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Why the Future of Work Is Remote

Why the Future of Work Is Remote

It’s a beautiful afternoon as I write this post in New York City.

I’m also instant messaging my virtual assistant in the Philippines and about to get on a Skype call with one of our team members in California, as well as sending an email to a customer in Australia.

Some may think this isn’t an organized and efficient way to operate a growing company. I believe that this is the future of work.

Here’s why you should ditch the office and join the future of work.

You Get More Done

Shorter commutes, private office, flexible work hours. This all leads to less time wasted, more productive work hours, and increased happiness among employees.

In 2013, Stanford University conducted a study by randomly assigning employees at a call center to work from home and others to work in the office for nine months. The result was a 13% performance increase by those working from home, of which 9% was from working more hours.

People criticize working remotely because they find it difficult to measure the number of hours their employees are working. What they forget is that going into the office does not equal productive work.

“Office workers are interrupted–or self-interrupted–roughly every three minutes.”  –  The Wall Street Journal

In fact, once thrown off, it can take over 23 minutes for a worker to retrieve focus on their original task.

Give people the freedom to work where they want and begin to re-think the 9-5 working style. By adopting a culture of trust and respect, you’re empowering individuals to not just show up, but to show results.

The Best Talent Is Everywhere

We hear it over and over again: always hire the best people.

The companies that embrace telecommuting have a significant advantage over those that haven’t figured it out. For each candidate that is available to work in your city, there are hundreds more around the world that can do it better.

Hiring top talent is already hard enough as it is, so why limit the single most important ingredient for the success of your business?

It’s inevitable that more and more skilled workers will adapt to a remote working lifestyle, and it’s the companies that can accommodate the lifestyles of these talents that will become the market leaders in the future.

It’s Never Been Easier

The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to coordinate the work of individuals from around the world. As long as we have access to a laptop and the internet, there are hundreds of tools that have been created to make the process seamless.

Now, I’m not suggesting that it’s a walk in the park. There are setbacks to working remotely. Some things are simply easier with in-person interactions, such as training, instant feedback, and relationship building.

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How to Maximize The Future Of Work

1. Think Output

Focusing on a results-orientated system is the initial step to take when going remote. At the end of the day, the output that we produce is the only tangible result we can present that brings the business forward.

I’m a huge fan of focusing on output because it forces me to prioritize my focus on tasks that will have the biggest impact and helps me stay productive.

  
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    Too often, we see this in today’s working environment:

    • Person A takes 5 hours to complete a project and Person B takes 30 minutes to complete the same project.
    • Person A comes in early and stays late at the office, while Person B can leave the office earlier to recharge or plan new projects that will bring value for the company. Yet Person A is rewarded for their “hard work” and dedication, when Person B has accomplished the same outputs, if not more from being productive.

    Systems such as ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) are being introduced to promote output work cultures, where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. It has been implemented in companies such as Best Buy and Gap, where they’ve seen a 20% improvement in productivity, a 90% decrease in turnover rates, and increased customer satisfaction.

    2. Get Smart

    Now that we’re focused on results, we need to set the right goals and metrics for ourselves.

    Creating goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely are the 5 most important factors to consider. Investing the time to plan and write down your smart goals will do wonders for your output.

    3033118-inline-i-2-1-8t6oyicxe6ut2j3rtmofjg

      If you’re a coder, you could set a goal to release a certain feature in the next week. If you’re in sales, it could be calling 50 people a day with a target to close 10 per week.

      I encourage you to set your own goals, as you’re the person that knows your working style best.

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      There’s no better feeling than waking up each morning and having a clear target for exactly what you’re going to accomplish that day, week, or month.

      3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

      I can’t stress this enough.

      The caveat to working remotely is that we miss out on 70% of nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions, voice tones, and eye contact. Working from other sides of the world, communicating the smallest things are a must. This is why we use everything from Slack, Skype, and Whatsapp to keep in regular contact in an informal manner. It allows me to be myself and have more natural flowing conversations with our team.

      The beauty of working online is that it has forced me to articulate everything I communicate — 750-word emails have to be shortened to 300-word emails, while still getting the same message across. This has helped me keep my writing short and concise, which has transferred over to my speaking skills as well.

      4. Create Company Bulletin Boards

      All this means is have a project management system or a “bulletin board” that allows each team member to see what everyone else is working on.

      Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own tasks that we forget what’s happening with the rest of our team members.

      Screen-Shot-2016-05-13-at-4.58.32-PM

        We use Trello, but there are several others that are as effective, such as Basecamp, Asana, and Pivotal Tracker. This helps me understand what the high-level priorities are for the company and allows me to assign tasks to any team member without having to bug them about it.

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        5. Have Regular Feedback

        It’s difficult to know if your work is producing the impact that your team members expect when working. You can never have too much feedback, because we can always improve our work, become better team members, and have greater impact.

        Design a structure for individual regular feedback, whether it’s bi-weekly or monthly. Creating a culture for continuous improvement will allow members to feel that they’re personally improving, which leads to increased work engagement and greater loyalty for the business.

        Avoid using email and take feedback to video chats as much as you can. You can’t risk leaving out 70% of your nonverbal communication for something as personal as individual feedback.

        Conclusion

        In order to build a successful business in a talent-shortage economy, we have to hire the best people — period. The opportunity to tap into a global talent market has never been more possible in the world that we live in.

        The future of work is already here. It’s up to you to take advantage of it.

        Do you have any tools or advice to share that have worked for you regarding remote work? Share below!

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        Sean Kim

        Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

        Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

        Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

        I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

        How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

        Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

        So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

        1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

        Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

        For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

        Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

        “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

        2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

        These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

        This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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        But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

        Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

        For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

        There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

        3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

        It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

        Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

        4. Use Your Phone Wisely

        Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

        If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

        5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

        If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

        In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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        One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

        6. Use a “To Don’t” List

        We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

        But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

        Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

        7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

        When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

        Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

        “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

        And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

        8. Be Concise

        Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

        One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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        Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

        • Making new contacts
        • Talking about yourself at a job interview
        • Meeting people at conferences or parties
        • Phone calls to new clients

        9. Ask the Right Questions

        “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

        How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

        When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

        Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

        Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

        10. Learn as Much as You Can

        You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

        Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

        “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

        11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

        No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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        If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

        What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

        Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

        12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

        As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

        But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

        The Bottom Line

        The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

        Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

        More About Working Smart

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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