Getting Started With Remote Working: A Guide 
-Imogen Clark - 16.1.2020

The coronavirus pandemic has no doubt had a huge effect on all of our working lives in some way. Social distancing measures implemented earlier this year brought about the temporary closure of thousands of workplaces across the UK and most businesses have been forced to make big changes.

Working from home has become the new norm for those whose jobs are primarily office-based, and that trend looks set to continue with the future still very much uncertain. Additionally, many new jobs are being listed as remote working positions, with businesses looking to adapt.

Although not without its challenges, adapting to remote working may be easier than you think. Here are some useful tips on how to stay motivated and make the most of your working day at home.

Get Comfortable – Choosing The Right Location

Being able to successfully work from home depends a lot on creating a comfortable environment. Make sure you have somewhere appropriate to set up your workstation, at a table or an armchair or sofa if you have a laptop, to provide structure and ensure that any lack of comfort doesn’t become a distraction.

Working from home often involves video calls and meetings, so it’s a good idea to set yourself up somewhere with a clear background. Although your colleagues will likely want to see the reality of your home working situation, be aware that having children and pets in the background could cause an unwanted distraction. Working in a quiet, clean space will boost your productivity and ease communication.

Remote working doesn’t have to mean staying at home, though. Many who hold remote working positions choose to travel, even abroad, alongside their jobs. While working from overseas for a UK-based company can be an attractive prospect that offers freedom and excitement (and maybe even warmer weather), it is important to be aware of your rights concerning tax, employee benefits and pension schemes before making the switch. Check with financial experts for more information on pension schemes for those living abroad.

Use The Right Tech and Check Your Signal

Nothing can be more damaging to your workflow than a bad internet connection, so make sure your workstation is positioned in a space with a good Wi-Fi signal. If your house has a notoriously unreliable Wi-Fi connection, consider plugging into your router with an ethernet cable instead. Similarly, if your job requires you to communicate over the phone, make sure you are in a location with good mobile phone signal, or alternatively near a landline.

Video calls and team meetings have become a big part of remote working, so it’s important to use the right apps and software to be able to connect with your team easily. Downloadable desktop apps such as Zoom, go to meeting, Cisco Webex and Google meet are among the most reliable and user-friendly. Be aware that using mobile apps or video calling from a web browser may be unreliable and might not be the most practical solution for meetings of more than two people.

Stick To A Routine And Stay Motivated

Setting a schedule and establishing when you will start and finish your working day can be hugely beneficial when working from home. Many of us struggle to switch off from work at the best of times, so knowing where your work life ends and your home life begins will aid your mental health and productivity. Having set break and lunch times will also provide structure to your day and will allow you to maintain a good workflow.

Also consider changing into your usual work clothes each morning before starting your day. Doing so will help you mentally prepare for the day and ease you into a productive working mentality. Dressing for work may also help you establish your own personal boundaries between work and home life.

Perhaps the biggest challenge when working from home is avoiding distractions. Whether you’ve got housemates, family or pets running around or you’re tempted by the next episode of the latest Netflix series, maintaining focus is a must for successful remote working.

While your chosen location can aid your ability to stay focused, staying healthy at home will also allow you to keep on track. Try going for a walk or heading out into the garden during your breaks for fresh air and exercise. Also drinking plenty of water and eating healthily throughout the day will give you the energy you need to stay focused.

Check In With Colleagues Regularly

Working from home can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially if you’ve no one at home to turn to. Even in the busiest of households, pressure to meet deadlines or solve difficult problems can weigh on you and affect productivity, not to mention your mental health.

Checking in with your colleagues a few times a day – even for a non-work-related chat - can ease the burden and will help to take the weight off of your shoulders. They may be able to offer help themselves or give advice on the best course of action to take. Sometimes, simply hearing the friendly voice of a colleague who is dealing with similar pressures can boost your confidence and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.

Sources



9 Best Ways To Manage a Remote Working Team For Beginners
-Tyler Read    -  20

As things stand, it looks like remote working and teams will only increase in quantity. Working remotely has many advantages. For many, it boosts productivity and happiness.

With that being said, it is vital to know how to manage a remote team properly. If not properly managed, communication channels can break down. This will harm productivity and interpersonal relationships.

Manage your team effectively

Managing your team effectively is very important if your remote team is to succeed. If you are not communicating regularly and efficiently, it could result in a breakdown of productivity and operations.

Regular communication is necessary, properly more so than compared to a traditional office-based work environment. If you don’t communicate effectively, there is a chance that an employee could do something totally wrong or slack off completely.

Make sure that their tasks are explained to them properly. Make contact with team members every few days to make sure that they are happy.

Try and create flexible working hours

One of the biggest advantages of remote teams is that they often allow for flexible working hours.

Most people have specific times during the day when they function best. Some people function and work best during the day. Others work best at night.

Set reasonable targets for what you want to be achieved by your employees. You should find out when they work at best and allow them to work at that time. It will keep them happy and thus boost productivity.

Ensure that workers have a high quality of work-life

It is important to treat your workers well if you want them to have a high level of output. Team members will lack motivation and struggle to achieve their maximum potential if they are not happy.

You should regularly ask your team members for advice on how the team environment can be improved. Most people feel valued when they know that their opinions are taken seriously. Granted, you don’t need to pander to everyone but if a lot of people are saying similar things, it is a sign that something needs to change.

You should ensure that you always give them reasonable deadlines. People are generally able to better focus if you give them fair deadlines. Some team members work well according to short deadlines, though some rush and produce sloppy work.

If you are running a high scale operation and have an unhappy worker, encourage them to visit a health and wellness coach.

Health and wellness coaches assist people with overcoming their problems and living a happy and healthy life.

Offer fair pay

Some people think that you can offer remote workers low pay. This is because they feel that the work only requires a few hours a day of productivity.

Employers are generally more motivated and reliable if they are compensated fairly. The best workers are also likely to demand fair compensation. Low compensation is likely to attract inexperienced applicants or those who have a poor reputation.

Ensure fair work hours

Only under extreme emergency circumstances should you require a team member to work more than eight hours per day.

As far as possible, try to limit their workload to six hours a day or less. The human mind can generally focus at an optimum level for 90 minutes before you start to lose focus.

Encourage your workers to take 30-minute breaks after every 90 minutes of work. This will refresh their minds and keep them motivated to get work done.

Check up on team members

If you can, try to also get to know your team members on a personal level. This will help you to form a connection with them and learn more about them.

Try and keep up with your team members. Encourage them to take time off if they are in a bad mental state.

People generally struggle to keep focused if they are in a poor mental state and their quality of work is impacted. If you manage to create a personal rapport with your staff members, they will likely be more honest with you about their personal situations.

The aim of every team leader should be to create an environment where team members are happy and where they will open up to you.

Reward your staff every now and then

There is no better way to make your staff happy then to reward them for good work. Did they exceed your expectations on a task? If so, you should consider giving them a tip ( at least 10% of the fee payable).

By doing this, your team members will also realize that you see their contributions as valuable. The mental benefit that they will get from the tip is more important than the monetary benefit.

Manage conflict constructively

Conflicts are part and parcel of working in teams. Remote teams are not exempt from conflict. Often people just do not have chemistry. Other times, there may be misunderstandings that lead to conflicts.

Another common problem associated with remote teams is that team members can have a high rate of absenteeism. It can be hard to keep track of them if they are not regularly in communication with other team members.

If team members are in conflict, you should take action and speak to them as soon as possible. Ensure that you listen to all parties involved.

You should also have a disciplinary process for high rates of absenteeism. This should be explained to all team members when they join the team or during their orientation session.

Create a work-life balance for team members

If you want maximum output from team members, it is important to keep them happy. You should create a separation between team members’ work and personal lives.

If you can avoid using social media tools such as Facebook and WhatsApp for work purposes. These applications are commonly used for social purposes. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a work-related message whilst you are at a party or a family reunion.

For work-related instant messaging, you can opt to use a tool such as Slack or Telegram.

It is now accepted that remote working is the future of work relationships. If you plan to run a successful business, it is vital to learn how to manage a remote working environment successfully.

Tyler Read is the owner of PTPioneer.com which is a website dedicated to helping people get started in the personal training industry. He helps people discover, study, and pass their fitness exams.




Productivity Enhancement: Top 7 Things Which Will Inspire Every Remote Employee
-Donna James,  23.09.2020


As businesses shift to remote work in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, every leader and employee is trying to adjust to this unique style of working to boost their productivity and performance. Every manager can understand the relevance of remote work. And most of them have started coming up with ways to enhance the productivity of their remote employees.

Organizations of all sizes have implemented remote working with no preparedness to maintain the productivity of their employees during this period. In a bid to manage the spread of the coronavirus disease, it may become a standard practice in the future for some employees even after a vaccine has been successfully developed.

Researchers have found that working remotely is a win-win situation for both businesses and employees. Employees benefit by eliminating commuter expenses which will lead to healthier lifestyles and boosts productivity. Businesses also benefit by saving costs on transportation of staff, furnishings, cafeteria, and other office expenses. And this enhances convenience and boosts productivity.

Experts report that organizations might permanently adopt the work from the home model because it enhances flexibility to work which suits the needs of the business. Businesses are also planning to compensate their employees based on their productivity.

Therefore, business leaders are always inventing new ways to enhance employee productivity. In this article, we are going to share with you the top seven things that will inspire your remote employees to boost their productivity. 

1. Encourage home offices

Since working from home is going to become a normal routine for most employees in the future, managers should encourage their employees to have a home office in their homes to improve their productivity.

Some organizations compensate their employees for creating a home office and achieving or surpassing the objectives. The home office doesn’t have to be huge. A free area of their homes with minimal distractions is ideal. Having a specified workstation at home will minimize distractions at home and improve their productivity. 

2. Set clear expectations

To boost the productivity of your remote employees, it is important to set clear expectations and guidelines in advance to avoid misunderstandings and clashes. Unlike working from the office, we cannot understand the working patterns of our colleagues in remote working.

Setting clear expectations and rules beforehand on what is acceptable and what isn’t while working remotely will make it easier for your employees to work together to achieve their goals. These expectations cover things like communication and time tracking. Employees should openly communicate on their availability. 

3. Daily check-ins are critical

As twiftnews reports, the rapid technological advancement has made it possible for employers to maintain daily check-ins. Checking-in daily via phone call, video chat, or instant messaging creates a sense of normalcy and belongingness among employees.

It also allows employers and employees to set their priorities right. Since managers don’t have face to face contact with their employees, daily check-ins will foster connections depending on the current situation. 

4. Equip your team with the right tools

Business leaders must ensure that their teams achieve the set goals by providing them with the right tools to stay connected and improve their efficiency. Only smart leaders can analyze the different kinds of duties that their employees perform regularly and prepare in advance. Equipping your team with the latest technology will make it easier for them to stay on the same page as they work from home. 

5. Communicate regularly

Communication plays a critical role in the growth and prosperity of a remote team. Clear communication boosts productivity by lowering the chances of misunderstandings. You should consider using instant chat for better communication so that your employees can communicate with each other easily and quickly.

Maintain contact with your employees regularly and ensure that they understand what is expected of them. It’s also important for employees to respond to messages and emails promptly during working hours. To avoid expensive mistakes, ensure that you all have each other’s phone numbers. 

6. Trust your employees

When you trust your team, the productivity of your organization will naturally increase. Trust your remote employees that they will perform their duties at their best. Your employees will know if you trust them based on how you behave, communicate, and manage them. You have to grow if you want your team and business to grow. While communication plays a critical role in managing remote teams, you should avoid micromanaging them. 

7. Provide growth opportunities

If you fail to provide your employees with opportunities to grow and develop their careers, you will miss out on hiring talented employees in the future. You should focus on developing your business by providing growth opportunities for your employees.

These opportunities will help them improve their skills and enhance employee retention. Anyone who stops learning will never grow. Employees who don’t have growth opportunities at the workplace will leave the organization and look for better opportunities elsewhere. 

Conclusion

As businesses shift to remote work in the middle of the pandemic, business leaders need to provide emotional support to their employees since working alone can create loneliness and evoke negative emotions.

Communicating with your team regularly and understanding what they are going through will make it easier for you to come up with effective solutions and come up with effective strategies. Encourage your employees to get quality sleep, exercise, and consume healthy foods.

Donna James, a writer and proofreader from the USA.