Remote Work Digest: September 29, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Setting Expectations

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

Communication

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

Encourage Flexibility in All Aspects

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

Focus on Measuring Outcomes

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

Accountability

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

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

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

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

Make it vibrant

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

Fun lighting

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

Go minimal

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

Try and sit where you get enough natural light

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

Use the principle of Hygge

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

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

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

The Positive Effects of Remote Work on Climate Change

Significant Drop in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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

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

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

Reduced Paper Usage

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

Improved Air Quality

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

Less Plastic Usage

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

Reduced Power Consumption

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

The Downsides of Remote Working

Only Partial Carbon Footprint Reduction

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

Energy Consumption

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

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

Remote Working is a Net Positive for Climate Change

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

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

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

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

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

Seven ways to boost employee productivity effectively in the workplace

Communication

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

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

Technology upgrade

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

Reduce meaningless meetings

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

Keep goals clear and focused

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

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

Encourage self-care

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

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

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

Improve Office Conditions

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

Delegate responsibility

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

Final thoughts

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

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

Remote Work Digest: August 31, 2021

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

How to Improve the Efficiency Of Your Small Business: 6 Tips | Yucatan Times, Theyucatantimes.com

Growing your business will largely depend on how efficient you run it and what is certain is that it won’t happen overnight. Though some companies will experience faster growth than others, improving your business is primarily a matter of time. There are many things you need to do to improve the efficiency of your business for it to grow, including: 

Review Existing Processes

The first and foremost thing you have to do to improve your business’s efficiency is to evaluate the existing process. To make anything better, you first have to assess its current state. By reviewing the existing processes of your business, you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

Understand Your Customers

A vital thing you have to do to improve the efficiency of your business is to understand your customers. They are the backbone of every small business and will help you grow even in difficult times.

One of the best ways to reduce the inefficiencies in your business is to embrace feedback. Collect information from your employees and customers through research and surveys and find ways to improve your business efficiency.

Use Technology

One of the best tools to use to improve the efficiency of your business in the modern age is technology. If you embrace technology, you can dramatically improve business efficiency and have great results.

Automation of business processes has become incredibly popular in the recent past, and it will continue to do so. The greatest benefit automation offers to small businesses is eradicating menial, time-consuming tasks from your staff so they can focus on higher priority tasks.

Consider Outsourcing Your Payroll

Managing payroll is a time-consuming task that burdens most HR departments or payroll offices. It can make business processes very inefficient, negatively affecting employees, which further increases inefficiency.

Companies that outsource their payroll can free their employees for much more critical work. The increase in efficiency should also increase profitability and employee satisfaction. 

Get Funding

All small businesses need access to capital for them to grow and improve their business processes. Investing in technology, collecting and receiving customer feedback, among other activities, will require finances.

Therefore, you should figure out a way for your business to obtain some financing which can be difficult for small businesses. Loans are one way for small businesses to get funding for their endeavors.

Set Realistic Goals

The goals you set for your business should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Moreover, it would be best to give your business ample time to incorporate the necessary changes and then review their effects in six months to a year.

It would be best if you did not let change management become more important than improving efficiency. If you correctly set goals, improving the efficiency of various business processes will take a functional and stable approach. 

In conclusion, improving the efficiency of your business is a challenging undertaking. The six tips above will be of tremendous help. They will help your business become more efficient without compromising other essential elements.

Work From Home Set Up Ideas: 5 Easy Tips For Any Space, Floridanewstimes.com

Establishing a work-from-home location that’s practical, pleasant (and relaxing!), and at the same time feasible should be among the first things on your to-do list.

And, because we’re all hoping to prevent traveling to the supermarket, and many establishments are presently shut, you would like to construct this temporary workspace out of items you already have at home. The good news is that if you become imaginative, you will probably already have everything you need.

Get the correct equipment.

Before we set up ideas for a remote office, we need to understand what the required equipment is for such a place to work.

Listed below are the basic requirements of any workspace that is required daily to work professionally.

  • A desk for all your things.
  • A chair to support you.
  • A strong Wifi connection for proper functioning.
  • Proper and adequate lighting to not put any stress on your eyes.
  • A calendar to mark the important dates and timeline.
  • A to-do list so you can keep track of all your activities and pending work that you need to pay attention to and complete.
  • Plants and other things brighten the room and calm you to give you the inspiration to work better.

To succeed in working independently and designing your own schedule, you’ll need motivation, strategy, and support from your manager and organization. The atmosphere has a tremendous impact on people who are looking to effortlessly convert to telecommuting.

Decorate your wall with canvas prints

It becomes easier for visual learners to work efficiently and effectively and at the same time increase their productivity. It also helps in increasing the level of focus while working and increasing creativity at the same time.

Walls with chalkboards for artistic remote working

For individuals who desire to live on the go, contemporary work from anywhere lifestyle offers some inventive alternatives. An extremely creative and innovative idea for artistic workers is to make use of walls with chalkboards. This does not require a lot of space at all and, at the same time is very easy to set up. Moreover, it is an extremely useful thing for workers who need to constantly chalk out ideas or do calculations frequently.

Try to get hold of a desk with storage

The best idea for creating an office at home with minimal space is to try to incorporate a desk that has multiple storage spaces to make optimum utilization of free space. This would help when the space is compact and needs to be utilized. If you do not possess space for a filing cabinet or a cupboard, try getting a table with some built space to keep all of your essentials hidden.

Working office under the stairs

This creative office is capable of including a storage area, a table and workstation, and sometimes even houseplants if a little greenery is the magic recipe in your personalized learning pot. This innovative room, which would be around 18 square feet in size, would incorporate everything required to work from home by incorporating built-in bookcases and also a tiny desk chair. This is the idea you most definitely need to create an efficient home office with very little space that you can set up yourself.

Conclusion

More worldwide workers are functioning from anyplace than ever before in the post-COVID-19 era. Gone are the days of mandatory on-site work and strict daily commuting. However, one reality about modern work stays constant: having a dedicated location where you can concentrate, work quickly, and be creative without distractions is critical.

How to improve employee productivity and well-being | Bmmagazine.co.uk

Employees form the backbone of every organization; they are integral for success, so how do you improve their productivity?

First, you should try to improve their well-being and happiness at work. Research has consistently shown that workers who feel acknowledged and appreciated at work perform better than unhappy employees. To help improve employee productivity and performance, here are some of the most effective tips:

Recognize Employee Achievements

Recognizing employee achievements is one of the best ways to increase employee well-being and happiness. Whether you applaud an employee’s recent hard work on a project or how they helped another coworker, any recognition can go a long way to making employees feel more appreciated and satisfied at work.

Encourage Employees to Take Care of Their Physical Health

Physical health plays a huge role in mental health and overall well-being. Management should encourage employees to take care of themselves by routinely going on walks and eating healthy foods.

Provide Mental Health Resources

Offering mental health services from Human Resources or an external mental health agency is crucial for preventing employee burnout or depression. Mental health “sick days” have also been effective at lowering worker stress and anxiety. Management should encourage employees to seek out help if needed and promote awareness of mental illnesses and burnout.

Reward Employees with Fun Outings

Employee performance is often increased if fun rewards or outings are offered for good performance. Some ideas include having a company-provided lunch once a week, going out for group dinner or drinks after a big sale or project, or getting breakfast for workers in the morning. These activities are also great for building teamwork and collaboration between coworkers, which in turn can improve productivity and project success. 

Conclusion

By simply acknowledging helpful or hard-working employees, promoting positive physical and mental health habits, and offering incentives such as group meals can help employees feel more motivated to go the extra mile at work.

The 4 essential skills to include on your resume to find remote work in 2021 | Cristina Fernandez Esteban and Qayyah Moynihan, Businessinsider.com

These are the top four skillsets Infoempleo says you should include if you’re looking for a job while working from home.

Digital and programming skills

With a growing number of companies moving towards remote working or hybrid working models, it’s crucial to have an understanding of digital tools and programs needed for remote work.

Social network skills

Being able to navigate and manage social networks is a professional skill that has been growing in demand for some time, but demand has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic.

Tech skills

Tech skills in fields like robotics, augmented reality, the internet of things, or AI can be invaluable to companies in the context of the changes brought about by the pandemic.

Soft skills

Self-discipline, communication skills, and initiative are generally considered to be very sought-after traits but are particularly so if you’re looking to work from home.

These skills are even more essential now that, often, your colleagues and those to whom you report are at a physical distance. 

As a result, you need to make it clear on your resume that you’re able to put these skills and qualities to use.

Remote Work Digest: June 30, 2021

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

How to become a digital nomad: Pros, cons, and common jobs | Flex Jobs Editors, Theladders.com

Telecommuter. Remote worker. There are quite a few names that describe people who work from home. And more recently, there’s another one: digital nomad.

Digital nomads are people who work virtually, and often from various locations, even around the world. 

What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad lives a nomadic lifestyle, moving from location to location and staying connected digitally. Digital nomads use technology and communication tools to complete work remotely in order to travel the country or the world.

Digital nomad vs. location independent

A digital nomad with a remote job is a location-independent worker, but they travel nearly full-time. They have possibly sold their home and live fully on the go.

A location-independent worker typically has a home base but may pick up and travel for a couple of weeks. Their job does not tie them to a specific city, state, or country, but they likely live in one place.

How do you become a digital nomad?

Determine if it’s a good fit

Before you dive in head-first, it’s a good idea to poke around and figure out what it’s really like to be a digital nomad. As romantic as working while traveling may sound, the reality is that combining career and global travel isn’t for everyone.

Figure out your budget

Whether you’ll have a full-time job or freelance gigs, determine how being a digital nomad will add expenses to your budget and if the money you’re bringing in each month is enough.

Decide on a destination(s)

Figure out your priorities (seeing a certain amount of countries, getting a change of scenery, learning a new language, etc.) and research the best locations for your needs and goals.

If you feel a bit intimidated by traveling and working at the same time, you could also do a test run and join a co-working space, or try an organized coworkation—a coworking retreat for digital nomads—for a few weeks and set your sails then. Working from your laptop every day isn’t for everyone!

Spruce up your skills

You’ll need to make sure that you have the necessary skills in order to work from any location successfully, such as being able to manage your workload, meet your deadlines, and still work well with your colleagues, even if they’re thousands of miles away.

Research the work-from-anywhere job market

When you conduct your job search for flexible work you can do from anywhere, keep an eye out for companies that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting true work-from-anywhere jobs.

Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad

Pro: Exposure to different cultural experiences. You should know from the outset whether you enjoy being exposed to all sorts of cultural norms, foods, work attitudes, and other parameters.

Pro: A more simplified lifestyle. Traveling to new cities and countries means you’ll be limited in what you can bring with you. Many digital nomads sell their homes and many of their possessions in order to live a simpler life and travel more easily.

Pro: Less stressful work environment. Studies have shown that remote workers are more productive. Focused, uninterrupted time can allow you to complete your work faster.

Con: Loneliness. Just as with other at-home employees, digital nomadic workers may find themselves grappling with isolation, but their attempts at connecting to colleagues may be even more extreme. 

Con: Time zone issues. Time zone differences might require you to work at night or in the early morning. It could mean your 3 p.m. deadline or meeting is actually in the middle of the night if you’re in a different country than your employer. Have a clear understanding of how different time zones affect when and how you meet your work obligations, and how to set boundaries with co-workers or clients.

Con: Internet/connection problems. Plan for internet access problems and have lots of backups

Common Jobs for Digital Nomads

A digital nomad job can be an avenue to help you see the world, without short-changing your career aspirations. If your current employer won’t allow you to work remotely, finding a work-from-anywhere job will be your best bet. 

Writer/Editor

Writing and editing jobs are perfect to do on the road. They can be found abundantly as freelance gigs or part-time or full-time roles. Many digital nomads even run their own blogs detailing their traveling adventures.

Project Manager

Project managers who work remotely need to be adept that staying on top of communication with clients and coworkers.

Online Teacher/Tutor

Virtual teachers and tutors may work with students individually or in a class setting. Some roles may require you to set specific meeting times, but others may allow you to log on when you’re available.

Social Media Manager

Many digital nomads have a robust social media presence where they share photos and updates of their adventures. This could parlay well into a social media career.

Customer Service Rep

While some customer service roles may require a quiet space to make phone calls, many are entirely web- and email-based.

Web Designer

Creativity can spike while you’re traveling. Use it to work as a web designer. This role will create web designs and mockups, and you’ll likely need JavaScript, HTML, and CSS experience.

Using FlexJobs for Your Digital Nomad Lifestyle

FlexJobs is a great resource for a digital nomad adventure. Our job listings are updated daily with many remote jobs you can take with you on the road. We verify every job and company on our site to ensure you spend less time worrying about scams, and more time finding work that fits your life. Our positions span more than 50 career categories and range from freelance to full-time, and many options in between.

10 Effective Methods for Measuring Employee Happiness | The Young Entrepreneur Council, Smallbiztrends.com

The more satisfied employees are, the more likely they’ll stay with the company long term and the higher their productivity will be. But how can you know if your staff is enjoying their work, especially when they may not feel comfortable expressing their true feelings with their superiors?

To help, 10 small business experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answered the following question:

“What’s one effective method small business leaders can use to gauge the happiness and fulfillment of their employees? Why is this so important to do regularly?”

Here are some of the top strategies they recommend.

1. Ask Them in a Safe Environment

“Keep it simple and just ask. Create a safe environment for team members to give you feedback at any time. You’ll be amazed at what they bring you, how much personal responsibility they hold for the business’s success and how quickly the team will grow. Stop treating employees like subordinates; they’re your team members and you’re the coach.” ~ Steven Knight, Mosaic Home Services Ltd.

2. Be Authentic While Interacting with Them

“Speak to them authentically. The problem is that an environment that encourages forced answers is one in which it’s hard to gauge happiness. When a boss is accepting and authentic with their staff, the staff will feel the ability to communicate authentically as well.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

3. Measure Productivity and Well-Being Twice a Year

“Small employers need to act like large employers when it comes to measuring the productivity and well-being of their workforce. Productivity and well-being build a resilient, engaged and hard-working workforce and help to attract and retain your top talent. Measuring these factors twice a year is easy for any leader to do.” ~ Tom Finn, LeggUP Inc.

4. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

“Relationship-building and fostering a culture that encourages both feedback and open dialogue are key. We sometimes swap out weekly team calls for all-team check-ins where each member of the team is given the space to share how they’re really doing, personally and professionally. No one is compelled to share, but most often do. It’s a good way to get a quick temperature check on where folks are at.” ~ Danielle Allen, Building Impact

5. Examine Initiative and Innovation Levels

“Gauge the level of initiative in your organization. If your employees are spearheading new projects, adding new elements to their positions and finding new solutions for problems, then you have a winning company culture. If they’re only doing what they’re told, then you have a stale environment without any creative energy. That’s a major momentum killer. So, encourage innovation and initiative.” ~ Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

6. Look at How Often They Are Tardy

“It may sound simple, but keeping an eye on employee tardiness can give you real insight into how employees feel about their work. Being late for work can signify many things, but if it’s consistent, then the employee may be struggling with their work-life balance. This in and of itself can imply that they are not happy in their work.” ~ Ismael Wrixen, FE International

7. Look for Consistency in Performance and Attitude

“You can ask all the questions you want, but an unhappy employee won’t tell you the truth anyway. Actions speak louder than words and so the best way to really know if an employee is still happy with you is by checking how consistent an employee’s performance, attendance and attitude are. This acts as a check and balance for you and your employee to both improve for the better.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

8. Provide a Feedback Box for Anonymous Opinions

“Small business leaders can gauge their employees’ happiness and fulfillment by creating a feedback box, which gives the team the option to remain anonymous and give more transparent feedback about what improvements can be made. It’s crucial to regularly receive feedback so you’re aware of what happens behind the scenes and can make well-informed decisions moving forward.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

9. Give Periodic Employee Surveys

“Every quarter, year or month send out a quick questionnaire or survey to track and trend employee satisfaction. A great question to ask in your assessment is how likely they are to tell their friends and family to work at the company. This is a quick way to determine whether they are happy at work and proud to be your company’s employee.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

10. Assign a New Task and Examine Their Response

“Periodically ask an employee to do something for you that would require a bit more effort on top of their day-to-day tasks. If your request is met with enthusiasm, you have a happy employee who is motivated to grow with your company. If you are met with resentment, that employee is most likely not happy or fulfilled. This is a good exercise to gauge fulfillment and motivation in your teams.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

How to enhance the work from home experience? | Dr. Tim Sandle, Digitaljournal.com

While some wrestle with the ‘work from home’ vs. ‘back to the office’ debate, for many others working at home remains a necessity. For those undertaking remote work, how can the experience be strengthened, especially when it comes to mental health issues?

With mental health and home working, feeling stress, boredom, anxiety and uncertainty is often a normal set of feelings. When these are prolonged and unwavering, problems develop.

What are some tips to help enhance your work from home experience? Dr. Teralyn Sell, psychotherapist explains to Digital Journal about how working from home impacts mental health in different ways for people.

Tip #1: Set apart your workspace

It is imperative that your workspace not stare at you every day and night. Even if you don’t have a dedicated office space, use a corner of your room and put a divider screen around your workspace when you are not working. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is a workable statement here.

Tip #2: Create boundaries and stick to them

While working from home we have a tendency to work longer hours than when we are in the office. This is good for your business, but bad for work and life balance. Create office hours for yourself and stick to them.

Tip #3: Create a transition time

Though the traffic during commute times was terrible, the commute itself allowed us to transition between work and home. However, when you work from home, there isn’t much transition there. In order to shake off the workday a transition is important. Perhaps it’s as simple as closing up your office and taking a few minutes to meditate or even just breathe.


7 Cybersecurity Tips For Working Remote | Catherine, Newsanyway.com

As remote working relies primarily on the Internet and devices, it’s not safe from cybercrimes either. Regardless, if you’re working from home or outside the company and want to stay safe online, this article can help. Below, we’ll discuss seven cybersecurity tips for remote workers; please read on.

  1. Switch to cloud applications

Contrary to common beliefs, while cloud applications run over the Internet, in most cases, they’re much safer than native and local ones. Why? Unlike installed programs on a personal computer, a cloud app runs on a remote server. Moreover, remote servers used by cloud apps are more private, use strong encryption, and are harder to infiltrate.

  • Get a VPN

If unfamiliar, a VPN or Virtual Private Network is a secure server where a request from a computer will go first instead of directly to a website server. As a result, the connection is more secure as it masks the user’s IP address or location and encrypts data packets. Aside from accessing region-locked content and avoiding censorship, it’s also beneficial for the corporate side.

  • Use a password manager

Since the early days, email, username, and password have been the primary ways to identify an account. Today, with countless websites, apps, and services, it has gotten quite challenging to remember login credentials. Consequently, reusing passwords became a common practice among individuals.

A password manager can help one secure multiple logins. With only a single master password, a user can generate strong entropy passwords, store and sync them across devices.

  • Try an email search and reverse phone lookup tool

Though it’s easy to ignore strangers, workers typically need to entertain anyone trying to do business with the company regardless of who they are.

Luckily, there are ways to review a caller or sender’s identity and intent before opening a message, transacting, or following any links.

One way to do this is by using Spokeoan email and phone number search tool. Using Spokeo‘s reverse number lookup tool and email search feature, one could learn a stranger’s name, address, social profiles, and even past criminal records. This way, it’s easier to avoid scams and phishing techniques that hackers use.

  • Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks

As a safe practice, it’s best only to use the Wi-Fi connection at home, especially when doing work-related tasks. Additionally, using firewall and security tools helps protect the house network from intruders. Lastly, if necessary, using a portable Wi-Fi device or enabling the phone hotspot will do the job when working outside.

  • Employ two-factor authentication (2FA)

2FA or two-factor authentication is the act of sending a code through email, phone number or using an authenticator app to unlock an account after typing the password. With this method, even if a hacker manages to learn the username or password, it’s still hard to proceed as the login form requires a unique code after that.

  • Ensure backups

Ensuring backups is a practice that can save one from potential data loss after a breach or hack. In the digital world, there is a thing called the “3-2-1 Backup Rule”.

According to the rule, one should have at least three (3) copies of a file, two (2) backup devices (like a computer and a drive), and one (1) remote drive (cloud storage). This way, it’s almost impossible to experience data loss in normal circumstances.

Prioritize Safety When Remote Working

Apart from ensuring the quality of output, work, and service, prioritizing cybersecurity is also essential when working remotely. As almost everyone is using computers and communicating through the Internet, safety is more critical than ever as criminals can now do things anywhere and anonymously.

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: November 29, 2020

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

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

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

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

1. Master desk-scaping

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

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

2. Embrace mono-tasking

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

3. Plan tomorrow, tonight

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

4. Make a not-to-do list

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

5. Block out your flow times

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

6. Prioritise Pareto and Pomodoros

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

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

7. Learn to nap like a pro

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

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

8. Dress for success

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

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

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

Put these tips to work right now

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

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

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

Some important things that employers should be aware of.

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

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

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

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

Your office at home

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

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

Brighten your day

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

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

Life is in the air

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

Declutter your workspace as often as possible

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

Sense of smell

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

A better work-life balance

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

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

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

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

1.The employee of the month.

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

2. Certificates of appreciation

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

3. Company journals or magazines

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

4. Small get together or celebrations

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

5. Monetary incentives.

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

6. Performance-based pay.

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

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

Remote Work Digest: 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

Business company managing telework online

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.