Remote Work Digest: December 31, 2020

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

Why remote working and working from home aren’t the same – and how to accommodate both options | Jason Aten, Inc, Businessinsider.com

Too often we confuse remote work with working from home. The two aren’t the same. It isn’t just semantics, either. The words we use, and the way we talk about things is important. It communicates what we value, and using the wrong words can not only cause confusion, it can devalue your team members and the way they work.

Working from home is a temporary thing you do every once in a while.

It means that the work you usually would do in your office at your desk, you do from home for a day, or maybe two. In many companies, working from home is what you do on Thursdays because you don’t have any meetings, so you figure you’ll get caught up on the presentation you’re working on without the interruption of a colleague stopping by your desk.

Remote working is not just a circumstance, but rather a way of working.

If you work remotely, you don’t have a desk at your company’s office somewhere. Instead, you’re probably responsible for providing your own desk in your own workspace, usually somewhere in your own home. 

When you work from home, you still use the tools and technology your company gave you, you just log on to your own internet connection. It’s OK if you don’t have everything you need at home, because you’ll be headed back to the office tomorrow anyway.

That’s not the case with remote work, and it requires a completely different set of tools and systems. Often, you have to create your own systems, and the place you work gets a lot more attention since it’s likely what your colleagues will see every time you log on to Zoom. Don’t underestimate the level of stress that goes into having the perfect background — or at least, one that isn’t cluttered with toys and laundry and pets. Or, as we call it at our home, real life. 

It also means having a different set of skills. Setting your calendar and agenda for the day is different when you work remotely. Productivity and accountability look different as well. It’s time we start treating them that way. 

X Misconceptions Related To Employee Tracking | Bhok Thompson, Greenprophet.com

Not too long ago, time tracking was time consuming.

While tracking time has been widely accepted as a viable way to improve productivity, filling out lengthy Excel sheets has commonly been viewed as an additional task.

As a result, the practice of time tracking has been known to face a lot of resistance in corporate scenarios.

However, things have changed. Today, there are specialized time tracking software that automate the part of time tracking that feels like a “task”.

Time Tracking Leads to Micromanagement

Many employees dread the idea of time tracking because they believe that it will lead to micromanagement. Now, there is no denying that there are many examples of micromanagers in almost all organizations. Be that as it may, if a manager isn’t someone who likes to micromanage their team, a time tracking software is not going to change that.

In fact, after the initial adoption period, employees can use their own historical time tracking data to justify a realistic workload and make realistic commitments to their managers.

Time Tracking Leads to Employee Burnout

This point is especially worrying to many nowadays when remote working is becoming popular. With blurring boundaries between homes and offices, the rigid office timings are also blurring and many professionals are reporting working well beyond their ‘normal’ working hours.

Contrary to popular belief, time tracking can help organisations and individuals solve this problem. With time tracking, employees can stay productive during the actual office hours and set boundaries that allow them to have personal time. At the same time, organisations will be able to ensure that their employees are giving their best during their official working hours.

Employees Will “Forget” Tracking Time

Nowadays, time tracking is automated to a large extent. Therefore, there’s not much left to ‘forget’.

Moreover, it is important for employers to communicate the individual benefits of time tracking to their employees. This way, they will be more motivated to keep track of their own time and the ‘forgetting’ incidents will be limited to a minimum.

Conclusion

The fact that there are so many misconceptions surrounding time tracking has been a significant deterrent in the adoption of this awesome productivity technique. However, we hope that this article will help you see the benefits of time tracking and implement it in your organization.

Checklist: How to effectively lead your remote employees | MYRECRUITMENT+, Smartcompany.com.au

How to lead remote employees effectively is a question on the minds of many SME owners. HR, managers, and executives control a workforce that exists mainly through virtual encounters, and must reassess operations and procedures to ensure efficiency is embedded in every process. 

To assist you in your learning to lead a remote workforce, here’s a checklist for you to use as a guide in revealing where your strengths are and where you can improve.

Communication

  • Do I implement a seamless communication system?
  • Do my colleagues have someone else to communicate with if I’m unavailable?
  • Even when I’m unavailable, do my colleagues know how to contact me in case of an emergency? 
  • Have I implemented scheduled hours? Why/why not?
  • Have I confided in my colleagues and employees whether they are content with the current communication channels?

Collaboration

  • Is there any tension between colleagues that I’m aware of?
  • Do I receive regular feedback from colleagues/employees? 
  • Does the business provide the appropriate tools & resources for efficient collaboration? 
  • Have I put daily/weekly exercises in place for team bonding (thus more effective collaboration)? 

Training

  • Do I have standardized training material?
  • Do I have a procedure in place to ensure the new hire receives training material specific to their department? 
  • Do I have a system in-place that allows full transparency so I can view who has completed their training, and who hasn’t?
  • Do I have a system in-place that allows full transparency so I can view which employee is up-to-date in the latest training material, and which employee requires more training? 
  • Do we take advantage of an LMS? 

Why is this checklist relevant?

Communication

It’s the key to running a remote workforce. 

If employees have a question, they must receive answers within a suitable time frame. In order to overcome misunderstandings, you need to eliminate processes that encourage miscommunication. 

A strategy for this? Ensure all employees have contact numbers and someone they can contact at any time (in the working day) for immediate assistance. You, as a leader, must act as the glue that keeps your team well bonded and functioning holistically.

Consider using tools that provide you with a 2-way bulk sms and email communication channel. This will allow you to quickly and efficiently provide stakeholders with recent updates.

Collaboration

Regardless of the company’s location (remote or in the office) teamwork is crucial for productivity. Employees that are motivated have higher job satisfaction, thus higher productivity.

So, how do you incorporate company culture to a workforce that is spread over states, and perhaps even the country? 

Organize weekly meetings, perhaps a Monday morning (to talk about weekly goals), and Friday afternoon (to discuss achievements). Make it compulsory for everyone to attend. Whilst working from home allows flexibility, don’t forget that working your standard 9-5 job comes with requirements and responsibilities, so don’t be afraid of maintaining compulsory activities.

Training

The global pandemic has resulted in consistent updates regarding operational regulations and restrictions. In order to be compliant with these regulations, your employees must be up to date with training of current workplace procedures.

This includes hygiene practices, wellbeing exercises, operational restrictions, social distancing strategies etc. The consequences of being noncompliant (internally or externally) results in large fines, and an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Business owners should consider investing in a LMS system so new hires and existing employees receive identical training material. This promises consistency in knowledge and expectations.

Communicate, collaboration and training are closely entwined, and are the three main components to be considered when deciding a strategy to lead remote employees due to the dire consequences of overlooking their significance.

15 Ways to Maximize Your Productivity and Earnings | Kim Porter, Dollarsprout.com

Though you might use an eight-hour workday to benchmark your productivity, research suggests workers are only productive for about three hours during that time frame.

Here are 15 ways to boost your productivity and earning potential.

  1. Find your most productive hours.

To find your golden hours, listen to your body to get a sense of when you feel focused and motivated to tackle big projects. Plan your day so you’re doing the highest-priority work during your most productive hours, while routine tasks can be done when you don’t need as much concentration.

2. Figure out which office lifestyle is best for you.

Some people work best independently, while others thrive in an office setting. “In my experience, introverts really tend to enjoy working from home because they are energized by alone time,” says Alexis Haselberger, a productivity, time management, and leadership coach. “Extroverts tend to have a harder time working from home for the opposite reason; they are energized through time with others.”

3. Track and limit time spent on each task.

After a few months in the same role, you probably know how long it takes to complete your normal, routine tasks. When you need to schedule one, allot a reasonable amount of time and aim to get it done within that time frame.

4. Schedule your week.

Racheal Cook, business strategist and productivity expert, says she creates a weekly Google Calendar and first blocks out time for family, friends, and fun. She then blocks out major work tasks during defined hours to help create boundaries between work and her personal life. If you don’t make time for both, “then work can quickly take up every available moment in your week,” Cook says.

5. Give yourself periodic breaks.

Working at 100% capacity at all hours just isn’t sustainable. “If you don’t take regular breaks, you risk burnout,” Haselberger says.

6. Make time for personal and career development

Career development could include attending a training course for the next step in your career, watching a self-development seminar, or reading a book. Investing time in yourself might mean skipping billable client work now, but it boosts your earning potential over time. And focusing on personal goals can help you round out your work-life balance.

7. Avoid meetings if possible.

While meetings can be an efficient way to collectively brainstorm ideas and create solutions, more than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings, according to one estimate. But if you must have one, Haselberger offers these tips:

  • Ensure every meeting has an owner. This person schedules the meeting, sets the agenda, and facilitates the discussion.
  • Only include necessary attendees. Information can be disseminated to others on a need-to-know basis via other means.
  • Always have an agenda. The owner sends the agenda to all attendees. It should state the objective, items for discussion, and any relevant materials to prepare attendees.
  • Define the goal for the meeting. If you don’t know what you hope to accomplish, don’t schedule a meeting.
  • Decision vs. discussion. Decide whether the purpose of the meeting is for decision-making or brainstorming and discussion.

8. Outsource or delegate work if you can.

Whether you’re running a business or part of a large project with co-workers, everyone has a strength and a role. Delegating or outsourcing work means “letting others do what they can do, so you can do what only you can do,” Marshall says.

9. Avoid time wasters.

Distractions can torpedo your workday. These come in the form of household chores, co-workers or kids, and emails and notifications. “Most people check email on average 37 times a day,” Haselberger says. “Every time we are interrupted or distracted, it takes, on average, 23 minutes to refocus.”

10. Create your own work processes.

Creating resources like processes, checklists, and pricing structures allows you to do the thinking and the work just once. Having the documentation will also help if you plan to grow your business in the future, Marshall says.

11. Automate tasks when possible.

Collaborating with project management tools, using accounting software, and scheduling social media posts are some other ways to automate tasks.

12. Exercise regularly.

Exercise does so much more than lower your blood pressure and help you fit into your jeans. In one study, employees who visited the gym said they were more productive, managed their time more effectively, and had smoother interactions with their colleagues. Exercise can also:

  • Boost your concentration, memory, and creativity.
  • Help you learn faster.
  • Lower your stress levels.

13. Take time to rest and recharge.

Rest will look different for everyone, but here are a few ways to make it happen:

  • Block off at least one day a week where no work is allowed.
  • Practice self-care, which generally means sleeping enough, eating well, and exercising.
  • Take a “mental health day” if you need it.
  • Make time to visit friends and family. But don’t be afraid to say “no” to social visits if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

14. Get enough sleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. What’s considered “enough” varies by age and person. But generally, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, the CDC says. Here are some ways to help that happen:

  • Save caffeine for the morning, and cut it from your afternoon and evening.
  • Get into a consistent sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, including on weekends.
  • Don’t use smartphones and other devices right before bedtime. They emit light that can mess with your circadian rhythm and ability to fall asleep.
  • Avoid exercising and eating close to bedtime.

15. Make good food choices.

While any food generally fuels your body, some types of food are better at promoting productivity. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Have healthy food choices available. In particular, fruits and vegetables have been shown to promote curiosity, motivation, and engagement. Nuts are also a healthy option.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. A meal full of protein and complex carbohydrates gives your body the energy it needs to get through the day.
  • Graze. Hunger can lead to lower levels of productivity, so have a steady stream of healthy snacks on hand to eat throughout the day.

Learning strategies to harness your focus and energy will help you use your time more meaningfully and efficiently.

This list serves as a starting point for taking care of yourself, setting goals, and squashing the time wasters that don’t contribute value to your work or personal life. You can start with one or combine a few into a more comprehensive strategy. Whether you’re freelancing or pushing for a raise at your full-time job, one thing is true: greater productivity equals more money in your pocket.

Remote Work Digest: November 29, 2020

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

How to be more productive working from home: 9 rules for the “now normal” | Jonathan Thompson, Atlassian.com

A major new global study into remote working, conducted by Paper Giant for Atlassian, found that 40% of respondents felt that working from home translated to significantly longer hours.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. As we move away from traditional office spaces, there are a number of hacks and tricks you can deploy to boost your own productivity. The goal? To hit all of your targets without impinging on your wellness or work-life balance whatsoever. Read on for our nine science-backed, expert-approved principles of self-productivity.

1. Master desk-scaping

First, try “zoning” your home office, by creating separate spaces for reference materials, supplies, and long-term projects, before assigning discard dates to as many as possible. Then clear your desk itself and only replace items that are essential for daily use.

Finally, add pops of color wherever you can – from a picture on the wall, to a screensaver or even your choice of mug. Color can have a major impact on mood, with greens and blues particularly proven to increase productivity, so reach for that ocean vista or add a leafy plant to the proceedings. 

2. Embrace mono-tasking

The brutal truth is that very, very few of us can efficiently multi-task. In fact, it’s roughly 2% of the population, according to Professor David Strayer of the University of Utah, an expert in cognitive distraction. The problem is that when we bounce from task to task, we aren’t actually getting more done. Instead, we’re forcing our brains to constantly switch speeds, steering through tasks more erratically and burning out our internal gearboxes. The answer is to slay the multi-tasking monster, and embrace mono-tasking.

3. Plan tomorrow, tonight

The Paper Giant study discovered that 44% of workers believe it’s now more important to know how to motivate themselves apart from the parameters of office life. One of the best ways to do that is with a to-do list – and the best time to make that list is the night before.  

4. Make a not-to-do list

You’ve made your to-do list now, but if you want to be truly productive, you’ll need the opposite, too. A not-to-do list should be a permanent addition to your workspace, featuring all of the time-wasters that are obstructing your daily goals – from checking social media, to clicking on cat videos, to wandering into the kitchen to wash the dishes.

5. Block out your flow times

Your “flow” time is when you’re most efficient: a period of hyper-focus when you work most smoothly. For some people it’s early in the morning, for others it’s the afternoons or evenings. Once you’ve identified yours, block out 90 minutes in that window each day for pure, deep work on your biggest tasks. 

6. Prioritise Pareto and Pomodoros

Named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 Rule) states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions, and vice versa. In other words, to become more productive, you must identify the 20% of your work that is having that 80% impact, and always prioritise it. 

Next, you should maximise your minutes spent working on this crucial 20% via the Pomodoro Technique – a series of 25 minute focused “sprints” on a task, followed by a complete five minute break each time.

7. Learn to nap like a pro

The secret is to harness your body’s natural circadian rhythm and employ a 20 minute power nap (sometimes called a Stage 2 Nap) in the mid-afternoon, to boost your memory, cognitive skills, and creativity.

By restricting yourself to just 20 minutes, you reap the aforementioned benefits without falling into deeper REM sleep, which will leave you feeling groggy and disoriented. To maximize your energy, drink a cup of coffee immediately before your power nap. Researchers have found that caffeine takes about 20 minutes to show its physiological effect, so it will kick in just as you’re waking.

8. Dress for success

When you’re working from home, it doesn’t really matter how you dress – or even if you dress at all below the waist. But not making a sartorial effort is a major mistake when it comes to your productivity levels. The act of preparing for the day ahead, including the selection of slightly smarter clothes, sends a message to your brain that it’s game time – and that sparks more mental energy.

9. Set up a “force quit” to your work day

“Overworking can lead to stress and burnout, harming not only your productivity but also your overall mental health and wellbeing,” says Graham. “Instead, set a firm time to bring your work day to a close and stick to it at all costs.” If you struggle with this, find an accountability partner – a colleague, friend or manager – and set up a call to officially end the day. A hard finish not only means a softer start to the following morning after a good rest, it also means you’ll work faster and more efficiently each day, knowing that your finish time is non-negotiable.

Put these tips to work right now

Want to get the most out of the advice in this article? Pick two tips and implement them right now.
And then, if it happens to be the end of the day where you are, call it a night and start fresh in the morning. Tip #9 makes good sense, right?

Five things to consider when organizing a remote work Christmas party | Kate Palmer, Globalbankingandfinance.com

Things will have to be a little different this year due to the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. While the easiest, and cheapest, option for employers is to not go ahead with their annual festive plans, in the spirit of keeping Christmas alive some may choose to organize a remote party.

Some important things that employers should be aware of.

  1. Even with something that can be considered a ‘treat’ for employees, people who are working carers, have been struggling with work-related stresses, may not want to partake in a Christmas party this year, however well-intentioned it may be on the employer’s part. It is therefore advisable that remote parties should be optional and not constrained to a certain timeframe in which staff must be in attendance.
  2. Employers should ensure that those in attendance do not feel excluded from any activities during the party. For example, if an employee does not drink alcohol and a virtual wine tasting activity makes up the bulk of the event, such a person would not be able to contribute to the fun and may therefore feel left out.
  3. When attendees and potential attendees, have been established and the activities have been finalized, it is in the best interest of the company to send out emails to them. It should detail what is expected of them at the event and highlight that the same conduct is expected of them at a remote party as it would be at an in-person event.
  4. Similarly, employees should be made aware that the same grievance produce applies – to ensure that if company rules are broken by an employee or a grievance with the company itself, the affected employee will be able to raise this with the company.
  5. Finally, while employees can use their social media accounts in their own personal time, including at work social gatherings, employers must ensure that the use of social media should be done in a manner that does not adversely affect the company’s reputation.

Remote parties are the perfect way to ensure that social distancing rules are adhered to and that employees are rewarded for their efforts, there should be a mutual sense of responsibility on the part of the company and its employees.

Remote work and self-care: The place you work and live | Sima Baldisserri, Iamexpat.nl

How can you manage to work remotely while creating the healthiest environment for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being? Here are a few self-care tips that may help to create your flexible workspace:

Your office at home

Create a space that is as separate from the rest of the house as possible.

No matter how small your living space is, do not work everywhere, because this will make you work beyond work hours. Instead, you want to maintain a distinct mental separation of your home and associate each room or corner of your living place with its own function.

Brighten your day

Choose a corner in a well-lit room and if you could place your desk near a window that would be perfect!

Having a well-illuminated office/desk by natural light produces several positive effects on your well-being: better quality and duration of sleep, greater predisposition to physical activity, prevent eyestrain and, in general, increased quality of life.

Life is in the air

Increase ventilation by opening doors and windows at least three times a day for 10-15 minutes. This is also the best practice to protect from viruses and bacteria. Living in a healthier and more comfortable environment improves mood and quality of life and reduces the risk of complaints, such as headaches, eyestrain, and feeling of tiredness or drop in concentration.

Declutter your workspace as often as possible

It is much better to manage the little space you have effectively as a home and office than to completely turn your whole living space into an office, a clean and clear workspace can reduce your stress, help you focus, and also keep work from interfering with your home/personal life.

Sense of smell

When working remotely, some of the most common complaints are decreased attention and performance, as well as mood swings, which often have an effect on the quality of sleep. The ability to smell comes from the olfactory sensory neurons, these cells connect directly to the brain. This is a reason why essential oils can be a very valid help: it is sufficient to have a diffuser where you add from 5 to 7 drops of chosen essence.

A better work-life balance

These self-care tips for remote working can apply to anyone looking for better ways to manage their lives, time and have a better work-life balance. Your home and workspace is an extension of your energy field, by taking care of it, you are a step further away from physical and mental complaints, and a step closer to your well-being, and when you feel good, your relationships and work benefit from it.

6 Best Employee Appreciation Ideas your Staff will Love | Sofia Peterson, Thehackpost.com

If a company wants to grow, it must ensure that its employees are working efficiently as well as effectively.

But how can you manage the work of your employees? How can you know if they are dedicated or not? These questions can be answered by providing employee motivation or employee awards. These are some ways in which you can show your staff that you care –

1.The employee of the month.

If you start selecting an employee of the month based on employees to work performance and give them any hike in salary or prize for this, the employees will work harder due to increased competition and desire to win.

2. Certificates of appreciation

If you provide every employee with certificates whenever they perform a task marvelously, their pride will increase, and they will feel motivated to perform more such tasks as everyone wants pride, self-esteem, and respect.

3. Company journals or magazines

Whenever any employee performs an exceptional task, you can mention his name in the company’s journals or magazines. This will make him feel attached to the work, and their pride will be enhanced. Nothing is the biggest motivator than self-esteem.

4. Small get together or celebrations

Many times employees have to make lots of efforts for a particular task which makes them feel that the work is tedious and their efficiency reduces. To avoid such situation, you can organize small get-togethers or small celebrations after every radius task. It will ignite the fire of motivation in employees.

5. Monetary incentives.

Suppose an employee has become the reason for earning unrealistic profits, you can give him a share in profits. Similarly, if employees are working on festivals or doing night shifts for meeting the deadline, you can provide them with a bonus.

6. Performance-based pay.

Suppose there are workers in a manufacturing unit, you can give them pay according to their performance. For example, if a worker makes eight units, he will get 50 rupees per day, but if a worker makes 12 units per day, he will get 70 rupees per day. It will motivate workers to work more so that they can earn more.

Financial incentives can be bonuses, free transport, gifts, etc., while non-monetary ones include more respect, pride, and recognition in the company. Once employees start to feel themselves to be a part of the company, they will work in a much better way. Just motivate your employees and make your company touch the sky.

Remote Work Digest: October 30, 2020

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

The 10 Best Ways To Make The Most of 2020 | Amy Blaschka, Forbes.com

From a global pandemic, countless natural disasters, growing social and racial unrest, and a substantial political divide to balancing working from home and remote learning, navigating the uncertainty has been challenging.

The good news is that we still have a chance to salvage the year. Here are the 10 best ways—one for each week left of the year—to finish strong

1.Protect your time

How and with whom you spend your time and your productivity while doing so, demonstrate your focus and commitment to what—and who—matters most. When you master time-management, you’ll learn to say no, do, decide, delegate or delete tasks, batch routine tasks, eliminate distractions, embrace mono-tasking, get to know—and work—your own rhythms, and build in breaks to recharge.

2. Become more self-aware

Self-awareness is not just about knowing how you move through the world; it’s about knowing how your energy affects others. This perspective allows you to understand that everything is connected—your interactions with other people, how they perceive you, your attitude, and your responses to them in the moment—and all can be enhanced through better self-awareness.

3. Brush up on your soft skills

Last year, LinkedIn released its annual Global Talent Trends report, which explored the four big trends fueling the future of the workplace. Topping the list? Soft skills. 

This finding underscores a fundamental truth: At its core, business is about relationships. No matter your job function or title, to succeed, you must interact with other people. And those who find a way to combine their hard skills with soft skills create environments that empower and ignite their teams, delight their customers, and fuel sustainable growth.

4. Embrace four words to communicate and connect better

No matter your industry or profession, four words have the power to change your results instantly: It’s not about you.

The finest leaders understand that by putting others first and adopting a service mindset, they can improve their communication and connection, establish trust, deepen relationships, and build business.

5. Get curious

When you’re curious, you’re open. Open to exploring new ideas, experiences, and possibilities. Open to meeting new people and learning new things. Open to leaving behind outdated mindsets and limiting beliefs to make room for your highest and best self. And it’s that openness—that curiosity—that fuels growth.

6. Dare to be a “career contrarian”

“Career contrarians” share the ability to adopt an often unpopular perspective and make it work for them. Instead of conforming to conventional or practical approaches, education, or paths, they seek alternative means to career fulfillment.

7. Listen more than you talk

The benefits of listening are numerous. Active listening demonstrates respect, builds trust, and makes people feel valued. It creates a virtuous cycle: we naturally gravitate toward those who listen to us, and when we feel heard, we open up and share.

8. Stop hiding behind fear

Fear is a powerful emotion. It often masquerades as a cloak of protection, keeping us from doing things that may cause us harm. But sometimes, the real damage comes from the inaction that fear enables.

We avoid at all costs those things that make us uncomfortable, but there is no growth in the status quo. Sooner or later, that caution and those fears that prevent you from getting hurt or put on the spot stagnate you.

9. Share your wisdom

Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. But it transforms into something truly powerful when it is shared.

Why? Because all the wisdom in the world is meaningless without application.

10. (Re)tell your career story

Properly crafted, your career story helps to differentiate you from your competitors, highlight your value, and to draw others to you. It provides a common thread that weaves together your personal and professional experiences, as well as your transferable skills, making it easy for others to connect the dots.

5 Reasons To Invest In An Employee Time Tracking Software | Thebossmagazine.com

Working remotely comes with its challenges. One of the major challenges is keeping a check on work productivity, which can be made easier with the help of an employee time tracking software.

Tracking Productivity

The biggest benefit of a time tracking software is that you (as the manager) get to see how your employees spend their time. Once you are aware of this, you can set work priorities in order to achieve optimum results within a given timeline. This in turns helps in maximizing work productivity.

Measure of Progress

An employee tracking software helps you gain an insight of the employee’s current position and provides a measure of his overall capacity. With this knowledge you can motivate them to work on a particular aspect that is lacking from their end.

Prioritizing of important tasks

A time tracking software gives a clear view of the progress of an ongoing project by the number of hours being spent on each task within the project. This enables the manager to prioritize urgent work by re-assigning resources for high-priority projects. 

Better project management

The better the management, the more confidently you can take up new work. Whether it is resource capacity estimates or the work timelines – all this data will help you establish your upcoming projects and even keep your budget in check.

Transparency in billing

Since time tracking is transparent, it removes confusion around what role each employee is fulfilling. It also clearly reflects how an individual employee is utilizing their time. This helps in reducing discrepancies regarding time and cost when discussing a new project with a client. 

Conclusion

Investing in a time tracking software can increase the revenue being generated whilst focusing on higher productivity at the same time. Every organization can utilize it in their own way and reap its benefits.

How to reduce your energy bills when working from home this winter | Naomi Gordon, Housebeautiful.com

With personal finances under strain and a long winter ahead, Michael Meiser at LED lighting specialists, Lumilum, gives his top tips for lowering your energy bill while working from home.

  1. Reorganise your workspace

If you aren’t alone in working from home, setting up a shared office space will mean you use less electricity for lighting and will stay warmer without heating the whole house. If you need to take a call or jump on a video conference, temporarily move to another room.

  • Be clever with your heating

‘Check the temperature your boiler is set to for hot water. Even decreasing it by 1°C could save up to 10 per cent on your heating bill,’ Michael reveals. ‘So that you only get the heat you need, put the boiler on a timer. You can also set your thermostat so that the boiler will kick in if the house gets too cold. An acceptable indoor temperature for office workers is 20 degrees.’

  • Switch off at the end of the day

Working from home means more devices will be powered and charged, but ensure that you fully switch off any device you are not using, chargers included. Even in sleep mode, devices use energy and lose charge, so avoid leaving them on standby. This simple change could save you an average of £80 a year, according to The Energy Savings Trust.

  • Get the right lighting

Aim to set up your workspace in a room with plenty of natural light to reduce your use of artificial lighting. Remove anything that’s blocking natural light and keep curtains and blinds fully open.

  • Find a better deal

Seeing as working from home and a more flexible approach to remote working is here to stay, it’s time to revisit your energy plan, and that means not settling for standard tariffs, which are often the most expensive.

  • Cut back in the kitchen

The kitchen is often seen as the forgotten cost of working from home. ‘If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, only boil the amount of water you need (it’ll be quicker too!), use the right size pots and pans to cook food faster, and defrost your dinner the natural way during the day,’ Michael explains. ‘Just like when you’re in the office, prepping lunch for the week ahead by batch cooking will save you time and energy.’

The complete guide to remote IT support for small business | Chris Souza, Itproportal.com

Here is a complete guide to help small businesses initiate remote IT services.

Begin with considering these critical aspects to support employees who work from home.

Check if employees have access to the required productivity tools

Your remote teams should have complete access to all the essential cloud-based productivity tools. This will help facilitate the sharing of files, effective communication, easy collaboration on projects, and initiation of meetings.

Consider a situation where employees experience technical issues with centralized productivity tools during a pandemic outbreak like the Covid-19 pandemic. This critical scenario demands the need for the availability of a robust remote platform that works offline while providing access to all productivity tools.

List tasks that can be handled remotely

This will help stakeholders plan the completion of important tasks to be prioritized and specifically handled from home.

Audit available technology resources

Obtain an overview of hardware and software resources that are available and if there is a need to purchase or upgrade resources. This will include an upgrade of internet packages and cloud-based productivity suites.

Take charge of cybersecurity

Remote employees should be educated about the sensitivity of data they will be handling and the risks that accompany this task.

For example, cybercriminals may take advantage of the current Covid-19 pandemic to entice victims into clicking on malicious links that offer information about a “cure.” Such instances can be better managed by having all the employees connect over a virtual private network (VPN) remotely.

Set a communication protocol

It is important to put into effect a protocol that defines how regularly communication among the team members needs to take place to improve collaboration. This should include the following:

  • Appropriately schedule check-ins and meetings, breakout sessions, and project updates on a particular time of the day
  • Have a structured facilitator and agenda to take care of the preparation work in advance
  • Ensure to send follow-up emails to summarize discussed points and outcomes of meetings
  • Test the technology used in advance when addressing a larger audience

Train employees on cybersecurity

Employees should be provided with comprehensive training on handling sensitive data, the features available in tools provided, and how best to use them. This kind of training will help them understand their responsibilities and remain productive.

Maintain helpdesk support services

It helps to maintain a 24*7 help desk support services for the remote workforce to address any technical or functional issue. This helpdesk support service should be able to troubleshoot and answer questions remotely.

Manage the team with empathy

A survey by Buffer reveals that remote employees grapple to unplug from work, tackle loneliness, and have problems with collaborating with their team. Organizations must address these social elements and use technology to overcome these challenges during a pandemic. Managers can plan one-on-one meetings or team meetings through video conferencing. They can also arrange for brainstorming sessions to generate ideas. 

Wrap up

Implementing effective work-from-home policies is slowly but surely becoming the new normal. The above-mentioned aspects and best practices will help organizations in the seamless transition of their workforce to the remote working environment. This information will also provide you with a deeper understanding of the significance of maintaining productivity tools and data security for the remote workforce.

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: July 28, 2020

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

Feeling lonely despite lockdown lifting? Here are 8 practical hacks to help | Bianca London, Glamourmagazine.co.uk

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Claire Chamberlain, the author of UnLonely, share 8 practical hacks for beating loneliness. From improving self-care to cultivating relationships, she offers practical advice for looking after your mental and physical wellbeing, which is more important than ever before.

Embracing alone time

Sometimes, by turning your attention inward – to your own needs and passions – you can learn to form a deeper and more meaningful connection with yourself, helping to transform your loneliness into a productive and far less frightening state: solitude. By using your time alone to pursue creative, fulfilling, enjoyable and fruitful activities, you may find that the deeper connection you were seeking was within you all along.

Prioritise your wellbeing

In order to remain (or return to feeling) positive, looking after yourself is important. Simple things like taking a hot shower each morning and using your favourite shower gel, picking an outfit that makes you feel good, enjoying a hot cup of tea, doing a spot of mindful colouring, getting out for some exercise and cooking yourself a tasty dinner each evening can go a long way to boosting your mood and your self-esteem.

Consider your diet

Taking the time to look after yourself includes fuelling both your body and mind well, so that you have the energy and strength to maintain a positive mindset and feel physically great. Eating a good balance of lean protein (such as tofu, pulses, beans or lean meat), wholegrain carbohydrates (such as wholemeal pasta and bread) and healthy fats (such as avocados and oily fish), plus plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables, will keep you feeling energised all day. And, of course, the occasional treat doesn’t go amiss either. Eat mindfully, eat with joy and eat for happiness!

Be more mindful

Spending time focusing on your surroundings can help to ground you in the here and now, taking you firmly into the physical world and away from thoughts, worries and anxieties. Reconnecting in this way can help you feel more at one with the world. To get started, begin to notice your surroundings or your bodily sensations. If a thought arises that takes your mind away from “now”, acknowledge it without judgement, then draw your attention back to the present moment.

Get some fresh air (every day)

There are so many reasons why stepping outside into the fresh air each day is good for your mind, body and soul. Research has shown that regular walking can boost both your mood and self-esteem, while also easing feelings of anxiety and depression, and reducing stress levels.

Lose yourself in a good book

Reading can help you forget any worries or loneliness you may be feeling, allowing you to enter and inhabit a completely different world. What’s more, reading does not have to be reserved for your home: carry a book with you, so you can dip into it when you’re out and about, perhaps in your local park or while you’re waiting in a queue.

Cook from scratch

There is so much joy to be had in flicking through recipe books, discovering mouth-watering dishes, buying fresh ingredients and taking your time preparing a delicious meal. Making the effort to cook properly at least a few times a week can feel so rewarding, and it is a fabulous way to show yourself a little love.

Express gratitude

Taking time each day to think about all that you have to be grateful for in your life has been proven to have a positive impact on almost all areas of life, including enhancing self-esteem, increasing optimism, boosting energy, deepening relaxation, promoting feelings of kindness, improving sleep quality and – crucially – strengthening social bonds.

4 skill you can add to your resume that your’ve learned from working remotely during the pandemic | Hayden Field, HerMoney, Businessinsider.com

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In cover letters, job interviews, or conversations with your current employer, emphasize the skills you’ve built during the pandemic that can help advance your career, says Megan Fasules, a research economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Be honest about your experience. Few people will want to hear that you handled everything perfectly during these challenging times, but many will want to hear how you handled it and emerged with strengths that you’re proud of, says Amanda Bates, a career services director at NC State University and career coach with The Muse.

Here’s a rundown of actionable career skills you may have reinforced over the past few months.

Communication

“Communication is king,” said Fasules. “That tends to be the number-one competency overall regardless of a pandemic, but it’s even more so now.” Since most workers aren’t able to interact in person during this time, they’ve had to hone communication skills in other areas, such as email response time and Zoom call etiquette. In an office, communication looks different, says Bates — you can see people, read people, walk up to someone, and share information. In the age of COVID-19, verbal and written communication skills are paramount.

And it’s not just about communicating with coworkers — those in client-facing professions have had to get creative in finding ways to connect and be persuasive without typical communication strategies. These skills are “transferable across all occupations,” said Fasules. For example, many health care professionals have pivoted to all-virtual visits via phone or video chat, and that can require additional expertise in communicating, says Bates.

Time management

During a global pandemic — and the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty that comes along with it — many have found time management much more difficult than usual. If that’s you (and you’re not alone), there are ways to turn what you’ve learned into successful takeaways for your career.

Think about the way in which you’ve approached your daily schedule, listened to yourself, and attempted to work smarter rather than harder, says Fasules — when you were in “work mode,” how did you focus, and in “home mode,” how did you separate yourself from email and Slack pings? “Many of us were in sink-or-swim mode for so long we didn’t actually realize we were building that muscle,” said Bates.

Productivity

In your next cover letter, interview, or review session, describe how you figured out your own work-from-home “rhythm” — how to set the priority levels of different projects, separate professional and personal time, double as your own manager, solve your own day-to-day problems — and how you’re going to apply those skills in your career, says Bates. For example, she says, in a cover letter, interview, or raise conversation, you could point out that during the pandemic, you learned how to meet the goals of an organization regardless of where you are and how to do it in an efficient way, using specific skills.

Conscientiousness

“You get hired for extraversion, and then you get raises for conscientiousness,” said Fasules. She cites research published in 2016, which suggests a correlation between extraversion and starting salary (but not salary growth), while on the other hand, “conscientiousness was unrelated to starting salary growth but significantly so to salary growth.” During a job interview, for instance, warmth and high energy often associated with extraversion could help a candidate’s odds of selection, but researchers suggest those qualities won’t necessarily propel a career forward as much as the intrinsic motivation and organization often associated with conscientiousness. “Figuring out how to prove you are a conscientious worker at the start is tricky and would be very beneficial,” said Fasules.

Try to break down the idea of being “conscientious” — in your view, what makes up that quality? It could incorporate empathy, focus, respect, efficiency, or determination, for example. So in your cover letter or interview, instead of saying you’re conscientious, you can show it with examples or by talking about the things that matter to you. For example, if you see empathy as a key ingredient in being conscientious, you could point out how during COVID-19, you threw out typical email jargon and replaced it with genuine phrasing, aiming to check in on the people you correspond with — clients, fellow employees — in a way that shows you truly care how they’re doing.

Don’t Procrastinate: Teach Your Kids Time Management Skills | John Rampton, Entrepreneur.com

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How can you teach your kids these basic time-management skills? Here are ten ways to accomplish that feat with some ideas that will stick throughout life.

The sooner, the better.

It may seem like over-parenting, but you can begin teaching basic time management skills to toddlers. Preschoolers are even capable of completing small tasks in short time blocks, such as brushing their teeth or putting away their toys.

Establish a routine and stick to it.

As your children get older, however, you’ll want to help them establish a daily routine. The reason? It lets them know “what is going to happen and who is going to be there, it allows them to think and feel more independently, and feel more safe and secure,” says Dr. Myers. “A disrupted routine can set a child off and cause them to feel insecure and irritable.”

In addition to some much-needed structure, this can help them become more accountable. And it gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with them.

Some obvious places to start setting simple time goals would be:

  • A morning routine, like eating breakfast and getting ready for school.
  • An after school routine, such as chores and homework.
  • An evening routine that could include dinner, brushing their teeth and reading before bed.

Have them make their own calendars.

Whether if it’s a DIY, old paper calendar, or an app like Cozi, get them involved in the calendar creating process. As a family, list your commitments and add them to the calendar. To prevent any confusion, use color-coding so that everyone has their own color for their own schedule. Most importantly, keep this in a location that’s easy to access and review.

Set priorities.

It’s essential kids learn to differentiate between ‘have-tos’ and ‘want-tos’ and learn to prioritize and self-monitor,” Marcia Grosswald, an upper-elementary resource teacher, told Scholastic. Grosswald uses the popular rock, pebble and water analogy, where students’ duties are represented by the rocks and pebbles.

The rocks, however, signify their most essential tasks, like school and sleep. The pebbles represent extracurricular commitments. And, the water stands in for want-to-dos, such as hanging out with friends.

I use a jar to represent a day,” says Grosswald. “The rocks go in first because they are things you have to do whether you like it or not. Next, come the pebbles. But there’s still some room in the jar, so we pour water until our jar — and the day is full.”

Help them measure time.

In order to make a realistic schedule, you need a good sense of how long things take,” says Grosswald. “I give them a chart that breaks the afternoon and evening hours into 15-minute intervals,” she explains. “Each time slot is followed by three columns: what kids plans to do, what they actually did and reflection.”

Make it fun.

As an adult, it’s hard to imagine how something like time management can be fun. But, it is possible by making it a game. Heck, you may even use gamification yourself to boost your productivity.

As for kids, I suggest you explore the Timex Time Machines app. In a partnership with Scholastic, there are interactive games, lesson plans and activities to teach children in Grades 1 through 3 core time-telling concepts.

Stop being a helicopter parent.

Let’s say that they just started a new school year. Because they have a new routine and teacher, which means new expectations and rules, they may be anxious. Instead of telling them how to handle this situation, let them voice their concerns and develop solutions to this problem.

When they’re older, let them create their own routine, and let them be flexible with their schedules so that they have free time. Your role, then, would be to coach and reward them as opposed to dictating every minute of their time.

Don’t over-schedule your kids.

What happens when you overcommit and pack your calendar too tightly? You probably feel like you’re always on the go. More troublesome, you may feel like you’re always behind. And, you don’t have the wiggle room to address the unexpected.

Designate a study zone.

If you’ve ever worked from home, then you know how important it is to have a dedicated workspace. I’d even go as far as to say that this should be a top priority when it comes to time management.

The reason? It lets you block out distractions like the TV or noisy family members, and it helps you distinguish between your work and personal lives.

The same idea is true when it comes to children. They should have a designated study area that’s quiet and free of distractions so that they can focus on their homework.

Be a role model.

Finally, the best way to help your kids get a better grasp of time management is to set a good example. As psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore explains, “Good modeling doesn’t guarantee that children will do what we want them to do, but telling children ‘do as I say, not as I do’ definitely won’t work.”

You’ll want to keep your own goals under control, meaning that if you’ve been emphasizing the importance of a schedule, and you’re failing at time management, they’ll pick-up on this inauthenticity.

5 ways to transform employee experience during the Covid-19 crisis | Yogita Tulsiani, Indianexpress.com

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The crisis is disrupting the work culture, helping companies induce new ways of working and communicating with employees. There are several different ways in which the management and leadership are driving an impeccable employee experience during the ongoing crisis.

Becoming a full-time leader in building trust

At this time, employees want to hear the words of encouragement from influencers in the company. The leaders are taking a bigger role in rebuilding trust and reconciling employee communication. By creating a clear plan of communication and connection with employees, engaging them to share their opinions and concerns during the crisis can help them bring sustainability and credibility at the workplace.

Focusing on employee’s resilience and well-being

To improve employee experience, companies must stay strong with their employees than having them left in the dark during the crisis. A clear understanding of challenges and their emotional and financial condition can help them reshape their experience. The main focus of leadership and talent management teams is to keep their employees well-informed, safe and positive during the time of uncertainty.

Embed relationship-building strategies

To build strong relationship strategies, managers can take potential actions in developing employee to employee relationships and make them come together to listen, talk and work on tasks like never before. Moreover, they can also embed the ideas of virtual talent shows and peer-recognition sessions to strengthen professional relationships.

Maintaining employee productivity and engagement

The Covid-19 crisis has made the companies worry about the employees’ productivity and efficiency. The better way to go is to make them understand the company’s vision and business goals. The visibility of a clear vision makes the employees be more productive and pay more attention to their designated tasks. For larger organisations, making the right use of communication technology can help in delivering the required message at the right time.

Nurturing growth through online learning

Companies should make a comprehensive plan for learning offerings for employees. They can build a team of talent managers, IT, and learning delivery partners for remote training of employees. Once the clear view of learning is in place, managers can prioritise what needs to be built.

To get a clear picture of how employee experience is going to create long-term sustainability for the company, establish a list of effective employee communication strategies. Powerful analytics can assist talent managers to have a better sense of employee experience. Besides, making effective use of technology can enable them to make the employees stay informed and productive while being more transparent and open to their managers. Evaluating different assumptions and understanding their implications on business post-COVID-19 is the key to improved employee experience.

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.

Remote Work Digest: March 31, 2020

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

5 Productive Things You Can Do While In Quarantine | Blair Flood, Money.com

Life's short, spend it productively

If you’re among the thousands of Americans who suddenly find themselves with extra time in their day due to new work from home policies (less commute time) or temporary leave, we came up with these 5 productive things you can do while in quarantine to help you keep your sanity.

1. Learn about the stock market to be prepared

Market sell-offs create huge buying opportunities. A Motley Fool Stock Advisor membership provides you with the market research you need to navigate these difficult times.

Once you figure out what to buy, you’ll need to figure out how to buy. In just a few years, Robinhood has become one of the largest stock trading apps in the country, offering commission-free trading and an easy way to start investing. They offer you the ability to start with as little as $1 and buy fractional shares, so if your favorite company’s stock is a little too expensive, you can still get involved.

2. Make sure your credit report is in good shape

Don’t make the same mistake! There are sites that allow you to see a free copy of your credit report and services that help you monitor your credit in real-time. This will allow you to catch any errors before you go to apply for a loan or credit card. Spending a few minutes now to make sure that your credit report is in good shape could save you a ton of time down the road.

3. Keep your mind busy by learning a new language

Learning a new language has been on my to-do list for years, and I’m finally checking it off. I want to be fully prepared once it’s safe to travel again, and to be honest, it’s not taking nearly as much time as I thought.

4. Use this time to compare prices on your home and car insurance

If you don’t own a home, but are still looking to save some money, getting an updated car insurance quotes is a great way to find savings. MONEY’s recent article The Best Auto Insurance for 2020 is a great place to find a few companies to get quotes from. Even if you don’t end up switching, it’s a good idea to see what you can save.

5. File your taxes

If you’re sheltered in place, tax preparation software is the way to go. Most companies offer free online software, but charge extra for assistance. I learned the hard way that paying the extra fee can be worth it if you have a complicated filing (like getting a letter from your city saying that you owe them taxes from over 4 years ago… You can always add on the assistance later if you need it, so start with the free version and see how far you get.

Now, Relax!

You’ve earned it. Call that friend you’ve been wanting to video chat with for a while, relax with a glass of wine delivered to your door, read that book that you started over Christmas break and never finished, or spend time making a home-cooked meal.

How to maintain employee performance during COVID-19 | HRD, Hcamag.com

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The majority of organisations have focused on scenario planning and necessary operational responses to ensure business continuity during COVID-19, according to Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice.

However, these plans often do not address, nor impact, employees’ ability to focus on their work, Kropp added.

According to Gartner, HR should help managers at all levels do six specific activities to ensure employees get the requisite support to tackle the emotional response:

Sense employees’ need for support

Managers need to recognize signs of distress among their people, both directly through conversations and indirectly through observation.

To facilitate regular conversations between managers and employees, HR should provide managers with guidance on how best to broach sensitive subjects arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including alternative work models, job security and prospects, impact to staffing, and tension in the workplace.

Promote dialogue to build understanding

Two-way communication with managers and peers provides employees with the information and perspective they need, while allowing them to express and process negative emotions and improve their feelings of control.

HR leaders should help managers create opportunities for two-way dialogues that focus on a realistic picture of both the positive and negative implications of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Use objectives to create clarity

Clear objectives and regular updates on possible changes will help ensure employees maintain focus, energy and a sense of purpose.

HR leaders can help managers reassert the link between employees’ work and organisational success by providing visibility into the current organisational goals and translating the organisation’s vision into their employees’ context.

Reinforce organisational values to reduce the like hood of misconduct

Apart from modeling the right behaviors, managers should encourage whistleblowers to call out unethical behaviors, remind staff of the channels for reporting misconduct, and highlight punitive measures for noncompliance.

Tailor recognition to acknowledge employee efforts

Recognition can take many forms other than monetary rewards — public acknowledgment, tokens of appreciation, development opportunities and low-cost perks.

For organisations facing a slowdown in business, managers can take this opportunity to provide development opportunities to employees who normally do not have capacity. This reinforces the organisation’s commitment to the long-term success of the employee.

Drive engagement via innovation

While managers and employees may understandably become more risk-averse in this uncertain environment, it is these times of change and disruption that innovation and risk-taking become even more important for employee engagement and organisational success.

The disengaging effect of constraints on innovation and risk-taking are particularly severe for high-potential (HIPO) employees who tend to have a stronger desire for these types of opportunities.

15 easy kitchen hacks that will transform your life during lockdown | Laura Nightingale, Getsurrey.co.uk

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With the nation on lockdown, if you get bored at home these tricks will certainly inspire you.

1. Tissue box

Fill an empty tissue box with carrier bags, bin bags or food waste bags and pull them out as you would a tissue.

2. Egg cartons

Don’t waste that last drop of sauce. Instead pour it into plastic egg cartons to make single serve portions.

3. Freeze milk

There are lots of foods that can be frozen which you might not realise, including milk.Frozen milk should be thawed before it is used and be sure to give it a big shake before you pour it to ensure all the solids and liquids have been fully mixed.

4. Microwave bread

You can make bread in the microwave, yes really. Plus it takes just 90 seconds to cook. For the full recipe click here.

5. Pasta recipe

Did you know you can make pasta from scratch with just four ingredients and it takes under 10 minutes to make? Watch this video here showing how to make it in a flash.

6. Jam jars

Clean, empty jam jars can be used for a whole host of things including tea light holders, mini vases for wild flowers and, our favourite, for keeping food in.

7. Hang cleaning products on a rod

If the cupboard under your sink is a mess and you can never find that bottle of kitchen cleaner, make a rail for them. Screw a metal rod into the cupboard and hang the handles on it to make more space.

8. Saucepan handles

If you didn’t know, the reason why there is a hole in a saucepan handle is so that you can rest a wooden spoon in it.

9. Put paper towels in the salad drawer

Kitchen roll absorbs the condensation that vegetables generate as they chill. So put a layer of paper in the fridge draw to keep them fresher for longer.

10. Wine bottle watering can

Use your empty wine bottles as watering cans to feed the plants. Alternatively, they make a fancy water carafe for the kitchen table.

11. Coffee jar vase

Bigger than a jam jar, they make excellent vases.

12. Planter box milk cartons

Simply cut them in half, fill with soil, pop in seeds and watch your flowers or herbs grow. It’s great fun for kids and they can decorate the boxes too.

13. Banana pancakes

If you can’t get hold of flour, eggs or milk, you can still enjoy pancakes with this healthier alternative. Just mash one banana, blitz an handful of oats into a flour consistency, mix them together and then fry in a pan.

14. Nice cream

Nice cream as opposed to ice cream because it’s nice and healthy. It’s virtually fat free and has no refined sugars. All you need to do is cut a ripe or over ripe banana into chunks and freeze. Once frozen remove and blend it with a splash of milk to a thick and creamy texture. You can customise it however you like. We like blitzing frozen strawberries with it too for yummy strawberry and banana nice cream.

15. Flip your cereal bag before opening

Hate finding crumbs at the bottom of your cereal packet? Don’t throw them away or suffer with a mushy breakfast. Just shake the bag each morning to distribute all those little bits.

6 productivity tips for staying on schedule when working from home | Hope Reese, Techrepublic.com

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Working from home can also bring distractions from friends, family, social media, new obligations at home––especially if you’re sharing space with others––and reinventing schedules. All these things are likely to throw you off your routine. As a result, it’s easier to lose track of time or miss out on the regular reminders about important workplace meetings.

Here are six tips from productivity experts about how to stay on schedule and not miss out on important workplace meetings:

1. Create a new alert infrastracture

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the international bestseller The Happiness Project. As someone who has dedicated a lot of thought to examining the best way to live a productive and fulfilling life, you could call her an expert on setting healthy habits.

“I’m losing my sense of time,” Rubin told TechRepublic. “I usually know exactly what time it is, and what time of day it is, and it’s getting lost. So, even if you don’t usually depend on calendar alerts and putting Post-it notes up, you might find you need to build up more infrastructure.”

2. Make it clear to others that you are home, but you are still working

If you have roommates, a partner, or kids at home, working at home might make it seem as though you’re more available for activities around the house or hanging out. And while the great benefit of working from home is the increased flexibility, it’s critical to make sure you maintain a healthy boundary between your home life and your work life.

Gently inform others who might be distracting you from your work schedule that you need to stick to your schedule. If it’s you who is creating the distractions, make sure that you keep yourself accountable by setting hours and sticking to them. Close the door to your office area, if possible, or put in headphones to block outside sounds.

3. Stop messing around on Instagram

To counteract your social networks’ ease of use during work hours, remove them from your browser shortcuts and, according to Fast Company, log out of every account. You might even consider working primarily in a private or incognito browser window. This ensures you stay signed out of all your accounts and each web search you conduct doesn’t autocomplete the word you’re typing. It’s a guarantee that you won’t be tempted into taking too many social breaks during the day.

4. Write down your schedule – and stick to it

Rubin suggests writing things down on paper to stay on track. “Without the infrastructure and the social aspects of seeing people come and go, you might forget. You might have to prepare something for Friday, but you feel like Friday is an eternity away,” she said. “Yet time is still passing, so you might need to write things down more explicitly.”

5. Create your own workspace

It’s key to make a space that feels like it’s meant to get work done. That means avoiding your bed and sofa, if possible. “I think a lot of people would benefit from reimagining their space,” Rubin says. “You might even need to move your childrens’ bedrooms around to make a work or study space.”

6. Double-check your tech

Many of us have experienced the dreaded moment when your conference call has started, but you’re not able to get into it. Maybe your internet connection is slow. Maybe you haven’t downloaded the proper software. Maybe you haven’t checked your audio. For those working at home in the age of COVID-19, the problems could be amplified––maybe other people in your space are loud, and you can’t hear the meeting. Or you’re juggling multiple meetings online and finding it hard to keep track which one you’re supposed to join.

Are you suited to be a remote worker?

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Do we need traditional office spaces anymore? Because remote work statistics and research prove we don’t.

2015 study by Stanford University pointed out the benefits of employees working remotely — such as less time spent commuting, lower costs, and greater autonomy. Over the years, experts have given advice on how to be more productive at home, and on remote work trends.

But what about the actual, on-the-job requirements? What do professionals need to do to succeed as remote workers? And are companies investing in these employees just as much as their on-site counterparts? How much training do remote workers get, and how is this remote workforce training delivered? This survey answers all these burning questions.

We took a peek inside the notebooks of 450 remote workers.

We asked remote workers how they work on a daily basis. We used their responses to reveal some new remote work statistics that portray the state of global employment.

We also used our data and answers provided by remote workers to create a quiz and help you determine whether you’re suited to be a remote worker. Fingers crossed you are!

As of 2019, the number of companies with remote workforce is getting bigger — 66% of companies allow remote work and 16% are fully remote.

Time to know if you’re suited to join them, and how to do it.

Remote work: What is it?

Remote work comes in different forms. There are people who work remotely a few days a week, and others whose companies are hundreds of miles away, so their entire work is remote.

No matter its rising popularity, remote work is still in its infancy. So, businesses are still testing different models to see which ones work for them.

In this survey, we defined remote workers as those who work at least 3 days a week remotely and only have one employer at the moment.

 

Remote workforce training: Viable, popular, valuable.

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Businesses are investing in training now more than ever. For instance, Siemens invests $500 million a year in employee training. Training remote workers cannot be an exception.

In fact, 87% of remote workers get regular training, with 70% receiving it directly from their company. And, as for those who do want training but their company doesn’t provide it, they choose and pay for courses they find online.

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No matter who pays for training, it seems like remote workers want more of it.

Sixty-seven percent of remote workers say they need more work-related training, and it comes as no surprise that 85% receive it online.

More specifically, 50% take online courses, 22% use their mobile phones to learn, and 13% attend webinars.

Fifteen percent receive training by attending seminars.

Whether you want to onboard or train them in regular intervals, remote employees work in a completely different way. Do you want to know how? Keep reading to find out.

Remote work: A business life choice.

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Remote work is gaining popularity. And not just because more businesses understand what remote work is and decide to run without a physical office.

So, 85% of remote workers say that remote work was their decision because they wanted more flexibility, to make their own hours, and to live a carefree lifestyle.

But do they get what they want?

Flexible and remote: A big, fat myth.

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Sixty percent of respondents have to follow a 9-5, 5-days-a-week work schedule. How’s that more flexible than an on-site, average job?

Regardless, working wrapped up in a blanket, in your PJs, is far cozier.

This could be the reason only 20% of those who work from the comfort of their own home would rather go back to working in a company office.

A day in the life: Profiling the home office scouts.

Let’s take a more extensive look at our remote work survey statistics and demographics.

Most of our remote workers are women (58%), married (46%) with no children (41%), and an income between $25,000 and $80,000, earned by working remotely in the US. Thirty-nine percent are university graduates and 20% have finished high school.

Seventy percent of employees working remotely are between 25 and 44 years old. Of course, as the age rose, both income and educational background rose as well. This finding alone suggests that remote workers advance naturally within their company — exactly as if they worked on site.

Our respondents come from many different industries, and they’re all employed for wages. For the record, 72% found their jobs online, with Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor taking the first three places.

Contrary to popular belief, only 28% of our remote workers describe themselves as introverts. Thirty-eight percent identify themselves as ambiverts and 34% as extroverts.

When they feel lonely, 43% use communication apps, 37% visit the office, and only 15% work from a public space.

Apps: Combating 9-5 loneliness.

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The general feeling of loneliness remote workers might feel became more obvious when we asked them about the tools they use the most. Three out of the top 4 apps they use are all about communication — either with their team or their friends.

With 14%, Dropbox is the first non-communication tool remote workers use. With only 3%, Trello is the second one.

Other apps remote workers use include Asana, Zoom, Evernote, as well as apps made by their company.

Loners: Productivity freaks.

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Some remote workers might feel lonely, but almost no one feels unproductive.

Ninety percent feel they get more work done when working remotely. To boost their productivity, they’ve worked on skills like organization, communication, and time management.

But what about staying focused?

Noise: The sound of remote work.

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Spending most of their time in front of a computer, remote workers rely on their ears to stay focused. Twenty-five percent work with their TV on to feel like someone is talking in the background (hello again, 9-5 loneliness), while 21% focus in silence.

As for the music they like? Forty-two percent work with music on, whether meditative or loud, and 11% prefer new-age, ambient sounds.

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Home tour: Where do remote workers really work from?

Most remote workers want to keep working from home. Do you want proof of that? Take a look at their floor plan. Most of our respondents have invested in creating a special, dedicated space to work from.

More specifically, 31% work in a home office; a finding which proves remote workers are, indeed, changing the housing market and help the home office furniture market grow.

In any case, looks like remote workers need a separate, distraction-free space to increase remote work productivity, gather their thoughts, and work.

Satisfaction and remote work: A love story.

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As for what the future of working from home holds, 35% of remote workers want to work more days remotely, while 16% want to go freelance someday and work with multiple employers.

However, 6 in 10 remote workers would like their job less if they had to say goodbye to their home office and visit their company every day to do the exact same job.

Remote work: Highly recommended.

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The truth is that word of mouth favors remote working. A lot.

A whopping 88% of those surveyed would recommend a remote work career to a person they love and care about.

Go ahead and ask a remote worker you are friends with. You must know one or two. And if you don’t, with this growing pace of change, you’ll definitely meet one in the near future.

Do you have what it takes to be a remote worker?

As part of the TalentLMS Remote Work Survey, we asked our respondents to pick the most important skills a successful remote worker should master. Some of them include:

  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication
  • Self-discipline

After combining the data, and remote work statistics aside, we created this quiz to help you determine whether you are a good fit for a remote work career.

This article was originally published on Talentlms.com, a super-easy, cloud LMS to train your employees, partners and customers. It is fully customizable to your own needs, with simple and comprehensible analytics about everything that happens inside your eLearning environment. You can create your eLearning portal with TalentLMS in just 30”, here: https://www.talentlms.com/create

 

Remote Work Digest: June 20, 2019

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

5 Tips For Working From Home With Kids | Anthony Caruana, Lifehacker.com.au

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In this era where working from home and freelancing from a home office is common, there’s a new challenge to overcome. While working from home can help with the work/life balance, there are times when the kids can tip the scales away from work at exactly the wrong moment. After almost a decade of working from home with kids around, and after speaking with a few similarly challenged friends and colleagues, here are some of our favourite tips.

Establish some ground rules
Set some ground rules and stick to them. For example, if the kids see you with headphones on, they need to know that means you’re on a call and can’t be disturbed unless it’s urgent.

Communicate
Firm communication that teaches them about your work day and commitments is key. For example, while I was working yesterday, both my step-sons were home from school. I explained to them that I had an important call and that for those 30 minutes I needed them to keep a little quieter than usual.

Schedule time for work and kids
It may be a work day but if the kids are around you need to make time for them. Plan your day so there’s a mix between work, play and other activities. For example, schedule meal breaks and allow for time every hour to chat, organise an activity or to join in with play time.

Be creative
If you’re planning to work from home, have a list of different activities you can use to keep the kids busy. Mix up the indoor and outdoor play – six hours of iPad time is not a good way to encourage healthy life habits.

On the work side, if you need an escape hatch with some quiet, why not take calls and process email in the car, where it’s quiet, while it’s parked in the driveway and the kids are playing outside.

Involve the kids in your work
When you plan your work day, look for opportunities to involve kids in your work. For example, when I think about story ideas I sometimes ask the kids what stories they think are most interesting and why. I get them to read some of my work and ask them to write about things that interest them. That way, we’re working together.

How to take a Working Vacation That Actually Works | Serenity Gibbons, Thriveglobal.com

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Not all “workations” are created equal. A productive one takes planning and balance: Too much work and too little vacation (or vice versa) can defeat the purpose. But done correctly, working vacations are an opportunity to experience the world without having to worry about falling behind.

Ready to try a working vacation? Before you book:

1. Get your team on board.
Remote work may be a staple at many companies, but not all of them are used to team members taking working vacations. Make sure everyone knows you’re not totally unplugging; you’re working intermittently.

Once your team knows you’re not going AWOL, determine your priorities together. Outline what you want to accomplish while you’re gone. Even if you’ll have access to phone and email the whole time, account for times when you won’t be strictly available, such as on flights.

2. Choose the right destination.
Your working vacation should be somewhere you actually want to go, of course, but that shouldn’t be your only consideration. Think about the factors that might influence the work you’re doing and how productively you’re able to do it.
Wherever you go, make sure the place you stay at has internet, phone service, and anything else you need to get work done. Get an international cell phone if you frequently take calls. Pay for a hotspot if you’re worried about Wi-Fi reliability.

3. Plan your workplaces.
Cafes and libraries aren’t always what they appear from online photos. That coffee shop might be so busy you can’t find a seat. The library might only offer Wi-Fi to library card holders, and you may need a local address to get a card.

Plan for those moments by creating “always,” “sometimes,” and “never” lists. You might have a nearby friend, for instance, whose house has Wi-Fi you can always use. Starbucks is another good option for your “always” list. Local coffee shops and grocery stores should be “sometimes” choices.

4. Give yourself some breathing room.
A working vacation should still be a vacation. Give yourself at least three free hours during each workday, and plan at least one day when you don’t work at all. To give yourself stress-free time away, productivity site Calendar suggests communicating those hours to your second-in-command.

We all need vacations to feel relaxed and satisfied with our lives. When we overwork, we steal from our future for the sake of the present. Taking a working vacation is the best way to balance the two.

8 Side Hustles You Can Use To Supplement Your Remote Work | Abdullahi Muhammed , Forbes.com

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Getting a side hustle becomes a necessity from time to time. With no guarantee of a paycheck if you are freelance, you have to keep money flowing in. The key is finding something that works with your schedule, and is lucrative enough to shore up your income when you need it. As you start exploring your options, consider the following eight side hustles.

1. Consulting
With consulting, you take your existing skills and use them to help other businesses. There’s a great market for this as so many businesses need help, but aren’t able to bring on full-time staff. So no wonder that consulting is a $250 billion industry.

2. Running an ecommerce store
E-commerce is a low-cost, low-barrier way of starting your own business. You can set up shop online, and sell products from all over the world. Thanks to dropshipping and other schemes like Amazon FBA, you don’t even have to purchase stock or manage inventory/logistics. Even better, you set up your online store quickly and easily with the help of Shopify marketing experts.

3. Teaching and tutoring online
There’s a growing market for online education. Students and their parents need help from skilled tutors. Others are seeking alternatives to formal education when it comes to developing skills they need to get ahead. If you already have the in-demand expertise, and an ability to break concepts down so they are easy to master, teaching and/or tutoring online might be for you.

4. Flipping websites
Not every entrepreneur wants to build a website from scratch. Others prefer to take existing sites, and turn them into profitable ventures. You can get in on this by flipping websites on the side. There are loads of websites that no longer serve their owner’s interests, or have been abandoned altogether. As a website flipper, you find these pages, purchase them, and sell them at a profit.

5. Affiliate marketing
If you have an active blog or website, affiliate marketing is a natural next step towards building a passive income stream. With just a little effort, you can market the products and services you like to others on your website.

6. Writing an ebook or creating other digital assets
With digital products you create something once, then sell it multiple times. You can share your expertise with an eBook, provide your target customers with templates, even use your own photographs to sell as stock images.

7. Real estate
Real estate is both the most popular and most lucrative side gig that can pay up to $90/per hour. This could be due to the fact that you have so many options for entering this niche. You can take a course and obtain your real estate license, and work selling properties on the side. You can pool your money with other investors to purchase and sell properties.

8. Working as a translator/interpreter or voice tester
If you’re proficient in two or more international languages, you can make good money off of that. You can offer translations services on freelancing websites or join a company like Para Plus Translations where you get the opportunity to work on exciting projects involving translation or interpretation services.

There’s no need to enter the world of full-time employment to enjoy the benefits of good wages. Instead leverage your skills and flexibility to land a side gig.

9 Ways to Stay Productive When Working from Home | Sophia Bernazzani, Learn.g2.com

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It’s easy to assume working from home leads to less productivity, but in reality, it’s usually quite the opposite. Keeping remote employees engaged and on track isn’t impossible. In fact, it can help boost productivity. As 52% of employees work from home at least once per week, remote work is beneficial for a reboot and recharge while maintaining a strong work ethic away from the office.

To help you with time management and remain optimally productive, we’ve compiled this list of 9 ways to stay focused when you’re working from home.

1. Find an optimal space to remain productive
It’s important you have a space that signals to your brain that it’s time to focus. Plus, it’s equally critical you save spaces like your bedroom for relaxation, so you can continue to have good work-life balance. Otherwise, you might find yourself checking your email from your bed at 9 p.m. because you haven’t mentally left the office.

2. Keep a consistent routine
To ensure productivity, a time management tip is to kick off your day with the same routine you’d use if you were heading to the office. Make some coffee, take a shower, and put on a pair of jeans rather than staying in your bathrobe and slippers. Maintaining a morning routine helps you to mentally prepare for the day and get in a productive state-of-mind.

3. Stick to a schedule
When you’re working from home, there are often other demands you need to pay attention to: cooking, taking your dog for a walk, picking a child up from daycare, or switching laundry from the washer to the dryer, to name a few. To maintain focus throughout the day, it’s crucial to set a schedule and stick to it.
For instance, if you’re most productive first thing in the morning, try tackling your most difficult tasks right when you wake up. Later in the day you can complete easier tasks, like responding to emails or editing a blog post while you multitask on some of those other non-office-related responsibilities.

4. Eliminate distractions
If you think casually checking email or quickly opening Facebook isn’t a big deal, consider this: research from the University of California, Irvine found that the typical office worker spends only 11 minutes on a task before getting interrupted, but once interrupted, it takes them about 23 minutes to get back on track. To ensure long-term productivity, implement strategies to ensure you don’t get interrupted in the first place.

5. Take breaks
To ensure you’re consistently making wise professional decisions, take breaks to mentally refresh. While it might seem counter intuitive, regular breaks can actually make you more productive, particularly if your breaks include a form of exercise.

Additionally, breaks can help prevent decision fatigue. A study found Israeli judges were more likely to grant parole to prisoners after their two daily breaks. As decision fatigue sets in, however, the rate of granting parole dropped to nearly zero percent because judges resorted to the easiest option – just saying no.

6. Be transparent about when you’re online and offline
You’ll be more productive if you set clear online and offline boundaries. If you need to take your dog for a walk, set an “Away” status on your Slack. At 5 p.m. (or whenever you choose to be done working for the day), don’t respond to any more emails, so coworkers know you’re unreachable until tomorrow. If possible, incorporate those times into your Gmail calendar so when you’re offline, your coworkers will know why.

7. Make a to-do list
Checking off a to-do list is one of the simplest pleasures of a work day. When working from home, it’s necessary to have specific goals you need to meet to ensure you stay on track when Netflix or your bed is calling your name.

8. Have a set end time
To ensure proper balance, try setting up a logoff routine at a reasonable end time each day, regardless of how much you’ve finished. Jot down a to-do list of tasks you want to tackle the next day, set an away status on your messaging apps, and put your work supplies back away until the morning.

9. Maintain relationships with coworkers via messaging or video conferencing software
Working from home could hinder your ability to catch up with coworkers and form those deeper bonds like you would if you ran into them in the office kitchen. To combat this, it’s vital to maintain connections with them through internal communication tools like Slack or video conferencing software tools like Zoom. Set up regular 1:1 virtual meetings simply for the purpose of catching up so you’re never out of the loop.

Remote work is hard work
Even though you might have the luxury of sitting on your sofa while working from home, it doesn’t mean you’re not working. The work you do from home can be as productive – if not more productive than your time in the office. Don’t second guess yourself!