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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 March 30, 2020

        How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

        How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

        Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

        • Intro to Visual Facilitation
          • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
        • Structure
          • Why, What, How to, What If
        • Do It Myself?
          • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
        • Specialize Offering?
          • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

        This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

        You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

        To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

        What Is a Mind Map?

        A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

        In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

        The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

          Image Credit: English Central

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          By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

          3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

          The three steps are:

          1. Set a central topic
          2. Add branches of related ideas
          3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

          Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

          Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

          Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

          Word it in a clear and concise manner.

            What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

              Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

              Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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                You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

                In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

                Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

                Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

                Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

                  I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

                  In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

                  Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

                  You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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                  • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
                  • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
                  • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

                  Branch by Branch

                  Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

                    Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                      A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                        Level by Level

                        In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                          Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                            Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                              Free-Flow

                              Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                                I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                                What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                                Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                                The Bottom Line

                                When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                                If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                                More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                                Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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