Posts tagged with "working from home"

360 Magazine, Business

Working From Home For The Holidays: Tips To Stay Productive And Employed

The holiday season brings families together, but it also means added distractions for the many people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can remote workers keep their focus sharp and their productivity high while noise and interruptions surround them? And what can businesses do to ensure their employees aren’t slacking and projects are on track?

“Working from home creates a different psychological vibe from the all-business environment of a brick-and-mortar office setting, and that feeling is magnified during the holidays,” says Cynthia Spraggs (www.virtira.com), a veteran of working remotely, author of How To Work From Home And Actually Get SH*T Done, and CEO of Virtira, a completely virtual company that helps other businesses work virtually.

“The holidays bring new challenges to getting work done efficiently at home, and at the same time, employers have concerns about how the holidays can affect workers’ productivity in a home setting. It can cause tension between managers and employees.” 

Spraggs offers tips to employees and employers about working from home productively during the holidays:

How WFH employees can overcome holiday distractions

  • Create a mental commute and brain warm-up. A morning routine can help clear the mind and prepare for the working mindset. “The drive to the office used to create a mental separation between home life and work life and give the worker space and time to prepare for the day,” Spraggs says. “A similar separation time is vital at home, especially in a holiday atmosphere, in order to focus on the work tasks ahead. Develop a routine, such as reading or exercise, that warms up your brain.”
  • Create must-do lists. The holidays are filled with gift lists, parties, family obligations, baking plans, and other tasks that aren’t usually on the everyday agenda. “When these distractions make it difficult to focus,” Spraggs says, “it helps to start the day with a list of work tasks that must be completed that day. Prioritizing them makes it more likely they’ll get done, even if your mind does veer off into visions of sugar plums.”
  • Keep your office space a quiet place, and show everyone the door.

“Establishing a clear boundary is a must,” Spraggs says. “I strongly advise you to put a door between you and the rest of the household, and keep it shut. Otherwise, the home holiday cheer will break your concentration as people and pets stream in.”

How Employers Can Keep WFH Workers From Slacking During Holidays

  • Trust, don’t micromanage. Some businesses go so far as screen- or mouse-tracking software on company-provided devices to check in on their workforce. But Spraggs says that type of micromanaging can be counterproductive as employees feel distrusted and overly pressured. “Such a management practice during the holidays comes across worse,” she says. “Managers can find less intrusive ways to help employees stay on track. Set targets and measure results, preferably using online dashboards with status reports. This makes it easy for employees to earn your trust. The more you trust those who have earned it, and don’t hound them, the more they will produce.”
  • Have daily check-ins. Remote managers should establish either a daily one-on-one call or team call with their employees. In the holiday season, Spraggs says, extra efforts should be made in communication to compensate for people taking time off and getting projects completed. “A regular routine of calls provides a forum for the employees to consult with the manager and each other,” Spraggs says, “and the manager can track performance in real time.”
  • Set holiday goals and rewards. “Your quarterly goals can be augmented by special holiday goals and rewards for meeting them,” Spraggs says. “These dangled carrots incentivize working diligently at home during the holidays and give them a bonus. Making it fun and competitive, the productivity goes up.” 

“It’s all about discipline and knowing how to protect the work side of your home from the fun side during the holidays,” Spraggs says.

About Cynthia Spraggs

Cynthia Spraggs (www.virtira.com) is the author of How To Work From Home And Actually Get SH*T Done: 50 Tips for Leaders and Professionals to Work Remotely and Outperform the Office. She is CEO of Virtira, a completely virtual company that focuses on remote team performance. Before taking leadership of the company in 2011, Spraggs worked with large consulting and tech companies while completing her MBA and research into telecommuting.

Gym Illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

The Beach Body

Kupah James has the raw and positive energy it takes to be motivational. Although he grew up in Boston, he now resides in LA as a Celebrity Group Fitness Instructor. With over 15 years of experience, Kupah is also a Private Party Dj (Global). With best friend and business partner, JENI Lin they created the very popular #BodyWeightBootKAMP – a 45min total body circuit for all fitness levels.

If you don’t find him amongst small groups of people motivating and coaching you can catch sneaking in afternoon naps and binging streaming services…before/after napping (LOL). His long term goal is to travel the world bringing #BodyWeightBootKAMP to each and every shore!

Health During the Holidays

With the 2020 holidays approaching, here are some activities you can #MakeMoves with first thing in the morning to get your mind right for the ensuing “craze that is the holidays.” Let’s agree, we are searching for a quick “win,” nothing super complicated and “thinking” should not be in the cards. Load up your “GoTo” workout, the one where you kill it and always feel your best every time.

If you’re feeling a more chill holiday workout, something meditative like a yoga practice, a long walk, a light jog or meditating can be helpful. One of these exercises can calm your nerves and allow you a moment of calmness. You can take this peaceful time to celebrate making it to another festive season. 

If you’re looking for help with the holiday feast, we all know we don’t want to ruin our appetites. By making sure we get a “healthier” breakfast in the morning, hopefully, we can avoid extra guilt come dessert time. Drink lots of water and if your a coffee person grab one to help suppress your hunger until “DINNAH,” lol. If you really want to balance out the equation, ease up on the carbs 24-48 hours before it’s time to dig in. Bon appétit!

Keeping a Daily Routine

With so many people working from home, parks and other creative spaces, how does one maintain a good routine if your living space becomes your workspace as well?

A couple of ways to maintain a good routine are using your smartphones/devices, friends/roommates/spouses, or an accountability coach. All devices come with apps, timers and reminders to help keep you on task. For me, I’m always on the go so I use food reminders to help me with my routine. Sometimes I’m so busy interacting with clients I forget to eat, so I created a reminder just to chug a protein shake every couple of hours. ICONIC makes a perfect pre-made protein shake, so it’s even easier, no excuses.

Do you have people around you that you can lean on for “check-ins” and support? Asking a friend, relative or spouse could be a great way to “stay the course” and build on an existing relationship. 

Accountability Coaches do just that, hold you accountable with calls, texts, meets and quality time invested into the things you SAY you want to do but allow distractions to get in the way. Sometimes a person you’re close to might not be the best for this job, rather finding an objective, trained professional to work with your motivations might be best. 

A Critical Muscle to Tone

It is critical to develop a strong healthy back simply because your back is essentially the most important part of your skeleton next to your skull. It bears the weight of your upper body while stabilizing your balance and “kindly” houses your Central Nervous System (CNS). Your CNS allows signals from the brain to travel throughout your body. If that isn’t reason enough it’s also a major component to posture, and everyday activities like walking, running, sitting and lifting. 

Some of the primary benefits of a back workout are the strengthening of the shoulder and increasing stability. Many shoulder injuries can be treated simply by strengthening your back. Another benefit to back workouts is the positive effect on your posture and balance. Not to mention, a well developed back will aid in your quest for that Super Hero Body that many of us dreamed of as little boys. 

The best exercises depend on someone’s personal goals. With that said, some essential exercises would be – in no particular order – Back Loaded Squat, Deadlifts both (Sumo and Romanian are common), Back Rows, Rear Flys, Single Arm Row, Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups and Lat Pull Down. These are all great exercises, just to name a few. 

A common mistake of back exercises is having a “poor” form. I could never express how important form is to the overall development of any muscle group and the back is no exception. Especially in the Back Squat, Deadlift and Pull Up. Those are three that I often see performed incorrectly and I can’t help myself but to speak up and try to help the best way I can. An injury is nothing to shake a stick at, so when performing these exercises, and others, please “respect the rep” and choose form over everything.

Something to consider which I believe gets overlooked is a post-workout routine. A good stretch of the muscle group you just worked on can be vital in your recovery. A protein shake that feeds the muscles with proper nutrition and the tools it needs to maximize your workout can also be necessary. My personal favorite post-workout shake is by ICONIC, it comes in a variety of flavors, a powder or pre-made, and is grass-fed. 

How often a person should add back exercises to their routine depends on the individual goals, injuries, limitations, etc. However, once someone wants to add back exercises, they can add them immediately. If someone is “newer” to fitness it might not be a bad idea to try some workouts using strictly bodyweight before adding a load, just to perfect form and technique. A great source of BodyWeight workouts can be found on my YouTube Channel, and are streaming for FREE. As far are frequency, 2x or 3x a week seems pretty reasonable unless there are specific goals in which case it would be situational. For the common fitness person, this number would be adequate. 

360 Magazine, Business

COVID-19 Shifted Modern Business

COVID-19 and the global pandemic has presented a significant and unforeseen challenge to many businesses. The government and public health restrictions have meant closures for some, and the economic impacts have meant customers are more nervous than ever before. As a business, managing through this pandemic means shifting the fundamental way you see your business. To better understand how COVID-19 has shifted the perspective of modern business, consider these points.

Managing the books

Prior to the pandemic, businesses could be excused for not being across the minutia of detail when it came to their day to day finances. Managing inventories, purchasing and other key accounting tasks may have been considered handled in a lot of circumstances. With the pandemic taking force, it’s been crucial to shift that perspective and consider online accounting software. As businesses shift operations away from bricks and mortar style offices, to working from home, online software is key. Businesses need to be able to manage and keep an eye on all finances in real-time. Making critical accounting decisions remotely could make or break the business, so your business needs to be agile in the way it operates. Traditional businesses could get away with quarterly reporting or even monthly, but the modern business will need to be much more focused on the numbers week to week or even day-to-day. Online software can keep you up-to-date with the accounting details you need to make smarter decisions.

Smart tooling

Previously, businesses considered tools which would allow their employees, customers and competitors to connect a nice service to have. Since COVID took hold, it’s been crucial for the modern business to adapt and offer a range of tools to help create those connections. In lieu of seeing people face-to-face, businesses needed to find ways to create virtual collaboration and avoid an over-reliance on traditional communication methods, like email. 

The modern business has shifted its perspective on these tools and some are now even seeking to find ways to create these virtual connections, similar to the water cooler type conversations you’d see in a physical office. This pandemic has created a divide in project teams, product teams and many other teams where close collaboration was a key to success. Modern businesses, rather than abandoning these ways of working, have adapted and found tools that help them connect better in a separated world.

Productive home workers

Prior to the pandemic taking hold, a lot of traditional business managers held the belief that working from home was unproductive. With public health advice all but demanding businesses have employees work from home, this perspective has certainly changed. Many businesses experienced a changing of the guard, albeit through a transition period. But as time goes by, the modern business is realising that expensive leases and large tenancy are simply not necessary. Employees have proven that productivity will go on, and that business output doesn’t suffer simply because staff are at home. 

Without commutes, some staff even prefer to work longer hours. The pandemic has offered the modern business an advantage to be taken. Allowing staff to become flexible with work arrangements both now and into the future can help build a more engaged and focused workforce. The caveat to this is ensuring staff have the appropriate setups and systems access to do their jobs effectively.

~

COVID-19 has challenged many widely held beliefs about the way a traditional business needs to run. From managing the day to day to allowing staff the freedom to work from wherever they are most productive. Modern business perspectives have changed and a lot of managers would argue it’s about time too.

Sara Sandman, 360 MAGAZINE, illustration

Top 5 nutrition tips when working from home

1. Look for nutritious alternatives

If you’re worried about not being able to continue to eat well as particular ingredients are no longer in stock, try exploring other foods that could offer similar health benefits. We have put together a shopping list of alternative food options to ensure you’re not missing out on your essential vitamins and minerals. The key advice here is nutrition should still come first, but you may have to switch up some of your routinely used ingredients.

2. Stick to your routine

Spending more time at home can also impact when you eat. Whether or not you’re working from home, try to create (and stick to) a routine. This will help you avoid snacking on unhealthy foods. Eat your typical set number of meals a day and around the same time each day. If you don’t cook much or have more time on your hands than previously, now is a great time to start.

3. Stay hydrated

Keeping well hydrated is important for overall well-being, particularly cognitive function. If you’re working from home, keep a glass of water by you and drink throughout the day. Drink several cups of fluid each day including water, tea & coffee (though not too much!), fruit teas and sugar-free drinks.

4. Don’t forget your fresh veg

Fresh fruits and vegetables may have taken a back seat for you. Fruit and vegetables provide loads of essential nutrients and there are ways to extend their shelf-life and make them more convenient. For example, soups and sauces can be made straight away and then frozen. You can make a concentrated stock which you can then freeze in ice cube trays and, voila, homemade, low salt stock cubes!

5. Keep your stress at bay

There are many ways to reduce stress. Try to minimize the amount of alcohol you drink, especially during the week, which will also help you stick to a routine. Keep an eye on the number of caffeinated drinks you’re having and try switching to decaf options during the afternoon. This can help you sleep and focus better.

ABOUT HUEL:

Launched in 2015, Huel’s mission is to make nutritionally complete, convenient and affordable food, with minimal impact on animals and the environment.

Offering consumers “complete nutrition” means that each Huel meal serves customers a good balance of protein, carbs, fibre, essential fats and phytonutrients, plus an optimum level of all essential vitamins and minerals required on a daily basis. Formulated by Registered Nutritionist, James Collier, Huel is vegan, lactose-free and soya-free.

Along with Huel powder (including a gluten-free and reduced carb option), Huel offers a number of nutritionally complete products, including the world’s first nutritionally complete granola and an on-the-go bar which makes for the perfect snack. Most recently, Huel launched their first Ready-to-drink meal, acting as an innovative solution for time-poor consumers.

Each Huel packet has a year-long shelf life and produces zero food waste with minimal packaging waste which makes less of an environmental impact on the planet than many other food products.

Visit Huel:

Instagram: @huel @huelusa @huel_de @huelglobal
Twitter: @gethuel @huelusa
Website: huel.com