To ensure a productive work from home experience that helps in increasing revenue, here’s a list of some important elements that are necessary for small businesses to incorporate in their work lifestyle:
Remote Meeting Software:
Business owners and managers need effective means of conducting virtual meetings with employees to discuss work and collaborate on various assignments.
A remote meeting software not only allows you to host business discussions without any travel expenses, but also allows everyone to be on the same page about important work information.
Time tracking app:
To keep schedules organized, time tracking apps are an ideal way to understand how much time is being spent on a given activity. It not only helps you be more aware of your work progress but also highlights your low-productivity and high-productivity hours.
High speed internet connection:
A high speed internet connection is integral for connecting with clients, sharing important documents with colleagues and communicating work progress to managers.
A dedicated workstation:
To work efficiently, a distraction free zone with comfortable seating arrangements is a must. Business owners must provide employees an allowance to invest in a comfortable chair, an adjustable desk and a monitor.
A storage system:
Remote work requires an organized file storage space at home that will ensure you do not end up losing important documents. You can invest in a sturdy filing cabinet or utilize some furniture at home to store important documents.
With the help of above-mentioned information, small businesses can build a productive work environment for successful results.
It’s been nearly a full year since employees started working from home or following COVID-19 protocols in the workplace.
Even if staff took some extra time off to unwind during the holidays, most employees probably haven’t returned to work with the renewed sense of purpose that is typically associated with starting a new year. Instead, the first quarter of 2021 will likely feel like more of the same – endless Zoom meetings, no clear end to the pandemic, and home and work lives thoroughly enmeshed.
Here are four ways managers can help motivate employees in 2021.
Have an honest, one-on-one conversation. Even though managers may have conducted a performance evaluation for work done in 2020, now is a good time to have a different type of one-on-one conversation with employees. “Rather than focusing on work, focus on their family, mental health and how they are doing personally,” Halpern said. Ask open-ended questions and, if they say everything is fine, encourage them to be honest by sharing your own concerns and challenges, Halpern said. “If you’re vulnerable and candid, they will respond in kind.”
The purpose is to understand each employee’s current state of mind and what he or she needs to succeed, said Kym Harris-Lee, an executive coach in Atlanta. Consider asking, “As you think about this new year, what are your goals, what do you want to accomplish, how can I help you?”
Encourage employees to think strategically. One lesson most managers learned from 2020 is that employees don’t appreciate back-to-back virtual meetings, because it doesn’t give them much time to think or get actual work done, Harris-Lee said.
She recommended that managers give employees permission to decline one to two meetings a week during the first quarter of 2021, provided they use the time they aren’t in a meeting to reflect on their work.
Create easy wins. Rather than setting long-term quarterly or mid-year goals, set monthly goals that focus on actions staff can control, Halpern said.
Be gentle with feedback. “For the first half of 2021, be selective and intentional with feedback,” Halpern said. “Focus on trends and patterns versus one incident. If you see someone [making a mistake] once, let it go.” Rather than giving an employee feedback on what she did wrong, suggest a way that you can help her succeed.
Whether it’s the kitchen table or an office, it’s important to label a certain area as your workspace. Over time, your brain associates that space with work and mental focus, so it’s easier to concentrate and get work done.
4. Prioritise tasks
Prioritise tasks based on how important and urgent they are rather than how easy they are to achieve. For example, if something’s both important and urgent, make this the first job on your to-do list.
5. Set time limits
Set clear time limits for each task and stick to them. Otherwise, you could end up spending much longer on a job than is strictly necessary.
6. Track your time
Wonder where your time’s going during the workday? Start tracking it. Set a timer and check how long it takes you to complete specific tasks.
7. Know when you’re most productive
While some of us can be through multiple tasks first thing in the morning, others prefer burning the midnight oil. Don’t fight these natural tendencies – embrace them instead.
8. Take regular breaks
Whether you go for a (socially distanced) walk around your local park or curl up with a book, don’t forget to step away from your work from time to time. Regular breaks give your mind a chance to ‘recharge’.
Time management is crucial to feeling in control of your workday, whether you run your own business or you’re working from home right now. The best part? It’s something everyone can learn, and you can start right away.
Begin with small changes to your daily routine, build on the improvements you make, and find out what productivity hacks work best for you.
Reshaping culture in a partial or a completely hybrid workplace does not have to be a mammoth task. Keeping the workforce’s needs and lived experiences at the center of management decisions is the first step. Then come the four unassuming, but significant changes that leaders should make to ensure culture becomes a catalyst for success in the new normal –
Be intentional about communication – Create guidelines around how you communicate, how often you communicate and think about ways in which you can avoid the ‘Zoom fatigue’ from kicking in.
Keep traditions alive – Everything that once drove formal and informal culture in the physical workplace needs to be reformatted to ensure inclusivity and connection between the physical and virtual workforces. This includes team-building activities, wellness sessions, happy hours and milestone celebrations, that allow members of a team to preserve social attachments with each other.
Don’t forget D&I – Pivoting policies, ensuring equal access to technology for all employees, and digitizing the work of Employee Resource Groups are some ways in which companies can maintain a shared collaborative and cultural mindset even with a staggered workforce.
Get workplace culture right can be advantageous all around. The shared experience of adapting to the same extraordinary circumstances makes culture more important than ever. And thoughts can only translate to actions with constant reflection, deliberation and collaboration to thrive in this new reality.
Too often we confuse remote work with working from home. The two aren’t the same. It isn’t just semantics, either. The words we use, and the way we talk about things is important. It communicates what we value, and using the wrong words can not only cause confusion, it can devalue your team members and the way they work.
Working from home is a temporary thing you do every once in a while.
It means that the work you usually would do in your office at your desk, you do from home for a day, or maybe two. In many companies, working from home is what you do on Thursdays because you don’t have any meetings, so you figure you’ll get caught up on the presentation you’re working on without the interruption of a colleague stopping by your desk.
Remote working is not just a circumstance, but rather a way of working.
If you work remotely, you don’t have a desk at your company’s office somewhere. Instead, you’re probably responsible for providing your own desk in your own workspace, usually somewhere in your own home.
When you work from home, you still use the tools and technology your company gave you, you just log on to your own internet connection. It’s OK if you don’t have everything you need at home, because you’ll be headed back to the office tomorrow anyway.
That’s not the case with remote work, and it requires a completely different set of tools and systems. Often, you have to create your own systems, and the place you work gets a lot more attention since it’s likely what your colleagues will see every time you log on to Zoom. Don’t underestimate the level of stress that goes into having the perfect background — or at least, one that isn’t cluttered with toys and laundry and pets. Or, as we call it at our home, real life.
It also means having a different set of skills. Setting your calendar and agenda for the day is different when you work remotely. Productivity and accountability look different as well. It’s time we start treating them that way.
Not too long ago, time tracking was time consuming.
While tracking time has been widely accepted as a viable way to improve productivity, filling out lengthy Excel sheets has commonly been viewed as an additional task.
As a result, the practice of time tracking has been known to face a lot of resistance in corporate scenarios.
However, things have changed. Today, there are specialized time tracking software that automate the part of time tracking that feels like a “task”.
Time Tracking Leads to Micromanagement
Many employees dread the idea of time tracking because they believe that it will lead to micromanagement. Now, there is no denying that there are many examples of micromanagers in almost all organizations. Be that as it may, if a manager isn’t someone who likes to micromanage their team, a time tracking software is not going to change that.
In fact, after the initial adoption period, employees can use their own historical time tracking data to justify a realistic workload and make realistic commitments to their managers.
Time Tracking Leads to Employee Burnout
This point is especially worrying to many nowadays when remote working is becoming popular. With blurring boundaries between homes and offices, the rigid office timings are also blurring and many professionals are reporting working well beyond their ‘normal’ working hours.
Contrary to popular belief, time tracking can help organisations and individuals solve this problem. With time tracking, employees can stay productive during the actual office hours and set boundaries that allow them to have personal time. At the same time, organisations will be able to ensure that their employees are giving their best during their official working hours.
Employees Will “Forget” Tracking Time
Nowadays, time tracking is automated to a large extent. Therefore, there’s not much left to ‘forget’.
Moreover, it is important for employers to communicate the individual benefits of time tracking to their employees. This way, they will be more motivated to keep track of their own time and the ‘forgetting’ incidents will be limited to a minimum.
The fact that there are so many misconceptions surrounding time tracking has been a significant deterrent in the adoption of this awesome productivity technique. However, we hope that this article will help you see the benefits of time tracking and implement it in your organization.
How to lead remote employees effectively is a question on the minds of many SME owners. HR, managers, and executives control a workforce that exists mainly through virtual encounters, and must reassess operations and procedures to ensure efficiency is embedded in every process.
To assist you in your learning to lead a remote workforce, here’s a checklist for you to use as a guide in revealing where your strengths are and where you can improve.
Do I implement a seamless communication system?
Do my colleagues have someone else to communicate with if I’m unavailable?
Even when I’m unavailable, do my colleagues know how to contact me in case of an emergency?
Have I implemented scheduled hours? Why/why not?
Have I confided in my colleagues and employees whether they are content with the current communication channels?
Is there any tension between colleagues that I’m aware of?
Do I receive regular feedback from colleagues/employees?
Does the business provide the appropriate tools & resources for efficient collaboration?
Have I put daily/weekly exercises in place for team bonding (thus more effective collaboration)?
Do I have standardized training material?
Do I have a procedure in place to ensure the new hire receives training material specific to their department?
Do I have a system in-place that allows full transparency so I can view who has completed their training, and who hasn’t?
Do I have a system in-place that allows full transparency so I can view which employee is up-to-date in the latest training material, and which employee requires more training?
Do we take advantage of an LMS?
Why is this checklist relevant?
It’s the key to running a remote workforce.
If employees have a question, they must receive answers within a suitable time frame. In order to overcome misunderstandings, you need to eliminate processes that encourage miscommunication.
A strategy for this? Ensure all employees have contact numbers and someone they can contact at any time (in the working day) for immediate assistance. You, as a leader, must act as the glue that keeps your team well bonded and functioning holistically.
Consider using tools that provide you with a 2-way bulk sms and email communication channel. This will allow you to quickly and efficiently provide stakeholders with recent updates.
Regardless of the company’s location (remote or in the office) teamwork is crucial for productivity. Employees that are motivated have higher job satisfaction, thus higher productivity.
So, how do you incorporate company culture to a workforce that is spread over states, and perhaps even the country?
Organize weekly meetings, perhaps a Monday morning (to talk about weekly goals), and Friday afternoon (to discuss achievements). Make it compulsory for everyone to attend. Whilst working from home allows flexibility, don’t forget that working your standard 9-5 job comes with requirements and responsibilities, so don’t be afraid of maintaining compulsory activities.
The global pandemic has resulted in consistent updates regarding operational regulations and restrictions. In order to be compliant with these regulations, your employees must be up to date with training of current workplace procedures.
This includes hygiene practices, wellbeing exercises, operational restrictions, social distancing strategies etc. The consequences of being noncompliant (internally or externally) results in large fines, and an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Business owners should consider investing in a LMS system so new hires and existing employees receive identical training material. This promises consistency in knowledge and expectations.
Communicate, collaboration and training are closely entwined, and are the three main components to be considered when deciding a strategy to lead remote employees due to the dire consequences of overlooking their significance.
Though you might use an eight-hour workday to benchmark your productivity, research suggests workers are only productive for about three hours during that time frame.
Here are 15 ways to boost your productivity and earning potential.
Find your most productive hours.
To find your golden hours, listen to your body to get a sense of when you feel focused and motivated to tackle big projects. Plan your day so you’re doing the highest-priority work during your most productive hours, while routine tasks can be done when you don’t need as much concentration.
2. Figure out which office lifestyle is best for you.
Some people work best independently, while others thrive in an office setting. “In my experience, introverts really tend to enjoy working from home because they are energized by alone time,” says Alexis Haselberger, a productivity, time management, and leadership coach. “Extroverts tend to have a harder time working from home for the opposite reason; they are energized through time with others.”
3. Track and limit time spent on each task.
After a few months in the same role, you probably know how long it takes to complete your normal, routine tasks. When you need to schedule one, allot a reasonable amount of time and aim to get it done within that time frame.
4. Schedule your week.
Racheal Cook, business strategist and productivity expert, says she creates a weekly Google Calendar and first blocks out time for family, friends, and fun. She then blocks out major work tasks during defined hours to help create boundaries between work and her personal life. If you don’t make time for both, “then work can quickly take up every available moment in your week,” Cook says.
5. Give yourself periodic breaks.
Working at 100% capacity at all hours just isn’t sustainable. “If you don’t take regular breaks, you risk burnout,” Haselberger says.
6. Make time for personal and career development
Career development could include attending a training course for the next step in your career, watching a self-development seminar, or reading a book. Investing time in yourself might mean skipping billable client work now, but it boosts your earning potential over time. And focusing on personal goals can help you round out your work-life balance.
7. Avoid meetings if possible.
While meetings can be an efficient way to collectively brainstorm ideas and create solutions, more than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings, according to one estimate. But if you must have one, Haselberger offers these tips:
Ensure every meeting has an owner. This person schedules the meeting, sets the agenda, and facilitates the discussion.
Only include necessary attendees. Information can be disseminated to others on a need-to-know basis via other means.
Always have an agenda. The owner sends the agenda to all attendees. It should state the objective, items for discussion, and any relevant materials to prepare attendees.
Define the goal for the meeting. If you don’t know what you hope to accomplish, don’t schedule a meeting.
Decision vs. discussion. Decide whether the purpose of the meeting is for decision-making or brainstorming and discussion.
8. Outsource or delegate work if you can.
Whether you’re running a business or part of a large project with co-workers, everyone has a strength and a role. Delegating or outsourcing work means “letting others do what they can do, so you can do what only you can do,” Marshall says.
9. Avoid time wasters.
Distractions can torpedo your workday. These come in the form of household chores, co-workers or kids, and emails and notifications. “Most people check email on average 37 times a day,” Haselberger says. “Every time we are interrupted or distracted, it takes, on average, 23 minutes to refocus.”
10. Create your own work processes.
Creating resources like processes, checklists, and pricing structures allows you to do the thinking and the work just once. Having the documentation will also help if you plan to grow your business in the future, Marshall says.
11. Automate tasks when possible.
Collaborating with project management tools, using accounting software, and scheduling social media posts are some other ways to automate tasks.
12. Exercise regularly.
Exercise does so much more than lower your blood pressure and help you fit into your jeans. In one study, employees who visited the gym said they were more productive, managed their time more effectively, and had smoother interactions with their colleagues. Exercise can also:
Boost your concentration, memory, and creativity.
Help you learn faster.
Lower your stress levels.
13. Take time to rest and recharge.
Rest will look different for everyone, but here are a few ways to make it happen:
Block off at least one day a week where no work is allowed.
Practice self-care, which generally means sleeping enough, eating well, and exercising.
Take a “mental health day” if you need it.
Make time to visit friends and family. But don’t be afraid to say “no” to social visits if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
14. Get enough sleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. What’s considered “enough” varies by age and person. But generally, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, the CDC says. Here are some ways to help that happen:
Save caffeine for the morning, and cut it from your afternoon and evening.
Get into a consistent sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, including on weekends.
Don’t use smartphones and other devices right before bedtime. They emit light that can mess with your circadian rhythm and ability to fall asleep.
Avoid exercising and eating close to bedtime.
15. Make good food choices.
While any food generally fuels your body, some types of food are better at promoting productivity. Here are some general guidelines:
Have healthy food choices available. In particular, fruits and vegetables have been shown to promote curiosity, motivation, and engagement. Nuts are also a healthy option.
Don’t skip breakfast. A meal full of protein and complex carbohydrates gives your body the energy it needs to get through the day.
Graze. Hunger can lead to lower levels of productivity, so have a steady stream of healthy snacks on hand to eat throughout the day.
Learning strategies to harness your focus and energy will help you use your time more meaningfully and efficiently.
This list serves as a starting point for taking care of yourself, setting goals, and squashing the time wasters that don’t contribute value to your work or personal life. You can start with one or combine a few into a more comprehensive strategy. Whether you’re freelancing or pushing for a raise at your full-time job, one thing is true: greater productivity equals more money in your pocket.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From a global pandemic, countless natural disasters, growing social and racial unrest, and a substantial political divide to balancing working from home and remote learning, navigating the uncertainty has been challenging.
The good news is that we still have a chance to salvage the year. Here are the 10 best ways—one for each week left of the year—to finish strong
1.Protect your time
How and with whom you spend your time and your productivity while doing so, demonstrate your focus and commitment to what—and who—matters most. When you master time-management, you’ll learn to say no, do, decide, delegate or delete tasks, batch routine tasks, eliminate distractions, embrace mono-tasking, get to know—and work—your own rhythms, and build in breaks to recharge.
2. Become more self-aware
Self-awareness is not just about knowing how you move through the world; it’s about knowing how your energy affects others. This perspective allows you to understand that everything is connected—your interactions with other people, how they perceive you, your attitude, and your responses to them in the moment—and all can be enhanced through better self-awareness.
This finding underscores a fundamental truth: At its core, business is about relationships. No matter your job function or title, to succeed, you must interact with other people. And those who find a way to combine their hard skills with soft skills create environments that empower and ignite their teams, delight their customers, and fuel sustainable growth.
4. Embrace four words to communicate and connect better
The finest leaders understand that by putting others first and adopting a service mindset, they can improve their communication and connection, establish trust, deepen relationships, and build business.
5. Get curious
When you’re curious, you’re open. Open to exploring new ideas, experiences, and possibilities. Open to meeting new people and learning new things. Open to leaving behind outdated mindsets and limiting beliefs to make room for your highest and best self. And it’s that openness—that curiosity—that fuels growth.
6. Dare to be a “career contrarian”
“Career contrarians” share the ability to adopt an often unpopular perspective and make it work for them. Instead of conforming to conventional or practical approaches, education, or paths, they seek alternative means to career fulfillment.
7. Listen more than you talk
The benefits of listening are numerous. Active listening demonstrates respect, builds trust, and makes people feel valued. It creates a virtuous cycle: we naturally gravitate toward those who listen to us, and when we feel heard, we open up and share.
8. Stop hiding behind fear
Fear is a powerful emotion. It often masquerades as a cloak of protection, keeping us from doing things that may cause us harm. But sometimes, the real damage comes from the inaction that fear enables.
We avoid at all costs those things that make us uncomfortable, but there is no growth in the status quo. Sooner or later, that caution and those fears that prevent you from getting hurt or put on the spot stagnate you.
9. Share your wisdom
Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. But it transforms into something truly powerful when it is shared.
Why? Because all the wisdom in the world is meaningless without application.
10. (Re)tell your career story
Properly crafted, your career story helps to differentiate you from your competitors, highlight your value, and to draw others to you. It provides a common thread that weaves together your personal and professional experiences, as well as your transferable skills, making it easy for others to connect the dots.
Working remotely comes with its challenges. One of the major challenges is keeping a check on work productivity, which can be made easier with the help of an employee time tracking software.
The biggest benefit of a time tracking software is that you (as the manager) get to see how your employees spend their time. Once you are aware of this, you can set work priorities in order to achieve optimum results within a given timeline. This in turns helps in maximizing work productivity.
Measure of Progress
An employee tracking software helps you gain an insight of the employee’s current position and provides a measure of his overall capacity. With this knowledge you can motivate them to work on a particular aspect that is lacking from their end.
Prioritizing of important tasks
A time tracking software gives a clear view of the progress of an ongoing project by the number of hours being spent on each task within the project. This enables the manager to prioritize urgent work by re-assigning resources for high-priority projects.
Better project management
The better the management, the more confidently you can take up new work. Whether it is resource capacity estimates or the work timelines – all this data will help you establish your upcoming projects and even keep your budget in check.
Transparency in billing
Since time tracking is transparent, it removes confusion around what role each employee is fulfilling. It also clearly reflects how an individual employee is utilizing their time. This helps in reducing discrepancies regarding time and cost when discussing a new project with a client.
Investing in a time tracking software can increase the revenue being generated whilst focusing on higher productivity at the same time. Every organization can utilize it in their own way and reap its benefits.
With personal finances under strain and a long winter ahead, Michael Meiser at LED lighting specialists, Lumilum, gives his top tips for lowering your energy bill while working from home.
Reorganise your workspace
If you aren’t alone in working from home, setting up a shared office space will mean you use less electricity for lighting and will stay warmer without heating the whole house. If you need to take a call or jump on a video conference, temporarily move to another room.
Be clever with your heating
‘Check the temperature your boiler is set to for hot water. Even decreasing it by 1°C could save up to 10 per cent on your heating bill,’ Michael reveals. ‘So that you only get the heat you need, put the boiler on a timer. You can also set your thermostat so that the boiler will kick in if the house gets too cold. An acceptable indoor temperature for office workers is 20 degrees.’
Switch off at the end of the day
Working from home means more devices will be powered and charged, but ensure that you fully switch off any device you are not using, chargers included. Even in sleep mode, devices use energy and lose charge, so avoid leaving them on standby. This simple change could save you an average of £80 a year, according to The Energy Savings Trust.
Get the right lighting
Aim to set up your workspace in a room with plenty of natural light to reduce your use of artificial lighting. Remove anything that’s blocking natural light and keep curtains and blinds fully open.
Find a better deal
Seeing as working from home and a more flexible approach to remote working is here to stay, it’s time to revisit your energy plan, and that means not settling for standard tariffs, which are often the most expensive.
Cut back in the kitchen
The kitchen is often seen as the forgotten cost of working from home. ‘If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, only boil the amount of water you need (it’ll be quicker too!), use the right size pots and pans to cook food faster, and defrost your dinner the natural way during the day,’ Michael explains. ‘Just like when you’re in the office, prepping lunch for the week ahead by batch cooking will save you time and energy.’
Here is a complete guide to help small businesses initiate remote IT services.
Begin with considering these critical aspects to support employees who work from home.
Check if employees have access to the required productivity tools
Your remote teams should have complete access to all the essential cloud-based productivity tools. This will help facilitate the sharing of files, effective communication, easy collaboration on projects, and initiation of meetings.
Consider a situation where employees experience technical issues with centralized productivity tools during a pandemic outbreak like the Covid-19 pandemic. This critical scenario demands the need for the availability of a robust remote platform that works offline while providing access to all productivity tools.
List tasks that can be handled remotely
This will help stakeholders plan the completion of important tasks to be prioritized and specifically handled from home.
Audit available technology resources
Obtain an overview of hardware and software resources that are available and if there is a need to purchase or upgrade resources. This will include an upgrade of internet packages and cloud-based productivity suites.
Take charge of cybersecurity
Remote employees should be educated about the sensitivity of data they will be handling and the risks that accompany this task.
For example, cybercriminals may take advantage of the current Covid-19 pandemic to entice victims into clicking on malicious links that offer information about a “cure.” Such instances can be better managed by having all the employees connect over a virtual private network (VPN) remotely.
Set a communication protocol
It is important to put into effect a protocol that defines how regularly communication among the team members needs to take place to improve collaboration. This should include the following:
Appropriately schedule check-ins and meetings, breakout sessions, and project updates on a particular time of the day
Have a structured facilitator and agenda to take care of the preparation work in advance
Ensure to send follow-up emails to summarize discussed points and outcomes of meetings
Test the technology used in advance when addressing a larger audience
Train employees on cybersecurity
Employees should be provided with comprehensive training on handling sensitive data, the features available in tools provided, and how best to use them. This kind of training will help them understand their responsibilities and remain productive.
Maintain helpdesk support services
It helps to maintain a 24*7 help desk support services for the remote workforce to address any technical or functional issue. This helpdesk support service should be able to troubleshoot and answer questions remotely.
Manage the team with empathy
A survey by Buffer reveals that remote employees grapple to unplug from work, tackle loneliness, and have problems with collaborating with their team. Organizations must address these social elements and use technology to overcome these challenges during a pandemic. Managers can plan one-on-one meetings or team meetings through video conferencing. They can also arrange for brainstorming sessions to generate ideas.
Implementing effective work-from-home policies is slowly but surely becoming the new normal. The above-mentioned aspects and best practices will help organizations in the seamless transition of their workforce to the remote working environment. This information will also provide you with a deeper understanding of the significance of maintaining productivity tools and data security for the remote workforce.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
If you’re among the thousands of Americans who suddenly find themselves with extra time in their day due to new work from home policies (less commute time) or temporary leave, we came up with these 5 productive things you can do while in quarantine to help you keep your sanity.
1. Learn about the stock market to be prepared
Market sell-offs create huge buying opportunities. A Motley Fool Stock Advisor membership provides you with the market research you need to navigate these difficult times.
Once you figure out what to buy, you’ll need to figure out how to buy. In just a few years, Robinhood has become one of the largest stock trading apps in the country, offering commission-free trading and an easy way to start investing. They offer you the ability to start with as little as $1 and buy fractional shares, so if your favorite company’s stock is a little too expensive, you can still get involved.
2. Make sure your credit report is in good shape
Don’t make the same mistake! There are sites that allow you to see a free copy of your credit report and services that help you monitor your credit in real-time. This will allow you to catch any errors before you go to apply for a loan or credit card. Spending a few minutes now to make sure that your credit report is in good shape could save you a ton of time down the road.
3. Keep your mind busy by learning a new language
Learning a new language has been on my to-do list for years, and I’m finally checking it off. I want to be fully prepared once it’s safe to travel again, and to be honest, it’s not taking nearly as much time as I thought.
4. Use this time to compare prices on your home and car insurance
If you don’t own a home, but are still looking to save some money, getting an updated car insurance quotes is a great way to find savings. MONEY’s recent article The Best Auto Insurance for 2020 is a great place to find a few companies to get quotes from. Even if you don’t end up switching, it’s a good idea to see what you can save.
5. File your taxes
If you’re sheltered in place, tax preparation software is the way to go. Most companies offer free online software, but charge extra for assistance. I learned the hard way that paying the extra fee can be worth it if you have a complicated filing (like getting a letter from your city saying that you owe them taxes from over 4 years ago… You can always add on the assistance later if you need it, so start with the free version and see how far you get.
You’ve earned it. Call that friend you’ve been wanting to video chat with for a while, relax with a glass of wine delivered to your door, read that book that you started over Christmas break and never finished, or spend time making a home-cooked meal.
The majority of organisations have focused on scenario planning and necessary operational responses to ensure business continuity during COVID-19, according to Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice.
However, these plans often do not address, nor impact, employees’ ability to focus on their work, Kropp added.
According to Gartner, HR should help managers at all levels do six specific activities to ensure employees get the requisite support to tackle the emotional response:
Sense employees’ need for support
Managers need to recognize signs of distress among their people, both directly through conversations and indirectly through observation.
To facilitate regular conversations between managers and employees, HR should provide managers with guidance on how best to broach sensitive subjects arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including alternative work models, job security and prospects, impact to staffing, and tension in the workplace.
Promote dialogue to build understanding
Two-way communication with managers and peers provides employees with the information and perspective they need, while allowing them to express and process negative emotions and improve their feelings of control.
HR leaders should help managers create opportunities for two-way dialogues that focus on a realistic picture of both the positive and negative implications of the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Use objectives to create clarity
Clear objectives and regular updates on possible changes will help ensure employees maintain focus, energy and a sense of purpose.
HR leaders can help managers reassert the link between employees’ work and organisational success by providing visibility into the current organisational goals and translating the organisation’s vision into their employees’ context.
Reinforce organisational values to reduce the like hood of misconduct
Apart from modeling the right behaviors, managers should encourage whistleblowers to call out unethical behaviors, remind staff of the channels for reporting misconduct, and highlight punitive measures for noncompliance.
Tailor recognition to acknowledge employee efforts
Recognition can take many forms other than monetary rewards — public acknowledgment, tokens of appreciation, development opportunities and low-cost perks.
For organisations facing a slowdown in business, managers can take this opportunity to provide development opportunities to employees who normally do not have capacity. This reinforces the organisation’s commitment to the long-term success of the employee.
Drive engagement via innovation
While managers and employees may understandably become more risk-averse in this uncertain environment, it is these times of change and disruption that innovation and risk-taking become even more important for employee engagement and organisational success.
The disengaging effect of constraints on innovation and risk-taking are particularly severe for high-potential (HIPO) employees who tend to have a stronger desire for these types of opportunities.
Fill an empty tissue box with carrier bags, bin bags or food waste bags and pull them out as you would a tissue.
2. Egg cartons
Don’t waste that last drop of sauce. Instead pour it into plastic egg cartons to make single serve portions.
3. Freeze milk
There are lots of foods that can be frozen which you might not realise, including milk.Frozen milk should be thawed before it is used and be sure to give it a big shake before you pour it to ensure all the solids and liquids have been fully mixed.
4. Microwave bread
You can make bread in the microwave, yes really. Plus it takes just 90 seconds to cook. For the full recipe click here.
5. Pasta recipe
Did you know you can make pasta from scratch with just four ingredients and it takes under 10 minutes to make? Watch this video here showing how to make it in a flash.
6. Jam jars
Clean, empty jam jars can be used for a whole host of things including tea light holders, mini vases for wild flowers and, our favourite, for keeping food in.
7. Hang cleaning products on a rod
If the cupboard under your sink is a mess and you can never find that bottle of kitchen cleaner, make a rail for them. Screw a metal rod into the cupboard and hang the handles on it to make more space.
8. Saucepan handles
If you didn’t know, the reason why there is a hole in a saucepan handle is so that you can rest a wooden spoon in it.
9. Put paper towels in the salad drawer
Kitchen roll absorbs the condensation that vegetables generate as they chill. So put a layer of paper in the fridge draw to keep them fresher for longer.
10. Wine bottle watering can
Use your empty wine bottles as watering cans to feed the plants. Alternatively, they make a fancy water carafe for the kitchen table.
11. Coffee jar vase
Bigger than a jam jar, they make excellent vases.
12. Planter box milk cartons
Simply cut them in half, fill with soil, pop in seeds and watch your flowers or herbs grow. It’s great fun for kids and they can decorate the boxes too.
13. Banana pancakes
If you can’t get hold of flour, eggs or milk, you can still enjoy pancakes with this healthier alternative. Just mash one banana, blitz an handful of oats into a flour consistency, mix them together and then fry in a pan.
14. Nice cream
Nice cream as opposed to ice cream because it’s nice and healthy. It’s virtually fat free and has no refined sugars. All you need to do is cut a ripe or over ripe banana into chunks and freeze. Once frozen remove and blend it with a splash of milk to a thick and creamy texture. You can customise it however you like. We like blitzing frozen strawberries with it too for yummy strawberry and banana nice cream.
15. Flip your cereal bag before opening
Hate finding crumbs at the bottom of your cereal packet? Don’t throw them away or suffer with a mushy breakfast. Just shake the bag each morning to distribute all those little bits.
Working from home can also bring distractions from friends, family, social media, new obligations at home––especially if you’re sharing space with others––and reinventing schedules. All these things are likely to throw you off your routine. As a result, it’s easier to lose track of time or miss out on the regular reminders about important workplace meetings.
Here are six tips from productivity experts about how to stay on schedule and not miss out on important workplace meetings:
1. Create a new alert infrastracture
Gretchen Rubin is the author of the international bestseller The Happiness Project. As someone who has dedicated a lot of thought to examining the best way to live a productive and fulfilling life, you could call her an expert on setting healthy habits.
“I’m losing my sense of time,” Rubin told TechRepublic. “I usually know exactly what time it is, and what time of day it is, and it’s getting lost. So, even if you don’t usually depend on calendar alerts and putting Post-it notes up, you might find you need to build up more infrastructure.”
2. Make it clear to others that you are home, but you are still working
If you have roommates, a partner, or kids at home, working at home might make it seem as though you’re more available for activities around the house or hanging out. And while the great benefit of working from home is the increased flexibility, it’s critical to make sure you maintain a healthy boundary between your home life and your work life.
Gently inform others who might be distracting you from your work schedule that you need to stick to your schedule. If it’s you who is creating the distractions, make sure that you keep yourself accountable by setting hours and sticking to them. Close the door to your office area, if possible, or put in headphones to block outside sounds.
3. Stop messing around on Instagram
To counteract your social networks’ ease of use during work hours, remove them from your browser shortcuts and, according to Fast Company, log out of every account. You might even consider working primarily in a private or incognito browser window. This ensures you stay signed out of all your accounts and each web search you conduct doesn’t autocomplete the word you’re typing. It’s a guarantee that you won’t be tempted into taking too many social breaks during the day.
4. Write down your schedule – and stick to it
Rubin suggests writing things down on paper to stay on track. “Without the infrastructure and the social aspects of seeing people come and go, you might forget. You might have to prepare something for Friday, but you feel like Friday is an eternity away,” she said. “Yet time is still passing, so you might need to write things down more explicitly.”
5. Create your own workspace
It’s key to make a space that feels like it’s meant to get work done. That means avoiding your bed and sofa, if possible. “I think a lot of people would benefit from reimagining their space,” Rubin says. “You might even need to move your childrens’ bedrooms around to make a work or study space.”
6. Double-check your tech
Many of us have experienced the dreaded moment when your conference call has started, but you’re not able to get into it. Maybe your internet connection is slow. Maybe you haven’t downloaded the proper software. Maybe you haven’t checked your audio. For those working at home in the age of COVID-19, the problems could be amplified––maybe other people in your space are loud, and you can’t hear the meeting. Or you’re juggling multiple meetings online and finding it hard to keep track which one you’re supposed to join.
HR departments must regularly assess all employees on an individual basis and look for instances of discriminatory beliefs, lack of accountability, hostile leadership styles, retaliation and information guarding. With an infrastructure that doesn’t tolerate these behaviors, it becomes much simpler to steer clear of a toxic workplace environment.
1. Employees Aren’t Taking Vacation Days
Workers fail to take their vacation days because of a fear of falling too far behind or that none of their co-workers can take on their workload. Encouraging workers to plan their vacation days ahead of time increases the likelihood the employees will take them.
2. Lack of Bonuses and Incentives
Employers lose talented employees left and right when appreciation isn’t common in the workplace. A sure-fire sign of a toxic work environment is when there’s a lack of bonuses and incentives.
Extra paid vacation time and even small bonuses can translate into happy employees. Gifting employees with branded items, like portable speakers and coffee mugs with company logos, has a two-fold benefit: it shows appreciation and serves as an effective way to increase brand awareness.
3. Employees Stuck Behind a Desk All Day
Sprucing up the office with standing desks is a feasible way to encourage workers to stand more often. These desks easily switch back and forth between sitting and standing desks, which makes it simple for workers to stand when they want and sit and relax during downtime. Standing desks are also known to improve employee morale because workers tend to engage with their coworkers more when they don’t feel so tied to their desks.
4. Lack of Proper Training
No one wants to come to a job each day when they don’t know how to adequately perform their duties. Training employees shows you’re willing to invest in their future and that you’re truly concerned with how they perform. Training should begin when workers are hired and should continue on a regular basis.
5. No Break Room
Your employees need an area to step away from their desks and simply relax. Ideally, you will have an indoor and outdoor break area. These are the places employees can congregate and talk about the latest twists on their favorite TV shows and which of their kiddos won an award at school.
6. Everyone’s Gossiping
Gossip tends to trickle through poor communication channels, and it starts at the top. When senior-level employees engage in gossip, it sets an example to lower-level workers that gossip is tolerated. Did you know gossip is actually a form of workplace violence? It’s the HR department’s job to create and enforce a strict no-gossip policy with reasonable consequences to any violations.
7. Weak Foundation
A toxic workplace can’t be created unless it has fertile ground to take root in, and the values and ethics of a company’s leaders play a large role in that.
From verb tense to resume length, hiring managers notice even the tiniest details. Here are six common resume mistakes they spot almost immediately:
1. Using an unprofessional email address
This is a big red flag to hiring manages because it makes you look incredibly unprofessional. In today’s world, employers want tech-savvy individuals — even if the job they applied for has nothing to do with tech.
2. Deleting important details because you think your resume is ‘too long’
A 2018 study of 20,000 resumes found that hiring managers were more than twice as likely to prefer two-page resumes. So don’t feel the need to delete important details if your resume comes out to more than one page.
3. Using an over-the-top template
Hiring managers actually prefer the boring, old-fashioned templates because it’s much easier for them to quickly skim and digest. Submitting a crazy, over-the-top design will not only frustrate them, but can lead to wonky formatting issues. Also, applicant tracking systems are very common these days, and if your fancy template isn’t compatible, it won’t be parsed properly. If you’re a strong candidate, the content — and not the colors — on your resume will speak for itself.
4. Being inconsistent with sentence structure and verb tense
When describing your previous job history, all bullet points should start with an action verb. And if you choose to write in complete sentences, be consistent and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll have a sloppy resume that doesn’t flow well. While this may sound like pretty basic stuff, you wouldn’t believe how often applicants make this careless mistake.
5. Not including your LinkedIn profile
If you have one, make sure it’s updated and include it at the very top of your resume. If you don’t have one, create an account immediately and start adding people in your network. A study from earlier this year found that applications who submitted a link to a “comprehensive” LinkedIn profile on their resumes were 71% more likely to get an interview.
6. Not including basic skills
Hiring managers receive piles and piles of jargon-filled resumes that it’s difficult for them to assume what skills you do or don’t have. Play it safe and include even the most basic soft skills, especially the ones that are listed under the “minimum requirements” section of the job listing.
You need to stay healthy, it should be a number one priority. In fact, since it can be too easy to neglect it and fall into the trap of not leaving the house just because you don’t have to. Well, the good news is that you can do both, work from home full time and stay healthy.
1. Set up a personal work station
Consider separating yourself from everyone, and claim a corner as your personal work station. Make sure you have a good chair that supports your posture and doesn’t strain your back, and that you can work from there uninterrupted.
The sooner you can enter a deep state of concentration and focus – the sooner you can finish your work and move on to personal time. So, it’s better to get used to being able to finish all your work from one specific place in order to get into the habit.
2. Take frequent breaks
Working for long periods of time without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refresh your mind, and replenishes your mental resources so that you can come back with a fresh state of mind. If you continue giving a single task more attention, even when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, you’re just going to be more unproductive in the long run.
3. Set a schedule and stick to it
Essentially, if you can afford to have extra time, through time-management, you can afford to be healthy and more productive. It can be tempting to stay up late and start working whenever you feel like it, but your mental health and body will thank you if you set up a schedule and stick to it instead.
While waking up early might feel like a chore if you’re working from home, it’s a great way to start your day. Now, you don’t have to get up as early as 4 am, like some entrepreneurs suggest, but setting up your alarm a little earlier than usual can give you a lot of extra time in the evening.
This way, you can either use that extra time to go to the gym or exercise at home in the morning, or finish working earlier than usual – and then spend some time working out. Either way, the idea is to finish your workload earlier than before and then spend that time being healthy.
Winging it doesn’t really work when you’re working from home. If you start to associate where you live with a workplace you don’t enjoy being in, due to work, it’s really easy to get depressed and want to quit.
Meanwhile, if you set some time aside to stay healthy and look after yourself, you’re more likely to be more productive and efficient in the long run.
After all, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.
Remote interviews and in-person interviews are very different beasts. Maintaining an engaging discussion with an interviewer can be difficult when that person isn’t actually in the room with you, and technology issues can make connecting remotely all the more difficult. If you have a remote interview coming up, here are a few key things you can do to prepare for it.
1. Establish the right space
If you happen to already have a home office, doing it there is probably your best bet. Chances are, that space already looks somewhat put-together, and it also shows your prospective employer that you do, in fact, have a suitable area in your home for doing your job. If that’s not an option, then aim for something neutral — perhaps a corner of your living room, or a chair at your dining room table. No matter what spot you choose, just make sure there’s no visible clutter peeking out to distract the person you’re meeting with.
2. Look the part
Just as it’s important to dress professionally during an in-person interview, you should also do so for a remote interview. Dressing the part sends the message that you’re taking the opportunity at hand seriously.
3. Do a tech test run
Chances are, your interviewer will indicate what sort of software you’ll be using to connect remotely, whether it’s Skype or something else. Before your interview, try a test run with that platform to make sure it works for you. This way, you’ll have time to troubleshoot hiccups to avoid having to deal with them on the spot.
4. Eliminate distractions
When you’re participating in a job interview from home, there are a number of potential distractions that can throw you off your game, like a persistently ringing landline or a doorbell that sounds at the least-opportune time. To avoid getting too distracted during your interview, aim to address these potential trip-ups beforehand.
Interviewing for a job remotely can be challenging in its own right, especially if it’s your first time doing so. But as is the case with an in-person interview, the more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel going into it.
For writer and editor Kate Rope the biggest challenge in working from home is focusing when she doesn’t have impending deadlines. Sometimes, what helps her is an app called Focus Keeper, which involves working for 25-minute chunks and taking 5-minute breaks. Other times, Rope goes to her favorite coffee shop, where she can “just put my nose down,” and blast through her writing.
Below, you’ll find a variety of helpful hacks for being productive when working from home.
Address your exact challenges. The key is to name your biggest challenges—the obstacles that obstruct your productivity. Then channel your creativity to find helpful solutions for each one. Designate a specific work area. Rope suggested dedicating a specific area in your home as your office, which “tells your mind, ‘it’s working time,’ when you sit down there.” This might be an entire room or the corner of the living room. If you’re very limited on space, you might even put a small desk inside a closet. Commute to your home office. According to journalist Emily Price in her book Productivity Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Accomplish More Work—That Actually Work!including a commute where you leave the house for a few minutes helps you refocus and get into work mode. “The commute can be something as simple as leaving the house for a walk around the block or heading down the street to grab a cup of coffee.” Identify your peak productivity. When are you most productive, energized, focused and creative? During those times, try to work on bigger projects. Work on less demanding tasks, such as responding to email, when you tend to be less productive. Batch your errands. Might running all your errands in one day boost your productivity, too? Have an accountability partner.Price suggests working alongside a friend who also works from home. If that’s not possible, she recommends checking out virtual options at Focusmate.com, and GetMotivatedBuddies.com. Use a different browser for work. “Having a dedicated browser enables you to install browser plug-ins for a specific use and create a work-specific bookmarks bar that doesn’t get in your way when you’re surfing the web at work,” Price writes. Tame tiny problems. Make a list of things that are bothering you, Price writes, and try to get them fixed ASAP. End the workday with organization. Disorganization can crush productivity. Which is why taking a few minutes at the end of your workday to tidy up and organize can set you up for success the following day.
Working from home comes with all kinds of pros and cons—which will vary for each person. The key is to identify the cons, and find ways to work around them, so you can make working from home work best for you.
Great company culture is not about ping-pong tables and office snacks. Employee loyalty, job satisfaction and work performance aren’t affected by a physical location. Whether you have one, 10, 100 or more remote employees, creating a positive company culture where they will flourish and thrive is essential for the success of any startup.
So, how do you achieve a remote-first culture?
Promote knowledge sharing.
Knowledge sharing is essential when working with remote teams because it empowers people to establish bonds and grow.
To have productive and collaborative remote teams, a major shift needs to occur. Building an organizational culture requires:
Removing the focus from the individual, the leader, the superstar performer, and focusing more on the team or on how remote employees work together to get results.
Providing infrastructure people can use to collaborate.
Provide employees with feedback.
Working with remote teams can be challenging and offering honest feedback can lead to a more positive company culture. There’ll be lower turnover rates, more engaged employees and sky-high motivational levels.
The bad news is that many managers have very little knowledge about the science behind giving proper feedback. (Let’s be honest, dealing with emotions isn’t taught in business schools.) So, how can you give proper feedback to your remote team to encourage a positive company culture? Here are a few tips:
When you give negative feedback, your employees’ fear sensors activate. However, approaching feedback with empathy can make a world of difference. A manager who supports employees is the real secret to employee engagement because good employee feedback is based on trust.
Get rid of annual performance reviews and focus on more short-term development. While their purpose is to reflect on the entirety of the past year, they often end up focusing on more recent events.
Set goals for your employees that include specific and measurable key results.
Creating rituals and traditions to get to know your employees.
Creating traditions with your remote team can help keep the team cohesive, effective and trustworthy. How else would you know who is obsessed with Stranger Things and who sleeps with their dog at night?
Here are a few ideas that will lead to a great company culture:
Regular video chats: Hold regular video chats to help your remote team communicate face-to-face. Discuss work topics but also ask about each others’ cultures, customs and hobbies.
Virtual coffees: Your remote team can use virtual coffee breaks, which are video calls, to take breaks and socialize. It’s a great way for employees to share what they’ve been up to lately outside of work.
Retreats: Weekend retreats (at least once a year) are an awesome idea to provide more personal interactions for a team that doesn’t get to collaborate in person very often.
Embrace your employees’ differences and put their skills to good use.
What is at the heart of every company? People. The secret ingredient to creating a company culture is a diverse team of talented individuals. And this is not just diverse with respect to gender, disability, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation, but diverse in mindsets and ways of thinking that people acquire through their experiences.
The companies that will succeed in this new world are the ones that strive to create a positive company culture that includes diversity in the workplace. In this workplace, everyone will thrive and each employee will have a wealth of perspectives and ideas to share.
To conclude, companies that embrace a positive company culture will find a number of benefits, including increased employee loyalty, higher rates of employee morale and boosted levels of engagement. Through knowledge sharing, honest feedback, open communication and diversity, you can create an uplifting atmosphere that will, in the long term, keep employees happy and the business competitive.
Working from home is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you have the freedom to dress however you’d like, finish assignments from the comfort of your living room couch, and have an entire kitchen at your disposal whenever the afternoon munchies come on strong. It’s great unless you’re trying to lose weight.
Under these super convenient, incredibly comfortable circumstances, how can you can you lose weight when you work from home? Here are a few expert tips on how to do just that.
Invest in workout equipment you can use at home.
You don’t need fancy machines and clunky equipment to achieve your weight loss goals. In fact, the director of fitness from Daily Burn, Amanda Murdock said you don’t even have to have a gym membership. You will, however, benefit from investing in a few basic tools to help speed things along.
Find activities you genuinely enjoy doing, and you’re more likely to stick with a plan.
Oftentimes, fitness is looked at as a chore — something that has to get done in order to reach your weight loss goals. Although it’s true that physical activity is an important component, it shouldn’t feel like a burden, and it doesn’t have to. The key is to find exercises and activities you genuinely enjoy doing so that the time you commit to doing them feels like time well spent.
Clock in the right amount of quality sleep.
Nutrition and fitness are two of the most important elements of weight loss. The third is sleep — getting the right amount, and the right quality of it. And because when you work from home, your living space is also your workspace, it’s important that you not only set parameters for yourself, and know when to shut down, it’s also important that you create a sleep space that’s designed for sleep, not work under the covers.
Create a space in your home that can be your designated workout area.
Kelly Borowiec, CPT, founder of Keebs Fitness suggested that, after setting up a designated workout area in your home, fill it was a few basic pieces of equipment, like a set of 5-10lb dumbbells and a thick mat, to start.
“As you begin to exercise more frequently at home, you can reward yourself by buying more exercise equipment,” Borowiec said.
Plan your workouts around the times you’re most energized.
Are you a night owl? Early bird? Do you prefer afternoons to morning and evening hours? When you figure out what exercises you’re most likely to enjoy, your next task is to figure out when you’re most likely to exercise.
Be mindful of your meals and snacking options.
Nutrition is just as, if not more important when it comes to losing weight — whether you work from home or otherwise — so if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll just have to find ways to nip mindless cravings in the bud. One foolproof method Borowiec swore by was filling your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks, and preparing nutrient-dense meals in advance so that when you go grazing, you already have good-for-you options at the ready.
Don’t skimp out on cardio.
Walking from the bedroom to your couch or dining room isn’t much of a commute, but when your career can be done from the comfort of your living room, it’s easy to forgo cardio altogether. Joanna Stahl, the founder of Go2Practice told INSIDER this is a major, common mistake.
Cardio is key to most weight loss goals, so even though your work doesn’t require you to get up and out of the house, “there needs to be a concerted effort to put the pencils down and get in a workout daily,” Stahl said.
Drink a ton of water, but don’t sip on a glass with meals.
According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average adult should be drinking two liters, or eight cups, of water per day. However, the key is to drink these eight cups between meals, not during them.
Sign up for classes to hold you accountable.
If you’re struggling to find motivation, Stahl told INSIDER that either signing up for a workout class at a studio, gym, or online is a great resource. Not only will you have committed to be at the gym at a specific time, but classes that come at a price up the ante, because you’ve not only committed time, you’ve put down payment, too.
Remember that small adjustments to your schedule can make a difference, too.
Liana Hughes, certified personal trainer and coach at Gixo said you can become more active by making some small changes like “planning a time to exercise each day, setting alarms to get up and walk around each hour, stretching while you are making your morning coffee, and getting up and walking around during conference calls.”
Walk whenever and wherever you can.
“You don’t have to take a 60 minute cycling class or run miles and miles because small changes can mean big differences,” she told INSIDER. “For instance, taking walk breaks during the day will not only get you disconnected from your computer, but will count towards that weekly minimum. Go outside and take a walk and add in some power walking for a block to raise your heart rate to bring in cardio to your daily routine.”
Set up shop as far away from the kitchen as possible.
Does just being in the same vicinity of food initiate temptation? If so, set up your workspace far away from the kitchen to avoid wandering into the kitchen when you aren’t actually hungry.
Get dressed for work in the same way you would if you were going to an office.
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that because no one’s going to see you, working in your pajamas or baggy sweats is acceptable. On the one hand, it is, but on the other, getting dressed in the morning the same way you would to go to an office building will take you out of a lazy mindset.
Practice mindful eating.
“Eat in the common work kitchen area or an empty conference room,” American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, V Shred‘s lead trainer, and an expert in nutrition, Benjamin Suyematsu suggested. “Use the time to really be mindful about your meal. Taste the food. Take your time and enjoy the meal as opposed to rushing through which only adds air to your stomach leading to bloat and even indigestion.”
Cut back on sugar, alcohol, and high-fat foods.
“The biggest things to stay away from while trying to lose weight are sugars, alcohol, and high-fat foods,” CruBox trainer, Brian Evans said. “It is important to eat a super balanced diet and additionally, stay away from food that is labeled low fat or sugar-free. Typically those food have to either added fat or sugar for taste than the normal full calorie options.”