How To Prepare For A Work Day As A Remote Freelancer

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Working remotely as a freelancer is exciting but can be challenging. As you would have done from the office setting, it requires a commitment to time management without compromising productivity. A Stanford Graduate School of Business survey discovered that freelancing and working from home boosts performance by 13%. Due to COVID-19, this system of working has seen a sharp increase worldwide and looks like a prominent feature of the new normal. So, how can you prepare for your workday as a remote freelancer? Here are some tips to help you.

1. Prepare ahead of time

Before work begins, ensure everything you will need is prepared ahead of time. It is never a good idea to wait until the last minute to scramble for the things you require. By maximizing the free hours from the night before you start work, you gain more time to be productive the next day. Besides, it is an effective way to avoid rushing through with your work. Ensure you have sufficient internet data to last you through the month. Also ensure that the connection speed is optimal to maintain your productivity levels.

2. Pay attention to your to-do list

As a remote freelancer, you must set daily goals to enhance your value, use your time productively and deliver quality work. Creating a to-do list helps you accomplish your goals and gives you a sense of direction during the workday. Sometimes, you may want to multitask but without knowledge of which tasks have high priority over others. Writing a to-do-list provides a visual reminder of duties that need to be done urgently without slighting a client. 

Remember that the client is the reason you have an income at the end of the month. Therefore, you should never take them for granted. Write down your list immediately after checking your voicemails and emails. Through these emails, you can identify how your day will pan out. When done, tick all urgent tasks with a red marker and non-urgent ones with a green color. Use online apps such as Wunderlist, Toodledo, and Flow to help you track your daily progress.

3. Decide on your working hours

flexible work schedule as a remote freelancer may be a blessing or a burden, depending on how well you manage your time. Sometimes, in building a career through freelancing, many freelancers lose sight of setting restrictions on work hours. More often than not, working outside of an office setting tends to mix up a freelancer’s personal and professional hours. Therefore, before you begin your day, set out the number of hours you will be working and stick to it. Your schedule could start to control your life if you don’t. Depending on the requirements of your job, your working hours could be out of your control – particularly when working as part of a team. For example, if your work involves designing custom cable assemblies, your working hours may be determined by the wider team involved in prototyping, design verification, production and testing. The collective effort increases the likelihood of meeting client deadlines.

How you prepare for a workday will determine your overall productivity. Although remote freelancing offers flexibility, it also tests your self-discipline and dedication to clients’ satisfaction. Keep in mind that what works for another freelancer may not necessarily work out for you. Therefore, do what feels comfortable for you.

 

3 Reasons to Work and Travel

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Remote work has become more popular than ever in recent years. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was a 159% increase in remote work from 2005-2017. Now, in light of the pandemic, working from home has become the norm for thousands of people. 

Because of that, many people are starting to realize the benefits of remote work. It gives you more flexibility, and some studies have shown that people who work from home can actually be more productive than those who work in an office setting. 

One of the most beautiful things about remote work, however, is that it can be done from anywhere. So, if you’re “working from home”, why not make your home in different locations? Now is the perfect time to travel and see the world while staying on top of your job. 

Why should you travel and work at the same time?

  1. You Can Stay in One Place Longer

Most of the time, when people travel it’s because they’re taking a vacation or traveling on business. As a result, they don’t get to stay in that destination for very long. 

When you’re working remotely and travel somewhere, you can stay as long as you’d like. You can fully immerse yourself in a new culture, get to know the land, the community, etc. It’s a great way to truly experience the world without feeling rushed. 

  1. It’s Good for Your Mental Health

There are so many positive reasons to travel more. When you decide to get out of your comfort zone, you push your mind forward. You are showing yourself that you can do things you may not have thought possible. You’re recognizing your own strength and confidence, and that can be a huge boost to your self-esteem. 

Traveling also can help you to open up your mind and be more willing to try things. That will carry over into other aspects of your life, emboldening you in ways you may have never thought possible. 

  1. You Will Become More Independent

Whether you choose to travel by yourself or go with your family, getting rid of your creature comforts and the things you’re familiar with will force you to become independent quickly. You won’t have a large group of people to fall back on if you’re in a tight spot. Instead, traveling will force you to “figure things out” on your own. 

That might sound like a negative thing, at first. But, it helps to build resilience and mental toughness. Whether you’re traveling in the country in an RV and you suddenly need trailer repair services, or you’re overseas and find yourself running out of money, you will have to use your skills and resources to make things happen and to keep moving forward. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut by staying at home, or nothing seems to inspire you, traveling is the perfect way to combat that. 

So, if you have the ability to work remotely, why not take full advantage of it? There is no time like the present to travel the world and experience everything you’ve ever dreamed about.

How To Make Working From Home Easier

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Over the past year, thousands of people across the world have said goodbye to their morning commutes and began working from home. Whilst this has many benefits, from ensuring everyone stays safe, to saving you valuable money on gas and transport, it is no secret that working from home can also be incredibly difficult. With that in mind, here are some things you can do, as a business owner or manager, to make working from home easier for your employees.

Offer Support

When an employee feels valued or expected, they will naturally work harder, meaning a good boss-employee relationship is vital in the successful running of a company, particularly when you have to work from home. Therefore, it is important that you find different ways to offer your support to them during this time – whether this means calling them to check in on how they are doing or sending a personalized email to let them know you appreciate their work and asking if they need any additional help or support. 

Another way in which you can support your employees at this time is by supporting their professional development. Many employees feel as though working from home has put them at a standstill when they had hoped this year would bring them professional growth.  Whilst you may not be able to offer raises or promotions during this time, try and find new easy to invest in your employees’ development. One way in which you can do this is by offering online courses that allow them to develop necessary skills.

Make the most of tech

We live in a world that is almost entirely dependent upon technology, especially in light of recent events. As a result, you must keep your office tech up to date, to ensure the smooth running of your business. You need to ensure that the technology you sue means you can run your company in the same way you would in person, without a drop in the quality of services you offer. Thankfully, there is plenty of technology designed with efficiency in mind that allows for effortless communication and collaboration amongst colleagues, no matter where they are in the world. The 5th kind is a great example of this. The online software allows you to securely share important files and documents with colleagues, allowing for effective collaboration.

Host smart meetings

There is nothing worse than a meeting that could have been an email – whether you are using that time to work with colleagues or converse with potential clients. You need to be mindful of people’s time and ensure that you keep the meeting concise. However, for one reason or the other, online meetings tend to drift off track much quicker. As a result, you should strive to ensure your meetings are effective. One way you can do this is by preparing ahead of time. Before the meeting, make a list of the points you wish to cover and allocate a set amount of time to discuss each topic. Having a plan can stop you from delving off-topic, ensuring that meetings are productive.

6 Signs That the Future of Work Is Here Today

This article is originally posted on Gigster.com

“A great overview by Gigster CEO Chris Keene on how the gig economy is transforming work in the enterprise by making it more customer-centric and high performance. Don’t miss the stories of companies actually doing this.”  Dion Hintchcliffe, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

As software continues to eat the world, companies must find ways to build more innovative teams. For these companies, The Future of Work is here today. How companies reshape the way they engage digital talent will have a huge impact on their ability to innovate. Here are six ways digital leaders are creating The Future of Work now.

  1. Remote workers and work from home teams are the new normal

The best talent is not always located where you are. Even within a company, silos can prevent the right people from working on the most critical innovation projects. Making it possible for team members to work remotely is the only way to liberate talent across the company. This is also the only way to source critical skill gaps that are not available inside the company, like AI/ML engineers. Supporting distributed teams calls for adopting a common set of processes and collaboration tools, including Slack, Github and Jira.

  1. Hybrid teams beat monoculture teams

Innovation requires a diverse mix of talent. The most innovative teams blend in-house employees who have industry context with expert global talent who have advanced technical skills. This is the opposite of the traditional systems integration model that outsources innovation. Hybrid teams also have the value of helping companies build in-house skills by working side by side with expert freelance talent. 

  1. Elastic Staffing beats fixed staffing

Many companies adopt agile team processes but staff teams inefficiently — they follow a fixed staffing model that allocates each role as a full-time position for the duration of a project.  This is only half agile. Because it makes experimentation too expensive to try, and reduces employee mobility and satisfaction. Compare this to Elastic Staffing, which allocates resources based on the workload for each project phase. For example, developers can join a project after the detailed design is complete, and technical architects may only be needed part time. Elastic Staffing can reduce the total hours to deliver innovative products by over 50%. 

  1. Employees want to be treated more like freelancers

Top employees want the freedom and flexibility to choose how they work and what they work on. This doesn’t have to require radical organizational changes. For example, applying the Google 20% rule, where workers can choose their own projects 20% of the time, can boost morale and build skills. This lets more senior employees peer review deliverables from other projects to reduce risk. It also helps more junior employees grow by being exposed to new business and technology challenges.

  1. Freelancers want to be treated more like employees

Top freelancers want stability and work benefits without sacrificing their flexibility. Companies that learn how to work effectively with freelancers will have their pick of the best global talent. This includes setting up projects for success with distributed teams, incorporating advanced technologies, and providing predictability for freelancers that helps them  plan effectively. In California, laws like AB5 are beginning to mandate providing more benefits for freelance workers, and putting them more on par with the benefits that full-time employees receive.

  1. Automated team and talent assessments are here

Technology will ultimately reshape jobs, but today, technology is reshaping talent ratings. Every collaborative tool – from Slack, to Jira, to Github – has open APIs that can automatically collect data about the productivity and quality of work being produced by people and teams. Tools like Pinpoint can collect this data. Applying analytics to this data enables the creation of “karma scores” by person and by team, to provide objective and trusted evaluation of skills.

Examples of The Future of Work today

A global telco created hybrid teams that mix in-house staff with top global experts to accelerate their machine learning and predictive analytics initiatives. They manage these distributed teams following Silicon Valley best practices and have been able to deliver new applications that leverage AI up to twice as fast as traditional in-house development teams.

One of the world’s largest digital agencies created an entirely new digital transformation business unit using hybrid teams that blend employees and global freelance talent. This approach enabled them to onboard over 100 engineers in less than six months, with minimal recruiting costs.

Summary

The Future of Work describes a cultural shift that companies must adopt to grow their innovation capacity. The pace of those changes is accelerating as more companies adopt new work from home rules that support remote workers. Companies that embrace a Silicon Valley-style culture of innovation can become more customer-centered, more able to tap new talent pools, and to dramatically reduce risk.

Author Bio: Chris Keene

As CEO, Chris drives Gigster’s vision to de-risk digital innovation. Chris was previously VP Cloud for VMware, where he led the $400 million Pivotal spinout. Chris also founded and took public Persistence Software (NASDAQ:PRSW)

4 Tools You Need To Work Remotely

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Working from home comes with its own numerous challenges. What this means is that you will need a set of unique tools specially designed to tackle the challenges of working from home. As more and more people are being ‘forced’ to work from home as a result of the current state of affairs, remote working seems to be the new norm. So, in this article, we take a look at some of the essential tools you will need to make working from home less stressful. 

1. Reliable internet service

Working from home is hardly possible without any source of reliable internet service. If you are already used to working from home, then the chances are that you already have a workstation at home with a stable internet connection. But if you work with a team, then everyone else on the team should have, for good measure, a secure internet connection. There are several kinds of portable internet devices that you can easily use to connect to the internet on-the-go. There are also other types of devices that require a cable connection. Depending on the kind of work you are into, any of the tools is okay to have. However, it is best to have multiple options available, just in case one option is not available.

2. Cloud-based learning management system (LMS)

Working from home should not mean that you cannot train your team or take up training courses from your employer to help build capacity. This is where cloud-based or online learning management systems come in. With several types of online management systems available to choose from, these business must-haves are helping to make online training as easy as they can be. These platforms make it possible to plan, create, and schedule training courses and materials and make them available to all target workers. It matters little whether you are tech-savvy or not; these platforms come with user-friendly interfaces that are easy to navigate. Cloud-based LMS have racked up loads of positive reviews, and you can check out Mindflash LMS Reviews, for example. 

3. Project management software

You can still take on those work projects that come with a vast number of tasks from the comfort of your home. With various types of project management software to choose from, you can handle even the duties that come with complex time management requirements. When picking out the right project management software, it is important to opt for software that is easy to navigate and helps to accomplish work projects as efficiently as possible. It should also be able to help you monitor the costs of projects as well as their progress.

4. Video conferencing software

Distance does not mean you cannot have those important business or staff meetings. Video call apps and software have made it possible to have that important facetime with your colleagues or clients. Popular apps such as Zoom and Skype come with other features that offer clarity and allow you to perform different functions while having the video call. Plus, most video conferencing apps are mobile-compatible and can be used even while on-the-go.

How You Can Adapt Your Home For Remote Working

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Many of us have been working from home for longer than we expected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And, it may be something that is asked of us for quite some time, especially if you are able to complete your work duties from home. If it’s not something that you have done regularly in the past, you probably don’t have a dedicated workspace, let alone a separate office. Now that we may be working from home for longer, it could be the time to think about getting ourselves work-from-home ready.

You will find, having a dedicated workspace at the top of most working from home lists. Which is fine if you have somewhere that could be used as a home office, but not so great if you have a large family taking up space in your home, or live in a small one bed flat or studio. 

This is when you should be thinking creatively about the space that you can use, and consider what space you may need to complete your work throughout the day. 

Think About How You Use Your Space 

You should consider who needs to work as it could be that you, your partner, and grown-up kids could all need space to work. Think about who else is also using the home at the same time. Do you maybe need space for the kids to play or home school too? 

Look around your home and think about how each space is utilized. Could they be adapted in any way? Could you create zones with the use of a divider or bookshelf? 

Some people have temporarily moved kids into the same room so they can create a home office, although it may be less than ideal in their eyes, being able to complete your home at work in a quiet space has become a priority. This is a good option if you want to maintain the family zones in places like the living and enable your children to still have a space to relax and play during the day. 

Using A Small Space 

There are some really clever ways that you can adopt a small area to becoming a dedicated work zone. From using spaces under the stairs, in walk-in wardrobes, or even large hallways to using initiative furniture like at Civic Australia. There are certainly many ways you can fit a working space into even the smallest of homes. 

If you don’t have to space for a large desk, then a side or console table could be adapted to create a smaller working zone. If you’re choosing this option then it’s best to find somewhere to store any paperwork, files, stationery, etc and only pull them out when you need them. 

Create A Space You Like 

It has been difficult for many people to get used to working from home and with so many other things now predominantly at home like spending time in the garden at a weekend or homeschooling the kids at the same time as working, it has put a lot of stress on to people to feel like they need to be perfect and fit everything in. Creating a space that you really like and feel comfortable to work in can help to make your working day a little more positive. 

These three tips should be able to help you adapt your home for remote working. Is there anything that you have done to create a working zone in your home? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Make Your Home Office More Productive, With These Essentials

Wouldn’t it be incredible on the off chance that you could complete the entirety of your work from the solace of your own home?

Telecommuting is a perfect method to have the opportunity to be your chief. All things considered, setting up a home office requires a huge change in case you’re accustomed to working in a proper office setting. It takes a touch of arranging and a touch of exertion to ensure this space augments your proficiency and efficiency. So without beating about the bush, let’s take a peek at the essentials that can make your home office increasingly effective and productive.

The right lighting

No matter where your home office is located, lighting is the most significant part of the room. You’ll need to make a warm, welcoming space, so consolidating savvy utilitarian lighting with great assignment lighting will be required.

Natural light in the workplace has been demonstrated to have incredible medical advantages like improved rest, physical action, and personal satisfaction. The impact of characteristic light on your temperament and mentality is wonderful. Particularly in the present lockdown, when such a large number of people are telecommuting, it’s imperative to keep your invulnerable framework solid.

Plants, art, and aromas

If you need the full environment of an animating office, consider getting a few houseplants, putting resources into craftsmanship on your dividers, and in any event, utilizing incense or fundamental oils to diffuse fragrances in your work environment. These boosts can assist you with deduction of all the more innovation and diminish pressure.

A second monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse

On the off chance that you work off a laptop, having a second monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse can be a distinct advantage for your home office arrangement.

It permits you to use a PC to represent the ergonomic advantages and just causes your at-home work arrangement to feel and work like a genuine workstation you may have at the workplace. Or if nothing else, come nearer to what you have at the workplace.

A reliable backup source of power

Your home office should similarly have two or three combinations of fortification if things turn out seriously. Nobody can tell when your place may lose power. So it’s fundamental to have a power source arranged, for example, a generator, if something turns out badly. You can view a large variety of generators in physical as well as online stores, so it’s imperative to choose one that matches your requirements. Having a generator will make sure your tasks go on without any interruptions. Also, it will provide you with peace of mind as you won’t have to worry about the power blackouts.

WiFi – Speed up your home Internet connection

When telecommuting, odds are that you’ll depend vigorously on your web association. For ideal arrangement, it merits putting resources into a quality home WiFi modem and switch. It will empower you to work all the more adequately and viably with no interference.

Surge power strip with USB

You’d be amazed how rapidly your work from home arrangement develops. As you become increasingly agreeable and keep on tinkering with the design, you’ll keep on including new apparatuses. Normally, huge numbers of those tech devices are going to need to get their capacity from someplace.

Electrical extensions are an unquestionable requirement to have an expansion to your work from a home office. For included genuine feelings of serenity, ensure you get one with flood insurance. This will assist keep with fueling at a protected level when you have a few gadgets connected.

A comfortable chair

It doesn’t make a difference in case you’re at your office work area or at home, an agreeable seat with quality ergonomics is fundamental. Great stance and solace can help keep you concentrated on your jobs that need to be done rather than the torment in your lower back. While internet shopping is incredible for some things, a quality seat is something you should try out face to face.

Temperature controls

You likely as of now can control the essential temperature of your home. Yet, if your office is in a territory, similar to a storm cellar or highest floor, that will, in general, be more sultry or colder than the remainder of your home, you’ll despite everything need to remain agreeable. Attempt a space radiator or fan if you find that the temperature is somewhat off somehow.

There will unquestionably be different things you’ll require in your home office, contingent upon the kind of work you do and how much space you have accessible. Be that as it may, you’ll be headed to making a smoothed out and effective home office on the off chance that you utilize this list to begin pondering the basics.

4 Ways Technology Is Constantly Taking Business To The Next Level

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As time moves on, business owners and leaders are continually looking for ways to outdo their competitors. They’re always looking to outshine and find a way of evolving. Many different techniques and strategies have been invented and will continue to be brought into the world. Nothing has come close, and nothing will probably ever come close to that of our technological advances, though. Since automated, electrical pieces of machinery and software have entered humanity, businesses have been able to behave, process, and grow like never before – and this kind of thing will continue to advance as the years go by. 

Businesses that are just starting up benefit from the use of technology, and so too do businesses that have been at the top of the tree for decades – there’s no exclusivity or special places reserved for anyone in particular. The new tech obviously helps out due to its speed and consistency – the lack of human error being present is also a massive bonus. But how does it help out specifically? Well, here are four points for you to digest right now:

Performance Analysis 

With all the different software and various add-ons we have at our disposal, we can perfectly identify what plays out well and what performs horrendously, in order to figure out how to proceed. This can be used for selling products and for analyzing social media marketing strategies. 

Analyzing how everything goes has always been a major part of growing a business, but these kinds of programs make everything so much quicker, more detailed, and easier to do. 

It Can Predict And Project Future Happenings 

Artificial intelligence has become such that it’s able to take past and present records, and learn how certain patterns develop. It’s also able to project how the future may pan out statistically based on past behaviors. Also, if data is needed in order to complete certain AI projects, a synthetic data generator can be used to fabricate simulated pieces of information. This can help out in areas such as the financial world by allowing data scientists to continue their work when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

Remote Work 

Fewer people are working on their business premises these days. A lot is done from home – and not just because of the current virus epidemic we’re facing. Technology is now allowing us to work from remote locations, which can make work more convenient and suitable for everyone involved. The likes of virtual assistants and outsourced work can be sorted out quickly, too.  

Constant Communication

When you’re looking to get in touch with someone, and it seems like you’ll never be able to get a hold of them, it can be very frustrating. Whether you’re looking for a new employee, a service technician, or a new, exciting business contact, you’re going to want to speak with them ASAP. Modern technology has made it so that it’s nigh-on impossible to go off the radar. Conference calls are fantastic alternatives to meetings when people are working away from the office.

What To Think About As You Get Started Working From Home

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Working from home is becoming more common these days. You may find yourself in this position for a variety of reasons. For example, it may be that you’re ready to branch off and start your own business and be your own boss.

Be aware that there’s a lot to think about as you get started working from home and are beginning to set up your office space. It can be confusing and overwhelming to think about all that you need to do to ensure success. Take it one task and day at a time and remind yourself of all the benefits that come from working from home whenever you’re feeling frustrated or defeated.

Operating Your Office

You’ll want to think about where to set up your office space in your home and how it’s going to operate. For instance, you’ll need to be answering the phone, checking emails from clients, and have a way to send and receive mail. In this case, you may want to check out the option to configure virtual addresses for your business so you can get mail for your company. It’s a wise idea to invest in these types of services that are going to help you operate as a professional business and take some tasks off your plate.

Your Schedule

Think about your daily schedule and what type of structure you want to have when working from home. It may be tempting to sleep in or not get dressed, but these actions may cause you to feel less motivated over time. Therefore, consider waking up early, working out, having a cup of coffee and showering to help you feel alive and have some energy. Create a working schedule like you would if you were at a physical office to help you stay on track. It’s in your best interest to schedule breaks for yourself and times when you leave the house.

Staying Connected

It’s easy to get caught up in your own world when you work from home. Therefore, think about how you’re going to stay connected to others when you’re working remotely. There are many ways to do so these days, including via phone, email, and videoconference. It may be that you need to check in with employees regularly, meet with clients, and have a mentor who you like to discuss business topics with frequently. Make these meetings possible by taking advantage of all the capabilities that technology has to offer.

How to be Productive

If you want to be successful working from home, then you need to find ways to be and stay productive. It may mean turning off your phone or email for a while or having a quiet office space where you can work and shut the door. It’s also a wise idea to put off any house chores or tasks until you finish your work assignments for the day. Monitor how much time you’re spending on your phone or social media and do your best to cut back so you can focus on your work to-dos.

Fun Ways To Build Employee Morale

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The world has gone a little topsy turvy, and we are all acutely aware of the state of things outside our front door. Your employees are currently working from home to keep your business going, and you are all trying to keep up morale – and it’s not going well. 

So, rather than focus on all the panic and fright in the world, why not think about the ways that you can get your business moving and employees feeling motivated once more? There will be a day the lockdowns are lifted, and quarantine is over, and that day needs to be met with something fun. Your staff are counting on you to still be there for them when this pandemic is over. With that in mind, you should take a look at our list of fun ways you can all enjoy spending time together once life goes back to normal.

  • Host A Sports Day

The idealists in all of us are hopeful of summer back to normal. Walks on the beach, pub gardens and BBQs are just a part of it. Every business should celebrate resuming regular activity with a fun day, and that can include a company sports day! Check out the personalized boards at Cornholeworldwide.com and brand a corn hole board with your business brand and set up a range of mini sports to enjoy. A sports day is a great way to get the whole office laughing and relaxed in each other’s company once more.

  • A Pot-Luck Picnic

When the sun is shining, it’s an excellent idea to kick off the “back to work” feeling with something delicious, and that means food! Ask everyone to bring in a dish they cook (yes, cook) and have an outdoor picnic. If you don’t have an outdoor space by your office, head to the nearest park and bring blankets for all. Make sure people know that they don’t have to wear work clothes: it wouldn’t be the most comfortable for all.

  • Go For A Walk

Some business activities don’t need to be on site. You could get everyone together and arrange a hike! There are always challenges that can be done for charity, and it’s a great way to raise morale, get everyone moving and change the scenery. You’ve all been cooped up at home; a pleasant walk somewhere countrified is always going to add a little wind to your sails!

  • Dinner & Drinks

The very first day that you arrange to get back to the office is going to be a little disjointed. People won’t have seen each other for months on end, so a celebration is needed! Get the gang together and go for a meal (on the company, of course) and make sure to go somewhere with round tables so you can all see each other. Discuss how you are all feeling about the months that have just passed and let everyone air out their relief that it’s all over!

You need to get your staff happy – and now you know how to do it.