4 Remote Working Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)

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Working remotely can be a fantastic way to build your career and enjoy a better work-life balance. When you don’t have to commute or relocate, you can incorporate your career into your dream lifestyle and make the most of your free time. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter challenges when working from home. To ensure your new working arrangement is a success, take a look at these four remote working challenges and find out how to overcome them:

1. Interruptions

If you’re working from home and other people are around, you might find that you’re regularly interrupted. Similarly, a knock at the door, regular deliveries or even pets can’t distract you from what you’re doing. 

Ideally, you’ll want to have a designated workspace that enables you to distance yourself from everyone when you’re working. In addition to this, make sure your family is aware that you can only be disturbed for genuine emergencies when you’re ‘at work’. While it can take time for everyone to adjust, it won’t take long until your work-from-home routine becomes the new normal. 

2. Loneliness

When you aren’t working with colleagues in a face-to-face environment, your professional life can become quite lonely. In fact, some people find remote working isolating and demotivating, which can affect their performance. To combat this, make sure your team engages in social activities on a regular basis. When you create a community website, host virtual events, and socialize online, you can ensure that all of your interactions aren’t work-based. This gives people the opportunity to get to know each other better and fosters stronger teams, which has both commercial and individual benefits.

3. Communication

Effective communication is a cornerstone of success, but remote working can be a barrier when it comes to actively hearing your colleagues and making your voice heard. While you may not have regular face-to-face interactions with your team, you can take steps to improve communication when you’re working from different locations. 

Making use of appropriate software is one simple way to enhance communication. With instant messaging and secure video calls, for example, you can liaise with team members in real-time. Similarly, document sharing platforms enable employees to work collaboratively and can improve communication, regardless of your location. 

4. Overwork

When you’re working from home, you’ll be surprised at how many hours you put in. In the long term, overwork can be damaging to your health and your productivity, so it’s important to address this from the get-go. 

By keeping regular hours, shutting off devices at the end of the working day, and only responding to communications during working hours, for example, you can ensure that overwork doesn’t become an issue when you’re working remotely. 

Building a Career Remotely

Remote working has many benefits for both businesses and employees, but it is important that you also acknowledge the various challenges it can bring. By doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to implement effective solutions that enable you to succeed professionally and enhance your job satisfaction.

4 Ways Millennials Improved the Workplace

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Millennials have brought a different kind of vibe to the workplace. They are more tech savvy than their predecessors, and the way they view work and the structure of work is radically different. Where once they were seen as the young crop of newcomers, they are now the mature leaders of today. As they begin to lead us through the next few decades of our lives, here are four practices millennials have implemented into our work culture that made things better.

Work-Life Balance

Once upon a time, the harder you worked and sacrificed determined your success. People who didn’t want to work so hard were seen as lazy, but that kind of mentality doesn’t serve the working world anymore and it’s all because of millennials. Millennials were the first group to realize that having time with family and friends is just as important as being at work. When that balance is achieved, workers perform better and their productivity is higher. People also feel that they are better supported at home because they are more present at home helping out and being available. Both areas of a worker’s life are harmonious.

Remote Offices

The rat race was seen as the place to be if you were making moves and changing the world. Not so much anymore. With the growth of technology and virtual meetings, the average worker doesn’t have to wear themselves thin commuting for hours a day to do work they can do from home. The home office or the remote office is where many millennials thrive. Being in an environment of your own making helps keep a person focused and without commuting, a lot of people work earlier and faster and their day can be freed up to relax, take care of errands, and curate a life where work doesn’t seem to dominate all. 

Stop Problems Before They Start

Many people would just let things slide in the office because they were afraid of upsetting the status quo. Not so much with millennials who aren’t afraid to put a stop to things that are just out right wrong. Associations like the Whistleblower Info Center were created because more people are speaking up more than ever about illegal activities or activities that are a detriment to those who do work hard. Millennials have set the precedent for self-respect and promoting a healthy work space.

Quality of Life

The workforce used to put quality of life second, but millennials have changed that conversation. Quality of life has now become the top priority in the working world. When people apply for jobs or consider job offers, quality of life is always the number one question asked in interviews. Millennials want to know how easy it is to take time off for mental health relief and rest. Are hours flexible so that when life issues arise they can be tended to? Millennials know that work cannot rule their lives and that when they feel they are seen and appreciated they can perform better.

4 Questions You Should Ask About Commercial Properties

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Are you the owner of a commercial property? If you are a business owner or a manager, it’s important to handle an asset like this the right way. Here are some of the key questions that you need to consider.

What Improvements Can You Make?

First, you should think about the different improvements that you can make to your business property. Improvements can be used to ensure that a property doesn’t cost you too much money or is more practical in general. For instance, if you have a flat roof, then you can think about applying elastomeric roof coating. This can be used to boost the insulation of a property which will, in turn, ensure that you can lower your energy bills. Alternatively, you could instead focus on the interior design of the building to ensure that it is more welcoming for customers and clients who are visiting. 

Does Your Property Have Curb Appeal?

You should also consider whether a commercial property does have curb appeal. Curb appeal is key because it will make it more likely that customers will want to explore your business and what it has to offer. This is important regardless of whether you are creating an office or setting up a business store. Your business still needs to look great from the outside. If you are wondering how to increase curb appeal, then there are a few possibilities. For instance, you might want to consider adding a unique feature outside your property like a sculpture. 

Is It Secure?

Next, you need to consider whether your business is secure. It’s often assumed that business break-ins are no longer an issue. The reason for this is that there’s a lot of issues surrounding cybercrime these days. While that is the case, break-ins do still occur, particularly if a commercial property does not have the right type of security in place. You need to make sure that you are investing in advanced securing to protect your business assets. 

Are You Better To Buy, Rent Or Work From Home?

Finally, it could be worth considering whether you should rent, buy a commercial property or if you would be better off working from home. The majority of businesses can now be run from home, but there are both advantages and disadvantages connected to this possibility. The main advantage is that you can save money. However, there is still a certain stigma connected to home businesses. Clients will often assume that they are smaller and may not be able to handle the requirements of larger contracts. Renting can be cost-effective but you do still have all the responsibilities of a landlord. These will usually be addressed in your contract. 

We hope this helps you understand some of the key questions that you should ask yourself if you do own a business property and the right changes that you can make here. If you explore the key options then you’ll be able to improve your property in a variety of different ways.

5 Online Activities to Promote Employee Well-Being

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Whether you manage a large team or have a couple of remote members of staff, their well-being should be your top priority. By ensuring your employees are comfortable and happy, they will be more productive at work. In order to run your business efficiently, you need the support of highly motivated staff members. It’s also important to maintain positive relationships with your team, especially if they’re remote. Fortunately, there are a few online activities you can try to boost morale and get everyone engaged. This will then help to promote employee well-being overall.

Quizzes and games

You could start daily or weekly catch-up meetings with a quick quiz. It only needs to be something silly to break the ice. Your employees could play individually or in teams. You could even organize a bigger team-building quiz with prizes to encourage collaboration. Another easy idea is to do a quick scavenger hunt in the home. Remember to choose a game that’s accessible and inclusive. These types of games will help boost morale and strengthen relationships between colleagues, which should have a positive effect on employee well-being.

Well-being events

Many businesses also organize well-being events. These involve sessions about health and wellness topics. These could include health and safety training and the use of LEM Products, for instance, or even lifestyle tips such as how to maintain a healthy work-life balance. You can tailor the sessions to fit your company culture and the type of business you run. 

Physical activity

If you have the option, you could organize a physical activity for your employees to take part in. You could sign up any willing participants to a virtual corporate yoga program, or introduce a personal trainer. Another idea is to plan a fundraising event for your team. Members of staff could run a 10km individually and track and share their results online. Any proceeds can then go to charity. You could also volunteer as a team in the local community and post the results on social media.

Mindfulness

Teach your employees about the importance of mindfulness. You could hire a guest speaker to start a meeting with meditation or to give tips and advice on how to meditate at home. The topic of mindfulness is also common in well-being sessions. You could put together some online resources about it for your staff to use at home. Meditation has many benefits for both physical and mental well-being. 

Feedback sessions
To ensure employee health and well-being, get as much feedback as possible on the activities you try. This will give you more of an insight into which works best. Hold one-to-one feedback sessions with your employees regularly to discuss professional development and their overall feeling at work. This way they’ll have a platform to get their voices heard. Listen to their feedback and actively respond. If your employees express an interest in an area they want to develop, empower them with a relevant new project. This will keep them motivated and improve their job satisfaction.

5 Traits Businesses Should Look for in Remote Employees

The value of remote employees has been widely recognized as of the global pandemic of 2020, and more businesses have embraced the idea. A post on How to Add Resume to LinkedIn, a lot of business right now are using the popular platform to hire remote team. However, what you may not know is that you need to look for different traits in remote or online workers. The fact that they are not working at your office changes a lot about how you interact with them, as well as what kind of person they need to be to succeed. Here are 5 traits you should look for when hiring remote workers:

1.    Feedback Receptive

Each worker you hire must improve the company’s efficiency. You will need to guide and train them so they become the best version of themselves for your business. Doing so will require regular feedback.

However, not all people are receptive to feedback. You do not get to see them in person or as easily, which means you cannot easily reinforce your lessons or feedback. All your remote workers must be quick to take to feedback and able to apply it without supervision if you want them to provide value to your company.

2.    Open to New Ideas and Training

Businesses by nature are meant to grow and change. Stagnant companies are essentially failing. To keep your company growing, you will not only need to expand, you will also need to train your employees to ensure that their skill sets are up-to-date and remain relevant to the needs of the business.

To that end, any remote worker you hire must be open minded and willing to expand their wealth of knowledge. The easier they are to train, the better they will be as remote employees.

3.    They Have Initiative

Remote workers will be left to their own devices most of the time. While some oversight exists, for the most part they are their own boss. You or your managers will not be present to direct their efforts. Thus, your remote employees must be independent and posses initiative.

4.    They Have a Good Personality

There are traits that a good hire has, according to Forbes. A trainable and feedback receptive person with a positive and likable attitude is far more valuable than a skilled worker who cannot get along with everyone. The company is more than one person.

5.    They are Great Communicators

Nuance is lost when communicating online or over text. Thus, it is important to only hire remote workers who not only communicate well, but do so in a timely fashion. They need to reply quickly to messages to ensure that company systems are not bogged down.

Hiring remote workers can give your company the edge, as it allows you to access talent that would otherwise be beyond your reach. However, you cannot just hire anyone. Hire the right people, and the effort will be worth it.

Renovating Your Office This Year

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Your office is often like a second home. After your house this is the place you spend the most time and it is a place you need to make your own for maximum comfort and productivity. 

Today we want to talk about your office and renovating it for the better this year. Make the most of the space you have and transform it into the perfect workplace for you and your employees. Use these ideas below to change and improve your office for the better in 2021.

Create a zen space 

We all know how important mental health is, and as an employer it is time for you to take control and take action for the health of yourself and your workers this year. One of the ways you can do this is convert a small spare room into a zen space which has calming colors on the walls, beanbags to sit in, and a TV and books for entertainment. You can hang a small sign on the door that indicates when the space is occupied and from this you’ll be able to allow your employees in here when work is becoming too much and they need some time to calm down. A room like this will make a massive difference to the mental health of your workers and will create a healthier working environment. 

Repaint the walls 

One of the easiest ways to transform your office in hours is to repaint the walls with bright and inviting colors. Enough of the boring greys and blues already! Consider instead adding bright and warm tones such as red or orange to the walls to brighten the space and make it more exciting for your employees. Bright colors help to stir alertness as well as motivation in your team and psychologically it will keep them on the ball and make them more productive. 

Invest in better chairs 

Chairs are an important part of your office and you need to invest in the best ones for your team. Make sure to invest in comfortable and supportive chairs for your employees and yourself to reduce to risk do back problems and sick leave in the office. 

Consider an outdoor area 

An outdoor area is a great idea for a commercial property because it will allow everyone to get away from the stake air of the office for a while and reset. You can use a commercial grade cement mixer from https://thompsonrock.com/ to lay a flat concrete surface and then add benches and chairs for people to sit at. A few choice plant pots here and there will also be great and it gives everyone a good space to reset and relax. 

Build a communal area 

A communal lunch area is a great idea and a cafe inspired look will be good for informal meeting with clients too. Consider building a communal cafe in your office and have coffee machines on hand for people to make their own drinks. You can even add plug sockets to allow people to work on their laptops in this area if they prefer this now and again. 

Renovating your office for success is a challenge but if you take some of these ideas to your project you could end up with a stunning workspace for everyone in your company.

Why You Should Renovate Your Office

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When you are in charge of your own office, you are also in charge of any changes that you want to make to the building. It may not have crossed your mind before, but when business is going well, a revamp will never hurt! You can impress clients and drum up a good amount of business when you invest in your business premises.

The benefits of a renovated office far outweigh the costs it will take to get it looking up to scratch. Not only that, but you can focus on running your company and know that you can feel pride in what you are showing off to your customers. Upgrading your office does more than you think to make your business look good, and bringing on office architects and builders like TPM Builders will help! So, why should you go ahead and go for it with your office renovation plans? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons below.

  • Boosting Your Image. Renovating the office is a big sign you are successful. You can afford to make changes purely to make your brand look good, and this will lead to you being able to impress your clients. Your image is what sells what you can do to your clients, but if it’s not up to scratch, people won’t pay attention to you. Once your renovation is completed, you can upgrade your brochures and document your renovation journey on your business social media. Clients and prospective clients will be happy to see what you have to offer.
  • Motivate Your Staff. No one likes to work in an ugly, dark space. When you renovate your office, you get to bring in more light and changing the decor can make it a more pleasant place to work. Staff morale goes up as a result, and it’s one of the most critical components in the success of your business. Your staff will want to come to work and they’ll feel more motivated to be in the office as a result, especially if your upgrades involve more perks for them!
  • Better Productivity. An office renovation improves the productivity of all those working in the office space. A business is only as good as those who show up and do the job, and if your staff feel comfortable in their environment, they’ll work better and be happier in their role.
  • Improved Value. One day, you may grow out of your office space and start looking to move. However, if you choose renovation instead, you can expand your office and do more about the value of the property itself. Any positive changes you make will add monetary value, and this will reflect if you ever put your office up for sale.
  • Future Preparation. You already have a business plan we hope, so knowing that you are future-proofing your business with a renovation is a smart idea. You can gain some extra space, and with your advanced planning, you can save money in the long run. Office renovation is a convenient option for upgrading your business, and when you choose to deal with one single contractor for it, you can drive your business to success.

Small Things To Consider When Working At Home

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When you work from home, it can often be difficult to work in the same way as you would in an office and it can take some time to get used to the format of your working day. With the pandemic that has swept the world in the last few months, it is no surprise that a lot of us have had to start getting used to working at home in the long term and this doesn’t look to change any time soon. 

If you will be working at home for a while due to lockdown or even if you have quit the rat race to work on your own projects – today we want to share some helpful advice to keep you working well at home and things you should consider doing. 

Keep water nearby 

It is all too easy to get caught up in your work for hours on end and forget to eat or drink anything. While this is not necessarily a bad thing with food; you need to keep yourself hydrated enough throughout the day in order to stay healthy at your desk and to focus when working. Keep a bottle of water next to you throughout the day that you can take a sip of while working and it will make a big difference to your concentration and your ability to be productive. 

Clean your work area 

It is important when trying to work at home productively to clean your workspace and keep it tidy. You need to ensure that you have a workspace that is fit for purpose and one which is free of clutter. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind – and when working from home it is so important for you to have a tidy space to work in. This also extends beyond your desk itself and if you are situated in your spare room make sure it is not completely covered in clutter and mess because this will draw focus away from your work throughout the day. 

Close the door 

When working at home it is all too easy to become distracted by pets, kids, and even household chores if things are within your eye line during the day. This is why it is a great idea for you to choose a room separate from the rest of the house and shut the door so you can focus on your work. When you go to ‘work’ in the morning treat it as if you are leaving home and shut the door to your home life. It will make working so much easier and will ensure you stay focused. 

Enjoy home comforts

Even if you are working all day it is still a good idea to bring some home comforts to your office space to make it more comfortable as well as personal. There are some brilliant ways to bring home comforts into the room such as hanging art on the wall as well as plants, candles, and perhaps a blanket for when the days are colder. Make sure you feel comfortable at home and this will help you work effectively. 

Consider licensing 

It is important if you are starting a business from home this year that you contact a law firm and get a license to work. You need to have a license in order to practice business in your home and this is something you need to do before you even start trading. Working from home is a great thing to do but it is crucial you are doing this legally because you can get into some trouble if you don’t. 

Create work-life balance 

When working from home it is all too easy to start earlier and finish later than you normally would and this can be dangerous for you if you do this every day. Be sure that you consider a work-life balance when working from home and set yourself a start and end time to your day and stick to it. Working from home can be exhausting and if you burn out you can suffer some serious mental issues as a result and it can even make you physically ill. 

Organize ahead of time 

If you struggle to get going in the morning when working at home it is a great idea for you to start making a to do list the night before your working days. It is a good idea for you to write a to do list at the end of the day ready for your work the next day because it will allow you to get going on your work as soon as you sit down in the morning rather than worrying about what to do.

Look After Yourself When Working From Home

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Working from home can be hard and cause stress in a place you don’t want to be stressed in. For a lot of people, work is left when they leave the office but now people are working at home, it can be tempting to work longer hours in order to get more done, but at the detriment of your own wellbeing. It is important that even when working at home, you try and have a good work life balance in order to not stress yourself and burn yourself out. Below are four ways to work at home efficiently.

Make A Room Your Work Room 

Depending on how big your property is, this may be easier for some people, more than others. When working at home, it is important to be able to differentiate what is your work room and what is your leisure room. If you can try and make a specific room the place you work. That way when you are done working, you can take yourself out of that room and reduce the stress that you may be experiencing at work. If you have to work in your living room, then try to pack everything away once you are done, instead of leaving it out for the next day. Yes this may seem like a bit more effort, but it will help you to stop thinking about work when you are then watching tv in the same room. 

Set Work Hours 

When working from home it is important you set certain hours for work and certain hours for relaxing, just like an office. If your office working hours are 9 to 5, then make sure you stick to those hours and don’t continue to work because you are at home. Of course, sometimes you have to work late to get an important task done, but it is also important that you have some time and relax. You may enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose your hours but as just mentioned make sure you stick to the hours you are contracted to. If it’s a 7 hour day, then make sure you do 7 hour whether that be 7am to 3pm, 8am to 4pm or the standard 9am to 5pm. 

Take a Lunch Break 

When you work in an office it’s important you take a lunch break and it’s still important you do when working from home. A lunch break helps give you an hour to wind down and refresh yourself. As you are working at home you can take it at whatever time suits (as long as you don’t have any meetings that it will clash with). Try to leave your property on your lunch break and go for a 30 minutes walk, maybe walk to your local park or just a lap around the block. Walking is not only good for your mental health but also your physical health. If your job allows you to be really flexible you could plan your lunch break around a certain activity you enjoy, like fishing – if you have a new rod like a Daiwa saltiga then this would be the perfect time to try it out. 

Set Boundaries 

Chances are it won’t just be you working from home. Due to the pandemic, a lot of households are working from home at the same time. With this, it is important you set boundaries between each other. This way you can all work and not get distracted and stressed that you haven’t done enough work that day. If you have children, rotate your time so that you both get to spend time with them and both get to work.

Staying Productive When Working From Home

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The way that many of us have been working has changed in recent months, with many people now working from home. It can be a dream for some to do this, without having to be a freelancer, but moving from an office environment with structure to then working from your own home can be a challenge in a number of ways. Learning how you can do your job from home is something that is important, as it will help your productivity and make sure that you carry on being effective in your job role. 

There can be a lot of distractions when working from your home, as well as less accountability, and less communication with your team than you could get if you were in the office. You can still be productive, though! No matter what location you are working from, here are some things that you can do to make sure that your remote working hours are effective and that you make the most of them.

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Set yourself working hours

Working from home offers some great flexibility, which is helpful when you want to meet a friend for lunch, have a dentist appointment, or want to drop your child at nursery. However, where possible, it is important that you create a regular working schedule for yourself. As much as it is good to sleep in and not have to commute, you are going to be making things harder for yourself if you don’t work consistently. When you create some regular working hours for yourself, it means that you will be accountable to yourself, but also to co-workers who expect you to be available at certain times. It also helps with your productivity levels, meaning that you’re more likely to get your work done, and easier to resolve problems as communicating with others will be quicker and simpler if you stick to some regular working hours.

Create a positive working environment

When you start out working from home you might think just how great it will be to grab your laptop and get on with work from your bed or your couch. This can work sometimes, but done consistently, it can hinder your productivity in a big way. That is why one of the best things that you can do when working from home is to set up a working space that is going to help your productivity. Using the same space each day can help you to set in your mind that you’re ready to work, and prepares you for what is ahead. It could be that you have a spare room with a desk in, or it might be that you work from the kitchen table. Either way, keeping things consistent is a must. 

In order to make it easy for you to work, make sure that you have all that you need. For example, if you will need to print documents out, then make sure that you have a printer ready to go. Your internet connection needs to be good too, or it can make a variety of aspects of working from home difficult. So looking at getting a wireless network setup and design for your home can be a good idea. Give yourself the best chance of working well and being productive by making sure that your work setup is a productive one.

Tune into inspiration

One big advantage of working from home is that you don’t have co-workers talking to you that can lead to distraction. You could end up being more productive as you’re not speaking to colleagues about their weekend or about the things that they have been up to. If playing some loud music helps to get you pumped and motivated to work, then go ahead and do that. If you prefer some classical music or nature sounds, then you could play this in the background, or just open the window in the room to let in some of the outside sounds. If you are doing some tasks that don’t involve too much thinking, such as repetitive tasks, then you could even find listening to a podcast or an audiobook could help to keep you on track and keep you moving. You might prefer to work in silence. Just figure out how you like to work and then you can go from there,

It can take some trial and error to find what works for you when working from home, as well as what doesn’t work for you. As long as you have a focus on productivity, stick to routine, and plan out your days, then it will give you the best chance at it all running smoothly.