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Remote Positivity: Emulating Optimism for Your Work-From-Home Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Work From Home| Remote Positivity: Emulating Optimism for Your Work-From-Home EmployeesThe work from home dynamic has come into our society in full force. Since the pandemic’s effects have significantly impacted our ability to congregate in groups, many companies have used remote work to keep their workflow on a proper level and collaborate with employees working from home.

There are numerous ways that technology has adeptly adapted to this, with apps and services across multiple platforms able to aid in employee communications no matter their location. However, one must remember that there are psychological effects on social isolation, ranging from anxiety to sleeplessness.

It starts with a company leader addressing these issues and taking the initiative to create a realm of positivity for his or her working community. Once done, employees can more easily thrive in a workplace with core values of workplace strength and support.

Collaborate and Listen

The applications that the tech world has developed have been a mainstay in the work from home atmosphere. No longer do people need to leave messages, wait hours for contact, or wonder which roles they have on a company project. Whether utilizing instant messaging, video conferencing, or campaign tracking, apps like GoToMeeting and Slack have all been heavily downloaded and integrated into remote work environments. Digital transformation will only continue to evolve with further refinement of workflow customization tools.

However, it’s important to note that “collaboration” is an integral part of these workflow collaboration apps. That means rising together towards the desired group result–but more than anything, it means a leader willing to step up and create a constructive and enthusiastic environment.

Project management is an essential part of any brand, for example, but proper communication with employees is necessary to steady productivity. Make sure that your working community knows that they’re valued on a personal level. Checking in for friendly workforce chats weekly, making employee onboarding a priority for future work efforts, and rewarding especially excellent efficiency with warm messages are all ways in which you can exemplify your positive work atmosphere.

Zooming the Right Way

If you’ve been working from home, then you’ve probably been using Zoom: the video communications service that’s connected a multitude of remote work employees through web conferencing. However, during the past few weeks, there’s been a concern over the notion of excess comfort in personal home office use with Zoom.

The concept of “Zoom etiquette” is one that has recently been in conversation across multiple sectors. Specifically, there is debate about how many behaviors one may or may not allow when videoconferencing in groups. Addressing this topic with your employees will eliminate any chance of discomfort for them during video conferences.

For example, if one hasn’t had the time for a lunch break and needs to eat during a long meeting, should one wait and not interrupt? The consensus seems to be that it is alright. However, temporarily switching off one’s camera and muting one’s microphone so as not to disturb the other members with possible sound interventions is best.

Other possible scenarios involve establishing that social media alerts or other interruptions don’t divert your employees. These will limit their ability to remember aspects of your video meeting, as well as demonstrate a lack of professionalism that other employees might catch onto.

However, ensure that your workforce member isn’t excessively stressed if a child or pet causes a minor interruption. Know that there are some elements in the new normal that you can control as an authority leader and some aspects that you cannot. Your working community will notice you, and your bolstering environment, more for it.

Communicate and Know the Purpose

With an untold amount of startups in the current atmosphere and a market that seems to change every second, there is a measure of instability that can occur when a company operates on an unstable foundation. Profit may be coming in with a trending product or service, but long-term success is built upon leadership that understands its key areas of skills and fortitude. Having each of your employees understand your brand’s–and your own life’s–mission will give better clarity to your organization, helping align short-term wants with long-term goals.

But communication doesn’t just come from one direction. Through videoconference, asking your employees what they believe their strengths to be and what they want to achieve in life will open up mental pathways on both sides. It will give them a sense of purpose and resolve, knowing that you have a sincere interest in their skillset.

They’ll see that they can chat with you if they notice an additional lead or avenue that the business can take in the future. And for you, as a leader, you may learn an additional power area from one of your working community members that you can now count on moving forward.

Communication has evolved to a level that few of us expected to see a year ago. With digital transformation, we’ve seen video conferencing and webinars take hold in our day-to-day work experiences. However, this doesn’t mean that the foundational aspects of a positive work environment need to lessen. Using the proper strategies, an optimistic working community can advance and lead to a brighter future for every work-from-home member.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Veronica BaxterVeronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with Todd Mosser Esq., a busy criminal appeals lawyer, Philadelphia PA.

Should Your Business Pay Home Office Costs For Remote Employees?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Remote Employees|Should Your Business Pay Home Office Costs For Remote Employees?The COVID-19 pandemic has forced so many businesses to adopt remote working overnight. While there are a lot of benefits to remote working and it’s much safer for everybody right now, there are some challenges for your employees.

Creating a positive working environment in the home can be difficult and expensive. But many companies aim to solve this problem by giving their employees a stipend to create their own home office.

Shopify and Twitter, for example, offered to give each remote employee $1,000 to set up their home office. This money is to be spent on things like ergonomic office desks and chairs, or new laptops. Some companies are also offering a monthly payment to help cover things like internet or phone bills.

For big companies like Twitter, this expense is manageable and it seems like a no-brainer if it makes life easier for their employees. However, it’s not so easy for small businesses and paying your employees a similar stipend will put a lot of financial strain on you, so is it really worth it?

What Are The Benefits Of Paying Home Office Costs For Your Remote Workers?

Although it is a big expense to cover, it may be the best thing for your business in the long run. If you pay this money to your employees you will notice a big increase in productivity. It’s difficult to work productively if you don’t have a comfortable, well equipped space to do it. But if you give your employees the money to buy a proper office desk and chair so they can stay comfortable and focus, they will get a lot more done.

Giving your employees some financial assistance also increases access to tech tools, which employees may not otherwise use. Expecting your employees to pay out of their own pocket for a brand new laptop is unreasonable, especially considering their utility costs are likely to increase while they are working from home. The same goes for upgrading their internet connection to accommodate video conferencing. This means that many employees will struggle to work effectively because they are using outdated tools. Giving them some money to update their tech tools will benefit them as well as the business.

You should also consider it an investment for the future because it’s likely that the business world will be changed permanently by the pandemic. Remote working is going to become far more common, and that’s good for businesses because it cuts your office costs. However, if you expect your employees to continue working remotely in the future, you need to help them get their homes set up for it.

What Are The Downsides?

The obvious downside of these payments is that they put a lot of financial strain on the business in an already difficult time. So, before you make any promises, crunch the numbers and make sure that you can afford it.

The other thing to be aware of is that employees may spend the money elsewhere. Although this is unlikely, you may decide to ask them to purchase items and then reimburse them afterwards to avoid this.

Overall, if your business can afford it, paying home office costs for your remote employees is a good idea.

Pros And Cons Of Letting Employees Work Remotely

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Work Remotely|Pros And Cons Of Letting Employees Work RemotelyIn recent months there has been an increase in employees working remotely. This has largely been instigated by the pandemic crisis, and employers the world over are now getting the opportunity to see how remote working is possible for them.

Not every business has the means to offer remote working, of course, as many are not office-based. However, thanks to the cloud solutions now available, those businesses that can still function through remote working have the greater opportunity to survive into the future. For business owners, they might decide to focus more on this style of working, even after the current pandemic is over.

But here’s the thing. Remote working has its advantages, but even for those businesses that can allow for it, there still needs to be consideration of possible pitfalls.

These are the pros and cons of letting employees work remotely.

Pros

Flexibility – Employees don’t have to be tied down to a 9-5 working pattern when working from home. Provided they stick to their agreed contracts, they can work flexibly. This could include evening work instead of daytime shift patterns, and it can also include weekends. For those employees who need this flexibility, such as those who have a young family, a flexible working pattern can be a blessing.

A greater work/life balance – The rigors of the daily commute and long hours in the office can take their toll on some employees. Their work/life balance is lopsided towards the former, and this can be stress-inducing and frustrating for some. But with remote working, there is the opportunity to spend more time at home, and so some stresses can be avoided. This is great for improving the employee’s health and wellbeing, as there will be more opportunities to rest and relax outside of their working hours.

Financial benefits – For the business owner, it can be comforting to know that savings can be made. Remote working negates the need to rent office space, and there will be savings on utility bills too. This equates to a higher profit margin and more money to put away in case of another emergency situation.

Cons

Productivity – On the one hand, employees should be more productive if they can work from home. With no need to commute, and with fewer office distractions, it can be argued that more work should get done. However, there is the danger that the employee might work less when not being managed. Thankfully, this can be overcome with computer monitoring software, as the employer will then be able to track their employee’s progress.

Cybersecurity risks – The business network may be protected with antivirus software and other cybersecurity solutions, but the employee’s home network may not be. This could result in a data breach. There are ways to reduce security risks, however, such as a reminder to the employee of safety processes that need to be put in place, but there could still be added problems down the line.

Finally

We have only covered some of the pros and cons associated with remote working, so if you’re a business owner, you should continue your research online. For the short term, it can be fruitful, especially during this present time, but deliberate over the advantages and disadvantages when looking at the long term future of your business.

4 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know to Survive During and Post COVID-19

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Survive During Covid|4 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know to Survive During and Post COVID-19Regardless of what kind of business you operate, there are very few industries that haven’t been affected by COVID-19. Since the start of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the UK and beyond, resulting in over one million deaths across the world (and counting). For entrepreneurs, running and operating a healthy business can be challenging during these unprecedented times. So, to keep your operation afloat, here are some useful tips on how to survive the pandemic and keep revenue up.

Encourage Remote Working

If you’re able to do so, you should encourage your team to work remotely. If you operate in an office, many employees will have concerns and fears about being in close proximity to others. The last thing you want is for your team to fall ill with the virus and have to isolate. So, you should encourage working remotely, meaning your staff can operate from their homes which will reduce the risk of them contracting COVID-19.

Keep in Touch with Employees and Customers

No matter what kind of business you run, regularly communicating with your employees and customers is key to success. If you have had to shut your physical premises for the time being and your team are working remotely, you need to head online and use video conferencing software like Skype or Zoom to hold meetings and training. Your customers may feel out of the loop during these strange times, so make sure you have social media business pages that can be used to keep your audience in the know.

Coronavirus-Proof Your Premises

If your business has been allowed to reopen, you need to take precautionary action to keep staff and customers safe. You can use screens to reduce the spread of covid which can be useful in all kinds of environments, including offices, restaurants, and retail stores. As well as covid screens you can use queue barriers and face masks which are key measures that you can use to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Encourage Hand Washing

If you employ others in your business and they’re back at work, you must encourage hand washing. While we should all wash our hands regularly with soap and water, you will be surprised at how many people forget to do so. In the unprecedented times we are currently living in, it’s more important than ever to wash your hands. There are hand sanitiser stations that can be installed in your business which will serve as a constant reminder for employees to clean their hands.

Whether you hire office space, run your own restaurant, or operate a retail store, your employees and customers are at the heart of your company. To keep your business thriving and on track, all the tips above will ensure you have all bases covered, helping to boost morale, productivity and ensure staff and customers are kept safe and protected during and post COVID-19.

The Best Ways to Modernize Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Modernize your Business|The Best Ways to Modernize Your BusinessStaying modern is something that every business needs to do, but many struggle with. Those that are able to stay current will be able to satisfy the fast-changing needs and expectations of today’s consumer, streamline their business and stay ahead of the curve. Meanwhile, those that struggle to keep up will get left behind and could find it hard to compete. It is clear that staying modern is im-portant, but how can you go about doing this? It is hard to know in today’s day and age as there are so many different ways to do this – read on to find out a few of the most effective areas that are worth focusing on.

Remote Working

Remote working has been on the rise years, but in 2020 it has become widespread due to the pan-demic. In most cases, this has shown to be a success for companies with many reporting an increase in productivity as well as a boost in morale. Having the right tools and learning how to manage re-mote teams is important if you want to find success and you may want to have some flexibility as some people will prefer working in the office at least part time.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is becoming increasingly more common in today’s day and age and made much easier through the rise of remote working. It makes sense from a business perspective because outsourc-ing allows you to use experts to handle certain aspects of the business operation without the need to pay a full salary and other employee costs. This makes it a cost-effective option and could allow you to scale up with ease, and there are many areas that you can outsource, such as:

  • Digital marketing
  • IT
  • HR
  • Accounting
  • Social media management

Use Video Marketing

Video marketing is a highly popular and effective ways to promote your business and can be much more engaging than other formats. Video marketing will capture the attention of your target cus-tomer; it allows you to use both audio and video as it can make it easier to communicate your mes-sage and it is a chance to impress and show your expertise. The key is to have any videos made by an experienced professional as amateurish videos can have the reverse effect in a time where peo-ple are used to seeing so many videos every day.

Influencer Marketing

Another popular form of digital marketing to use right now which could have a huge impact on the success of your business is influencer marketing. This involves getting someone with credibility in your field to promote your products/services on social media which will help to boost your reputa-tion, advertise your company and allowing you to reach a much larger audience.

Automation

Automation is a word that can create some strong reactions in the business world, as some argue that it leads to job losses. While this is the case in some circumstances, you can actually use automa-tion alongside employees which can be a great way to boost efficacy, reduce workload for staff and speed processes up. Using automation to handle simple, repetitive tasks will allow your team to fo-cus on other areas. They could help you to work at a much higher capacity than before so it should certainly be looked into.

Artificial Intelligence

Another type of technology that was once seen as futuristic but is now becoming common in a range of industries is artificial intelligence. AI can be used in all kinds of creative and innovative ways, such as:

  • Process automation
  • Collecting data
  • Chatbots
  • Optimizing logistics
  • Predicting performance

Update The Company Website

If you have not updated the company website for a few years, then this is a smart way to modern-ize. It is amazing just how quickly web design trends can change, and a dated website will quickly deter any visitor. Therefore, it is a great idea to use an experiment web design agency that will know the latest trends to deliver a modern, attractive and easy-to-use website which will impress any visitor.

Cloud-Based Training

Cloud computing can bring many benefits to a business and is a great way to modernize. Despite this, many people are struggling to get to grips with cloud computing which is understandable as a relatively new type of technology. This is why you should look into cloud-based training for enter-prise teams which will help get your team up to speed about using the cloud. This will help you to get the most out of cloud computing and modernize your workforce so that everyone can excel in their role and work with confidence each day.

Upgrade Cybersecurity

Understandably, business owners are focused on the threat of the pandemic in 2020, but one area which you must not overlook is cybercrime. Cybercrime is a massive problem that affects business-es of all sizes and in all industries, and there are constantly new threats being developed. This means that this needs to be a priority, and you need to invest in high-quality cybersecurity products in addition to learning about the latest threats and how you can stay safe.

Be Environmentally Friendly

Every business should be looking at how they operate and find ways to be more environmentally friendly. This is important in terms of doing your part to reduce impact, but also because consumers are becoming increasingly eco-aware and selective of the brands that they use, so it is important for your reputation. Not only this but often you will find that being more environmentally friendly can help to lower your operating costs too.

If you are wanting to modernize your business, then these are a few of the best ways that you can do this. Businesses need to stay current and ahead of the curve so that they can find success, appeal to their target customer and stay ahead of the competition but it is also an area that many struggle with so hopefully this post will help.