9. Use software time management tools.

Businesses that want to track employee work hours can use software for this purpose.

10.  Plan ahead.

As the day draws to a close, assess what’s been accomplished and what remains to be done tomorrow. As Scarlett said in Gone With the Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Corporate travel reset: 5 tips to improve productivity | Craig Fichtelberg, AmTrav, Phocuswire.com

If you create a program that eases the way for traveling employees, they’ll deliver more value by being more productive, which improves output.

Keep in mind that improving productivity in a travel program (or any other operation) is all about reducing input while increasing output.

Here are five ways to achieve that in your travel program:

Make data-driven decisions about in person vs. video call meetings

To create a data-driven travel program, rank past trips on a 5-point scale from most to least successful according to the outcome. Then, when travel resumes, use video calls to replace travel for the lowest ranked categories of meetings, and focus your travel budget on trips that are more likely to produce higher returns.

Keep monitoring the results, evaluating outcomes and ranking them in terms of productivity on the same five-point scale so you can continue to invest in the most productive trips.

This approach allows you to follow the data and make adjustments as needed to keep travel productivity high.

Maximize traveler satisfaction

Providing employees with travel amenities like minimal connecting flights, priority seating, airline club access and 24/7 assistance to manage disruptions and flight changes is a better approach.

This reduces traveler stress and boosts productivity, and continuously measuring traveler satisfaction with standard surveys produces more data that can be monitored via a dashboard to continuously improve the program.

Consider a monthly subscription fee program to simplify travel

A subscription fee-based partnership gives you access to comprehensive travel services for one fee. In most cases, the more trips your employees take, the less it costs per trip.

That eliminates the temptation to book outside the partnership to keep fees down, which means traveling employees always have access to the full range of services, which improves their productivity.

A simpler process with predictable costs also enhances travel manager productivity by reducing management hassles.

Address the unused tickets issue by tracking them and encouraging credit use

Since rogue travelers typically book their travel through multiple websites, it’s easy to lose track of what unused ticket was booked where.

The best solution is a reporting system that provides a summary, including unused ticket totals and expiration dates.

Fewer unused tickets reduce the input required for the travel program, which contributes to better productivity.

Implement safety measures to reduce risks

Ensuring employees are safe and productive requires extra measures, like keeping an eye on outbreaks and blocking travel to regions that are COVID-19 hotspots.

It’s also a good idea to be able to ensure employees are staying at facilities that meet safety and cleanliness standards.

Another safety measure to keep in mind: make sure you can reach travelers at any time with updates as conditions evolve.

Few sectors felt the impact of COVID-19 as acutely as the travel industry, but now is the time to rethink your approach to employee travel.

9 Easy Ways To Motivate Employees (Without Money) | Michael Dinich, Yourmoneygeek.com

Motivation and engagement are crucial for businesses to retain employees, and it is more important than ever to keep quality employees. Keeping employees happy while also understanding their personal needs can be a difficult task.

Most people would like a raise, but employers are not always to offer additional compensation. This post details the best way to motivate employees without having to pay them more.

While many companies are strapped for cash due to the state of the economy, it is no longer only the employees feeling the pinch. To address some of these top concerns, here are the nine best ways to motivate employees.

  1. Pay Your Employees – Faster!

We have all heard of payday loans and the insanely high fees associated with them. However, many employees are forced to take out these unethical loans so they can feed their families.

This is where employers can offer a fantastic benefit of partnering with companies that allow them to have early access to the money they have already earned.

2. Evaluate Schedules

The events of 2020 have forced many employers to think outside of the box in regards to teleworking. A large number of companies have actually increased their efficiency by using non-traditional schedules and working from home options.

3. Include Employees In Goal Setting

All too often, employers make decisions without first surveying their line-level employees. Often the employees have the best ideas when it comes to improving performance and increasing efficiencies.

As an employer, you can motivate employees by giving them a seat at the table and a voice when determining the company’s goals and strategies.

4. Increase Transparency

Employees like to know the “why” behind many decisions and processes. By allowing employees to see behind the scenes and the reason for a current direction, employees are given the option of buying into the mission. By creating buy-in, companies can motivate employees to take on the employer’s mission as their own.

5. Focus On The Employee

Recognizing the work of an entire team serves a purpose, but motivating employees is accomplished when they feel a personal connection to their leadership. This is done by being human and treating employees as unique individuals – rather than one large entity.

6. Develop Leaders

Develop a training program and curriculum for employees who desire to take over a leadership role one day. Show them you believe in their potential and give them the tools and resources to accomplish their goals.

When employees feel motivated to further their careers through leadership, their enthusiasm can translate into increased productivity and a contagious work ethic.

7. Be Available

Create or maintain an open-door policy that allows open and effective communication between the employer and the employees. When employees feel their employer values and respects communication with them they are more motivated to help achieve the organization’s goals.

8. Create Incentives and Games

Think of things not necessarily tied to monetary compensation. For instance, the employee who creates the most widgets next week gets a front parking spot, etc. Think outside of the box and see what you can come up with or what you can come up with or what your employees want to win.

9. Focus On Positivity

Just like a smile is contagious, so is attitude. Leave your home life at home so you can focus on work and encourage your employees to adapt and maintain a positive attitude.

Employees are motivated when they enjoy coming to work. Make the work site as enjoyable as possible with a positive attitude.

It doesn’t always require money to encourage employees to stay motivated. Often solving some of their problems is the best way to earn their trust. Small steps like making their money available to them a few days earlier with a paycheck advance app like Rain is a great incentive that doesn’t cost the company any money.

Small benefits and incentives are extremely powerful and can motivate employees more than you may realize.

Remote Work Digest: June 30, 2020

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

5 Ways To Engage Employees During Work From Home | Ruman Talwar, Entrepreneur.com

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During the current pandemic, many employees have become accustomed to working from home setting. It is, therefore, important for companies to ensure that they keep motivating their employees with various campaigns and programmes. Here are a few ways to engage.

Online virtual games

Organizing games and quizzes have proven to create active participation rather than a passive immersion. Conducting games and quizzes online isn’t that difficult. All you need is a PC/laptop/mobile with reasonable Internet speed.

Health and wellness

With the help of online video conferencing software, a group yoga session or a mindfulness series can be organized online to foster mental peace. Additionally, virtual health challenges such as pushups, sit-ups and planks will ensure that organizations flourish with a healthy workforce.

Recognition and awards

Adjusting to the home setting can be a bit of a hassle, which is why it imperative to reward people for specific actions. A personalized message or a virtual gift card expressing gratitude for the work they have been accomplishing can make them feel happier and fulfilled.

Communication

Effective communication within the organization is the need of an hour. Proactive, clear and impactful, and two-tone communication can make employees feel that their ideas are valued and that they are a pivotal part of the organization.

Upskilling and reskilling

Corporates across the various sectors are getting used to this new norm and are spending ample time in identifying the solutions to bridge the skill gaps in employees. One way could be providing bite-sized learning material to the employees. A lot of e-learning platforms have paid and free courses that employees can take to get skilled. Further, employers should encourage social learning, where employees can share their experiences and support each other.

4 Reasons Remote Work is Here to Stay | Ray Nelson, Devprojournal.com

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Even as states reopen and some employees begin returning to the office, remote solutions are here to stay – not just as a safety net in the event of a secondary wave, but because of their value to employers and their workforce.

  1. Increased Productivity

Two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home increase their overall productivity, while 86 percent of employees say they’re more productive working from home, free of office distractions. No longer do water cooler conversations eat into the day or loud colleagues distract their coworkers. Employees instead report that being close to family and friends encourages them to work faster and more efficiently.

  1. Decreased Stress

Fundera found that 82 percent of telecommuters report lower stress levels than when they were physically in the office, and 80 percent note that their morale is higher when working remotely. Reduced anxiety and better attitudes translate to better, harder workers, while also having the potential to reduce healthcare costs from stress-related illnesses.

  1. Reduced Absenteeism

With remote work solutions, employees have the option to stay home and telework without spreading minor illnesses throughout the workplace. It also allows parents to stay home with sick children, or for employees to work if inclement weather makes it unsafe to commute.

  1. Low Operating Costs

From office snacks, coffee and utility bills to the largest culprit: rent, teleworking eliminates – or at least significantly reduces – the need for these expenses. In fact, some 77 percent of businesses say that transitioning to remote work solutions may lead to reduced operating costs, per FlexJobs. Even technology giants like Twitter, which employs nearly 5,000 people, recently announced that workers may choose to work from home permanently. Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicts that half of the company could be working remotely within the next five to 10 years.

There’s no question that the trend towards working remotely is increasing, and the last few months have provided a global case study into the benefits of telecommuting. Factor in things like Gen Z’s preference for working remotely, and it’s likely that we’ll see a 30 percent increase by 2030, according to Gartner. COVID-19 was the catalyst for the expedited push toward remote work, but the trend’s momentum isn’t expected to slow any time soon. In fact, we’re likely to see it extend to other realms, including education.

What Work From Home Teaches Us: How To Create A Great Experience | Tracy Brower, Forbes.com

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With the necessity of social distancing, masks and less amenities like cafeterias and coffee bars, the pre-vaccine workplace won’t offer all it once did. But it can still be an experience people want, that fulfills key needs. Here are a few to consider:

Provide For Connections

The most effective workplaces provide for connections that are both informal and formal. It’s the opportunity to run into a colleague in the hallway or the chance to solve a problem with a teammate during a weekly meeting. Creating offices—intentionally—where people can gather, collaborate and build ideas will best apply lessons from home and be most attractive to employees.

Provide For Choice

One of the hardest things about being home is the lack of options it has offered. Based on brain science, we know humans crave variety and stimulation and being home constantly has been predictable and monotonous for many. As a welcome alternative to home, the workplace should offer plenty of possibilities. Choice is made available through a variety of settings, surroundings and arrangements, but control is also key. People must have autonomy to sit away from a workstation—moving to an enclave for privacy or a work café to collaborate, working alone or in the midst of a buzzing community.

Provide For Safety

Creating a positive work experience mirrors the safety we perceive at home. When people feel secure, they can be their most creative. And when they feel the most appreciated, they can take bigger risks and step out on a limb toward new thinking and new innovations. The work experience can supply this kind of psychological safety by fostering strong bonds among team members and ensuring leaders are both visionary and empathetic.

Provide For Meaning

Work is part of life and the chance to spend more time with our inner circle has reminded many of us about what we find most important in life. In addition, staying home to avoid spreading the coronavirus has given us a sense of significance—a contribution to the broader community. This sense of meaning is also important for work. People are most motivated by work which is connected to a broader purpose and to which they can make a unique contribution. Leaders should align people’s talents and skills with their responsibilities, so they feel they’re adding real value.

Provide For Boundary

Work is important because it’s a critical way we contribute to society and feel valuable. But a healthy mix is important as well. All work, all the time leads to burnout and less effectiveness. The lesson from home is to give people the opportunity to manage their boundary between work and home and to empower them to have as much of both as possible.

Working from home is both exhausting and enjoyable, frustrating and fulfilling, monotonous and motivational. It is complex, but we can take what we’ve learned from working at home and inspire work experiences that provide for connection, choice, safety, meaning and boundary. It is these aspects of work and life which will be important as we go through the pandemic and—eventually—as we move beyond it.

Remote Jobs that Pay Well and Let You Travel the World | Africanexponent.com

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Thanks to the wide range of remote working tools (like time tracking apps, conference tools, file-sharing extensions, etc.) available, employers now have more efficient and reliable resources for tracking the amount of time remote employees spend on their projects. As such, managers can ensure that productivity stays unhindered.

So, what are actually the top jobs for remote work today? Is it only developers, English tutors, and writers who can live the dream?

Digital Tour Guide

These days, a lot of travelers prefer to embark on independent exploration adventures. At times, all they need are a few knowledgeable tips from a professional wanderer. If you have visited a lot of places or simply know an area, city, or even a region as the back of your hand, you can try writing sightseeing guides or help fellow travelers navigate to the best restaurants and nightspots in the city.

Social Media Manager

It is not uncommon for businesses to invest both time and money into creating comprehensive social media campaigns to build up their brand presence. If you know your way around Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok and have what it takes to adjust to the ever-changing trends, you may find your skills in great demand by a vast pool of employers.

Bitcoin Trader

If you know more about Bitcoin than the average person and are willing to take the time to gain more expertise in the area, you may just become one of the trailblazers into the world of financial freedom for those eager to invest. As Bitcoin belongs to no particular country and allows for flexible money transfers between both individuals and institutions, you may find a variety of employment options in the Bitcoin trading field.

Data Analyst

An analyst’s ability to scrutinize the collected data and leverage it into strong decision making can make or break a brand. If you don’t mind spending a lot of your time going through Excel sheets and numbers do not make your dizzy, a career in data analytics may give you the freedom to stay out of the cubicle and under the sun.

Remote Personal Assistant

Times have changed and these days, quite a lot of the assisting actually goes on online. From posting content on social media and making Amazon purchases to answering email and filling in Google Calendar events, there are lots of tasks in the online world that one might want to hire a remote personal assistant for. Some of the skills you will need for the job include diligence, organization, and a pinch of agreeableness.

How about you? Have you thought about making the transition into working remotely?

Remote Work Digest: May 29, 2020

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

4 Key Employee Engagement Success Factors | Kellie Wong, Business2community.com

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Fully engaged employees have been shown to be 21 percent more profitable. Address employee disengagement in the workplace can help your business’s bottom line and overall success. Here are some of the biggest employee engagement success factors, and how to make improvements that raise both motivation and productivity.

Employee engagement success factors to cultivate

Employee engagement boils down to the quality of your company’s relationship with its people. Do you show workers appreciation? Do you give social rewards in addition to monetary ones? Do employees feel comfortable and empowered to speak their minds, share good ideas, and encourage coworkers?

Here are some of the major factors that affect employee engagement and how to improve them.

  1. Company culture

Your culture is made up of values and behaviors. Make engagement itself a value and encourage engagement as a behavior. Seek to increase collaboration as much as possible and support making social connections.

Explain your company’s overall mission and tell every employee how their individual work helps to further that mission. This gives your team a sense of purpose and belonging, which are important for a strong culture of engagement.

  1. Employee participation

Everyone has ideas and encouraging employees to share their thoughts has benefits: you not only show that you value their intellectual capabilities, but you might get some useful information, as well.

Give employees a platform where they can easily share their ideas with all levels of the organization. Allow people to have open conversations about work, education, or even on social topics. Because even conversations that aren’t directly about how to work better can strengthen social ties and cohesion.

Finally, encourage employees to recognize each other’s accomplishments. Not only does it spread warm, fuzzy feelings between coworkers, it makes people feel they are empowered to give praise.

  1. Good management

Employees need managers they can respect: competent, smart leaders who aren’t in it for the sake of their own egos. You need to coach your management team on engagement strategies, ensuring they watch employee progress while constantly giving feedback and emotional engagement.

  1. Frequent recognition

Without the work employees do every day, your company couldn’t exist. Make sure to express this! It’s especially important that managers and leaders give recognition, as it’s proven to be a powerful form of reinforcement. Recognition should be frequent, as 85 percent of employees who were recognized weekly said they felt satisfied, and 75 percent of employees who were recognized by management at least once a month reported high levels of job satisfaction. And yet, most employees do not receive recognition from management frequently enough.

Make it a priority to recognize your employees on a frequent basis and make the act of recognizing a social activity everyone in the company can get involved in. Recognition is the leading driver of employee engagement; don’t lose sight of this massive opportunity to improve your business and employee experience through recognition.

10 Surprising Work-From-Home Franchise Opportunities | Don Daszkowski, Forbes.com

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Within franchising, there are a surprising number of home-based business opportunities. And what’s even more surprising is that you don’t need to be an expert or especially skilled in any certain field. For example, you can run an educational franchise without a teaching certificate. Generally, the skills needed to run most franchises are business acumen and motivation. The franchisor will teach you the rest.

Below are 10 business sectors you might never have considered for work-from-home opportunities.

Education

Often run as after-school enrichment programs, they require relationship-building skills to generate business. Owners develop partnerships with schools, daycares and community centers and offer add-on programs to existing curriculums. Once the relationships are in place, the business owners enjoy recurring revenue and can introduce additional programs, such as camps.

B2B Services

Being in a business that serves other businesses usually means recurring revenue and large-ticket jobs. Although many are home-based, these businesses usually require several vehicles and the ability to lead a crew of workers. Many times, franchisors have relationships in place with large companies, allowing the franchise owner to walk right into big contracts.

Business Consulting

As a work-from-home consultant, you can be trained to run a business that helps other professionals. These “white collar” franchises offer services like career coaching for individuals. They also work with businesses and provide services such as reducing expenses or acquiring funding.

Franchise Consulting

A career as a consultant can be extremely rewarding for folks who like to help people and make a difference. Offering a great work-life balance, franchise consultants can choose a part-time or full-time schedule and reap the rewards of the effort they put in.

Senior Care

This valuable service helps keep seniors in the comfort of their own homes longer. Services include everything from bathing and meal preparation to running errands. Many senior-care franchisees start out in a home-based setting and scale into bigger operations that are run from outside offices.

Home Services

Most home-services franchisors are looking to partner with people who can run businesses. They generally have low overhead and high margins and, depending on the business, they can offer a great work-life balance.

Property Management

Investments in rental properties are at an all-time high and have created a demand for property management services. With little overhead, many business owners can run the entire operation themselves, with no need for employees.

Vending

Today’s machines operate with sophisticated technology that automates payments and alerts owners when more stock is required. Because of a demand for healthier options, you will see them filled with items like protein bars, trail mix and gluten-free pretzels rather than candy bars and chips.

Mobile Businesses

As a business owner, they are generally fun and easy to run and provide a built-in marketing vehicle — literally. Whether it’s a food truck or a service van, whenever you are out on the road or parked at a job, your wrapped vehicle will grab attention and generate business.

Pet Services

If you love animals, you can find a home-based business that caters to our furry friends. There are pet grooming, pet training and even pet poop pick-up services. These are feel-good businesses that can bring in repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.

If working from home during quarantine has you thinking about making the leap to owning your own business, franchising offers a wide array of choices for different interests and skill sets.

Productive remote workers do these 5 simple things every day | Elizabeth Grace Saunders, Fastcompany.com

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As a time management coach, I’ve been partnering with my clients in navigating the transition from working in the office to working at home and back again. And I have found those who use these five strategies have been able to increase their overall productivity when working from home.

  1. They convert their commute

Among the individuals who have found working from home to be a welcome change, I’ve seen a fairly similar pattern of converting their commute time into exercise time. Typically in the morning, they’ll workout (or at minimum walk their dog). And in the evening, they’re often choosing to go on more leisurely walks either on their own, with their dog, or as a family.

  1. They block focused time

One good thing about being at home is that you have physical distance from your coworkers, so you can block focused time and stick with it. I recommend that you either have recurring focused time in your calendar, such as for an hour or two in the morning. Or that on a weekly basis you block in some chunks of time for the key activities you want to get done, such as putting together a report or writing an article.

  1. They schedule meetings

To further increase your predictability and productivity, ask your colleagues to schedule a meeting with you to talk, especially if the meeting will require any forethought. It’s helpful to have meetings scheduled, so you can effectively plan your tasks around them and so that you’re in the right headspace to be present.

That being said, these meetings don’t have to be long. If you think something should only take 30 or even 15 minutes to discuss, ask for a meeting of that length to be scheduled on your calendar. There’s no need to stretch every conversation out to an hour.

  1. They update their status

In order to be fully mentally engaged in what you’re working on during your focused time, in can also be helpful to update your online status. That could mean designating yourself as “away” on Slack or otherwise unavailable on IM or other internal communication tools. This declaration of your intention to not be available at a certain time can insulate you from the thoughts in the back of your head that “someone might have messaged me about something important” or “I might miss something and annoy someone.”

  1. They resist the urge to self-distract

With all external distractions eliminated, our mind can sometimes unhelpfully search for ways to distract itself. Especially for extroverts, when the environment is most calm, the drive to find more stimulation is most high.

If you find yourself in that kind of situation, look for ways that you can increase the stimulation in your environment without reducing your productivity. That might look like listening to music that helps you get in the flow, using a standing desk, or simply placing your laptop on top of a high counter or bureau, so you can shift your weight as you work.

You may find yourself returning to the office soon, or you may find that working from home has become your new lifestyle. Wherever you see yourself on the spectrum, these strategies can allow you to be most effective on the homefront.

Eight Benefits Of Encouraging Employees To Disconnect On Time | Forbes Human Resources Council, Forbes.com

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Knowing when to pack it in for the day is as important as knowing when to start working. Below, eight associates of Forbes Human Resources Council examine the benefits that come with encouraging employees to disconnect after a long day’s work, and how this could help both the business and the employee in the long run.

  1. Avoiding Employee Burnout

It is too easy for employees to feel the need to answer every email. One practice is to ensure managers are not contacting employees after hours. An easy fix is for managers to schedule emails to be delivered during work hours. Encourage employees to take vacation time — you can deactivate their service during their vacation and reactivate when they return. – Patricia Sharkey, IMI People

  1. Promoting Work-Life Balance

Promoting a culture of work-life balance will lead to increased employee engagement, enhanced employee productivity, reduced attrition and improved company brand perception. – Ochuko Dasimaka, Career Heights Consulting, Inc.

  1. Improving Efficiency

Research shows that humans need downtime and brain breaks for maximum efficiency. We’ve found that our staff is more productive and eager to work when they’re well-rested, healthy and have taken some time for themselves. That’s why at our weekly all-hands we do a green/yellow/red check-in to be sure we’re all in a good headspace to start the week. – Yolanda Lau, FlexTeam

  1. Higher Productivity Levels

While leaders should encourage work-life fluidity, an important aspect of that is taking the appropriate amount of time to truly be “offline.” When people are happy in their personal lives, they’ll be motivated to succeed at work. And, when people have time to disconnect, they are given more mental capacity to bring creativity into their work. – Lisa Sterling, Ceridian

  1. Increased Creativity and Engagement

We find that when employees are given the opportunity to unplug at night and on weekends, they are recharged and refreshed and come back to work with higher levels of creativity and engagement. When employees are more engaged they are more innovative and productive! – Diane Strohfus, Betterworks.com

  1. Higher Retention Rates

When employees are encouraged to disconnect at the end of the workday and on weekends, they come back to work with increased creativity, higher job satisfaction, and increased retention rates because they aren’t burned out. Employees who can take time off to unwind also tend to feel more valued by the company as an individual, rather than feeling like a replaceable piece of the business. – Laura Spawn, Virtual Vocations, Inc.

  1. Building Respect and Loyalty

If workers know that they are treated as whole humans, then they will return the favor by committing to their employer. Retention of refreshed, productive and energized employees will result in successful execution of goals and will create impactful careers. Both employees and companies benefit from protected downtime. – Jessica Delorenzo, Kimball Electronics Inc

  1. Honoring Employees As People

Employees need a chance to recharge. Using evenings and weekends as personal time empowers employees to pursue personal interests, spend time with their families and rest. During work hours, they can be fully engaged in their work, and perhaps even more creative because their brains and bodies are refreshed. It’s also a way of honoring employees as full people rather than as cogs in a machine. – Courtney Pace, Ph.D., FedEx Employees Credit Assoc.