Categories
Culture future of work Productivity remote work Small Business Work Work freedom work from home

The Rise of Remote Work and How to Assess Growth and Development

kpi assess growth

COVID-19 has accelerated the rate of remote work adoption globally, but what have we found out? We have discovered that remote work is not bad, after all.

In the past, many companies have been wary about transitioning to telecommuting, even when most of their office operations do not require the physical presence of employees. The main fears expressed by leaders include a possible decline in employee productivity and a lack of clarity about the measurement of employee performance.

The performance of individual employees determines the trajectory of the company. Without reliable methods to assess its employees’ work, it is difficult for any organization to achieve growth and development.

This article addresses the concerns of managers who are hesitant about remote work and those who have already implemented remote work but have trouble with tracking performance for workplace productivity and office growth.

Set Clear Objectives and KPIs to Assess Growth

How do you know if your employees are getting stuff done? The inevitable first step is to define what it means to get stuff down. In business lingua, that means to establish work objectives and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Effective KPIs are aligned with the company’s overall goals and must contribute to the company’s growth and development.

Communicating to employees the metrics by which their performance will be assessed helps them to understand their priorities. Clear expectations, keep employees focused.

Acknowledge Unquantifiable Performance Indicators

In setting KPIs, though, you need to acknowledge that numbers don’t tell the full story. Not to suggest that you should discount the importance of numbers, but you should also be cognizant of the Key Intangible Performance Indicators. Admittedly, working remotely can compound the vagueness of such indicators — leading employees to feel their efforts are not recognized enough.

Some aspects are just not quantifiable, such as leadership, creativity, innovation, organization, and engagement. There are quantifiable indicators that may make us understand employee engagement and organization, but the subjects themselves are indefinite.

Until new ways and means of measuring these intangibles are discovered — company leadership should acknowledge that Key Intangible Performance Indicators exist, and look for ways to recognize employees who go above and beyond.

Support Employee Development

Assessments should be more supportive than they are judgmental. Employees appreciate frequent check-ins when the aim is to keep them on their toes and support them through difficulties. However, the manager that goes around constantly pointing out his team members’ flaws (without thoughtfully helping them overcome their challenges) is only seen as grumpy.

The rules also apply in remote work, where managers (out of fear of losing control) begin acting intrusively by implementing extreme corporate surveillance. Tracking and assessment are not the ends themselves; the goal of tracking employee performance should be to improve team productivity. In essence, remote work management and performance should usher us into a new era of trust, more autonomy, accountability, and team collaboration.

“Nowadays, it is not enough to equip teams with new digital tools for remote collaboration, which many rapidly did when the pandemic began. It’s only the first step,� says Maxime Bouroumeau-Fuseau, co-founder and CTO of Paris-based Digicoop, a worker cooperative behind the work management platform Kantree. “The changing workplace calls for an environment where employees are empowered to take control of their work.

In our experience as a co-op, when employees are given more autonomy and when micromanagement is replaced by collaboration, teams deliver better results while individual employees feel more invested in their work.�

Allow Autonomy

Many people choose to work remotely because they want to feel a greater sense of ownership of their time and schedules. Therefore, even though time tracking is important for many remote teams, it goes without saying that hourly input is not always a good measure of performance.

The true measure of performance is the work outcome. Remote work allows employees to choose their own work hours; what does it matter if an employee works less per hour but still meets targets consistently? Researchers have shown that autonomy increases productivity.

Use the Right Tools and Analytics for KPIs

With physical offices out of the picture, it is the tools that a remote team uses that define the structure of work and operations. There are tools that keep employees accountable and provide actionable insights into how work gets done in the organization.

The rise of remote work has promoted the importance of analytics of everyday work data to ensure that employees are more productive.

The insights gained help team leaders and the management to understand if the organization is meeting set targets of performance and productivity and determine the rate of growth and development. Tools such as Trello, Kantree, Jira, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc., are useful for assessing work progression.

Establish a Culture of Accountability

Note, though, that tools are only as effective as the culture in which they are situated. Your team might be using the best tools, but poor communication can derail employees from the main goals of the company.

When there are issues with employee performance, you must be able to recognize if there is a problem with the tools being used or with the management. Accountability should not only be down-up; it should be top-down too. Managers should be accountable to their subordinates and transparent about office dealings.

Conclusion

Going by statistics, remote work actually improves employee productivity and performance. This, in turn, leads to the overall growth of the company. However, this growth must be intentional. Organizations should implement proper (and flexible) assessment models to know when their work is really progressing and when there are problems that must be solved.

The post The Rise of Remote Work and How to Assess Growth and Development appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
online Calendar planner Productivity ReadWrite remote work remote workers

Boosting Your Productivity While Working from Home

work from home

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our working culture and environment critically. Who knew that this pandemic would transform the work culture along with a drastic shift of working from home? Every organization that we come across today is struggling with something or the other. The transformation has changed the life of the employer and employees in indescribable ways. Here are thoughts on boosting your productivity while working from home.

The pandemic has made organizations brainstorm and implement new ways of managing remote teams.

The job of managing remote teams seems challenging for organizations that have never been into remote teams. As for the employers, the same is the scenario with the employees. The work-place environment is a lot different than the home environment. The big task lies in maintaining a good work-life balance and delivering the expected results to your employer.

While some people are used to working from home, others might struggle with productivity. The level of commitment, discipline, planning, and consistency is always higher when you’re working from home.

Here are some “working from home tips” for the first-timers and those struggling with it.

  • Plan your day:

You might have everything in your head. Putting down these things will help you to focus on the work that needs to be done. If you plan your day, you will know and be prepared for the next day. Building your mindset a day before is an important factor that will help you to be productive throughout the day.

  • Make the planner your soulmate:

When you list down the things that need to be done, the tasks will seem easier. It is a brilliant way to stay away from forgetting the list of your daily tasks. Being at home might bring many distractions, but a to-do list can help you stay organized. There are various tools for keeping track of your to-do list. I have tried to curate the best ones in this article you will find below.

  • Stay loyal to your work area:

Even if you are working from home, have your specified work desk or area. It increases your focus and allows you a professional environment. Having a separate desk also soothes your mind that has a positive effect on productivity.

  • Keep that personal beep away:

Limiting your distractions allows you to concentrate on your work. You can always start slow. For instance, keeping your phone on DND mode for 30 mins and then gradually increasing it to 2-3 hours. It will allow you to work for the preferred working hours.

  • Take hell-of breaks:

Taking 10 minutes breaks after every hour or two breaks mental fatigue. It is a helpful way to stay focused on your work. However, you must take the right type of breaks. If you take the wrong breaks, it can become harder for you to focus when you re-start. Here is an article that will tell you all about taking breaks.

  • Get on your comfy clothes:

A lot of people say that you need to be dressed as if you are going to work. But it does not work for all of us. You need to explore what suits you the best. Some might feel confident in formal clothes, whereas some might be comfortable working in pajamas. Choose your clothes wisely and get through the day.

  • Turn on that inspiration:

Some people like to work with music or podcast and others might find it comfortable in a silent environment. Find out what brings in the most enthusiasm in you while you work. You can try some soothing soundtrack, jazz, or even let the natural sound come to you by keeping the windows open. There is some productivity-boosting music that is a must-try for all of us. Here is a detailed resource on finding the best music for you.

Being entirely new to work-from-home would need some tips and tricks and tools that can help you get acquainted with the new normal. Various tools can help you in working closely with the remote team. Let me help you by differentiating them based on their unique nature.

Work from home collaboration tools:

Lack of communication might end up creating problems for the entire team. It is difficult to pass on real-time information with remotely working teams and ensure whether it is understood correctly. Here are some real-time collaboration tools that might help you get real-time information from your team and colleagues.

  • Slack:

Slack is a remote messaging application that helps the teams to work in sync. Your team can now have all the communication in a single place. It has a unique feature where you can create a hashtag and follow the communication in that particular area. It offers a fully native application for iOS and Android that allows you to complete the functionality of the tool.

  • Troop Messenger:

Troop Messenger is an instant messaging tool that keeps your team’s conversation-flow in real-time. It is an ideal tool for any business size. Troop is a feature-packed tool that includes video calling, flagging, screen sharing, audio messaging, and more. They also provide small tutorial clips for all features in case of any need.

  • Chanty:

Chanty is an AI-powered application that allows users to connect with the team in no time. Its user-friendly nature enables the users to try their hands on all the features without any help or tutorials. It is designed to share files, unlimited messaging, support third-party apps like Google Drive. Make your remote team communication fun by sharing emojis and animated gifs on Chanty.

Work from home productivity tools:

Working from home is not easy. There can be a lot of distractions and you might not be able to concentrate. When I started as a freelancer, I could hardly work for two hours straight. Eventually, I fixed my timings and started as a full-time freelancer. I also keep a planner that helps me to complete my tasks efficiently. Some people use an online Calendar as their planner.

There might be times when you feel overwhelmed and would need a tool desperately. I have listed some tools that might help you to increase your productivity. Besides the below tools, a simple physical planner works wonders.

  • Google Keep:

Google keep is a note-taking service that allows the user to strike off the job when completed. You can simply toggle between emails and the list or download the Keep mobile app for easy handling. You can use it for various types of files such as lists, audio, images, and text.

  • Asana:

Asana is not only an individual productivity tool but can also be used for the entire team. It is not 100% useful if you’ are a single worker or freelancer. But it is a great tool for teams where you can keep a track of your projects, assigning users for various tasks, and so on.

  • Freedcamp:

Freedcamp can be used as a core tool for strategizing, organizing, and taking action. It is a user-friendly application where you can share your to-do list with other team members and join in the discussions. The biggest turn on for using Freedcamp is that it offers a ton of features for free. If you need any add-ons like CRM or invoicing, you can simply pay for what you need. It is one of the coolest applications that you won’t regret exploring.

Work from home monitoring tools

There are several applications in case you wish to monitor the time taken for completing various tasks. These applications can also be used if you are a manager and would like to see whether your subordinates perform their duties.

  • Toggl:

Toggl is a simple work from home monitoring tool that tracks time just by pressing the Toggl button. It is one of the most used applications for tracking down the time taken to complete various tasks. You can also fetch reports to see how much time you took to complete your tasks throughout the week.

  • Time Doctor:

Time Doctor is a SaaS tool that can help you with tracking your working time along with the breaks. It is one of the best time tracking tools that enable you to track your team member’s time. You can even look for the time spent on individual tasks by you and other members. If you want some screenshots from your team, simply specify the intervals and it will do the job for you.

  • Hubstaff:

A group founded Hubstaff while they were looking for a better way to manage their freelancers. Its metrics allows the manager or employers to manage their team. You can ensure your team’s productivity while you manage the remote team and their tasks. It has a unique GPS and geofencing feature that notifies the manager if they leave the job site.

Moreover, having said that, even if you have had remote workers before — because of COVID — remote work is new for almost all employers.

Because remote work — in the manner it has to be done because of the pandemic — is the reason why there are a lot of disagreements and debates in this area. We are going to discuss some of the top statistics to understand the positive side of it.

  1. 77% of employees believe that they are more productive while working remotely:

Doesn’t this study by CoSo Cloud have astounding facts? Who could believe that remote working can boost productivity? This is a win-win situation for both – the employer and the employee. It is a great opportunity for businesses to cut down expenses and boost employee productivity at the same time. In contrast, the employees can work at their convenience and that eventually reduces stress and helps in improving the quality of work.

  1. More work is done in less time:

A study by Stanford found that work from home increases employee performance by 13%. The work from home scenario allows employees to do more work in a day and boosts work done each minute. The aspect of more work done with less time or resources is important for employees and employers.

Image Credit: andrew neel; pexels

The post Boosting Your Productivity While Working from Home appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
remote work startup startup remote work Startups success remote work

How to Optimize a Startup for Remote Work

startup remote work

Increasingly, startups are adopting a fully remote work model. With no headquarters, no central office, and no physical location for operations, startups rely entirely on digital forms of production and communication. Here is how to optimize a startup for remote work.

It’s a viable model and potentially a very profitable, efficient, and fulfilling one for everyone involved. But if you want to be successful, it’s not enough to simply adopt a remote work strategy—you have to optimize your startup for remote work.

Why Remote Work?

Remote work is in fashion these days, so many people already know the benefits — or at least some of the benefits. But if you want to make the most of your remote work optimization strategy, you should be familiar with the setup’s greatest strengths.

  • Lower costs. Naturally, working remotely allows a startup to save money. You won’t have to pay thousands of dollars per month to lease an office. You won’t have to pay for office supplies or utilities. And your employees can save money too—they won’t need to pay as much for transportation, parking, or attire (in most cases).
  • Bigger talent pool. Operating remotely also gives you access to a wider talent pool. Without a central location, you can feasibly hire employees from all over the world. That means you’ll have a much higher likelihood of finding the right person for each role on your team.
  • Higher productivity. Studies show that people who work from home tend to be more productive than their counterparts in traditional workplaces. There are many proposed explanations for this effect, including greater employee comfort, fewer distractions, or even a sense of pressure to perform—so employees can retain the perceived benefit.
  • Finally, remote work affords employees and employers with significant flexibility. Without a central office, consistent hours become less of a concern, and people feel more capable of utilizing a wide range of communication tools—rather than heading to the meeting room every time someone has a question or comment.

Of course, there are some downsides to remote work as well. For example, communication can be more challenging, you won’t benefit from the physical presence and brand exposure of an office building, and over time, your employees may suffer from burnout and/or loneliness. However, you can compensate for these with the right remote work optimization strategy.

The Nature of Remote Work Optimization

Remote work optimization is all about restructuring your business in a way that makes remote work even more efficient. It’s a way to play to the strengths of remote work while minimizing the weaknesses.

Note that remote work optimization isn’t just about making your business functional in a remote work environment. Many businesses transition to a remote work model in an overly straightforward and seemingly efficient way — but it’s the wrong way. In this approach, businesses simply take operations as they know them in a traditional work environment and shoehorn them into a remote work mold. It’s like fitting a square-shaped peg into a circle-shaped hole.

In this inefficient model, you might translate all previous in-person meetings into video conferences. You might make all employees work 9 to 5 like usual. You might even have lunch breaks at the exact same time and in the exact same way.

But if you want to achieve your true potential as an organization, you need to take a different approach. You need to structure your organization with remote work in mind, rethinking or restructuring work aspects from a fundamental level.

Key Principles for Success

How can you do this?

  • Build a remote organization from the ground up. As a short-term, duct-tape style fix, it’s okay to create a remote work environment based on your traditional approach to work. But as a long-term fix, this is much harder to pull off successfully. Instead, tear down everything and try to rebuild from the ground up. With no traditions or expectations to fulfill, does it really make sense to have this daily meeting? Is there a better system of communication and collaboration that you can create?
  • Prioritize digital visibility. Without a physical office, you’re not going to have much of a ground presence. That means you’ll be almost exclusively reliant on digital strategies for increasing visibility (like search engine optimization—SEO). Fortunately, there’s no shortage of digital marketing strategies to choose from, and many of them are highly cost-efficient. Try using a combination of content marketing, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and other digital outlets to make up the difference.
  • Invest in the right tools. Without the office to bring people together, your team will rely on digital tools to accomplish their tasks, including communicating with other workers. Your choice of tools will dictate your team’s success; intuitive, efficient, functional tools will increase productivity, while inefficient, clunky ones can make remote work practically impossible. Don’t be afraid to invest a little more to get the right tools for your team.
  • Embrace minimalism. That said, it’s possible to go overboard. If your team is overloaded with apps to use and tools to leverage, it’s going to be more of a burden than a help. It’s important to invest in good tools, but those tools should also be minimal and streamlined. There’s no reason to add a new tool to a system that works perfectly well as is.
  • Rethink basic assumptions. Take the time to question and rethink even your most basic assumptions about work. For example, is the 9 to 5 workday really the optimal way for your team to spend their time? Are emails truly the most viable mode of consistent communication?

Hours and Compensation

One of the most important areas to consider is how your employees spend their hours. In many roles, the sheer number of hours a person spends doesn’t really matter. They have a set of responsibilities and a set of tasks to accomplish; as long as they accomplish these, they shouldn’t need to spend a certain number of hours or be present at certain hours of the day.

Many workplaces can afford to grant workers some flexibility in this regard. You may allow employees to set their own hours, or at least be accommodating with occasional deviations from the standard schedule. You may even change how you compensate employees, accordingly, paying them based on what they accomplish, rather than with a set salary or on an hourly basis.

Communication

Communication can make or break your remote team’s productivity, so it needs to be one of your biggest areas for development. Utilize many different communication channels, including things like email, project management platforms, video chats, phone calls, and instant message platforms. Each channel has strengths and weaknesses, so using many platforms simultaneously can balance.

However, you should know that while technology can solve many communication problems, it can also introduce some problems of its own. Scrutinize your communication channels carefully, and be careful not to overwhelm employees with too many apps or too many notifications.

Security

Working remotely introduces new security risks, so you’ll need to adjust your standards and procedures. Document new security policies for all employees to follow, and educate them on best practices like network connectivity and password management. Additionally, you’ll need to invest in tools like VPNs and firewalls to ensure your remote organization remains secure.

Feedback and Ongoing Changes

If you want to maximize productivity, efficiency, and morale in your remote organization, you’ll need to commit to making ongoing changes. Your initial systems and procedures won’t be perfect, and the only way to accommodate and improve those imperfections is to evolve.

Collect feedback from your employees to get a feel for how your remote work changes are playing out in practice. They may have suggestions for further changes to make or complaints about specific tools or setups. Listen to these notes and be prepared to address them, one way or another.

Optimizing a tech startup for remote work is much more than just saying goodbye to the office. If you want to succeed in this increasingly popular and competitive space, it’s important to take your strategic planning seriously.

Image Credit: anna shvets; pexels

The post How to Optimize a Startup for Remote Work appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
brain hack Culture ekalavya hansaj employee productivity Entrepreneurs Grow Hack Health Lead Productivity Quarterly global remote work Work

6 Brilliant Brain Hacks for the Remote Worker

brain hacks

What was once a niche work lifestyle has become commonplace. Millions of Americans now work remotely – and millions more are ready to join in. While remote working offers many benefits, it also has its own distinct challenges that must be worked through. Understanding how to power through friction and optimize productivity for better output is the goal. Here are six brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

Do you know where to start? Here is a practical guide to on-boarding remote engineers from a topmost expert. Consider these 6 brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

The Upward Climb on Remote Working

If you work from home, you used to be the anomaly. Today, you’re in good company. Pretty soon, you’ll be part of the majority.

According to Global Workplace Analytics and Quarterly Global, the leader in PR, marketing and advertising, the number of individuals working from home has grown by 173 percent since 2005.

Overall, 4.7 million employees (roughly 3.4 percent of the overall workforce) work from home at least half the time.

Approximately 40 percent of American employers offer more flexible workplace options today than they did five years ago. But with 80 to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce saying they’d prefer to work outside the office at least some of the time, this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

As remote working becomes more commonplace, so will the need for better remote working strategies.

The Top Remote Working Challenges

Remote working is highly appealing and advantageous for freelancers, employees, and employers alike. But it’s not a perfect setup. There are plenty of challenges, including:

Blurred lines

Everyone wants to talk about tearing barriers between work and personal life, but too much overlap can equally problematic. One of the keys to maintaining optimal work-life balance is being able to separate the two. When you work out of the house, it’s challenging to carve out a meaningful division between each area. This can make you less effective in both aspects of your life.

Distractions

Have you ever tried to work from home when you have a house full of rambunctious children? Or what about participating in a conference call in the middle of a loud coffee shop? Wherever you’re working, distractions abound.

Procrastination

Whether you’re an employee or freelancer, your remote working status typically comes with greater freedom in how you manage your time. If you aren’t careful, procrastination can get the best of you. Over time, it may even become habitual.

Inconsistency

When working in an office, there’s something to be said for the predictability. You basically know what to expect. Your desk is in the same place, you see the same people, and you go through the same basic routines. Remote workers rarely have the luxury of consistency. This makes it hard to get in a state of flow.

Communication

We may have more communication methods than ever before, but there’s still nothing that can fully replicate being face-to-face in the same physical space. For remote workers, trying to communicate via a combination of phone, email, SMS, and video chat creates an extra layer of friction.

Isolation

Finally, remote working often gives rise to feelings of isolation – particularly in people with extroverted personalities. This can lead to boredom, pessimism, and a lack of drive. It can even have serious side effects, like anxiety or depression.

Most people ignore these challenges, and the results show. But if you’re someone who wants to increase productivity and maximize output, you need a better strategy.

You need to find what works.

And once you discover what works, you need to bottle it up and use it to your advantage.

Powerful Brain Hacks for Better Results

Brain hacking.

It sounds like a buzzword – and it kind of is. But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Our brains are constantly being shaped by events, experiences, external stimuli, and other environmental factors. And as weird as it may sound, the human brain is subject to regular physical and cognitive changes.

The neuroplasticity concept says that the brain, like muscles in the body, becomes weaker or stronger over time. It’s continuously changing and rewiring. Over time, targeted techniques and purposeful strategies can morph into automatic habits and processes.

These targeted techniques and strategies are brain hacking. And it’s something that every remote worker can do to overcome the aforementioned challenges and optimize productivity and output.

Here are some brain hacks you may find helpful:

  1. Try Intermittent Fasting for Better Focus

Intermittent fasting is a biohacking concept that involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. There are various techniques, but the most common is to eat all of your meals in one eight-hour window. In other words, you’re fasting for 16 hours every day.

If you’re someone who loves food, this probably sounds impossible.

However, it’s not nearly as difficult as it initially seems.

It basically means you eat your first meal at 11 a.m. and your last meal at 7 p.m. (or whatever variation works for you).

Aside from the fat loss and metabolism benefits, intermittent fasting actually helps with focus. The consolidated intake of food prevents wasted energy from digesting food. Instead, you’re able to allocate those energy reserves to concentrate on work-related tasks.

On a related note, be mindful of what you eat.

While health professionals have spent years telling people to avoid fat, the truth is that you need healthy fats to maximize cognitive functioning.

Why?

It’s pretty simple: The human brain is 60 percent fat.

When you eat, try incorporating items like eggs, avocados, nuts, salmon, trout, and coconut oil into your meals.

  1. Eliminate Digital Media from Your Morning Routine

Bing! Bing! Bing!

Your morning alarm goes off.

You slap the snooze button. Once. Twice. Three times.

Once you finally come to your senses, you grab your phone, pull up Instagram, and start scrolling.

Then you get out of bed, walk downstairs, and turn on the news.

While watching the news, you reply to a couple of late-night texts that came in while you were sleeping.

Over breakfast, you check your email.

It’s not even 8 a.m., and you’ve consumed more digital media than your brain can process. You’ve also unintentionally heightened your stress level, stifled your creativity, and destroyed your focus.

When you start your day with digital media, you’re actually beginning your morning playing catch-up on what happened yesterday. You’re also letting other people dictate how you feel. You haven’t even started working, and stress, worry, and discontentment become the resounding feelings of the day.

Try taking a digital fast for the first two to three hours each day.

In a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia, 124 individuals were asked to check their email frequently for one week. The next week, they were told only to check their email three times per day (and to disable all notifications).

The data was analyzed against the time spent viewing email, and participants reported feeling significantly lower stress levels and higher feelings of positivity when email exposure was limited.

Once you cut back on exposure to email, social media, news, and other digital media forms, you’ll start to feel the positive effects.

While everyone can benefit from less digital media exposure, it’s especially helpful for remote workers close to digital distractions like the TV, video game systems, and personal smart devices.

  1. Leverage the Pomodoro Technique for Better Scheduling

Americans have a love affair with multitasking. We wear our ability to juggle responsibilities like a badge of honor.

But research shows that multitasking actually suppresses productivity. And if you work from home, where personal distractions are omnipresent, it can severely limit your output.

Enter the Pomodoro Technique – a revolutionary brain hacking method that remote workers have been using for years to increase focus and productivity.

The Pomodoro Technique consists of breaking your workday into 25-minute sections of work separated by five-minute breaks. Each one of these half-hour chunks is referred to as a Pomodoro. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you take an extended break of 15 to 20 minutes.

These 15- to 20-minute breaks can be used for remote workers to do tasks around the house – such as folding laundry, fixing lunch, or taking a shower. This allows you to be productive with work while also taking full advantage of the fact that you’re home.

  1. Use Parkinson’s Law to Avoid Procrastination

In a satirical piece written for the Economist in 1955, British naval historian Cyril Parkinson made the following statement:

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.�

He would later write a book that fleshed out this idea. Eventually, people would refer to this concept as Parkinson’s Law.

In a remote work setting, Parkinson’s Law states that the time it takes to complete a work project depends on how much time you allot for it. In other words, if you give yourself eight hours, you’ll slow down and make it take eight hours. If, however, you only give yourself five yours, you’ll block out distractions and get it done in five hours.

If you’ve grown weary of procrastination and hope to finish your work faster and more efficiently, you need to set tighter deadlines.

Instead of telling a client, you’ll have the project done by next Friday, tell them you’ll have it in by next Tuesday. By tightening the time constraints, you force yourself to work more efficiently.

  1. Optimize Your Home Office for Productivity

One of the major challenges of working from home is that you’re forced to create a professional workspace in the middle of a very personal place.

But this is also one of the distinct advantages.

You have the capacity to design your own workspace – so why not optimize your at-home workspace in a way that puts your brain in the right frame of mind to be productive?

For starters, choose a room in the house that’s as far away from communal living areas as possible. In other words, being located right off the living room isn’t ideal. You’re much better off positioning a home office in the back corner of the house.

Secondly, you need natural light. It plays a catalytic role in brain performance, creativity, and focus.

Thirdly, paint your office walls a soothing color. The principles of color psychology suggest cool greens, blues, or neutrals. Avoid colors like red and orange, which provoke feelings of urgency.

Finally, eliminate distractions by avoiding clutter. While some creative minds thrive in messy environments, the vast majority of people wilt. Clutter zaps up energy and makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. By adopting a minimalist environment, you can get more done with less effort.

  1. Keep a Schedule

The human brain thrives on predictability. Remote working is far less predictable than working in an office where you’re expected to show up, take lunch, and go home at the same time each day.

If you want to give your brain a solid framework to latch onto, a consistent schedule is necessary.

Start your day by having your alarm go off at the same time every single morning.

After waking, implement a consistent routine that helps you transition from personal duties to professional responsibilities.

Start working each day simultaneously and use a couple of familiar tasks to help your brain slip into the right frame of mind.

Taking lunch at the same time is also advisable – particularly if you’re leveraging intermittent fasting.

The hardest part for most remote workers is “clocking out� at a consistent time. It’s easy to continue working and filling time until late in the evening. To prevent this from happening, try scheduling obligations in the evening. This makes it less likely that you’ll keep working.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Not all of these brain hacks and strategies will appeal to you. It’s all about finding your best approach and leveraging whatever it is that helps you achieve a state of flow.

What works for you?

How can you set yourself up for max productivity?

Your approach will differ from the next person’s – so don’t try to mimic or replicate what others are doing. Instead, become like a scientist in the laboratory. Mix, match, and blend proprietary formulas until you discover a brain hacking system that puts you on a path for success.

Image Credit: David Cassolato; Pexels

The post 6 Brilliant Brain Hacks for the Remote Worker appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
BYOD future of work Lead Productivity ReadWrite remote work work from home

How to Enable Successful Remote Environments

remote environments

Work-life has changed drastically and unpredictably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly everyone that can work from home has done so, and with little time to prepare. While this is non-traditional remote work experience, many business leaders are considering supporting remote work permanently – at least in some capacity – as we emerge from our current situation.

This is largely due to the competitive advantages remote work provides over office-first businesses, including increased employee productivity and engagement. This increased productivity drives better performance and, in turn, more profits. Decades of Gallup research shows that highly engaged employees are 15% more productive when they work remotely, and highly engaged workplaces claim 21% higher profitability.

Given this, businesses who have adapted successfully to remote work aren’t expected to rush back to the office any time soon. In fact, a recent study conducted by Motus found that once stay-at-home orders are lifted, as many as 30-40% of companies could permanently spend more time working remotely than in an office – a substantial increase from what business looked like before the pandemic.

The Business Advantages of Remote Work

Having a large remote workforce has numerous advantages for both businesses and their employees. Without commuting, employees can increase their focus on their work, reduce costs on once-necessary items – like gas – and find their own work-life balance. This has led to greater employee satisfaction and retention for businesses. Furthermore, as they are no longer limited by geography, employers can access a larger talent pool when looking at potential recruits.

Many have also experienced near-term savings on utility bills and in-office perks. But beyond these immediate savings, there are much larger savings opportunities when businesses embrace a remote work culture, for example:

  • Office space: Dedicated office space costs businesses $12,000 per employee every year, and office space leases are typically one of the least flexible costs of running a business. By reducing the number of workspace businesses need, they can reinvest office real estate spend into other initiatives that benefit their workforce. This includes investments like employee development and engagement and even perks like childcare or travel stipends, onboarding retreats, or home office setups.
  • Reduced absenteeism and business continuity: Unscheduled absences cost U.S. businesses $300 billion every year. Employees equipped to work remotely are more adaptable and can continue work through unplanned interruptions that disrupt work—for example, an HVAC problem in the office building or inclement weather.
  • Lower voluntary turnover: Losing a valued employee can cost a business $10,000 to $30,000, and 95% of businesses say that remote work has reduced voluntary turnover.

Enabling Successful Remote Work Environments

With increased flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance for employees – and greater productivity and continuity for businesses – remote work benefits are numerous. Our current work from home situation is unique because they need to act swiftly at the onset of COVID-19 gave employers limited time to prepare employees for productive work in a home environment. Looking to the future, they have more time and ample options to consider that will enable successful remote work scenarios.

In the absence of a dedicated office environment, employers’ most important thing to do is to provide and deploy the tools and equipment that will enable employees to productively carry out their work – namely, a computer and a phone. They can provide these devices in a few different ways.

Company-provided approach:

One option is to supply employees with everything they need through a company-provided approach to supply computers, phones, and sometimes a dedicated internet connection.

However, even with enough time to procure and deploy equipment to every employee, this approach is expensive. Along with providing the actual devices, employers need to provide support for them. While expenses like a computer are one-time costs, phones are a mixture of a one-time device cost and recurring costs for data and service.

For every 500 company phones provided, the average company spends more than $3,000 per month in support. Considering that most employees already have a personal cell phone and an internet connection in their home, it might not make sense to supply these a second time.

BYOD programs:

A second approach is to enable a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program in which employers most commonly choose to pay a stipend to those who work remotely regularly. However, many employers are inconsistent in their approach to stipends. Sometimes amounts depend on when an employee was hired or what an employee negotiated when they were hired.

Additionally, when stipends are rolled into compensation packages, and employers don’t have the data to substantiate the amount paid, stipends are taxable. This means employees who receive a $100 taxable stipend each month; they only take home $70 of that stipend. Furthermore, remote work has costs beyond the mobile phone that should be considered when deciding what a stipend should cover. Frequently overlooked costs include high-speed internet and the space employees use in their homes as a dedicated workspace.

With employment laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which require employees to be reimbursed for any business-related expense, employers who follow a stipend approach put themselves in danger of failing to reimburse employees on-the-job expenses fully and can become entangled in costly lawsuits.

Localized reimbursement rates:

The third (and most accurate) approach is to reimburse using localized reimbursement rates, which factor in geographic costs. This is important — as phone, internet, and home office costs are not the same in every location — and different roles require different levels of availability. Some jobs require employees to be responsive outside of business hours, while others require more limited connectivity.

The average national cost for these expenses ranges between $90 – $126 per employee per month – so what is the right amount? By factoring in the amount of connectivity required and geographic costs, employers can ensure that their employees are fairly and accurately compensated for the costs they incur at the benefit of their employers.

More than 90 million people in the U.S. today have a job that could be performed at least partially from a remote location. As businesses look to the future, some have already announced that they will be transitioning to permanent remote work environments. Companies that empower employees with the tools and resources to be successful will find themselves at an advantage as the way we work continues to evolve.

Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels

The post How to Enable Successful Remote Environments appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Productivity ReadWrite remote everything in 2020 remote work Work

Avoid Burnout and Loneliness from Remote Work

avoid loneliness remote work

Remote working has exploded in popularity over the past few years. The prevalence is great if you value freedom and are self-motivated, but the downside is remote work loneliness. Here is how to avoid burnout and loneliness from remote work.

You Need a Plan to Avoid Burnout and Loneliness from Remote Work

At the beginning of your remote work, it’s easier to avoid loneliness while working from home, but as time goes on — having tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness will go a long way. Not only can these tips improve your productivity, but it can also help avoid burnout from remote work and ensure you enjoy a long, healthy career as a remote worker.

As a remote worker, I’ve found staying mindful of remote work loneliness is key when trying to avoid the effects of said loneliness. While working from home you want to improve relationships with clients, stay on track with work and family — and remaining positive and productive.

Check out the 7 tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness and ways to avoid burnout from remote work.

People often have this idea that remote workers sit around in their pajamas, maybe watching tv while they do work, or catching up on tasks around the house, like laundry.

Initially, the “lounge in scrounge” might seem like a good idea — but anyone who is a remote worker knows this is not how you avoid burnout from remote work.

Avoid the trap.

There are a couple of ways to avoid falling into this trap. One of those ways is to set your schedule ahead of time with dedicated working blocks, and short dedicated breaks.

Use your breaks to eat lunch, get up and move, or just step back from your work for 5 to 10 minutes.

Keep in mind that you have the option to create a schedule outside of the normal 9–5 working hours. If nine-to-five is not your peak hours — don’t confine yourself to them.

Don’t try to multi-task, and take care of too many things at once. That is a sure way to get burnt out, as you will likely feel as if you’re doing a ton, but have nothing to show for it.

Have a dedicated workspace at home, rather than moving around the house throughout the day, and that will make a huge difference in how you feel and your productivity.

woman face on desk

Take dedicated breaks to ensure the line between work and personal hours don’t start to blur.

2. Build-in social time into your schedule.

As mentioned above, not everyone is built to be productive during regular 9–5 work hours. We recommend taking advantage of that flexibility, get to know what times you work best, and build in time for extra socializing during your less productive times.

When your office is in your home, the line between work and personal hours can start to blur. Making plans after-work, before the workday begins, or throughout the day forces you to get you out of the house and off of the computer.

Secondly, when you work remotely, it’s common to miss out on spending time working or socializing with your teammates. The best way to get around this is to make plans with friends or family members during the week.

Taking social breaks gives you something to look forward to, prevents feeling disconnected or isolation from your team and community, and helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Maybe you start work later in the day, or much earlier, either way, you likely have the opportunity to build in more socializing. What that schedule looks like is totally up to you.

Some ideas may be to grab breakfast or coffee with a neighbor, spend time with your children before taking them to school or daycare, or take your dog to the park with a friend who also has a dog in the area so you can socialize while the dogs play.

If you prefer social plans at the end of the day, this helps you create a clear end time to your workday. A specific end-time is essential if you want to avoid burnout from remote work.

No matter what that time is — setting your schedule so that it includes time to socialize during your workweek helps you avoid loneliness while working from home.

3. Take a break from your home office.

One of the best tips for remote workers to avoid the loneliness that I can recommend is to get out of your home office and find someone to work in the world.

Try working outside of your home at least one day per week. One of the biggest challenges we face as remote workers are the moments when we feel alone. When remote work loneliness begins to creep in, it can greatly impact productivity, connection to your teammates, and your all-around wellbeing.

Of all the tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness, the top one might be just making it your number one priority to recognize loneliness and have a list of ways to combat that loneliness.

Consider starting by taking a break from your home office. The break could include going to a co-working space, a coffee shop, a college, or a local library. Whatever you choose, just make sure you make time to surround yourself with other people. During COVID, these options may be limited — but find something, someplace, and someone to help yourself out.

woman at desk

4. Spend time with other remote workers.

For most of us, it’s most beneficial to interact with other remote workers. These are the people who understand your lifestyle, the challenges you face, and can offer you some support.

As remote working has exploded in popularity, and more of us become aware of our susceptibility to remote work loneliness, coworking spaces have begun popping up. These offer the perfect solution for remote workers that want to avoid loneliness at work.

Maybe you have a friend or two who also works remotely, schedule some time to meet up and work together. Even when you aren’t interacting with other people, the change of scenery often helps you feel like you’re a part of a bigger community.

5. Stay connected with your community.

To take this a step further, make sure you’re making an effort to be part of your local community, whether that’s a community of remote workers or something entirely different is up to you.

The key is to connect with others who share your values, support or share something in common, or appreciate the same things you do. Being part of a community is one of the best ways to avoid burnout from remote work because it provides you with a place to feel connected to other people.

Being part of a community can be as simple as joining a sports league, volunteering, participating in a small group that does an activity together, an online forum, a group in your neighborhood, and so forth.

6. Communicate with your team with videos and phone calls.

It’s so easy to communicate exclusively with your team through instant messaging platforms, text messages, and emails.

Initially, it might feel great to have so much flexibility and independence, but over time, that level of isolation often leads to remote work loneliness. It also makes you much more likely to blur the line between work and personal life as you quickly send and answer messages at all hours of the day.

In order to avoid burnout from remote work make sure you are regularly communicating with your team, and scheduling meetings, and check-ins. The communication not only helps structure your workday and increase productivity, but it also helps you feel more connected to the team as a whole.

It’s important to feel like you are part of something bigger, and part of a community.

To avoid loneliness while working from home, make it a point to schedule calls and meetings to brainstorm, discuss ideas, or present your point of view on a subject with one or more of your team members.

Scheduling calls and meetings are especially important if you need to explain a complex concept or there is a disagreement or misunderstanding with a teammate.

Trying to resolve these issues through a series of emails or texts can easily lead to frustration and even more miscommunications. If you’re already struggling with remote work loneliness or symptoms of burnout, you’ll likely increase these feelings as more and more miscommunication and misunderstanding may be happening on a regular basis.

Instead, hop on a video or audio call. There are so many video conferencing software, screen recording explainer videos, and calling options that save you so much time.

Take advantage of these options to not only communicate more effectively, but to also help you avoid burnout from remote work. Seeing or even just hearing a team member’s voice will reduce our frustration, misunderstanding, and sense of loneliness.

Plus, you will save tons of time writing out lengthy explanations of complex ideas. Take advantage of cultivating a collaborative and healthy work environment with the right communication tools.

red phone

Final words on how to avoid loneliness while working from home.

As a remote worker, I actively take every measure to avoid burnout from remote work. When I feel valued, and part of a team, I’m more productive. I also communicate clearly and provide an accurate flow of information with my team members.

The smallest miscommunication can jeopardize a team, project, and lead to remote work loneliness.

Technology and better forms of online communication in the workplace have made working remotely far more manageable.

Slack for instance, allows me to quickly share images, documents, comment in threads to keep conversations organized, create custom channels, integrate tools, message or voice call clients or team members individually, or tag individuals so they don’t miss anything important.

Slack may be the perfect platform to help keep clients and team members up-to-date.

There are tons of resources and platforms, like CloudApp, and Slack, that have allowed me to implement much better ways to maintain positive relationships with teammates, increase productivity, and avoid burnout from remote work.

Remote work has quickly become a growing trend across many industries, and for good reason.

Make the most out of your remote work with a little planning and the right tools to make it work.

Image Credit: Elijah O’Donnell; Pexels

The post Avoid Burnout and Loneliness from Remote Work appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Boundaryless onboarding Operate Productivity Remote Developer Onboarding remote developers Remote Engineer Onboarding Remote Jobs remote work Startups

How to Onboard Remote Engineers: A Practical Guide from an Expert

onboard remote engineers

Onboarding a new remote developer is arguably one of the most important things you can add to your core competencies if you want to assure your new hires’ success. Here is how to onboard remote engineers — with a practical guide from an expert.

Today, with COVID-19 making every new hire remote, excellence in onboarding has become even more crucial. Unfortunately, I don’t see nearly enough companies with a structured step-by-step approach to bringing new team members online.

Have you failed at onboarding?

Failed onboarding usually looks similar regardless of the company. Most of the time, companies that do a bad job fail to do the following things:

  • The new engineer isn’t briefed on the company, what they’re building, or what the mission is
  • The company hasn’t communicated KPIs and OKRs
  • Daily scheduling and communications policies are loose or absent
  • Failure to have the new hire meet with key people in the company to get them up to speed
  • The company hasn’t assigned a buddy to shepherd the new hire through their first three months.
  • No one has made it clear to the new hire what success looks like in their position
  • Checkpoints to evaluate onboarding success have not been established in advance, and the developer doesn’t know what’s going to under evaluation

When things go wrong with an onboarding process, the problems usually start one the very first day when critical information doesn’t get transmitted. Once things get off-track, you will lose hours of productive time for your team and the person you’re onboarding.

By the time you know you have an issue, a mutual loss of confidence between you and the new team member is likely. By then, you might be better of starting with a new candidate from square one. To avoid a predictable outcome, I recommend, and personally implement, a highly structured approach.

My company, Turing, specializes in the sourcing, vetting, and management of remote developers. We have over 160,000 developers on our platform from over 140 countries capable of writing code in more than 50 programming languages. We want to make sure that every time we match an engineer with a company, individuals get up to speed and seamlessly integrate into their new team as quickly as possible.

Here’s how we do it:

Remote Developer Team Integration Done Right

When I think of onboarding, I look at the process along three primary dimensions. The first is making sure they have the right business context. The second is making sure they have the right “people context.� And the third is making sure that you have the proper checkpoints in place to verify that the new hire is ramping up at the rate that you expect them to.

Business Context

First, let’s talk about the business context. When I’m preparing a company to onboard new engineers, I want them to provide their new employees with certain key information. These include:

  • A short description of what the company does and what product they are building
  • The mission & core values of the company
  • What is the strategy to accomplish this mission
  • The high-level quarterly OKRs or goals for the business
  • A copy of the org chart

Communicating this information makes certain your new additions will have the right kind of business context about what’s essential to succeed at your company.

I also verify that the right kind of communication expectations in place in terms of time zones. It is imperative to establish working hours, so everyone knows the hours during which the developer will be available and when they will be working.

Communication synchronization is of the utmost importance when you’re working with distributed talent. You want the developer and your team to be calibrated on the time window during which everyone is going to be available and reachable.

People Context

One of the most important things you could share is your company’s org chart in terms of the people context. You can also use high-level visualizations that show all the different projects in the company. The goal is to convey how those projects connect.

Who’s driving those projects, and who are the people in those various projects. Giving a developer this conceptual understanding of all the different projects that might be going on in a company is very important.

During onboarding, I also ask our clients to tell us who are the four people in your company that this new developer has to speak with in the first month to get fully ramped up.

Make sure that the developer has an assigned buddy and knows who that person is. Having a buddy for the first three months is incredibly helpful. A buddy is a person that the developer can ask any questions about the company that they might not know who or where to go.

Who managers this new developer? Have they been introduced? While I realize this should be obvious when someone is remote, this isn’t always the case. It’s good to be explicit by specifically letting the developer know, for example, who will be doing their weekly one-on-one, who makes sure that weekly one-on-ones happen, and how they will be evaluated.

New engineers should also know when performance reviews will happen. What’s the cadence? What’s the format? And essentially, the answer to the question, what does it take to succeed in this organization? You want the person that you’re onboarding to have a good idea of what to expect.

Checkpoints

And third, in terms of successfully checking how well this person has ramped up, you want to do 30, 60, and 90-day check-ins with the person that you’re onboarding. You want to let the person know who does that check-in, and what will they evaluate during that point.

Conducting regular check-ins gives you a valuable opportunity to course-correct in case something hasn’t gone per plan.

Beyond Basic Onboarding

You’ll save yourself and your company from future headaches if you make sure that any new hire has completed any forms and that you’re aware of any regulations specific to that person or the country where they reside.

Also, decide if your company needs any confidentiality or IP assignment agreements. Is this expertise is outside the skills within your organization? Then invest in the services of a company that specializes in navigating what can be tricky territory. At Turing, we like Remote.com for this service.

Mundane Details

As part of my communications onboarding process, I also deal with the somewhat mundane details of provisioning the new hire with all the team’s technology. Including setting up the developer’s email and ensuring they have access to the company’s Github account, Slack channels, Trello, Jira, Google Docs, Zoom, and any other mission-critical software you expect the developer to use as part of their workflow.

Think through security, access privileges, mailing lists, etc.

Another part of setting your new hire up for success includes making sure they know about staff meetings, company-wide meetings that this person has to attend, and Slack channels they should join.

You should also try to communicate to your developer what your company culture looks like and what’s unique about your company. By making sure that all these types of nuts and bolts are tight, your new hire will be more confident in their interactions with their team, and they’ll integrate more fully into your company from day one.

One of the biggest challenges you’ll typically face is developing and maintaining company culture when a large portion of your company is remote. Company culture is a tricky territory that deserves a separate post.

The most important thing I do to instill culture is to make sure people understand my company’s core values. For example, a Turing, we have three core values. The first is to move fast. The second is continuous improvement. And the third is a relentless focus on long-term customer success.

Know your company’s core values and make sure you communicate them clearly to the person you’re onboarding.

Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that any new hire has access to all the tools they need and is confident in their use. It doesn’t hurt to check to verify that your new hire is familiar with the tools you use and to train them if they’re not.

If you require a very high degree of proficiency for certain positions, be sure to demand and vet for that skill before making a critical hire.

The post How to Onboard Remote Engineers: A Practical Guide from an Expert appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
AI automation Culture digital intelligence employee engagement Employee Experience employee retention future of work Productivity Recruitment remote work work from home work structure

Knowing WFH Preferences Key to Employee Recruitment and Retention

employee recruitment and retention

It’s no secret that there’s substantial competition in the tech industry for great talent. Understanding what motivates employees and what type of work environments they prefer can go a long way in attracting the best tech talent.

As a result of the pandemic impacting the future of work, major tech companies are taking note and implementing policies that allow for greater flexibility and are now bolstering their Work from Home options. For example, Twitter recently announced a new policy allowing employees to work from home forever. Facebook and Google also extended their remote opportunities for employees through the end of the year and summer 2021, respectively.

When organizations listen to and understand their workforce’s preferences about what type of work environment drives motivation, productivity and work satisfaction, it enables them to create a work culture in which employees are engaged, which is especially vital during times of disruption and fundamental change.

New trends in WFH preferences

According to a Gallup poll, 62% of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the COVID-19 crisis. Of those, three in five would prefer to continue working remotely even once current health restrictions are lifted.

In a recent global survey from ABBYY evaluates the ways that quarantine has changed the way employees work. Respondents (53%) said that going forward, they would prefer an arrangement that enables flexibility between working from home and working in the office. Many indicated they prefer either splitting their time 50/50 or working mostly from home with some days in the office.

Employees cite greater productivity working from home

The ABBYY survey found that 43% of respondents noted they were more productive working from home than in an office. Other studies have also found increased employee productivity in remote environments. A Stanford study found gains of up to 22% when it came to employee performance and productivity while working from home.

Reducing employee attrition rates

In the Stanford research, employees who worked from home noted improved work satisfaction, and their attrition rate halved. Employee motivation can play a key role in overall work satisfaction levels. In the ABBYY study, 35% of respondents said they felt more motivated working from home than in an office. Furthermore, almost half (44%) of respondents said that working from home has decreased their overall stress levels. Understanding what motivates employees helps organizations to effectively develop work cultures, policies, and structures that enhance employee retention rates and can also help attract the best talent.

Enhanced work-life balance

Work-life balance has always been a prime concern for employees. Even more so now as the lines between professional life and personal life become blurred with many employees balancing homeschooling their children and managing new household responsibilities all while learning to work in, what is for many, a new type of environment.

One of the most significant advantages for employees in being able to work from home is increased time with family and loved ones. In the ABBYY survey, half of the respondents (50%) noted that spending more time with their families was one of the most significant advantages of being able to work from home. The majority of respondents (56%) also noted that working from home has impacted their work-life balance positively.

Improving the employee experience

Work from Home Preferences Have Evolved as a Result of the Pandemic

The recent disruption in traditional office structures has led many organizations to re-evaluate many longstanding notions of standard work structures and consider new ways to enhance the employee experience and productivity.

Organizations that motivate their employees and create a desirable work environment empower employees to contribute at their highest level. In some organizations, business leaders have accomplished this by reducing or eliminating mundane, repetitive tasks from employee workflows by leveraging automation.

For example, many banks have recently accelerated the adoption of automation tools such as robotic process automation (RPA) and content intelligence to free their employees from paperwork-heavy and time-consuming tasks of data entry, sifting through paperwork, preparing loan applications and processing supporting documentation. This has freed a significant degree of employee time and employer resources.

Understanding what motivates employees can go a long way in attracting the best tech talent.

Recent research from IDC reveals that in the next two years, 18% of administrative tasks will be performed by software robots. Leveraging automation tools to automate repetitive, mundane tasks can go a long way in enabling employees to focus on creative, engaging and meaningful responsibilities.

In addition to freeing employees from tedious administrative responsibilities, automation tools can also help employees make better decisions. The IDC research also found that technology evaluating information will grow by 28% in two years.

Automation can also help provide employees with new capabilities. Equipping employees with new skills via easy-to-use low-code automation solutions strengthen their role as citizen developers and empowers them to assume a greater role in enterprise digital transformation initiatives.

 

Thriving in the new era of work

The overnight shift to WFH highlighted the many inefficiencies with internal workflows and business processes, and that most staff do not follow processes very often. To identify which processes would be the best fit for automation opportunities, and how the staff interacts with them, it’s valuable to have visibility into all operations across the organization.

However, trying to do so manually or with standalone systems is often insufficient. Innovative technology has emerged, such as process intelligence tools, that leverage an organization’s real-time data to provide a bird’s eye view into its ecosystem of processes. This enables leaders to enhance process efficiencies and choose the best processes for automation that free employees from repetitive tasks and enhance the employee experience.

The future of work is changing rapidly. Organizations that are agile, able to adapt quickly, and create engaging work environments that motivate their employees and attract the best talent will be well-positioned to lead in the new era of work.

The post Knowing WFH Preferences Key to Employee Recruitment and Retention appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Apps business after covid Cloud future of work ReadWrite remote remote work

The Future of Work is Confusing

future of work confusing

The lines have been drawn and the debate is hotter than before. Remote! That is the future of work. We get to work on our time, be more productive, and spend quality time with our loved ones. Sure it’s hard to get a hold of co-workers, we miss out on those serendipitous lunch interactions, and team morale is low.

Wait, I changed my mind. Offices, yes offices — offices are the future of work!

Maybe the real answer is a mixture of both.

The last four months have been a whirlwind of digital transformation, remote work playbook building and chaos. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven “two years‘ worth of digital transformation in two months” according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

With the recent news of pushing social opening until Summer 2021, and most office work closed down through the end of 2020 — what will it all look like when we get “back to normal?â€� You be the judge – all remote, all office, hybrid of both?

The Future of Work is All Remote

Vindication, that is the easiest word to describe people who have been beating the drum about remote work over the last decade or more.

Lack of Commute.

No Chatty Co-workers.

No Pants?

Remote work is time efficient.

If you have ever lived in a big metropolitan area you know the pains of getting on a train, bus, boat, or car and traveling far distances to get to your office. Many people I worked with in the Bay Area would commute 2 hours every day. They would listen to books, podcasts, music to pass the time that could have been spent with their families, roommates, pets, even Netflix.

A recent report we put out of CloudApp usage March — April 2020 showed that people were using that morning commute time that was once unproductive, to work 2-3x more than normal. Office workers discovered new found freedom in their ability to get rid of wasteful time on the road in favor of starting work early.

Working remote can also allow space to have that 30 min haircut appointment over your lunch break, run to the dentist , pick up your kids from school, take your dog for a walk, and all kinds of other things that aren’t possible when you are in an office environment.

Remote work is cheaper.

This applies to businesses and to employees. With remote work you are able to work and live where you want. Gone are the expensive rents of a big city or the need to provide a large HQ to lure talent.

Remote work as the future provides a chance for a company to hire wherever it wants. That broadens the talent pool and removes the competitive factor of a few geographical areas.

Chris Herd, Founder and CEO of Firstbase had this to say on my podcast The DNA of An Experience. “With an office, you can hire the best person that you can afford within a 30 mile radius. The benefit of a remote setting is that you’re not in that position where you’re hiring in a 30 mile radius.”

Imagine the cash infusion for a little startup that doesn’t need to spend $10-20k a month on rent for its 50 person office.

The money saved with remote work for both sides of the coin are large enough to consider it a piece of the future of work.

Remote work is all digital.

In 2019, we at CloudApp did a survey of 1000 office workers and found that 50% of office workers list chatty co-workers or social media as their biggest time wasters. In a digital world, there are no co-workers stopping at your desk or office noise distracting you.

Meetings are also less frequent to help people avoid “Zoom fatigue�. In a digital remote world, you have more control over who you interact with and when.

Tools like Zoom for real time video, CloudApp for asynchronous video communication, Asana for task management, and Slack for informal collaboration can be a great foundation for your digital tool kit

The Future of Work is All Office Based

The familiar future we have all grown up with. Wake up, commute to the office, connect with co-workers, commute home, repeat. There is something to be said about a routine that our brains are already conditioned to accept.

Office based work is comfortable

The tech world is based on companies having a really great HQ. As I talked about in a previous post, Apple, Google, Facebook, Adobe, and others count on their offices being a shining star to lure talent. These offices provide a semblance of home with food, gyms, and even dry cleaners to help make your life outside of the bubble HQ a little easier.

The modern office is meant to be comfortable and provide chances for people to congregate and have unplanned interactions. Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe always called these “serendipitous interactions� where someone from product is meeting with someone from marketing on the basketball court or cafe unplanned.

The truth is we feel the office is comfortable because it hasn’t been new to us like remote work has this year.

Office based work is collaborative.

I’ve heard a common thread in my conversations with other leaders during this time. “I miss the brainstorming, the energy� There is something different when humans get together. Its hard to manufacturer that vibe over video conferencing

Many people would say that a lot of time is wasted in the office with conversations about Game of Thrones, sports highlights from the night before, or family vacations. However, maybe those conversations are what we all need to feel connected and to build trust in people that help us provide for ourselves and families.

The Future of Work is a Hybrid

The future of work is going to be a hybrid. 2020 will be a catalyst for both office workers and businesses to realize that partial remote work isn’t evil. It can be nice to have an unstructured day at home once or twice a week. Over the past few weeks I have been testing out this model (albeit in an empty office). Here is what I have learned

It is nice to separate work from home.

I’ve always worked from home. Last minute edits on a board deck late at night, early morning email responses. However, the last 4 months have been non stop work at home with a desk in my bedroom. I’m sure many other people are in similar situations. Maybe a small apartment, a space with roommates, or like me a house full of kids.

Since March I have definitely found my mind is more frequently cluttered with work thoughts that I used to be able to shake away when I was at home. My computer randomly turns on in the middle of the night and illuminates me awake, or I’ll forget to silence notifications and will hear that Slack noise pop through when I am playing with my kids.

Whatever it is, having my office 100 percent home based has been a challenge for me mentally.

My wife suggested a few weeks ago to go into our office a couple of times a week. I followed her advice and found it to be super quiet without anyone here, but also energizing and productive.

It was nice to have some separation.

Human connection is good.

We aren’t meant to connect one hundred percent over video. Initially there was an abundance of company led lunches, games, and other things over video. I would expect that has moved more toward the norm of video all being focused around business means.

That human connection drives us to work for something greater, to feel that the sum is greater than its parts.

The future of work will bring a lot of remote workers. People who found that the big city wasn’t working anymore and they needed a change. In this hybrid model, businesses will need to find budget and resources to support getting everyone together once a quarter, even once a month if teams are close enough.

The human connection will drive mental and job satisfaction. It is a key piece of the future of work.

The Future of Work is confusing — but what isn’t?

Its hard to really grasp what the future holds at the moment. We are all in the middle of developing and bracing ourselves for all scenarios. If there is anything good to come out of this year, its that we have all learned different ways to work that we didn’t know were previously possible.

Its obvious, we all use technology more.

We all know the effort it takes to connect digitally.

We all know what we took for granted in an office setting.

The future of work is definitely confusing, but at least after this year the possibilities are more endless than ever before.

The post The Future of Work is Confusing appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Learn remote work

9 Lessons from Tech Firms Transforming Remote Work

The coronavirus set in motion a number of movements. One of them, indisputably, is remote work.

These days, every company that can is asking its team to work from home. Outside of the tech sector, that shift is huge: Until recently, many industries saw remote work as a way to accommodate workers with health issues, not a norm.

Because tech leaders were already up to speed on remote work, they’re now thinking through version 2.0. The first step was simply getting workers set up at home and on Slack. With no end to the pandemic in sight, the new question is: How do we make it work for the long haul? 

A number of tech companies, we learned, have found ways to do just that:

1. Expand your defensive line.

“Hackers are thrilled: Your corporate defense now has to include everyone’s home internet network, including all of the devices connected to it. Are you ready?� 

— Mike Novotny, founder and CEO of Medrio

2. Set up a hybrid system.

“For our 60-plus engineers and designers who asked for it, we’re now implementing a hybrid solution: a safe office environment, kept to the highest possible hygiene standards, while the rest of the team can continue working from home. Supporting and uniting our on-site and remote teams is our priority.�

— Martín Palatnik, CEO of December Labs

3. Make mental health support a must.

“At uSERP, we do weekly team meetings via videoconferencing, daily Slack chats, and Friday happy hours to boost team unity and, more importantly, take care of everyone’s mental health. Remote work doesn’t have to be isolating.�

— Jeremy Moser, co-founder of uSERP

4. Do all that you can digitally. 

“COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerabilities of businesses that rely heavily on manual processes or paper-based transactions. The silver lining is that it’s a chance for technologies like smart contracts to show that digitizing is more efficient, reduces operational risks, and streamlines remote work.�

— Yuval Rooz, co-founder and CEO of Digital Asset

5. Choose your tools wisely. 

“When everyone is working remotely, it’s important that tools are accessible. Take video production: Any brand trying to engage people and create connections around their product or service must master the platform. That can’t happen if videos are tough to make, time-consuming, and late to the market. What’s needed is a tool anyone on the team can use, regardless of their video-making know-how.�

— Mariela Leibovich, marketing director of Wochit

6. Beware of burnout.

“Many managers are worried about employees slacking off at home. To me, the bigger risk is burnout as the boundary between home and work blurs. Being proactive is key: In fact, one of my clients — a B2B SaaS company — is moving to a four-day workweek for the summer to give its team a break.�

— Gallant Chen, independent growth advisor

7. Get back to your physical prime.

“Now that we’ve all gone to virtual bootcamp for the last few months, the second wave needs to be rebuilding our physical health. I encourage adaptations that promote wellness for those who continue to work from home, like standing on an Airex pad while using a standing desk converter.�

— Jay Oppenheim, owner of OPP Fitness

8. Don’t let breaches go undetected.

“With how sudden the migration home was, data breaches almost certainly happened along the way. Expect many of them to be announced when workers return to the office, or once security experts have had a chance to hunt for threats. Credential theft, phishing attacks, and insecure endpoints are potentially huge problems waiting to be found.�

— Jeff Multz, chief revenue officer of Digital Hands

9. Mind the details.

“We were surprised by the productivity of our team while working from home. But as time goes on, we’re noticing a lack of attention to detail. Balls are getting dropped, directives are being lost in translation, and the team’s frustrations are showing. We can’t wait to get back to the office.�

— Jess Miller, director of client services and business development of Whitehardt 

Whether working from home is the new normal or not, it’s the reality we’re all living in. The faster we find ways to adapt to, learn from, and enjoy it, the better. 

The post 9 Lessons from Tech Firms Transforming Remote Work appeared first on ReadWrite.