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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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        Published on March 20, 2019

        How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

        How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

        Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

        As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

        While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

        What is a Mission Statement?

        Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

        In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

        “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

        In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

        Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

        While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

        First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

        While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

        While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

        “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

        This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

        What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

        When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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        Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

        When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

        • What we do?
        • How we do it?
        • Whom do we do it for?
        • What value are we bringing?

        Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

        After all, that did check off all the boxes:

        What we do? Provide widgets.

        How we do it? Online.

        Who do we do it for? The consumer.

        What value we bring? The best widgets.

        The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

        Compare that mission statement to this one:

        “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

        What’s the difference?

        Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

        Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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        You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

        A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

        Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

        1. Keep It Brief

        Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

        You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

        2. Have a Purpose

        A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

        Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

        3. Include a “How”

        Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

        How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

        4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

        This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

        Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

        5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

        It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

        Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

        6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

        Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

        7. Think Long Term

        A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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        8. Get Feedback

        This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

        Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

        9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

        You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

        First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

        And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

        For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

        The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

        It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

        First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

        If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

        Strategic Planning

        A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

        Measuring Performance

        By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

        Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

        Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

        Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

        As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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        Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

        To Hold Management Accountable

        By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

        So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

        If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

        To Serve as an Example

        This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

        After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

        Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

        Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

        Final Thoughts

        Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

        Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

        That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

        By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

        More Resources About Achieving Business Success

        Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
        [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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