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Four Common Barriers to Making More Jobs Remote and Ways to Overcome Them

This is a guest post by Chanell Alexander of The Remote Work Life

In 2016, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent some time working remotely according to a Gallup survey. This study also found that the opportunity to work from home is becoming a more substantial factor in where employees are deciding to work. So, it is safe to say that remote work is on the rise. However, the variety of jobs that are classified as remote are not as diverse as one would think. According to a study by Flexjobs, there are seven popular industries for remote work.

 

Where are Most of the Remote Work Jobs?

 Flexjobs outlined healthcare, information technology, education, sales, customer service, accounting, and hospitality as common fields for remote work. However, the common denominator for all the positions listed in these fields is the accessibility of the internet. Jobs like customer support, teaching, medical coding, transcription, auditing, and travel agency can be...

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Resources for Digital Nomads

As I write to you from Madrid, Spain, and checking things off my work to-do list, it occurred to me that I haven't spent much time on this blog discussing one of the best perks of working remotely: being able to travel while working. If you take this perk to the extreme, you're in a group of professionals called digital nomads.

People have been traveling for work since... well, forever. Hunting, gathering, sailing, exploring, sales...plenty of work-related activities have long involved leaving the home for a certain amount of time.

So what's so special about being a digital nomad?

If you're a digital nomad:

  • All you need to complete your work is a computer and internet connection
  • You can work from literally anywhere in the world — and you do!
  • Your livelihood doesn't depend on you staying in just one place
  • You use various tools to communicate with your team and customers, like email, video chat, Slack, phone, or other tools
  • You have a flexible schedule

The...

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Better Virtual Meetings: Simple Ways to Make Meetings More Productive

In remote teams, meetings are essential to building relationships, communication, and collaboration. But virtual meetings can also be one of the biggest time-wasters in remote teams. 

Tell me if any of the following situations sound familiar:

  • You're at a meeting that you probably don't need to attend, but attendance is mandatory
  •  All anyone is doing at the meeting is presenting updates
  • There is no interaction between meeting participants
  • One or a couple of people dominate the discussion
  • The meeting runs long
  • There is no clear agenda
  • By the end of the meeting, people are confused about next steps

We've all been in meetings that were poorly run, boring, or just unnecessary.

 

Virtual meetings don't have to be that way

Meetings are critical in virtual teams because they provide structured opportunities for team members to interact. Note that the key word here is interact. If your meeting participants are not interacting, then you should rethink the purpose of the...

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Protect Your Time When You Work Online: How to Protect Your Most Valuable Resource

TThere are only 480 minutes in a typical 8-hour workday. That's not much time at all.

Especially when you think of the number of minutes that you spend:

  • In meetings
  • Clarifying misunderstandings
  • Writing emails
  • Trying to find documents/emails/etc.
  • Creating or adjusting processes
  • Scheduling meetings
  • In meetings

If your job description includes nothing but meetings... then, great!

But for the rest of us, this is a real problem. How do you protect your time when you work online?

We Spend Much of Our Workday on Anything But Work

How much time do you actually get to spend on your work?

The ugly truth is that a lot of our workday is wasted. That's true for traditional workplaces and it's also true for distributed teams. Here are the four biggest time sucks in remote workplaces:

1. Meetings

There is a tendency in remote teams to think that because the team is distributed, you need more meetings. This is a big mistake—more meetings simply lead to more wasted time....

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Best Remote Work Podcasts

With remote work becoming more and more common, it comes as no surprise that there are now several podcasts about the topic. If you're interested in remote work and/or the future of work, and like to hear about all the cool things that people are doing while location independent, have a listen to these great shows.

 

21st Century Work Life

21st Century Work Life is a podcast is hosted by Pilar Orti and Lisette Sutherland. The format is varied: in some episodes, Orti and Sutherland co-host, in some episodes they interview guests, and sometimes, they have solo shows. The topics are just as diverse and cover important topics like communication and management in remote teams, as well as issues that are faced by subsets of remote employees, like complete newbies. This show is extremely well-produced and researched. Plus, the questions and perspectives on this show will get you thinking about how to improve your own remote work experience.

I especially recommend this podcast for...

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Remote Work and the Law: Legal Issues that Remote Leaders Must Know

Employing a remote workforce can bring enormous benefits to an organization, like expanding attracting top talent and saving on overhead expenses that usually accompany a location-dependent workforce. But employing remote workers also comes with its own set of legal implications that remote leaders need to consider. Each of these legal issues could be a potential liability for your company. 

Make sure that you work through the proper channels to ensure that each issue is properly and adequately addressed in your:

  • HR policies
  • Employee handbook
  • Hiring process
  • Onboarding process
  • Organizational structure
  • Procedures
  • Additional organizational policies

Legal Issues with Remote Teams

Privacy and Security

With a remote workforce, all communication takes place in a decentralized environment. Privacy and security of your business’ information should be at the top of your list of concerns—just think of all the sensitive information your employees have access to and...

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Friday Reflection: What Have You Done This Week?

Happy Friday!

Before you dance away from your work for the weekend, take some time to reflect on what you accomplished.

Reflecting on the week allows you to acknowledge your victories and the things you have learned. It will also prepare you to start next week off on the right foot.

Here are some questions to guide your reflection:

Friday Reflection Prompts

What major goals or deliverables did you complete?

Take a look back at the concrete deliverables or tasks you finished this week. Sometimes looking back on the things you've done is much more inspiring than looking at the things you still have to accomplish.

What conversations did you have?

Did you have any meaningful or important conversations with coworkers or clients? What did you learn from those conversations? How can that information help you in the future?

Did you find out anything new about yourself or others?

Note anything you've learned about other people and yourself —  about the way you and others work,...

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The Secret to Maximum Productivity: 17-Minute Breaks

Think about your regular work schedule. How many long stretches of work do you do? Do you take any breaks? When was the last time you took a lunch break away from your desk? If you rarely do so, you're not alone. If I asked you why, I'm sure I would hear this reason: I'm too busy.

Yes, you are busy. But here's the catch 22: by not taking breaks, you're not as productive as you would be if you did.

If you work from home, you're just as likely to skip taking a break. This is due to a couple of reasons: You want to prove that you're not shirking your work or you believe that you don't need a break because you work from home. But both of these justifications are wrong.

The Negative Impact of Skipping Your Break

Here are just some of the negative impacts of skipping your break.

Your creative juices dry out

If you use your creativity in any capacity, skipping your break can be directly and seriously detrimental to your productivity.

You exhaust your problem-solving capabilities

One of...

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The Hidden Pitfalls of Working from Home

Thought of being able to live and work in the same space is incredibly attractive — and more and more people are taking advantage of remote workplaces. The benefits are many: workers save time, money, and energy by not having to commute and share their workspace with others. And employers save money by not needing to supply office space to 100% of their employees. Not to mention the benefits employers gain from being able to attract top talent from all over the country or even the world. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows: there are pitfalls to working from home. It's important to know what they are to be able to prevent or alleviate them.

You shouldn't be afraid of working from home. Everyone in any workspace will encounter similar challenges. But being aware of these pitfalls is necessary in order to be prepared to deal with them.

OK, let's dive in...

Isolation

This one's an obvious one. For some, working at home is the ideal situation because you don't have to be...

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Quiz: Are You Ready to Work From Home?

Think you're ready to work from home? Take the workplaceless readiness quiz to see exactly what your score is — and to see what you can do to prepare yourself to make the transition to remote work as seamless as possible.

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