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4 Hacks For Managing Your Team Virtually

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Managing your team virtually|4 Hacks For Managing Your Team VirtuallyManaging a team was hard enough before 2020.

With modern culture forcing many to work from home, management styles have changed. With meetings and catch-up sessions taking place via computer.

If you are a manager, this was hard to adapt to in the beginning, and as it goes on, it can be tough to think of ways to keep your team motivated.

How can you ensure that your team stays on target and continues to produce? Below are some key strategies to help you and your team to thrive.

1. Allow flexible working

Remote working has allowed many businesses to expand. You may now be responsible for managing workers from around the globe.

This is great for the business. Though it can make working in synch tricky. When you are heading to bed, your staff located in different countries may be waking up.
This is where offering flexible working can help. Look to accommodate different time zones. While also allowing your team to strike a better work/life balance. Try not to take anyone out of their natural work rhythm by forcing them to comply with your time zone, as work output will drop. This is also where a virtual office setup can help. By having tasks displayed on a webpage, they can be accessed with ease from around the globe. So, your international team can work even when you are sleeping.

2. Make the office virtual

This can be tricky in the short term. In the long term, it simplifies the working environment.

Aim to sign up your workers to a group email address. Invest in online meeting software that allows you to also send out invites. You will also need to set up a virtual mailbox. Many location-based offices regularly receive mail. So, you will need to update your business associates about your e-post box.

If you aren’t sure where to start, look at sites like theworkstation.co.uk for advice.

3. Progress reports

Many people don’t want to micromanage their teams, but with the lack of a physical workplace, what other options are there?

To keep an eye on your team, ask for progress reports. Weekly if you have a deadline coming up.

It is worth having daily meetings. For a more in-depth progress report, it is worth doing so every week. Make progress reports a part of the week and have them towards the end. Like on a Friday or Thursday.

This will help you to keep track of where your team is relating to productivity. While also providing a set structure for them to work to.

4. Organize 1-on-1 meetings

A working group is essential to the overall function of the workplace. However, among all the meetings and tasks, individuals can get lost.

Aim to host monthly meetings with each member of your team. This will allow them and you the space to better assess them. Without the stress of doing so in front of the rest of the team.

This will also allow you to look at their capabilities, and, of course, enquire into more personal issues, such as their health. If necessary, you can add or deduct tasks from them to make them more comfortable.

How To Make The Most Of Working From Home

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Working from home|How To Make The Most Of Working From HomeDuring the peak of the covid-19 pandemic, working from home began the normality as opposed to the exception. While this was not without its challenges, it also proved to be very beneficial in making workplaces more accessible and even impacted employee satisfaction and productivity. Positive feedback and results mean that many workplaces are set to continue to offer remote work – or hybrid working – into the future.

As a result, whether you are a company owner or an entry-level employee, it’s important that you can make the most out of working from home. This extends beyond productivity levels, as you should also ensure that you are taking proper care of your mental health and maintaining a good work/life balance.

With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to make the most out of working from home.

  • Upgrade your home office. When working from was temporary, it was perfectly fine to set up your station on your dining room table or even within your living room. However, these places do not work in the long term due to the fact that your mind will view these spaces as social places, which can impact your productivity and impact your ability to successfully work from home. While you do not need a separate room, you do need to set up a workstation of some kind and use office design trends to your advantage.
  • Invest in the right tools. When upgrading your office, you should also be prepared to invest in some new furniture – or ask your employer to cover the costs of this equipment. For example, you could invest in a sit stand desk. Not only can this help you get your job done – but it’s also beneficial for your health due to the fact that it reduces the amount of time you spend sitting each day and can even burn calories.
  • Find ways to regain your focus. Over time, it becomes more and more tempting to give in to the many distractions within your home when you should be working. For example, you may try to carry out some chores in between work calls and meetings. Thankfully, there are various ways in which you can achieve this goal. For starters, you could invest in noise-cancelling headphones so that you are not distracted by what is going on around you.
  • Know when to clock out. Before the pandemic, one of the biggest concerns that employers voiced regarding remote working was the idea that employees would not work as hard from home. However, this is often not the case – with many reporting that they worked much longer hours as soon as they transitioned to working from home. This is due to the fact that they wanted to prove that they were productive to their employer. However, if you want to avoid burnout, it’s vital that you stick to your scheduled working hours. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when your day is closer to being over, so you can finish up what you are doing and return to the task in the morning.

Let the Data Decide: Using Wifi to Inform Your Hybrid Workspace

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Hybrid Workspace|Let the Data Decide: Using Wifi to Inform Your Hybrid WorkspaceAs organizations talk about the pivot to hybrid work and what it means for workplaces themselves, let’s look back at where our modern-day concept of 9-5 work even came from.

In 1908, according to this Atlantic piece, a New England factory started to give its Jewish workers two days off around Saturday sabbath. That is believed to be the start of our “weekend” concept. A few decades and a Great Depression later, the trend of working five days a week took hold across the U.S.

Even as office work started to evolve, and technology started to accelerate decade by decade, that old notion of when we work continued strong. This century it seemed like we might be edging toward possible acceptance of a four-day week as even big companies sparked conversation. Google’s Larry Page wondered aloud if by dropping one day from the workweek, would it be better for employees and businesses. Entire countries have trialled the concept.

Today all that seems forever ago. Because a pandemic has compelled corporate chance as it lays bare the foundations of how and when we work. Companies now have to see how they can navigate change and make hybrid workstyles work for them.

The Office Must Serve A Purpose

Employees now seek the flexibility to commute to offices on specific days for specific purposes. The office is no longer a place to simply perform work. Instead, it is the destination to serve a wide range of specific needs for each employee, and each department.

It naturally follows then that an office space designed to serve the “office as a factory” mindset can’t adequately serve the “space as a service” mindset that’s now front and center in a hybrid work model.

Hybrid employees require spaces that drive efficiency, promote collaboration, and enhance comfort – elements your typical office was not necessarily designed to do. For some, this rethink of space is an opportunity to right size real estate portfolios. Others are seeking to reconfigure in new and better ways, being flexible and thinking holistically about what a business and its many different teams need from that real estate – now and into the future.

To that end, it’s important to know:

  • Do you have the space you need to support your teams?
  • How could your existing office space in fact serve more people?
  • How can you make the greatest, and most cost-effective impact to your workplaces?
  • How can your real estate best serve employee experience, helping the team be productive and working together?

Data For A Functional, Efficient, Strategic Space

Understanding how people use a space is essential. This is where data is invaluable. Insights such as visit frequency, new and returning visitors, and the levels of interactivity between employees provide a rich tapestry to design the office, assign resources, inform policies, and, if needed, rationalize the overall portfolio.

The good news is the infrastructure to strategize efficiency and empower growth is already available using always-on WiFi-powered indoor location technology.

Since WiFi already exists in most workplaces, these solutions are quick to implement and easy to scale across large portfolios. A solution from InnerSpace works by tracking the movement of anonymous smart devices throughout a building from the time that device enters to the time it leaves. As you can imagine, patterns in how people are using the space are quick to emerge, challenging assumptions or validating changes to layout or function.

The platform was recently installed in the main office of a global leader in lodging and hospitality. The client wanted to design the space efficiently, putting resources where they were needed most.

But first they needed data to understand the true needs of their teams. Using WiFi signals, we identified how two distinct teams of employees used the space differently, demonstrating unique needs for their environment. In fact, we also identified sub-teams within those departments whose movements etched predictable patterns over time.

In this particular case, the client was able to use these insights to inform office design, resourcing and seating assignments and notably, to find room within its existing footprint for 100 additional people, saving themselves the enormous cost of office real estate expansion.

In any workplace change project, it is essential to measure and continue to adapt the office space as needed. In a hybrid scenario, this typically means collaborative space must increase and office designs made as flexible as possible, with room versatility a priority. To both chart course now and tweak direction over time, WiFi-based indoor location data can paint a clear picture and provide a strong foundation for all future transformation.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |James WuJames Wu is the CEO and Founder of InnerSpace, a thorough space utilization and analytics platform that goes beyond people counting backed by proprietary technology and advanced data science. InnerSpace enables their enterprise-class customers to optimize their two most valuable resources: people and property. Download Blueprint for a Hybrid Workspace to learn how indoor location data can empower you to make better decisions about your workplace.

Are You Ready To Switch To A Remote Work Model?

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Remote Work Model|Are You Ready To Switch To A Remote Work Model?Are you thinking about switching your business to a remote model? If so, then you need to make sure that your company is ready for this change. There are definitely challenges that lie ahead here. Despite the benefits of saving money, you could face problems with productivity, connectivity and even the perception of your company. So, how can you ensure that your business is ready for this change? Here are some of the possibilities worth exploring.

Get The Right Software

First, you should ensure that you have the right software in place. There are lots of different types of software that could benefit you when you are setting up your company for remote work. For instance, you might want to explore screen tracking technology. This means that you can easily check whether your team members are reaching the right level of productivity and staying on target through the business day. You could even set up a shared platform. This will allow you to check the progress of your clients in real time and provide updates where necessary.

Use A Cloud Server

Next, you should think about investing in a cloud server solution. With a cloud server, you can make sure that you are able to gain access to any data from anywhere in the world. This means that there will be no limits on where you can hire team members. For instance, you might want to think about hiring team members on an international basis. With a cloud server, this is a possibility. A cloud server provides other benefits too. It helps increase your turnaround time and this is guaranteed to impress your clients.

Hire The Best Team

Next, you need to make sure that you are hiring the right team to make this transition easier. To do this, you need to understand the new work culture that is based around the remote model. If you explore sites such as Reworked, you will find that there are plenty of articles and editorials based around the concept of working from home along with the perspectives of team members. This will help ensure that you are approaching the hiring process the right way. Additionally, you could get help from an employer of record, who will legally employ full-time remote workers.

Focus On The Perception

Finally, you need to make sure that you are focusing on the perception of your business and how changing your model can impact your company. It could alter the perception that clients and potential employees could have of your company. One of the ways that you can fix this is by starting a brand new marketing campaign. Let clients know what is happening and that it won’t impact the quality of your output. At the same time, you should be prepared to answer any questions or queries current or new team members have about the model.

We hope this helps you understand some of the key steps that you can take to switch to a remote business model. If you explore the right options here, you can guarantee that this change is a great success for your business and does provide the benefits that you need.

13 Maintenance and Design Tips To Create a Healthy and Productive Workspace

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Healthy Workspace|13 Maintenance and Design Tips To Create a Healthy and Productive WorkspaceAfter the pandemic hit, a staggering number of professionals around the country had to abandon the office and start working from home. While the first few weeks came with all the challenges of an unpredicted adaptation period, most workers then managed to find a new balance.

Today, almost 60% of Americans work from home for most of the week, and they are planning to keep things that way. Organizations around the world have also enjoyed the benefits of this new trend – especially because they can now cut down on office space, reduce expenses, and tap into a worldwide talent pool.

Nonetheless, there are also some reasons for which companies still want employees to come into the office for a few days each month. And, if you are also trying to make this new hybrid work model work for your company, you need to make the experience of coming into the office productive and energizing. Start with the tips below.

Let Nature In

Spending time in nature is linked to lower stress levels and cortisol, better mood and morale, and higher productivity levels. So, we know that if you want to feel calmer and more serene, you have to spend time in a park, forest, or coastal area.

But how can you reap the benefits of nature while working in the office? Bringing nature indoors! You can do so by decorating with plants and natural materials such as wood, metal, and natural fabrics. Try to leave out cheap, single-use items!

Leverage Natural Light and Fresh Air

Just as important as decorating with natural and sustainable elements is letting in some fresh air and natural light. Over the past years, a rising number of employees have started to suffer from Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). This condition is not immediately evident but, in the long term, it can cause respiratory problems, skin conditions, low morale, excessive tiredness, and mental health issues.

You can prevent all of this by opening curtains and windows and letting fresh air and sunshine into the office. Your teams will feel much happier and more energized!

Insulate the Building

Insulating the building is essential to create a comfortable and adequate working environment while making the whole building more sustainable. Insulation is especially important if the premises are in an area subjected to drastic temperature changes, and it allows you to save over 15% on heating and cooling costs. All this, while allowing your employees to feel comfortable when at their desks.

Maintain Gutters and Roof

The building’s gutters and roof are elements that are not often in sight and can be overlooked. However, it is important to inspect them at least once or twice a year. Gutters can get clogged and, with the first heavy downpours, they can cause rainwater to overflow or stagnate, which can lead to rotting of the fascia board.

Maintaining the roof is just as important! Through regular checks, you can ensure that the whole building is structurally sound and insulated. You should also carry out emergency inspections after a natural disaster or if you suspect that something is wrong with the roof.

Read more here about the maintenance, inspection, and replacement options you have!

Keep Up to Date With the Latest Regulations

Your employees are one of the company’s main assets, and it is your duty and responsibility to provide them with a safe and healthy workplace. Whether the commercial building your offices occupy has been recently built or not, make sure you are up to date with the latest regulations and safety requirements.

Invest in Technology

The pandemic initiated some important trends and sped up some that were already happening. But what it has made obvious is that we all rely more on technology than ever before. Make sure your office has all the technology needed to ensure it remains productive and competitive. Aside from industry-based technological solutions that you should have, you might consider investing in:

  • Cloud system that helps you with daily operations, waste management, remote collaboration, and compliance
  • High-speed internet connection
  • The latest cybersecurity features for you and your employees
  • Team collaboration software that allows you to switch from on-site to remote working seamlessly.

Allow for Flexibility

As we have seen, over half of all employees in the US and abroad are working from home most of the week. While for some this has been a drastic and uncomfortable change, for many it was a happy change. Whatever your employees prefer, they might expect flexibility from your end. So, you should adapt the office space to welcome this hybrid workforce. If your team is too small for you to have – and pay for – office spaces, you should consider the coworking or shared office model.

Carve Out Green Spaces

Whether it is one of the walls, on the roof, or outside the premises, consider creating a green space where your employees can spend their lunch break and relax away from the four walls of the office. Green space does not have to necessarily be a perfectly designed garden – it could also be a small patch of land or an urban garden on the top of the building.

Make It Easily Accessible

Thanks to the advent of remote working, many companies have opted to move their offices to locations that are less central and, often, more affordable. Since many employees don’t need to commute to the office anymore, this change makes sense for many organizations. However, some of your employees will still travel to and from the office. So, if you want to encourage them to come into the office at least a few days every week, you should make this option easy and accessible for them!

Consider the Benefits of Pet Therapy

Welcoming pets in the office could be a great way to keep your employees engaged and entertained, and this experience can help them develop a caring attitude towards the company itself! Studies have found that there are several benefits to bringing pets into the office premises, including reducing stress, increasing productivity, improving resiliency, and preventing aggressive reactions in situations of stress.

Include Areas for Relaxation and Socialization

The era of the rat race is over. Today, employees want to be valued and recognized for their hard work, personality, and unique touch. Of course, you need them to be in their best shape, energized, and motivated.

However, productivity does not always come from just sitting in front of a laptop for nine hours! New studies have seen that short breaks of ten minutes or less every hour allow the brain to recharge and can significantly increase productivity.

Introducing strategic stations for relaxation and socialization in the office can pay you back in productivity and better outcomes after all!

Create a Range of Workstations

In the past, the focus has always been on finding the best type of furniture, chair, and desks for employees to be comfortable and focus – all while also keeping an eye on the budget. However, today, we know that working in a fixed position does not help productivity, and can contribute to all the issues that a sedentary life can cause.

Instead, make sure to create a variety of seating options and workstations across the office space. These can include benches, conference rooms, quiet areas, standing desks, cafes, and standard seats.

Invest in Activities

Scheduling group activities such as yoga and meditation can help employees better manage stress, feel more energized, and optimize productivity. Whether you can organize weekly sessions or you just encourage your employees to take five to ten minutes out of their day to practice mindfulness, don’t underestimate the power of these activities on health, mood, emotional well-being, and productivity levels. Try it out today!