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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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        Last Updated on September 20, 2018

        How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

        How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

        If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

        Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

        But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

        Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

        If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

        1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

        For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

        Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

        If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

        But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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        So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

        Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

        In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

        2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

        Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

        Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

        Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

        Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

        For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

        Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

        Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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        For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

        Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

        Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

        Bonus:

        If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

        3. Take meaningful time for yourself

        We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

        Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

        If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

        Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

        This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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        No time for me-time? Try this:

        If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

        This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

        Bonus:

        Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

        4. Get productive and feel accomplished

        Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

        When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

        While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

        Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

        No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

        So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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        Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

        This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

        Try this:

        Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

        The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

        Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

        The bottom line

        There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

        The only question is — which tip will you try first?

        Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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