Artisan Blog

Are you a Digital Nomad?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are you a Digital Nomad?

As humans and especially as creative professionals, we must learn to maintain a delicate balance between security and adventure, as our minds and hearts deem appropriate. If you are the sort of person who tilts toward adventure, or you crave a lot more risk in your life and career than you have currently, have you ever considered the life of a digital nomad?

Digital nomads take advantage of the wondrous interconnectedness provided by flourishing digital technologies. The consumer internet has only been around for a bit more than two decades, and these digital nomads live to explore new landscapes both virtual and geographical.

To be a digital nomad, one condition is to hone the skills you can do remotely, such as web design and development, copywriting, social media marketing, or any other creative trade that requires only an agile mind and a laptop. You must also cultivate your adaptability, learn to strategize, and develop a whole range of travel and interpersonal skills, some of which are so specific that they don't have names.

You can start to live a successful life as a digital nomad, with all the romance and adventure that come with it, if you can master these four core principles.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Before you travel the world on your own steam, get smart with your money. Eliminate as much debt as possible and cut expenses to the bone. Own only the property you absolutely need - place most of your items in storage, and if you own a home, consider renting it out on AirBnB for extra income. If you don't own much, don't owe much, and lead a simple life, you will have an easier transition to becoming a digital nomad.

Plan Ahead - Take Care of the Details

The life of a digital nomad involves lots of improvisation. That's much easier to manage if you handle as many potential variables as you can before you go. Figure out your communication strategy - how will you stay in touch with clients and creative recruiters on foreign soil? Plan your itinerary - where are you staying, and where can you stay if those plans go awry? Do you need travel insurance, or extra guidance and protection? Use your networking skills to find a community of mentors and peers who have overcome some of the challenges of being digital nomads. Their friendship, camaraderie, and insight will make your travel experience less lonely and more fun and fruitful.

Put Your Assets to Work

As a digital nomad, you won't have access to the same professional networks you would if you were anchored in one location or community. You can make up for this if you create assets that will work in your favor when you're traveling or go offline. Make sure your online resume and digital portfolio are attracting new business while you sleep (especially if you're sleeping in an unusual new time zone). If you have unique skills to share, you might create an online course - this can generate passive income to help you get through any rough patches.

Keep an Open Mind

The most important skill of a digital nomad is adaptability. This bold lifestyle will teach you how to embrace unpredictability, dive into the unknown, and change your mind on the fly.

"Travel has a way revealing that much of what you’ve heard about the world is wrong," says Rolf Potts, author of the acclaimed travel lifestyle manual Vagabonding. " Even on a day-to-day level, travel enables you to avoid setting limits on what you can and can’t do. On the road, you naturally ‘play games’ with your day: watching, waiting, listening; allowing things to happen. There’s no better opportunity to break old habits, face latent fears, and test out repressed facets of your personality."

At Artisan Creative, we can help you conquer the challenges that matter to you as you claim the life and career you want. Contact us today to learn more.

 

 



14 Collaboration Apps We Love

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

14 Collaboration Apps We Love

If your team is still using the email inbox as an organizational tool and yelling over cubicles, it’s time for you to explore some of the brilliantly useful collaboration, chat, and project management apps that are available.

Since the rise of Basecamp in the 2000s, an array of such apps has appeared, with different user interfaces, internal logic, pros, and cons. Some are focused on internal communication, while others have better document-sharing and time-management features. If you’re new to collaboration, chat, and project management apps, we suggest trying a few different ones to see which one proves most effective for your projects and your team.

In celebration of February 14th, Valentine’s Day, here are 14 apps we love because they drive collaboration. Since our Artisan Creative a.team works virtually, we rely on many of the apps below to communicate, collaborate and connect.

Basecamp

It was one of the first project management programs, and it’s still one of the simplest, with to-dos, discussions, and file-sharing capabilities that are easy to master.

Slack

This team chat app is beloved for a reason. It works well for organizing discussions, whether among groups or one-on-one. While it lacks some of the more sophisticated project-management capabilities found elsewhere, it gets things done, and it’s fun.  Slack has made our virtual team communication organized, efficient and easy.

Asana

Asana is gaining popularity for its focus on results. It works well for tracking projects, assignments, time, and contributions from team members.

Trello

Trello’s “boards” provide an engaging and friendly UI. It takes some effort to master, but it’s easy on the eyes, and it’s changed the way some teams tackle their projects.  A recent favorite, we use Trello for everything these days! From communicating about our open jobs to onboarding and training new hires, we love Trello.

Wunderlist

Microsoft acquired this German-designed task-management app and planned to sunset it, much to the chagrin of its unusually devoted user base. Despite protests, it may be absorbed by Microsoft To-Do in 2018, so give it a whirl while you can.

Discord

This voice and text chat platform, designed for gamers, is so robust and functional that it’s drawn a cult following among startups and professionals, too. It lacks strong project-management capabilities but can be used in conjunction with other programs by off-site teams who rely heavily on responsivity.

Airtable

Popular among publishers and heavy spreadsheet users, Airtable’s internal logic takes some getting used to. When you get to know it, it’s a charming and versatile suite of project-management tools with a colorful personality, with particularly strong versioning and backup capabilities.

Calendly

Calendly makes meeting planning easy! Gone are the days of emailing back and forth to schedule time for a conversation or a meeting.   Calendly integrates with our Google calendar to make life, and conversation scheduling easy!

Smartsheet

For seasoned spreadsheet-wranglers, the Smartsheet UI may look familiar. It’s a humble and practical program, comfortable for heavy Excel users, increasingly useful for those who spend time getting to know it.

LiquidPlanner

Sophisticated, expensive, and a bit intimidating, LiquidPlanner works well for larger teams with a lot of moving parts. If you’re ambitious or you’re outgrowing your current programs, give it a look.

Sharepoint

Part of the MS Office Suite, Sharepoint is popular among teams using Windows. It integrates with the chat app Yammer, and allows easy content management and collaboration across organizations.

Teamwork

With project management, chat, and an easy mobile experience under one roof, Teamwork is popular among creative and web development teams. If you enjoy the free trial, you can do an impressive amount of work using Teamwork tools.

Taskworld

This highly visual and goal-oriented project management app is popular among users of Apple products. Founded by billionaire jewelry magnate Fred Mouawad, its eccentric personality has won it a devoted cult following.

Google Drive

What started as the world’s most successful search engine has created an impressive array of products that integrate brilliantly. Between Gmail, Docs, Hangouts, and Calendars, many teams have found that they work best using nothing but Google apps, especially since the vast majority of web users have some familiarity with Google-brand UX.

As creative staffing leaders, we work with some of the most forward-thinking talent and clients in the business, which makes us experts on how professionals and teams choose their tools, manage their work, and collaborate more effectively. Contact Artisan Creative today and share your favorite app.

We hope you've enjoyed the 461st issue of our a.blog!


3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Although some work challenges may seem best tackled by teams coming together in person, with each leap forward in virtual networking technology, colleagues in far-flung locations can come together just as productively in a virtual setting. The continuous rapid pace of improvement in this area, makes it more efficient and more rewarding for creative professionals to do their work remotely.

According to The New York Times, 43% of employed Americans do at least some of their work off-site. Those who have embraced remote work, and the lifestyle that comes with it, have discovered significant benefits.

The Artisan Creative a.team has been working remotely since 2009 and we'd like to share some of those benefits with you:

More Productivity

To work remotely is to relinquish stressful and time-consuming rush-hour commutes and eliminate workplace distractions. Remote workers can create routines, schedules, and environments that are best suited to their own preferences and patterns, which often result in getting more done, in less time, with less hassle than would be required to complete the same tasks in an office.

To work well without constant oversight requires some discipline and responsibility, and for those who excel at it, remote work can be an enormous boon to their careers, improve their results, and stimulate a new work ethic.

More Freedom

For those with the discipline and independence to live a remote work based lifestyle, traditional borders and living restrictions have disappeared.

By being adept at working off-site, building their networks, and collaborating well virtually, professionals no longer need to relocate to prohibitively expensive cities to advance their careers. Some even choose to become "digital nomads" and travel as they work, seeing the world while pursuing creative careers on their laptops and mobile devices.

Even if the corporate headquarters is across town, having the liberty to work from home, a co-working space, or a coffee shop can open new lifestyle options for those who wish to spend more time with their friends and families or simply have the space to create.

More Ease

Off-site work used to be much more of a challenge and a commitment for all parties involved. Now, with so many effective options, much of the past friction has been eliminated.

As mentioned earlier, the technology that drives document-sharing, teleconferences, virtual meetings, and location-independent digital collaboration has advanced tremendously, and it gets better every day.

There may come a time in the not-so-distant future when the majority of teams do most of their work and collaboration remotely. Already, the increase of remote work is popular with the rising Millennial Generation and represents a wider range of lifestyle choices in a highly networked global society.

Contact Artisan Creative to prepare for the future of work and learn how to thrive in a changing creative economy.

We hope you've enjoyed the 460th issue of our weekly a.blog.


Remote Work Best Practices

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 424th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

More and more employers, employees, and freelancers are thinking outside the cube.

According to a recent Gallup survey covered in The New York Times, as many as 43% of employed Americans spend at least some of their professional time working at home or off-site, representing a four-point increase from 2012 and indicating a growing trend toward remote work.

This trend may seem liberating, however, with freedom comes responsibility. Remote work pumps different muscles of accountability and discipline.

If you're new to remote work or plan to work remotely in the future, these best practices can help maintain or improve your productivity.

1. Get to know the team

When starting a new remote freelance assignment or a new full time remote job, you'll want to learn everything you can about the company, its team, and its culture. 

Since you will not be seeing everyone in person on a daily basis, it may take longer to get to know the team or manage issues as they arise. Miscommunication may affect your work and your relationships if you aren’t familiar and intuitive enough to mitigate them. 

However, if you understand the people you work with and share their values and mission, you will have an easier time hashing out difficulties through email or video meetings.  

2. Keep the Paths of Communication Open

When you are communicating as a remote worker, err on the side of generosity.

If you can, schedule regular check-ins to discuss how things are going and address any potential issues before they turn into active problems. It's key to be open, honest, and thorough in all your communications.  Setting up virtual zoom meetings or participating in your company's slack channels can be a good way to stay connected.

Since most of your communication will be digital, take care to avoid digital miscommunication. Learn to convey your professional diligence and interpersonal skills through digital channels, and respond to any questions or concerns as quickly and thoughtfully as you can.

3. Find the Right Environment

For some people, working from home is a dream come true. They roll out of bed, start the coffee maker, and "commute" to their desks, twenty seconds away.

Others may work better in "third places" that are neither homes nor offices. These workers may find their ideal environments in coworking spaces or coffee shops. It is no coincidence that, as remote work has increased, new spaces and industries have appeared to accommodate those who still need to separate their work from the rest of their lives.

Wherever you decide to work, make sure the atmosphere is ideal for your productivity. If you are energized by the bustling ambiance, try working from a coffee shop. If you need quiet and isolation, find a peaceful place to work and set boundaries to protect it.

This requires some trial and error, so before you commit to full-time remote work, understand your own patterns, preferences, and boundaries. Any assignment is easier when you’re tackling it within your designated sweet spot.

4. Know Thyself

The right external environment is as essential as the right mindset. The relative freedom of remote work can empower you to play to your strengths.

The new world of work provides more freedom than ever before. Making the most of it requires wisdom, experimentation, and sensitivity to your own body and mind.

That's where Artisan Creative can help. We work with a wide variety of talent with different styles and work preferences. We can help you play to your strengths and uncover opportunities where your skills and efforts will be the most appreciated. Contact us today to learn more.


6 Things to Stop Doing

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 420th issue of our weekly a.blog. 

 

In life, the time we spend with ourselves and others is all we have. How we make the best use of our time drives us as individuals. To make more efficient, productive, and mindful use of our time is among the most important goals we can pursue.

As with any self-improvement practice, it’s possible to go overboard with time management. Being able to use time more wisely doesn’t require dramatic personality, behavior or lifestyle changes as excessive ambition can backfire.

As you endeavor to make better use of your time, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid. This time we felt that a top  “don’t do list” would resonate more than a top “do list”:

1. Don't expect miracles

"We can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point," writes the author Susan Cain. "Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead."

Some of us are natural daydreamers and do our best thinking in loose, casual environments. Others work comfortably at a slower, more deliberate pace. We can all make modest adjustments to better use our time, but if we expect to fundamentally transform our habits and patterns all at once, we are being unfair to ourselves and setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Set reasonable goals you know you can hit. Then ratchet them up over time.

2. Don't over think it

The more time we spend poring over productivity literature, exchanging time-management tips online, and imaging ourselves as whizzing, hyper-disciplined superheroes, the less likely we are to get started. Take realistic steps, to get things done in the real world. When we're planning for greatness in the future, we let dust collect on the work that's due today.

When in doubt, forget about who you want to be. Do something concrete right now and get one mundane task out of the way.

Don't get stuck in the planning stage. Avoid analysis paralysis. Do something.

3. Don't wear yourself out

Coffee and sleep deprivation are best used in extreme moderation. And the most dangerous poison of them all may be “workahol!”

Simply put, to make the best use of your time and do your best work over the course of your career, take care of yourself. Court burnout at your peril.

Sometimes, this means stepping away from a side-project that sucks you dry. Sometimes, it means firing a client who asks too much for too little. Protecting our long-term health by all means possible is something we all need to be doing every day.

4. Don't lose focus

The best way to save time and energy, to get more out of your life and live it with greater self-respect, is simple: get used to saying “no”. Say "no" to things you don't want to do and opportunities that don't align with your core values or fit into your larger projects.

Determine your core mission. Boil it down to one or two sentences. Then take an inventory of your activities. Cross out the ones that aren't mission essential. Next comes the hard part: stop doing them. And, if you are offered the opportunity to take on new responsibilities that don't resonate with you on a fundamental level, turn them down. Say "no thank you," say it often, say it proudly, and stand behind it.

You will save your bandwidth and will give other people the opportunity to do the things you don't have the time or inclination to do well.

5. Don't jump around between different systems and fads

Time management is big business, and new gurus are constantly making the scene, with new “systems” that they promise will blow everything else out of the water. Needless to say, skepticism is in order.

None of these programs have a monopoly on wisdom. Most of them boil down to the same few bits of useful, practical, time-tested advice. You can waste a lot of time following trendy advice that isn't right for you, attempting to change horses mid-stream, or signing onto a program that works for someone with a completely different life.

If you decide to embrace a time-management system, commit to it, at least long enough to test its efficacy.

6. Don't beat yourself up

Life is an experiment. Your career is a work in progress. Your mistakes are best understood as learning experiences.

If you fail to make the best use of your time or you can't stick to your plan, don't give up. Take an honest look at how you can improve. Consider how you can play to your strengths and work with your natural personality, rather than against it. And congratulate yourself for taking on the hard challenge of self-improvement and your willingness to adapt and grow.

The best way to manage time is to cultivate relationships that play to your strengths and make things easier.

At Artisan Creative, we understand how world-class clients and talent can make the best use of their time together. Contact us today, and we'll give you a boost on your way to the next level.



Avoiding Digital Miscommunication

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 413th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Do you get confused reading certain emails because you can’t decipher the writer’s tone? Have you ever been surprised at how different a person can sound depending on whether they’re using the phone or speaking face to face? Have members of your team asked you to clarify a memo or email when you thought you were 100% clear?

 

Well, you could be caught in that trap of digital miscommunication.

As we have embraced globalization, virtual offices, and meetings conducted via Zoom, or chatted using Slack, we have had to rapidly adapt to new forms of communication. “The medium is the message,” as futurist Marshall McLuhan wrote, and the nonverbal cues we use in person don’t always translate via this new medium.

Communicating clearly through any method is an essential requirement for any career advancement, your team’s success or developing interpersonal skills. It’s often a process of trial and error, and here are a few general rules that will help avoid costly misunderstandings.

Clear, concise communication is a strength and one that all job descriptions ask for. For some it comes naturally, for others the following tips can be beneficial:

Write like you talk

Avoid confusing jargon and ensure that your point gets across in the simplest possible manner.

For practice, read your emails aloud before you send them. As you get used to editing yourself, you will sharpen your thinking as well.

Keep it simple

If you write and speak clearly you will earn the respect of your colleagues by saving their patience and time.

If you’re a long-winded writer, run your text through Readability Score to make it more concise before you hit “send.”

Be present

As you keep your message simple and brief, make sure you don’t leave your colleagues guessing about essential information. Your colleagues and communications deserve your full attention. A simple mindfulness meditation practice can train you to focus on what’s in front of you right now and in turn tune out what’s not currently important.

Be Empathetic

The Harvard Business Review suggests professional empathy as a way to disarm potential misunderstandings. When you connect with another person, no matter what the medium, try to see things from that person’s perspective and interpret the world through a language that person uses and best understands.

This isn’t just for salespeople and therapists; active listening can help anyone establish more meaningful and effective connections and reduce team friction.

Ask Questions

If you are unclear, asking direct questions will get better results than making assumptions and pretending you know more than you do.

Asking the right questions gives you a chance to learn how other people communicate and think. As a result, your own communication will become much more effective when you understand how your colleagues approach their work.

Asking questions conveys curiosity and enthusiasm which indicates active participation in the world around you. When you think the conversation is almost over, asking one more question can yield a key insight.

Communicate Visually

Along with asking questions and adapting to your audience (or “reading the room,” as comedians call it), Supervisor Essentials suggests that you learn to communicate your ideas visually. Digital communication is growing increasingly visual, and there are many new tools that will enhance the experience for all, from infographics to animated gifs.

Studies suggest that 65% of us are visual learners. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a designer, you’ll be better equipped to get through to your visually inclined colleagues if you can master the basics of visual communication. It can also help you make those (at times) rather dull web conferences more useful and engaging.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals connect with clients and opportunities, and we know that effective communication is the essence of a good connection. As you build your communication skills and become fluent in the language of business, we can provide resources for growth, put you in touch with industry leaders, and help you build a career you’ll love. Get in touch today to learn more.


Visual Goal Setting

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 405th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

As part of our annual goal setting, each member of the Artisan Creative a.team creates a vision board and presents it at our first meeting of the new year. Our boards are a collection of short and long term goals that include both personal and professional aspirations.

Presenting it to the team develops accountability and enables the group to learn more about each team member’s ambitions, hopes and dreams. Some people set a theme for their board/year—others use inspirational quotes. What they all have in common is the shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our visions and goals with the group at the onset of our new year, we review our boards mid-year, and also share a recap at our year-end meeting. This sense of accountability and the revisiting of our goals helps keep us on track. This activity in one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are 5 tips to create your great vision board and get 2017 off to a good start!

  1. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  2. Create positivity and inspiration. Have fun…imagine the integrated life/work you want to build out.
  3. Create an integrated board where elements from both your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
  4. Keep the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often!
  5. Share your hopes and dreams with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick!Make sure you invest in good glue so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through to find those inspiring words and pictures. 
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity!

Although electronic versions such as Pinterest also work, going old-school where you physically search for and cut out imagery and words from a magazine and decide where to place them is in itself an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.

What is your goal setting process?

Happy New Year!




Reasons for Being Grateful

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you.

 

This is the time of the year to reflect on the past year and look forward to new opportunities and adventures ahead.

As Shawn Achor states in his popular Ted Talk and best-selling book “The Happiness Advantage” one of the ways to create happiness and positive mental change is to express gratitude on a daily basis.

Here at Artisan Creative, we are grateful for so many things and wanted to share a few with you.

We are:

  • Grateful to celebrate 20 years of creative staffing & recruitment.
  • Grateful for the incredible, dynamic a.team. Always giving, always striving to be at their best.
  • Grateful for our amazing talent who continuously push the creative envelope.
  • Grateful for our long lasting client relationships and for the opportunity to help grow their teams.
  • Grateful for our furry 4-legged friends who keep us company at work.
  • Grateful for the opportunity to write the 400th issue of our weekly a.blog today.

Below are additional gratitudes from our a. team:

Laura
  • Grateful for my family and their health, support and love.
  • Grateful to work for a company I love.
  • Grateful that I get to spend every day with my husband.

Stephanie

Grateful that I live in Los Angeles. I'm grateful for my health, home, and to have worked with a great company for 10 years.

Margaret

Thankful for my family and friends, my wonderful husband and my "a" recruiting team who comes ready to work every day and is so dedicated.

Jen

  • Grateful for a supportive and passionate team that pushes me to my full potential every day.
  • Grateful for the ability to work from home.
  • Grateful for my husband who caters to my every pregnancy craving and mood swing.

Regina

I'm so grateful for my job! I am so happy every day.

Ana

I am grateful for my family that supports each other through thick and thin, for my long time friends that are like extended family, for my employers that provide an environment to live a balanced life and for my excellent health!

Cammy
  • I am thankful for the privilege of becoming a new aunt to my amazing nephew.
  • Also my family, everyone's health, and good food!

Jamie

  • Working with a dynamic and committed team on a daily basis for over 20 years.
  • The opportunity to learn something new every day.
  • Simplicity in life and communication.

Katty

  • Grateful for the amazing a. team.
  • Grateful for family, friends, health and love.
  • Grateful to learn and grow every day.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

 

 





How to Get The Most Out of Working From a Coffee Shop

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

One of the joys of freelancing or working remotely is not having to work inside a typical office setting. While you may have an office that serves as your home base, working from anywhere means you get to be one of those folks working in a coffee shop in the middle of the afternoon. Being productive and focused in a public setting takes skill, though. We are after all sharing the space with others.


Take these tips with you the next time you set up shop in your favorite brewhouse.


Keep your voice low. If you’ve got a meeting or have to take a call, step outside, or use your headphones to hold the conversation and speak quietly. Long, loud or extended cell phone conversations about a client, the job, money or the deadline aren’t fun for anyone sitting near you--and can be disruptive to those around you.


Be a good guest.  Buying one cup of coffee for several hours of table usage will not make you endearing to the staff. If you’re going to be showing up there more often, get in the good graces of baristas by learning their names and building a connection. If you plan on staying awhile, buy a scone or a snack! And tip generously for their use of Wi-Fi.


Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Coffee shops often play loud music that you may or may not want to hear, especially if you’re trying to concentrate. Noise-canceling headphones will allow you to listen in on meetings or block out noise without the distraction of the coffee shop noise. Plus, what if you’d rather listen to your own music that day?


Share. Is your laptop charged? Let someone else use the outlet. Are you taking up an entire table with your work? Move it over and let someone else sit there. Be respectful of your surroundings and fellow co-workers and karma will pay off.


Focus.  Don’t get distracted trying to strike up a conversation or make friends a few chairs over. Be friendly, however you’re there to get to work! It’s easy to get side tracked every time someone walks in.  Sit with your back to the door or face the wall. You’ll be mad at yourself later if you miss that deadline.


Where is your favorite local hangout and what are your tips for working in a coffee shop?


5 Ways to Know if Working Remotely Works for You

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Telecommuting is quickly becoming less of a trend and more of the norm. In fact, 37% of U.S. workers say they're done it! Part of this is the practicality of the modern workplace -- for many positions, it's not necessary to be in an office. And for many workers, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is preferable to a higher salary.

So, where would you like to work? At your home office, or on the sofa? What about in a co-working space or a coffee shop? You might think that telecommuting would make a great part of your daily work routine, but it takes a surprising amount of self-discipline, concentration, and effort. See if working remotely is right for you by asking these five questions:

  1. Can you communicate well online or via video chat? Interacting with a team in-person is very different from being online. You need multiple communications tools to connect. If you feel like email is the only way to get in touch, you need to shake it up and practice communicating with instant messaging, video conferences, and teamwork platforms like Slack and Asana. Get comfortable using these technologies, and know when it's best to hop on the phone. One last thing: if you can't be available when everyone else is, you'll either have to work twice as hard to stay on top of what's happening, or need to connect more often to stay abreast of changes.

  2. Are you able to initiate conversations and projects? You can't be shy when you work remotely! Starting conversations with your co-workers or manager so you can get the ball rolling on projects is necessary. And if you're a manager, it can be hard to be present and available when telecommuting. You'll need to reach out to team members regularly, and set very clear goals and expectations, as well as offer support from afar.

  3. Can you be a great team player without seeing the team? Since you won't be interacting with colleagues in the breakroom or over lunch, you need to think about how you reach out and connect to co-workers. This means having team calls to catch up, setting up video conferences to brainstorm ideas, or scheduling virtual lunch dates. You may also have to boost team engagement by recreating "water cooler" conversation. Ask about personal topics like vacation plans or what was on TV last night.

  4. Do you have a great task management system in place? Many telecommuters report they are just as productive as on-site employees, but poor management and engagement could mean telecommuting doesn't work for a company -- or for you! A lack of oversight can lead to major issues later. If you're working as part of a team, talk to your manager about what work productivity really means, and how to prove it. If you're a manager, make sure your team understands those goals, and hold them accountable. And if you struggle with personal responsibility, working remotely may not be the best option for you.

  5. Is it possible to still meet occasionally? Okay, the whole point of telecommuting...is to not go into the office! But if you're working for a company that's located in the same city as you, it can't hurt to visit the office now and then. This way, you can review things like quarterly goals or evaluate projects with the whole team at once, and then get back to work. Think of it as a fun way to catch up with people, too! Try to schedule a happy hour or some kind of after work activity so you bond and get to know the people you're working with online.

Flexible work hours bring a specific set of challenges, but also many rewards! The needs of working remotely vary from those of the traditional office, so as long as you keep in mind these ideas, you'll be able to keep your team engaged and motivated.



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