Tips To Improve Productivity As A Remote Worker

When it comes to work, we all know that there isn’t any better feeling than accomplishing all the things you have on your plate. With the current remote working situation, it is understandable that you might not  always feel pumped up to work and accomplish the tasks assigned to you.

Sometimes, despite all your attempts to get things done, you might end the day with a backlog of work and no visible progress. The trick lies in not just working hard, but also in working smart. Grinding away at your task is good, but it helps to use a few tips that can make the process of grinding easier and improve your productivity in the workplace.

Keep That Mobile Away

Let us face it. We all get distracted by our mobile phones and the constant notifications we get on them. Hand-held technology is great and I am ready to sing its praises anytime. However, I cannot deny that it is a time and attention suck. For a few hours during the day, forget about your phones existence. Hide it from your sight and get down to work.

Now, not a lot of us are blessed with the ability to single-mindedly focus on a task. But it does not mean that you cannot aim for productivity.

Schedule certain times during the day where you put up an invisible do not disturb zone around yourself. The aim of scheduling a distraction free block of time is so that you can get a good chunk of work done. This might include plugging in your headphones, and keeping your mobile phone away, or turning off the notifications on it, basically making a commitment to yourself to get things done.

Start With The Hardest

Usually, for most employees, productivity is at its peak at the beginning of the day. So, when you start your work in the morning, you are ready to tackle the day and are fairly well rested. That is why it makes sense to get all the big things done first; when you have the energy to tackle them.

As the day passes, it is common for remote working employees to have drained their energy, this is when you focus on the tasks that are on the bottom line of your priorities. You can do tasks that do not require much of your energy or focus.

Get Moving Around

Really, staying stuck in your chair all day is not going to help you be productive. Your lower body is pretty much vegetating while your upper half suffers through plenty of awkward positions. Get up, take a small walk, be it to the restroom, or to the balcony and give your lower half some much needed blood circulation. The simple act of just stepping away from your system can improve your productivity dramatically.

Get Your Beauty sleep

Power-naps are awesome! No really, they are. 15 to 30 minute power naps are refreshing and help you tackle problems with more zeal. If you haven’t slept properly the night before, then that power nap is your body’s chance to re-calibrate and get some rest. Well-rested employees are key to increased productivity.

Decide When To Stop

When you know that you are going wrap up at 7 o’clock in the evening come rain or shine, then there’s a marked tendency to finish your work faster.

Set a wrap-up time and stick to it. That way you will not have to work for extremely long hours either. In any case, it is very important to know when to disconnect, so that you maintain that work-life balance.

Self-Care

Sleep well, eat well, your body is not a machine. It needs rest and it needs food and sleep to function optimally. We realize that it would be great if we could coast through life on a few hours of sleep and minimal amounts of food but reality is different. In order to function with enthusiasm, you need to eat well and sleep well. Treat your body well and your brain will function like a well-oiled machine. – Read more

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The 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Cloud Solutions

We believe there are many reasons to migrate your organisation’s applications to the cloud, not least of which are cost savings, streamlined operations, redeployment of resources, reskilling of your internal teams and talent retention.  

In this blog, I answer the five most common questions I get asked about moving applications to the cloud, so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right thing for your organisation.  

1. Is it secure and where is my data? 

“Is it secure?”  is one of the most commonly asked questions about the cloud. But as the cloud has become universal in organisations, the nature of the question has changed. 

Every year, major cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft spend billions to make their cloud services stable, robust and secure. Security measures and compliance certifications are available for all to see, and Microsoft’s cloud offering is as secure as it gets in terms of compliance, governance and physical security.  

The result? Today, almost everyone accepts that the cloud is secure. The conversation now is less around how secure it is and more around data control. It’s essential that organisations understand where their data lives, where it may go and who can access it in order to feel comfortable with moving to the cloud. 

A lack of understanding around how the cloud works is a barrier to adoption for many organisations. In the UK, law firms are amongst some of the most cautious adopters of cloud solutions, largely because of questions about where confidential client data will reside and who can access it.  

There needs to be an understanding that, by its very nature, the cloud exists in multiple locations – and your data can too. Azure, for example, for resilience can have multiple copies of data in multiple locations. And this conversation isn’t always an IT-led discussion; it needs the business to decide in which country their data should be reside, and whether they are comfortable with it potentially leaving UK soil. The cloud gives customers choice here, different services having different options about where data is stored, but it’s important that well informed decisions are made in this regard. 

Organisations need to know what they are letting themselves in for and understand how data will be stored and accessed which needs a complex, but not impossible, discussion about trust and understanding. In our experience, anyone who truly understands the options and how the cloud works has been confident in making an informed decision based on facts not fear.  

2.  Will all my IT staff be out of work/redundant? 

Generally, there isn’t a direct correlation between adopting cloud services and IT staff being let go.  We prefer to see this as freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks. 

Whether they’re in retail, manufacturing, healthcare or any other sector, businesses are trying to be ‘the best’ and provide the best service to their customers. IT should enable them to do that. It should be a supporter and enabler for a business to do its job and operate at its highest level. And for organisations that are held back by inefficient, outdated IT systems, embracing the cloud is one way to make improvements. 

Few organisations today choose to use physical servers; they are costly, require office space and need people to maintain and manage them. Solutions like O365 and Exchange Online are making delivery of common IT services easier, better and lower cost, and like it or not, the requirement for on-premise skills will reduce as cloud adoption becomes the new norm. As IT evolves, the skillset of IT teams needs to evolve with it, or face being left behind.  – Read more

Some Companies Are Going Remote Forever. What Will Learning Look Like?

My Post (24).pngAs a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the way many of us go to work has changed drastically over the last several months.

According to an IDG survey released in April, 78% of employees have been working from home more than 60% of the time. That represents a big change; the same study found that most employees worked from home just 16% of the time before COVID-19 shutdown, and although some workplaces are making plans to reopen, it’s likely that this remote state of affairs is going to continue for some time for most non-essential workers.

For many, it may continue indefinitely. Some companies are considering allowing remote work to continue post-pandemic. Research by Brandon Hall Group shows that one third of companies project that more than half of their workforce will be working remotely after the pandemic. Organizations are committing to a remote workforce in other ways; according to a recent story in USA Today, many companies are allowing new hires to work from home permanently, taking advantage of the wider hiring pool that remote work allows.

What worries do companies have about training remote workers?

Those newly remote workers will need training and organizations are understandably concerned about how they will provide it.

The pandemic has disrupted their traditional approach to learning; just 50% of companies feel they’re technologically ready for online learning. This has led to concern from organizations who aren’t sure how they’re going to create and deliver the training they’ll need for a remote workforce: 64% of organizations listed “determining learning priorities” as an important function during the transition from lockdown to a new normal, 61% are concerned with delivering adequate training sessions and hours to employees, and 60% are worried about creating learning content in a timely fashion.

Training content for the remote workforce

How do you plan to train a workforce that will be remote post-pandemic? And what sort of training should you plan to provide if your company is now permanently remote? Below are a few of the kinds of training modules you may want to add to your Learning and Development program.

Onboarding

In this instance, onboarding doesn’t necessarily refer only to your newest hires. If you’re going fully remote, you may also need to train existing employees on the technology platforms they’ll be using to do their jobs remotely — 60% of companies expressed concern about training workers on remote work technology, according to Brandon Hall. You may also be retraining existing workers for new jobs; 56% of companies were concerned about reskilling workers who might return to different jobs than the ones they’d left.

Compliance

Working from home means that your workers will need rigorous compliance training. They’re leaving the office — where you control the internet, the computers, and the physical space — and they’re going to their homes, where compliance is going to be harder for you to control. You need all your employees to understand exactly how work-issued equipment should (and should not be) used, the policies they need to be in compliance with, and the penalties they — and your whole organization will face – if the correct procedures aren’t followed.

Soft skills

Not all your employees are going to be good at remote work right away, especially if they’ve worked outside of the home for their entire careers. It can be difficult to maintain a good work-life balance at the best of times, and the pandemic has been a traumatic time for many people. It may help to invest in soft skills training to help your employees find the line between work and home life, and to contribute to their mental and emotional well-being.

How should you provide training to remote workers?

According to Brandon Hall Group’s research, 96% of companies provide instructor-led training, and in-person training is still the most preferred method of workplace learning in most organizations. – Read more

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