The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.
It should shock no one that McKinsey and Lean In’s Women in the Workplace 2022 report finds that most professional women prefer hybrid and remote work. Indeed, the benefits of ditching the traditional office setting are hard to deny—decreased commute time, fewer microaggressions, additional flexibility and time with family and, for many, increased productivity. The findings from their survey of more than 40,000 employees found that women who had this type of flexibility were not just happier but also less likely to leave their workplace, particularly women with disabilities.
While most organizations are by now well aware of soaring employee interest in continued work-from-home flexibility, many have struggled to balance its popularity with mundane operational needs and leadership preferences. The report’s findings fortunately offer five clear steps that companies can take to navigate this shift to remote and hybrid work. “For companies that are transitioning to remote and hybrid work, it’s critical to ensure that these new modes of working work for everyone,” the report explains. “This will require a mindset shift. It’s not enough to tweak old policies and practices; companies need to fundamentally rethink how work is done.”
1.Clearly communicate plans and guidelines for flexible work
Not surprisingly, communication in many ways is a vital part of the process—not just explaining the nuts and bolts of new policies and procedures but also clarifying “the why” behind key decisions. “It’s important to share guidelines about who can work remotely and why, so people don’t feel they’re being treated unfairly. It’s also important that companies provide clear guidelines to help employees navigate the day-to-day complexities of remote and hybrid work; for example, establishing specific windows during which meetings can be scheduled and employees in different time zones are expected to be available.”
2. Gather regular feedback from employees
Half of communication is listening—at least it should be—so it’s important to commit to full communication by not just announcing decisions but also gathering feedback from employees on a regular basis. Simply announcing a new process or policy without hearing from staff and incorporating their feedback won’t yield optimal, sustainable results.
3. Invest in fostering employee connectedness
While remote work offers distinct individual benefits, it can also create challenges for cultivating and maintaining team intimacy and connection. Team connection builds trust which in turn propels innovation, productivity and morale so organizations seeking to embrace long term remote work should also commit to taking proactive steps to cultivate a sense of team even when that team may not be physically collocated. “Making creative use of technology to facilitate watercooler-style interactions and team celebrations in a virtual work environment is a good start,” the report suggests.
4. Be purposeful about in-person work
“Employee expectations for in-person work are changing—in particular, many employees don’t want to come into the office to do work they can just as easily do at home,” the study finds. “In light of this, many companies are starting to refocus in-person work on activities that take advantage of being together, such as high-level planning, learning and development training, and bursts of heavy collaboration.”
5. Make sure the playing field is level
Hybrid teams can easily create a hierarchy of sorts in terms of information access, visibility or face time with senior leaders and key influencers, so it’s important for organizations to proactively work to neutralize potential disparities and cultivate a work environment that is fair, equitable and inclusive. “It’s important that remote and hybrid employees get the same support and opportunities as on-site employees,” the study asserts. “People managers play a central role here, and many could benefit from additional training on how to foster remote and hybrid employees’ career development and minimize flexibility stigma. Equal access to mentorship and sponsorship are also key, yet less than half of companies offer virtual mentorship and sponsorship programs.” The study also warns against remote employees being disadvantaged during the performance evaluation process. To support diverse work approaches organizations should make a concerted effort to emphasize results over process.
Increasingly, organizations are embracing hybrid working to maximize flexibility and hopefully productivity and team morale as well. McKinsey and Lean In’s Women in the Workplace 2022 Report reminds us that women are increasingly demanding and expecting more. Hybrid working—considered innovative and leading edge in the past—is increasingly becoming an organizational expectation. In many ways the pressure is on for organizations to pivot and reimagine the future of work in a way that is both engaging and satisfying for all.
Between work, school, parenting, chores, a social life, and volunteer obligations, your day is suddenly too full to exercise. To think, we believed getting some of those commuter hours back would uncomplicate our lives! As we normalize this more extensive “life at home,” make sure that you don’t forgo some movement. Exercise can energize your body, sharpen your mind, and break up the monotony of your day. And you don’t need to devote an entire hour-long session to enjoy the benefits.
Weave exercise into your day
Carving out multiple 10-to-20-minute exercise breaks is far easier than stepping away from your computer for a full hour. You’ll find that your motivation to complete a 15-minute circuit is higher than gearing up for that hour at the gym. Examine your workday and decide where you can structure three exercise blocks. Ideally, you’d have one in the morning, one midday, and one in the afternoon or evening. You can even multitask while exercising. Hop on that conference call while you sit on the bike, fold laundry while you stretch – be creative!
What kind of exercise is best?
When you only have 15 minutes to work out, how should you spend your time? While these short bursts aren’t great for building endurance, they are ideal for completing intense cardio or strength exercises. That time frame is also enough for meditation and stretching. Breaking a sweat in short increments allows you to bring your maximum energy level to each session rather than stalling out at the end of an extended set.
Physical Health Benefits
The top benefit of many short exercise sessions is the increased probability of completion and consistency. This method allows you to get that recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise that doctors agree is crucial for lasting physical health.
Mental Health and Cognitive Benefits
Research shows that physical activity (in this case, even as short as 15 minutes) enhances cognitive processing immediately. This finding means that a short break on the bike or yoga mat can improve your work performance when you head back to the desk. And when it comes to mental health? A short workout breaks from the stresses of emails, calls, and deadlines and gives you room to recharge. Similarly, completing a 20-minute routine can give you a sense of accomplishment, improving your mood heading into the rest of your day.
With ingenuity, it should be easy to find several short sessions each day for exercise as you work from home. Your body (and mind!) will thank you.
Working from home is becoming more popular as people seek ways to save money or improve their work-life balance. But it can be tricky to stay connected and productive when you’re not in the office. Here are seven tips and tools to help you stay connected and productive while working remotely.
1.Make sure you have a good internet connection
One of the very first tips for working from home is to have a good internet connection. You can get away with cheap internet and a spotty connection when you don’t spend much time at your house. But a reliable and fast internet connection is essential once you’ve moved to remote work.
2.Get a good headset or speakerphone for talking to clients and colleagues
If you’re working remotely, you must have an excellent way to communicate with clients and colleagues. A headset or speakerphone is an essential piece of equipment needed to work from home. A good headset should offer clear audio quality, especially if you’re making a lot of calls or video conferencing.
3.Invest in a good-quality webcam
Another essential piece of technology for remote workers is a quality webcam. If you’re doing video calls, you want to ensure that the other person can see you clearly. A good webcam will make a big difference in the quality of your calls.
4.Get an ergonomic chair and desk if you’ll be working from home for extended periods
An ergonomic chair is one of the best office chairs you could get for long hours of at-home work. And one of the best desk investments? A standing desk.
An ergonomic chair is a chair that has been designed to support the natural curvature of the spine, which can help to reduce fatigue and discomfort. Ergonomic chairs are usually more expensive than traditional office chairs, but they may be worth it if you have long working hours.
5.Stay organized with a planner or calendar
When working from home, it’s easy to let things slide and forget about deadlines. That’s why it’s important to stay organized with a planner or calendar. This will help you track what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
6.Drink plenty of water and take regular breaks to eat healthy snacks
One of my last tips for working from home is to ensure you take care of yourself. It’s easy to get lost in your work and forget to drink water or take breaks to eat. But if you’re not taking care of your body, it will eventually catch up with you.
You may not be holding down two full-time jobs, but you should know that your company is tracking when and how you work – even when you’re not in the office. Here are a few things you should keep in mind while you work.
Don’t Be Slow With Your Response
If it takes you hours to respond to work emails, you’d better have a good explanation. Employers know that meetings and other important projects may inhibit your ability to communicate quickly. But if they notice that you’re never available, it may send up a red flag that something else is going on.
Watch What You Search
Nine times out of 10, your boss is probably doing a little online shopping during work hours too. But if something goes down, you don’t want to have anything come up in your Internet search history that can be used against you, including your personal social media accounts. So whether you’re planning your summer vacation or looking for new dining room furniture, it’s probably best to do that on your personal computer on your own time.
Don’t Use Email or Business Messaging Apps to Bash Your Boss
Hopefully, you already know this, but in case you don’t, I have to tell you. Please, oh please don’t type anything in Slack or email that you don’t want your boss to know. Employers can access communication from Teams, Slack and other messaging apps, if necessary.
Even if your company isn’t keeping track of every keystroke, it’s best to be clear on their communication policy, so you know exactly what’s ok and what’s not before it’s too late. Don’t sign any agreements without reading them carefully. And if you’re using a work-issued computer, you should know that pretty much everything is fair game.