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3 Ways Companies Can Offer Flexibility For Employees

3 Ways Companies Can Offer Flexibility For Employees

As states across the country start to establish plans for fall education, many companies are finding themselves needing to adapt. As such, you need to offer options and provide flexibility for employees. Everyone is juggling work, assisting their kids with home learning, and following appropriate social distancing guidelines. Here are three ways you can accommodate your team member’s needs while still allowing for maximum productivity.

Implement Work From Home Flexibility

Dozens of major companies have announced that employees won’t be going back into the office until at least 2021, including Scotiabank, Google, and Indeed. Others like Facebook, Slack, and Zillow have communicated that employees don’t ever have to come back to the office in the same capacity. Due to ever-changing lockdowns and changes to the school system, many companies are forced to come to terms with a new future of work. Whether you offer full-time work from home options or flexible workweeks, your employees need it now more than ever. As Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained in a memo to employees, “I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months.”

Expand Your PTO Policies

The pandemic has changed how we think about PTO. Former policies consisting of five days of sick time will not fly moving forward when the minimum quarantine time for Coronavirus is 14 days. Provide clear communication about new sick policies to your team often. Make sure they understand proper protocols if they do need to quarantine or take time off to recover.

Establish boundaries

Recent research shows that since the beginning of the pandemic, the average workday has lasted 48.5 minutes longer. Your employees are feeling the pressure of a global pandemic, an economic recession, and increased childcare demands. By setting clear boundaries (everyone logs off at 5 pm, no matter what), you can help your team avoid burnout.

By offering flexibility for employees, you demonstrate your investment in the team. Interested in more management and hiring tips? Explore our client resources!

Stay Productive While Working from Home

How to Stay Productive While Working from Home

Are you still working from home? If so, you are definitely not alone. Millions of workers across the country have been working from home for over four months. Some of us are thriving in our new work environment, while others may be feeling burnt out. The days are blending together, our kids will likely be going back to school soon, and the lines between work and home are getting a little blurry. As a result, your productivity may be a bit lackluster. If this sounds like your current situation, here are a few tips to stay productive while working from home.

Establish a schedule

You may have a little more flexibility while working remotely; however, you should establish a schedule and stick to it. Try to wake up at the same time and stick with a morning routine, whatever that may look like. Essentially, you should treat your day as you would if you were heading to the office. Wake up, make some coffee, do a quick workout, or whatever you typically do before making your way to the office. Establishing a schedule will help make your workday feel more consistent and boost your productivity all day long.

Create a to-do list the day before

One of the best tips for staying productive while working from home is to make a to-do list the night before. How many times have you woke up, got ready, sat down at your desk, and started stressing about what you need to accomplish? I know I have been there before. Instead of wasting time to figure out what you are doing, create a to-do list the night before of all the essential tasks you need to get done. That way, you start the day off on the right foot and already have a roadmap of your workday. It will help you stay productive while WFH and will make a significant difference in your day.

Tackle the most important things first

If you start making a daily to-do list, this should be easy! When you walk into “the office,” review your to-do list. Carefully decide which task you are going to work on first. One mistake many of us make is tackling the easiest tasks first to get them achieved. Research suggests that this gives workers a “completion high,” but also a false sense of productivity. A recent study of doctors in an East Coast emergency room found that doctors who completed more difficult tasks first were more productive in the long run. However, if you get a “high” from crossing things off of a list, break your more challenging tasks into milestones that you can cross off as you go!

Remote Work Affect Salaries

Will Remote Work Affect Salaries?

There is no disputing the coronavirus’ impact on the economy and labor market. Economists, healthcare professionals, and others have speculated about the lasting effects of this pandemic. However, one thing that is certain is that millions of workers worldwide have been working from home (WFH) since mid-March. With confirmed cases surpassing 4 million in the U.S. this week, working remote might be a permanent transition. So, how will this shift to remote work affect salaries? It’s a little early to tell, but here is what may happen if this trend continues.

WFH workers are relocating

According to a recent study from Pew Research Center, nearly a fifth of U.S. adults has moved due to COVID-19 or know someone who did. The survey found that 37% of those ages 18 to 29 say they moved, someone moved into their home, or know someone who moved because of the outbreak. Many of these young professionals are relocating away from big cities, such as New York City, and escaping to less populated locations, such as the Midwest. These rural locations offer quiet, wide-open spaces and an affordable cost of living. But will your employer continue to pay your massive big-city salary in cheaper rural areas? Are employers going to start cutting wages for workers that move to regions with a more reasonable cost of living?

The price of the big cities

Living in big metropolitan areas definitely have their appeal – more culture, restaurants, activities, nightlife, and of course, larger salaries. According to a recent study, employers in America’s costliest cities pay at least 40% more for white-collar jobs than the average wage in other regions of the country. For example, a graphic designer makes an average of $31.67 an hour in the top 15 biggest cities versus an average hourly wage of $21.09 in all other regions. Yet, according to the report, “When firms in the highest-priced cities hired workers living in cheaper towns, they tended to pay almost 19% more than the person would earn locally.”

To break this down, workers make more in larger cities, regardless of whether they work locally or remotely. However, that salary range is still enormous. Using the pay scale for a graphic designer, a professional in that field would make 19% more working remotely for a company in a big city. That’s a little more than $4 more an hour, which is a much lower wage than the local workers of big cities making over $10 more an hour.

How will remote work affect wages?

This begs the question: will employers begin to change wages for remote workers to reflect their employees’ cost of living? Facebook is already moving its hiring efforts to focus on remote work to lower its payroll costs. Will other large companies follow through? More professionals working from home may reduce or even fix the insane pay disparity our country faces in some areas. As a result, professionals may consider moving out of expensive cities like NYC and moving to locations with a better quality of life, affordable rents, and overall better happiness ratings.

Time will tell how this virus will ultimately impact our wages across the country. Still, it is worth considering if you are currently working remotely and considering a move to a different region.

How remote work might impact your salary

6 Tips For Starting A New Job Remotely

6 Tips For Starting A New Job Remotely

In today’s climate – many employees are finding themselves starting a new job under unusual circumstances. Many companies are still working from home, including new hires.  It is intimidating, to say the least, as this is completely new territory for both managers and employees! If you have recently been hired and are now prepping for your first remote day, follow this guide to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Set Up Your Workspace

If you’re relatively new to working from home, you need to set the stage. It won’t suffice long-term to lounge on the couch while you work! Make sure you have a separate area designated only for work, even if it’s temporarily a card table set up in the corner of the living room. Gather all of your supplies – laptop, monitor, charging cords, wireless mouse, pen, notebook, etc. Give everything it’s own spot prior to your first day to set yourself up for success.

Clarify Expectations

You need to clarify expectations early and often. It should be one of the first things you discuss with your supervisor, and you should also check in frequently throughout your first few weeks of working. Here are just a few of the things you need to clearly understand:

  • Am I allowed to work a flexible schedule, or do I need to be online and available at certain times?
  • What are my priorities?
  • When I have downtime, what should I be working on?
  • What is the work from home dress code? If we have a team Zoom call, am I expected to dress in business casual?
  • Who are the team members I can reach out to when I need help?

Take Notes

When working from home, you are on a bit of an island. If you forget something that someone went over with you, it’s not as easy as turning to them or walking down the hallway to ask them to give you a reminder. So, every time you meet with someone or attend a training, take notes! Even if you need someone to repeat themselves, have them do so in the moment. They will definitely understand!

Build Relationships With Other Team Members

When you are starting a new job remotely, you miss out on the social setting of an office. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other members of the team and strike up a conversation. See if you can even schedule one-on-ones with people you will work with frequently. Then, you’ll have time to learn more about what they do, how long they’ve worked there, and how you can best work together.

Seek Out Opportunities To Go The Extra Mile

It can be difficult to set yourself apart when working in a remote position. You don’t see as many opportunities to jump in and offer services or ask someone “how can I help?” However, the opportunity is still there, you just have to proactively find it! Instead of jumping on Facebook during a lull in your workday, message a coworker and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them out. Frequently check in with your supervisor to see if there are projects you can assist with that may not be a part of your job description.

Establish Work-Life Boundaries

While we’ve listed this one last, it may be the most important. Did you know that a recent poll found that over half of people working remotely are experiencing burnout and overwork? That’s why it’s essential to establish boundaries first thing. Schedule in breaks throughout your day. (Yes, even if it means blocking out time on your calendar.) Get up and walk around frequently, and try to enjoy some time outside if you can!

Starting a new job remotely can be intimidating. You may have more questions than answers, but hopefully, our tips gave you a good baseline to establish the confidence you need to rock your first day! Interested in more tips on remote work? Head over to the JSG Blog!

Video: 6 tips for starting a new remote job

support your remote workers

How to Support Your Remote Workers

The majority of states have finally started reducing restrictions imposed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, millions of workers across the country are still hard at work from their homes. With a large chunk (if not your whole team) working remotely, it’s not easy to offer the same support as you can in the office. Here are a few ways you can support your remote workers.

Set expectations

It’s imperative to set expectations from the very beginning with your entire team. Establish guidelines for everyone and make them crystal clear. Put them in writing and send them to your staff. Setting boundaries and expectations are essential, and doing it early on will reinforce good habits from the get-go. However, please don’t go overboard or it might seem like you don’t trust your staff. Remember, your employees are adults, not children. Guidelines are good for everyone when they are not overbearing.

Build loyalty

Building loyalty and trust in each of your relationships is vital during these challenging times. Now is not the time to micromanage your staff. If you trusted them in the office, you should be able to trust them while working remotely. Trust builds loyalty, and loyalty goes a long way, especially during these uncharted waters. Hold regular meetings, regular check-ins, and be encouraging. Trust us; it will go a long way and support your remote workers.

Take care of each individual

Make sure you take care of each staff member. Not everyone is in the same situation right now. Some are handling the pandemic better than others and have fewer responsibilities at home. Some workers are balancing childcare, schooling, and work, while others may have a partner that is currently unemployed. As a result, ensure each team member is doing well, both mentally and physically.

Also, not everyone has the same work-from-home setting. Make sure each employee is taken care of with their home “office” goes. Some of your employees may need a desk, a new office chair, a second monitor, or other items to make their working hours a little more productive and comfortable. Taking care of your employees during these challenging times will help build much-needed morale.

Emphasize accomplishments not hours

Don’t emphasize the actual hours worked of each employee. Instead, focus on accomplishments. Some of your workers might be flourishing with their new working environment. But on the other hand, some of your staff members may struggle a little more. A recent report illustrated that 54% of workers are more productive at home. That’s great for both workers and employers! However, employees working from home will work an average of 1.4 more days’ worth of hours each month. That translates to 16.8 more days a year. As a result, your team can easily get burnt out as the boundaries of work and home often become blurry. Thus, support your remote workers by focusing on accomplishments, not actual hours worked.

Interested in more management and hiring tips? Explore our client resources for all the information you need!

3 Ways To Sell Yourself For A Remote Position

3 Ways To Sell Yourself For A Remote Position

With more and more companies extending their work from home policies every day, we expect to see a massive increase in hiring for remote positions. The coronavirus pandemic has opened managers’ eyes to streamlining their teams while allowing for a greater work-life balance. In March alone, job postings for remote positions were up over 42% on LinkedIn. If you are hoping to take advantage of this workplace evolution, try using these three tactics to sell yourself for a remote position.

Set the stage by nailing a remote interview

Spoiler alert: if you flub a virtual interview, you will not be hired for a remote position. This includes everything from scheduling and set up to following up with a thoughtful thank you note. Be sure to brush up on your video interview skills – including testing your equipment, assessing your surroundings, and putting together a professional outfit.

Throughout the interview, it’s essential to remain fully engaged in the interviewer(s). Close all other windows and limit outside distractions. Ask questions that explicitly reference the remote nature of the position. As soon as you hang up, craft a thoughtful thank you note and fire it off to all people involved. Executing these practices flawlessly will cue the Hiring Manager into your efficiency, excellent communication skills, and self-motivation to accomplish tasks when left to your own devices.

Do your research

Yes, we recommend this for every job search. But when you’re in the running for a remote position, you need to take it up a notch! If the hiring process is 100% remote (which many are for remote positions), you won’t have the advantage of seeing the company in person. You won’t get a feel for the company culture by checking out what employees are wearing or how they interact with one another.

However, you can still gain these insights; you’ll just have to work a little harder! Do a deep dive into the company’s social media, keeping an eye out for any team pictures or posts specifically referencing the company culture. Scour their Glassdoor profile to read first-hand accounts for current and ex-employees. (But remember to take reviews with a grain of salt!)

Highlight your soft skills

While, of course, your qualifications are important for snagging an interview, soft skills will seal the deal and get you an offer in hand for a remote position. Hiring Managers prioritize those who will be self-sufficient, communicate effectively, and crush it in the time-management department. Be sure to utilize the STAR method to answer interview questions and demonstrate your soft skills. This will give your interviewer an in-depth understanding of your skills and how you put them to work.

Next Step: Brush Up On Common Interview Questions

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Managing a Remote Team: How To Keep Morale Up

Managing a Remote Team: How To Keep Morale Up

Thousands of leaders across the globe are suddenly finding themselves doing something they’ve never done before: managing an entirely remote workforce. And one of the most significant issues they’re facing is how to keep the morale up when everyone is kept apart. Many leaders thrive on the energy that comes from managing a team face-to-face and are struggling with ways to motivate their now-remote team. Here are a few things you can do to keep morale up, increase motivation, and continue building a team that will thrive no matter the conditions.

Have Frequent All-Team Virtual Meetings

One of the best ways to keep employee morale up is to keep things relatively business as usual. So, if your team is used to a lot of socialization, it’s best to continue that trend – even if it’s now through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Keep your meetings light and positive and encourage everyone to share something they can bond over. Many companies have theme days, like “crazy hat day,” or host virtual happy hours at the end of the week to just hang out and catch up. Your employees will appreciate a fun moment to take their minds off of their everyday stresses.

Check-In One-On-One

While all-team meetings are great for keeping the positivity up for your team, don’t forget to check-in with your employees one-on-one. Give them a call every week just to see how they’re doing. Aside from asking if they need help with anything or if they have any questions, your conversation doesn’t have to be all business. If you’ve built a personal relationship with your employees, ask about their family! Find out what show or podcast they’ve binged lately. A little bit of interest goes a long way during isolation and will leave your employees feeling less alone.

Send Your Remote Team A Gift

A package on their doorstep is a fantastic way to let your team know you’re thinking of them. Whether it’s company swag, a gift card to get takeout from a local restaurant, or something that will make their work-from-home experience more comfortable like an external monitor.

We know how challenging it can be to make your team feel cohesive during times of separation. But with how prominent remote work is becoming, it’s more important than ever to create a healthy work-from-home environment. You have to make an instant effort in order to retain your best employees as the work landscape is rapidly changing.

Thinking about adding new team members to your remote workforce? Check out our blog here on how to make new virtual employees feel welcome!

Make New Employees Feel Welcomed Virtually

How to Make New Employees Feel Welcomed Virtually

As challenging as it is to picture, companies are still hiring during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, for many employers, it’s business as usual. Therefore, you may find your team hiring new employees at a time when, according to LinkedIn, roughly two-thirds of employees are now working from home. Here are three things you can do to make your newest team members feel welcomed virtually.

Send them a care package

On a typical first day of work, you walk into your new workspace and find a friendly welcome package. Maybe it’s a company-branded coffee mug and t-shirt, or perhaps a notebook, pens, and other office supplies. Regardless of what you gift your new employees, it’s always a nice touch to make them feel welcomed on their first day. So, instead of hooking them up with some company swag at work, send them a little care package with some fun items. This will make them feel part of the team and put a big smile on their face. You can even include a hand-written note to express your excitement for them to join your team and make them feel welcomed virtually!

Schedule a team meeting (virtually)

Another thing you can do to welcome your new co-workers is to schedule a team meeting with everyone on their first day. Usually, on the first day at a new job, you get to walk around the office to get a lay of the land and meet everyone. Well, this is clearly more challenging when most of us are working remotely, Instead, set up a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meetings so everyone can get acquainted with the new folks. Have your team spend a few minutes introducing themselves and explain their role at the company. This will give your new workers a better feel for the office environment and make them more comfortable with their new team.

Employee spotlight

Another easy way to make your new employees feel welcomed virtually is to write up a little employee spotlight on them. Take a few minutes to interview your new teammate and ask them a few questions. Ask them questions that give the rest of the team a little background on their career and their interests outside of work. You can also add a link to their LinkedIn profile and encourage your team to connect with them. Then, you can send out this spotlight to the rest of the team and allow them to “meet” the new employees.

Want to see some examples? We have tons of employee spotlights on our great staff members at JSG!

Hiring new workers is difficult during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, these are three simple things you can do to make your new employees feel welcomed, even if their first day is remote.

How To Get Hired For A Remote Position

How To Get Hired For A Remote Position

This year, 50% of employees will be working outside of the main office for at least 2.5 days per week. Remote positions are highly sought-after in today’s age of modern technology. And great news, companies are on the hunt for remote employees! However, because of the hands-off nature of working outside the office, they are selective about who they hire. Here are a few key steps you can take to sell yourself as a valuable asset and land the remote position of your dreams.

Set realistic expectations

Remote work is not for everyone. The most important thing to do before you embark on this type of job hunt is to assess whether it’s something you really want. Obviously, there are tons of perks to working remotely, but there are a few challenges as well. Consider that it can be quite lonely and isolated, there can be a struggle to divide home and work life, and you’re held accountable for day-to-day motivation and inspiration.

Look in the right places

The wrong way to find a remote job is to apply to any and every job you see in your field around the world. For the most part, if a company is open to hiring remotely, they will say so in the job title or description. There are some sites, such as remote.com, that list remote positions exclusively. Additionally, you can partner with a recruiter that will match you with a role that matches your specific skill sets and goals.

Understand what employers want

Companies won’t hire just anyone for a remote position. Oftentimes they are only open to hiring someone who has worked out of the office in some capacity. Even if you don’t have remote work on your resume, there are ways to show you would excel as a remote employee. Try asking your current employer for a trial period, working one day a week from home. Or, try adding a side-hustle that you can do in the evenings.

Additionally, here are a few of the traits that make an excellent remote worker:

  • Excellent communication
  • Outstanding organization and prioritization
  • Self-motivation
  • The ability to draw boundaries
  • Tech-savvy

Try incorporating these skills on your resume and describing them in detail during your interview.

There’s no doubt about it, remote jobs are out there. And in order to land one, it’s all in how you sell yourself. Can’t get enough job search and interview tips? Check out more JSG blogs for more job search tips!

How To Hire Remote Employees

How To Hire Remote Employees

Did you know that 50% of employees worldwide work outside of their main office for at least 2.5 days a week? And companies are reaping the benefits. 85% of business leaders have expressed that flexible working has made their business more productive, and 67% even think that flexibility can improve productivity by at least a fifth. If your team has yet to add remote workers, now is a great time to do it!

Expand your search

Hiring remote employees allows you to expand your net for finding talent significantly. Consider this when posting your job listing, and don’t limit it to only specific areas. Some of the most talented candidates may live in remote areas or even overseas. This is where partnering with a recruiting firm can come in handy, as we have connections with candidates worldwide.

Look for key skills

Any successful remote employee needs to excel at a few key skills. These include great communication, exceptional organization, and reliable accountability. To assess a candidate’s mastery in these three areas, be sure to ask lots of behavioral questions during the interview process. Additionally, remote employees MUST be tech-savvy. Without an in-person support team to troubleshoot, they will need to be comfortable with all sorts of different technology ranging from reporting software to video conferencing.

Be upfront about expectations

The stipulations around every single remote position are different. Throughout the hiring process, starting with the job listing, be clear about what you expect from remote employees. Explain how they will be evaluated, and how their position measures success. It’s essential that you follow through on these expectations throughout the hiring process, and as soon as your new employee is on board.

Consider hiring contract

If you’re still a little wary about hiring remote employees, consider starting with a contractor. You can always offer a contractor a permanent position down the road (contract-to-hire); often referred to as the “try before you buy” method.

Flexible working is the future. If your company is curious about how you can hire more remote employees, or simply need help discovering the talent you need; talk to one of our experienced recruiters today.