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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 January 13, 2020

        Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

        Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

        Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

        Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

        Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

        Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

        How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

        The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

        You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

        Physical Signs

        Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

        It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

        In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

        Mental Signs

        One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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        I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

        Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

        • The tension in your neck
        • Difficulties with sleeping
        • Unable to concentrate
        • High anxiety
        • Depression

        If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

        Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

        Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

        The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

        Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

        Desire for an Increase of Salary

        The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

        At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

        Overnight Decision

        Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

        Rejected for a Promotion

        I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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        Bored at Work

        Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

        A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

        • How long have you worked in your career?
        • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
        • Do you receive recognition?
        • Can you consider working in a new department?

        If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

        How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

        I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

        One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

        It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

        A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

        You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

        • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
        • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
        • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

        How to Make a Career Change Successfully

        The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

        1. Write a Career Plan

        A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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        You can learn how to set your career plan here.

        2. Weigh Your Options

        If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

        You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

        3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

        It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

        A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

        • Economic factors
        • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
        • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
        • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
        • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

          A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

          4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

          A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

          • What is required to be successful in the role?
          • What certification or educational development is needed?
          • What are the challenges of the role?
          • Is there potential for career advancement?

          A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

          Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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          5. Research Salary

          Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

          It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

          6. Be Realistic

          If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

          For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

          Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

          7. Volunteer First

          A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

          Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

          Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

          8. Prepare Your Career Tools

          I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

          • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
          • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
          • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
          • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

          Bottom Line

          It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

          Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

          More About Career Change

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

          [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
          [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
          [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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