Remote Work Digest: March 30, 2021

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

Start fresh or anew: Remote work is available to entry-level job seekers | N.F. Mendoza, Techrepublic.com

The job market appears to be improving, and many companies are moving to either permanent remote/hybrid workplaces. Job seekers without much experience now have the option to secure jobs that don’t require going into the office.

Entry-level job openings are available in nearly every job category, according to Remote.co’s list of jobs, which listed in alphabetical order, positions that meet the following criteria:

  • Fully remote/work-from-home jobs
  • Entry-level career level (0-2 years of experience required)
  • Active as of March 25, 2021

It’s no surprise that for the best jobs on the market, competition is fierce. Because tech work can be found in pretty much every industry, it opens up the possibilities further.    

Remote.co’s career expert Brie Reynolds outlined four key strategies to help job applicants stand out.

  1. Discuss your skills that prove you’ll be a competent remote worker. “Include the specific skulls that make you a good remote worker, such as written and verbal communication, independent worker, organized and productive, great time and task manager and having a growth mindset are all good ones,” Reynolds said.
  2. If you’ve already worked remotely, highlight that info. Any position in which you’ve worked at a distance from your coworkers, across time zones or physical distances counts.
  3. One application does not fit all. Customize your resume for each remote job application. “You don’t have to rewrite the whole resume, but you should absolutely spend time making sure your document is keyword-rich in at least those top two sections, summary and key skills, using the same language from the job description.”
  4. Expect to be asked “Why do you want to work remotely?” Talk about how “you’re better able to focus, or you’re not worrying about catching a train home” or battling traffic at the end of the day or because you plan for a home office space that energizes and focuses you on your work. “Don’t discuss the personal benefits because employers already assume these things like getting more time back in your day and having better work-life balance.”

Guide to protecting the business when staff are working from home | Nicki Robson, Thehrdirector.com

With many companies planning to introduce software to monitor staff productivity remotely, HR experts have highlighted top steps to protect business owners when staff are working from home.

Here are the steps you can take to protect your business when staff are working from home:

1. Provide key training around the GDPR legislation

It is a key requirement for all business to train their staff on GDPR legislation. Ensure that you are providing adequate training for your team and have a data protection policy in place.

2. Sharpen management skills

Implementing good management practices that employers can follow while staff are working from home can increase staff efficiency and trust without the need for micromanagement and productivity monitoring software.

3. Strengthen communication

Make sure your business has robust communication mechanisms in place to keep employee/employer relationships strong.

4. Offer technology training

Provide employees with the opportunity to take up technology training or computer refresher courses. Once staff members are aware of how to use their technology, they will also be less likely to accidentally breach data protection laws while remote working.

It is important that you comply with data protection legislation and have adequate policies and procedures in place.

5 most common mistakes project managers make |Angela Scott-Briggs, Techbullion.com

Too often we forget how much of a difference this can make in delivering a project on time. Thus, instead of stressing about the outside factors, you should first take a look inside your own company and review how things are done. A faulty process will cause you to miss a lot more deadlines than any other factor.

To help you get started, here are the 5 most common mistakes project managers make. Correct them and you will be on your way to a more efficient timely process.

1.Lack of direction

One of the most common reasons for missing deadlines is ineffectiveness. Instead of working on a project, teams and companies lose a lot of time in trying to determine what should be done next. Thus, wasting valuable time and resources on something that should already have been done.

2. Lack of information

Similar to not knowing what should be done next, teams can also struggle to deliver work on time if they are unsure of what the task is. While it is clear to the manager what each work item entails, this information is often lost in the communication and thus time is spent on clarification.

3. Lack of visualization

Another big mistake when we talk about meeting deadlines is not visualizing your process and monitoring the flow of tasks. To make sure everything is going according to plan, it is important to track progress and identify which blockers can affect your timeline.

4. Lack of employee engagement

Employee engagement is a crucial part of any project’s success. A motivated team will deliver better results faster, while those with less incentive will be more prone to missing deadlines. But how can you engage your team without punishing them about a missed deadline? Try to involve them in the decision-making process.

5. Lack of actionable decisions

Lastly, one more mistake that causes your team to miss deadlines is too many report meetings and too few decisions. Surely, meetings are important to get in touch with your team and find solutions to issues, but too often this time is used to only report on status. In such cases, everyone simply presents what they are doing at the moment and which issues they may be facing, but no actionable decisions are discussed. Leaving the person in trouble with no help.

To make sure your meetings are about troubleshooting and helping your team, use your project management tools to track progress and evaluate project status. This way, you will not need to spend time learning what everyone is doing at the moment, and can instead discuss solutions for issues or improvements to your process. Time is the most valuable resource of any project, so make sure you spend it wisely.

How to Improve Your Work-From-Home Experience (Even After Months of Doing It) | Lucas Miller, Entrepreneur.com

In a January 2021 survey from PWC83% of employers felt that their company’s adaptation to virtual work has been successful. Also noteworthy: 55% of employees said they would prefer to work remotely three or more days per week even after pandemic concerns have completely subsided.

Of course, some people would love to return to a normal office environment, but find that corporate policies are keeping them at home a while longer. Still others are enjoying the remote-work lifestyle, but find it could use some improvements. Here are a few ways to enhance your experience.

Set clear boundaries

When you work in the same place that you live, it’s all too easy for the boundaries between work and home life to blur. This is a problem that goes both ways. If you are answering work-related messages at the dinner table, your family won’t be too thrilled with you. On the other hand, if you allow your family to constantly interrupt you throughout the day, your productivity will go down and you’ll need to work longer hours to get everything done.

Schedule regular breaks

Taking a short break every hour will actually make you more productive, not less. Breaks help you avoid decision fatigue and stay motivated to complete the task at hand. By refreshing your mind with a short break, you can also improve creative thinking.

So, if you’ve gotten into the rut of trying to get everything done all at once so you can be done with your current task before your kids need you again, call a mental mulligan. Set an alarm for each hour if needed, but don’t neglect your breaks.

Clean up your workspace

If you’ve been working from home for several months, chances are you’ve allowed a fair amount of clutter to accumulate in your workspace. However, as Joel Falconer explains for Lifehack, “Even if you are anti-minimalist, you should declutter. We’re defining clutter here as distracting material, including mess. Nothing is worse for your mental state than living and operating in a mess. Expect lethargy and crankiness and a particular level of apathy towards your state of affairs. Anything you don’t use on a daily basis should be put away, and anything you don’t use should be thrown straight in the bin.”

There is no denying that while working from home can be convenient for many, it also comes with its own unique set of challenges. By taking these steps to improve your work environment, you will be able to better enjoy your day-to-day routine, while still remaining productive.

Remote Work Digest: February 28, 2021

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

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

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

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

  1. Create a Corporate Wiki

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

2. Change Your Email Culture

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

3. Let Employees Create Their Own Schedules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product and Project Manager Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sales and Business Development Jobs

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

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

  • Channel Sale Manager
  • Salary: $124,220

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

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

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

  • Senior Sales Executive
  • Salary: $78,216

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

Software Developer Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Computer Security Jobs

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Salary: $98,350

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

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

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

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

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

Medical Jobs

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

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

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

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

  • Psychologist
  • Salary: $79,010

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

Computer & IT Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engineering Jobs

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

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

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

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

  • Software Engineer
  • Salary: $105,590

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

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

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

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

White noise lessens distractions.

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

Lighting brightens your mood.

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

Art adds inspiration.

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

Live plants improve wellbeing.

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

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

Seating doesn’t have to be a chair!

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

Candles set a mood.

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

Separate your space.

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

Spa water keeps you hydrated.

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

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

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

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

Creating Boundaries

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

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

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

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

Sustaining Human Connection

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

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

Maximizing Productivity

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

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

Remote Work Digest: 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: 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: April 28, 2020

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

5 reasons companies are adopting the distributed team model | Moira Alexander, Techrepublic.com

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Some of the top remote companies to work for, including Amazon, Intuit, and Johnson & Johnson, have recognized the benefits of hiring a distributed workforce, and this has only been further reinforced by the recent COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting business disruption.

Here are five reasons your company should consider hiring a distributed or hybrid team.

  1. Improve your skills-based hiring. To be successful, your company should be tapping into a broader talent pool, and this means finding employees or contractors who can help you achieve project-specific goals rather than employees who are located near your office. Hiring solely based on skill and fit increases the likelihood that you’ll be satisfied with your hire and the quality of their work.
  2. Save money. By not having to pay for a larger commercial space and all the associated utilities and maintenance costs, remote employers are able to offer more competitive salaries and benefits to their distributed workforce.
  3. Increase your employees’ satisfaction. OWLLabs reports that remote workers say they’re happier in their jobs 83% more than on-site workers and that they would take a pay cut of up to 10% in order to work remotely. Travel to and from the office as well as politics and conflict within the office add significantly to costs and stress.
  4. Lower your turnover. Most people can agree that higher salaries combined with more work-life balance, opportunities for career progression, and less conflict increase the chance of staying with an employer for the long haul.
  5. Increase employee ownership and buy-in. When employees or contractors are part of a distributed team, they’re far more likely to develop a sense of ownership and buy-in and work harder in general. In fact, remote workers say that they work more than the expected 40 hours a week 43% more often than on-site workers.

With current events throwing companies into a tailspin, your company should adopt a distributed or hybrid team to attract talent. By offering a better work-life balance, less stress, and higher pay, your company wins through increased employee buy-in, higher productivity, and lower turnover.

Work From Home Guide for First-Time Remote Workers | Nikola Baldikov, Allbusiness.com

home-office-300x235Even before the current situation around COVID-19, remote work has been on the rise. A recent study released prior to the coronavirus pandemic found that 50% of employees globally worked remotely for at least half of the week. This has been matched by a similarly positive trend in employee preference when it comes to remote work. The same study found that when faced with similar job offers, 80% of employees would refuse the offer that didn’t offer a flexible work option.

All of this means that whether you’re ready or not, remote work is here to stay. The logical question now becomes how can you not only survive in this new reality, but thrive. Luckily, there’s an abundance of collective knowledge on remote work gained by early adopters. Read on to find some practical tips and tools that will help you make the most of this situation.

Establish a routine

Perhaps the biggest challenge to adapting to a new work arrangement is finding your routine. Humans find comfort in the familiar, so until you become used to working from home you’ll likely feel out of place.

We all have our office routine, usually revolving around peak productive times, meetings and down time for things like lunch and coffee. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you can’t recreate something similar.

Morning exercise – Previously you may have walked to work, climbed some stairs, left the office to get lunch, etc. Compensating for this is important for your physical and mental health.

Get dressed for work – Just because you can spend all day in your pajamas doesn’t mean you should. In order to set the right tone for yourself, take the time to prepare yourself for the day just as you would if you were going to the office.

Breakfast and personal time – Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to do something for yourself: catch up on the news, read a book, just look out the window, or anything else that brings you joy.

Create a plan for your workday – Taking time in the morning to outline your tasks and goals for the day is a great way to maintain focus.

Work smart – When you feel that you need a break, take one. In the office you would find ways to clear your mind and stretch your legs.

Finish work at a set time – Set a clear end time for your work every day. Of course this can be adjusted in certain cases, as in the office. However, sticking to strict working times can create an important separation of your work and your personal life.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the feeling you’re always connected. Too often people get up, turn on the computer, begin working, and don’t stop until late in the evening, putting in much more than an eight-hour day. Partly this comes from a drive to “prove” you’re working, a mindset that you should try to overcome as you become more comfortable with remote work.

Just because your home has now become your office you shouldn’t feel obliged to be available during all waking hours. In fact, now more than ever, it’s important to take time for yourself in order to maintain your physical and mental health.

Find ways to interact in person

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the loss of human-to-human connection that you find in the office. You’ll quickly come to value, and miss, those in-person interactions. Humans are social beings, and we need to feel connected. In fact, research shows that 19% of remote workers report loneliness as their biggest challenge. That’s why when working from home it’s crucial to find ways to interact in person.

Find the right tools

Too often people hope for a technological solution to a human challenge. Using the right tools can certainly help you feel more connected and increase your ability to collaborate. However, tools are a means rather than an end, and it’s much more important to nail down the points above before considering technology.

With that said, there are some broad categories of tools that can help you and your team stay in touch and maintain productivity. Your choice will depend on many factors, including your current setup, your team’s specific needs, the size of your team, the size of your budget, etc.

Team communication solutions

Your choice will ultimately need to reflect your team’s specific needs, for example, whether you need to keep in constant touch and be able to collaborate in groups, or you do most of your work individually.

Here are a few examples of tools to help orient you in your search:

Zoom: A remote conferencing service that’s gaining a lot of attention during the current crisis for its work, educational, and social uses. Zoom offers a range of tools for online meetings, chat and collaboration.

Slack: Slack allows you to structure your communication by teams and topics. There’s also the ability to integrate an unlimited number of apps, which can help streamline your remote communication.

Microsoft Teams: A good choice if you’re looking for a more comprehensive collaboration solution for your remote work.

Organization and productivity apps

Staying focused and on task is difficult in the best of circumstances. Without the structure that an office environment provides, it can become even more difficult. There are a range of apps developed to help teams stay organized and productive. From time tracking and scheduling software, to project planning and workflow organization, there’s an app for pretty much every need.

Dealing with change

Suddenly being forced to switch to a home office setup due to external factors is just such a situation. By approaching this change with an open heart, open mind, and of course, a good plan, you can turn a challenge into an opportunity for growth!

5 tips to staying productive during the quarantine | Kelly Broderick, Wmar2news.com

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Because your days may be stuck behind those four walls for a bit, we’re taking a look at some tips to help improve your productivity during these trying times.

  1. Create a Flexible Schedule

Be realistic about your tasks and if you feel like you’re being drained by the end of the day, try to space the things out. One of the aspects about this pandemic is how emotionally and mentally draining it can be on an individual. If you feel like you need a break from things for a while, do that. But try to be productive about those decisions.

Productivity coach Rose-Anne Uwague weighed in on this topic with Forbes saying, “Honesty is key. If you don’t feel like doing something because you are drained, overwhelmed or tired, it is better not to do it. If the lack of desire is merely laziness, then dump the excuses and get up and go!”

  1. Prioritize your to-do list

This may be an obvious one, but try to choose the tasks based on what has to get done that day. If you can, try to pair activities together! Now that’s not saying you should try your new workout routine while learning how to cook, but if you have to do some work on the computer, why not do your laundry at the same time? Things you can pair are tasks that can be paused if one of them needs to take priority.

  1. If you’re looking for a job, start building up your resume!

Working on your resume, strengthening your LinkedIn page or even creating a website is something that will keep you on top of your game if you do hit the hard times.

  1. Learn a new skill!

Learning a skill doesn’t have to be a monumental thing. In some ways, it can just teach you something new or give you something to add to that resume we talked about.

  1. Know when to take a break

If you have the ability to, go for a walk or step outside for 10 minutes. If you’re unable to leave your house at this time, try to do some stretches or schedule quick phone calls with family when you need a break from work.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so if its a struggle to stay motivated, realize you are not alone.

19 Jobs You Can You Can Do Without Leaving the House | Stacy Rapacon, Aarp.org

Studying with video online lesson at home

Working from home, in many ways, is the only solution for older workers who tend to be more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. The good news is you can find an array of work-from-home jobs across all industries and at varying experience levels. Here are 19 work-from-home jobs currently hiring.

  1. Teacher

Who’s hiring: Outschool, K12, Prof360

Pay can vary widely, depending on what exactly you teach. For example, the median hourly pay is about $15 an hour for an elementary school teacher and $33 an hour for a postsecondary professor, according to PayScale. Outschool, a marketplace for online classes, says its teachers make $30 to $40 an hour, on average.

  1. Telehealth Nurse

Who’s hiring: AxisPoint Health, Forward

Telehealth had been growing in popularity before the coronavirus hit the U.S. and has gotten an extra boost in demand as the health care system has been inundated with COVID-19 patients. Indeed, AxisPoint Health is looking to hire full-time telehealth nurses to answer questions specifically about COVID-19 and help manage the current health care crisis from the safety of their own homes. Other opportunities are available for part-timers. Just be sure to check on licensing requirements.

  1. Transcriptionist

Who’s hiring: Literably, Pactera Technologies

If you can listen and type, you can be a transcriptionist. Some positions, such as in the medical field, may prefer applicants with technical knowledge of the subject matter. But plenty of opportunities — including those at Literably (a reading assessment service for students from kindergarten through eighth grade) and Pactera Technologies (a global digital consulting firm) — require no prior experience and provide on-the-job training.

  1. Consultant

Who’s hiring: Various companies

This can be a particularly attractive move for pre-retirees in a variety of industries hoping to ease into retirement, as it lets you trim back your hours as you see fit but maintain your senior-level pay rate if you stick with your area of expertise. You might even be able to talk to your current employer about transitioning a full-time position into a contract role. Otherwise, a number of online job boards — such as Upwork and FlexJobs — and staffing agencies — such as Wahve (which specializes in working with pre-retirees) and Robert Half — can help connect you with clients.

  1. Bookkeeper

Who’s hiring: AccountingDepartment.com, Beech Valley Solutions

Keep your accounting expertise at home and provide your services virtually. AccountingDepartment.com is hiring accounting professionals for a variety of full-time and fully remote positions that come complete with health insurance, a 401(k) plan and paid vacation time. Beech Valley Solutions is seeking hourly contract accounting pros for ongoing work.

  1. Virtual Assistant

Who’s hiring: Boldly

Provide administrative support from the comfort of your own home and schedule. Virtual assistants can perform a range of services, from scheduling and email management to social media strategizing and event planning. And you can seek to do it full time via an agency or independently on a gig-by-gig basis.

  1. Focus Group Participant

Who’s hiring: Consumer Opinion Services, Find Focus Groups, Focus Pointe Global

Get paid to share your opinions. While it’s not exactly a job, participating in surveys and focus groups can be an easy way to pick up a bit of extra cash — in some cases, a very little bit.

  1. Translator

Who’s hiring: CyraCom, Translate.com, Wikimedia Foundation

These workers translate the written or the spoken word, depending on the position. At CyraCom (which is currently seeking Swahili interpreters), you’d staff the phones and assist people communicating with doctors, insurance agents and even 9-1-1 operators. Translate.com offers work on a gig-by-gig basis, which can give you more flexibility. Just note that all gigs are first come, first served and can pay less than a penny per word.

  1. Mock Juror

Who’s hiring: Online Verdict, eJury.com, Jury Test

Mock jurors assist lawyers (and their clients) by reviewing legal cases and offering their feedback on how they’d rule. Like participating in focus groups, you can’t exactly make a career of this.

  1. Writer

Who’s hiring: Contently, NerdWallet

The ability to string a sentence together can land you a work-from-home job in a wide range of industries, whether you’re a rookie writer or a seasoned pro. Of course, the more experience you have, the greater your pay potential. Expertise in a certain field — be it sports, parenting, personal finance, technology or science — can also help boost your prospects, as well as narrow your job search.

  1. Customer Service Representative

Who’s hiring: Discover Financial Services, InfoCision, liveops, Prudential, Teladoc Health, Williams Sonoma

Make your home a one-person call center. You can assist customers by phone for a variety of businesses in a wide range of industries, from retail to health care to technology and everything in between. You may even be able to give your voice a rest and provide your services online, helping clients via email or online chat.

  1. Negotiator

Who’s hiring: Path One Group

If your communication skills are particularly persuasive, becoming a bill negotiation advocate could be right up your alley. Through its Autopilot product, the tech company Viv, a subsidiary of Path One Group, aims to help people lower their monthly bills for cable, cellphone plans, internet and other utilities. And they need negotiators to do the dirty work of haggling with the likes of Comcast, Verizon and other service providers most people would prefer not to talk to themselves.

  1. SEO Specialist

Who’s hiring: Coalition Technologies, Main Street ROI, Sure Oak

SEO experts review and analyze websites, identifying content and design issues that could be dragging them down and providing solutions for improvement. Many companies are seeking to fill this kind of position with full-time, part-time and contract workers.

  1. Claims Investigator

Who’s hiring: Amazon, Anthem, Bcforward

Put your sleuthing skills to work. Claims investigators perform in-depth online and database research to assess the legitimacy of an individual’s unemployment or insurance claim. The level of education and experience required varies by position, with senior roles possibly requiring specialized degrees.

  1. Speech Language Pathologist

Who’s hiring: ProCare Therapy, Soliant, VocoVision

Speech language pathologists work with K-12 students to identify communication disorders and develop individualized education plans to address their needs. And with schools currently practicing remote learning, school districts are seeking remote workers to provide this important specialized service via teletherapy.

  1. Fundraising Coordinator

Who’s hiring: InfoCision, MedGlobal, TrueSense Marketing

Help raise money for the causes you believe in. You can take on a full-time entry-level job that requires you to communicate directly with potential or existing donors.

  1. School Psychologist

Who’s hiring: ProCare Therapy, Soliant, VocoVision

Schools aren’t just for book learning; they also provide a safe haven for students where professionals can help assess and promote their well-being. School psychologists work with K-12 students to identify and address any academic struggles, learning disabilities, and behavioral and emotional issues. And with schools currently practicing remote learning, school districts are seeking remote workers to provide this important specialized service via teletherapy.

  1. Sales Agent

Who’s hiring: eHealth, Humana, Salesforce

Companies across a range of industries, from financial to tech to health care, are looking for star salespeople with various levels of experience (and a license to sell, if necessary) to push their products and services from a remote location.

  1. Software Engineer

Who’s hiring: Amazon, LocusLabs, Robert Half

In addition to full-time listings with the above employers and staffing agencies, you can find freelance gigs for software engineers and developers via online marketplaces, such as FreeUp, Remote and Upwork.

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

kid standing near sofa while mother working with laptop

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.