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How To Create The Best Hybrid Work Schedule

How To Create The Best Hybrid Work Schedule

With the recent announcement from Amazon that they will be letting individual teams decide their work environments and schedules, many are left wondering how to create the best hybrid work schedule. When the decision is left up to the employee, how do you decide? To determine which days to work from home, ask yourself these three questions.

Which days and in which environments are you most productive?

Most of us have days of the week on which we are most productive. Oftentimes, Mondays are spent catching up after the weekend that passed, and Fridays are spent dreaming of the weekend to come. This is why Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, are often the sweet spots for productivity. However, it varies from person to person! Once you’ve determined the days on which you are most productive, consider the environment that best lends itself to accomplishing tasks. For some, this may be the office where you are free from the distractions of home. For others, it may be at home if you work in a loud or busy office with a lot going on. To create your best hybrid work schedule, discover your productivity sweet spots.

Which days do you have the most meetings?

Meetings can be a productivity killer. And in modern days, when many meetings are held virtually, they can truly dictate your entire day! If all of your meetings are virtual, it can be challenging to participate in the office with lots of noise and distractions. However, if your team is meeting in person, you’re going to want to be in-office for those, naturally. So, consider your team’s working and meeting style to create your best hybrid word schedule. And once you’ve decided, let your team know which days you prefer to have meetings so you can meet effectively moving forward.

Is your company open to “work from anywhere”?

If your company is comfortable with you working from anywhere, it can be beneficial to WFH on Mondays and/or Fridays. This enables you to work from the lake cabin or start work a little earlier and kick off your weekend early on Friday. What’s most important in this scenario is that you respect the policy. Working remotely on Fridays or Mondays doesn’t just give you a “3 day weekend.” You must treat it as a typical workday, with added flexibility. And as always, be sure to discuss expectations with your manager!

Everyone’s situation is unique, and what works best for one person might not work best for someone else. When crafting your best hybrid work schedule, have open conversations with management about what will be most effective for you. And most importantly? Be flexible! The most significant benefit of hybrid work is that it allows for adaptability, so you must be adaptable along with it for best results.

How to Stand Out to Your Employer While WFH

How to Stand Out to Your Employer While WFH

As the workplace continues to shift during the pandemic, there have been many conversations centered around working from home and hybrid schedules. One of the most significant issues is that workers that choose (or have the opportunity) to return to the office can gain more attention from their superiors and leadership teams. As a result, those working on-site may have a better shot at receiving a raise or even a promotion. So, if you cannot head back to the office, here are four ways you can stand out to your employer while WFH.

Turn your camera on during meetings

If you are still working from home, it’s time to turn your cameras back on during meetings. At the beginning of the pandemic, almost everyone was eager to turn their cameras during this challenging transition. However, as the mandatory lockdowns and working from home persisted much longer than anticipated, most companies became a little more relaxed about Zoom meeting etiquette. Well, if you want to stand out to your employer while you work remotely, turn your camera back on.

Putting a face to a name is an excellent way to help you stand out and make you more memorable. Having your camera on is especially important when you are meeting with people outside your team. If you’re meeting with someone from the leadership team or even just another department, make yourself visible! Having your face front and center will make networking with others within your company easier, and ultimately, help your colleagues and superiors remember you.

Show up a few minutes early to meetings

One of the worst drawbacks of working from home is the lack of social interaction with your co-workers. Those watercooler conversations are hard to come by when you are not face-to-face with your colleagues. You miss out on a lot of interactions, small talk, and even bonding. To combat this, log onto your video meetings a few minutes before they start. Being early to these Zoom or Teams meetings will give you the opportunity to chat with your colleagues and superiors, helping you establish relationships with others within the company. Building these relationships and rapport with your co-workers will make it easier to stand out while working from home.

Be engaged in your meetings

Most of us have seen the memes and jokes (like the one below) making fun of the people that say “goodbye” or “thank you” at the end of a meeting, so they feel they contributed. Well, instead of keeping your mouth shut throughout the meeting, start engaging and actively contributing. Of course, this depends on the meeting, but if it’s a collaborative meeting amongst your colleagues, don’t be afraid to speak up! You probably have a lot of fantastic ideas and knowledge to share with the team. If you want to get noticed by your employer while working from home, it’s time to start being an active participant in your video meetings.

Stand out while working from home

 

Reach out to teammates and co-workers

Finally, if you want to stand out to your employer while you WFH, reach out to your teammates and co-workers. Sure, everyone has a group of people that they work with regularly; but, if you want to make a splash with your boss or superiors, try reaching out to others within the company. Reach out to cross departments and introduce yourself (if you haven’t already met). Have a conversation, see how your role can impact their position or department, and offer to lend a hand. Volunteering to assist with company-wide projects or offering your assistance is an excellent way to earn the attention of your peers and start to build up your reputation. Plus, these relationships with others in your company will become reciprocal, and you will be able to leverage their help when you need it.

These are four simple ways your can stand out to your employer while working from home. If you are looking for more career advice, take a look at our blog. We have tons of helpful resources available to help you take the next step in your career!

When Should You Ask About WFH in the Hiring Process?

When Should You Ask About WFH in the Hiring Process?

As the country continues to heal from the aftermath of the pandemic, more jobs are returning. According to the latest JOLTS report, there are 9.2 million job openings as of May 2021. Furthermore, over 850,000 jobs were added by the U.S. economy, significantly surpassing economists’ projections of 700,000. So, with so many jobs available and 42% of employed job seekers looking for greener pastures, more people are starting to dip their toes into the job market. But if you are looking for a new position and want (or even need to) work remotely, when is the best time to broach this question? Here is when you should ask about working from home during the hiring process.

WFH policies are usually in job descriptions

So, if you are searching for a new job opportunity and remote work is a must-have, when should you ask the hiring manager? Typically, job descriptions will give you some indication of the company’s work from home or hybrid policies. Explaining the onsite or remote work policies in job descriptions became the norm during the pandemic, and now that we are well into recovery mode, most employers are still making this clear. Job descriptions are either clarifying that they are onsite positions to avoid any confusion, or employers are giving a glimpse at their remote work policies to lure in new candidates. Either way, most employers are (and should) share these details in their job descriptions.

When to pop the WFH question

However, if there is no mention of the company’s policies, you may have to ask for clarification. So, if working from home is an absolute must, when should you ask about WFH in the hiring process? It’s usually best to ask at the beginning of the process to save both you and the employer time. If the hiring manager or recruiter does not mention the topic at the beginning of an interview or pre-screening, you can safely ask towards the end of your conversation. Generally, this topic will come naturally during an initial interview, as most employers want to make their policies know upfront. If they do not support any remote work or hybrid working formats, they will usually be straightforward to weed out candidates with remote work as a main priority.

Nevertheless, if remote work is a deal-breaker for you, you should ask about it during that initial interview. Even if a company supports remote work or a hybrid schedule now, that doesn’t mean they will do so, say six months from now. Many companies are still evolving to offer safe working environments for their staff. In other words, the employer’s remote work policy may not be set in stone and could change as time goes on. So, if this conversation does not arise during your initial interview, you should ask for details towards the end of your meeting.

How to ask about working from home

If you need to broach the subject, you can easily do so with a quick question. Here is an excellent example of how to ask about WFH during the hiring process:

“The job description did not clarify if this position is onsite only or offers the opportunity to work remotely. Can you please elaborate on your work from home policy?”

This question is a simple way to get a better idea of the company’s WFH situation. But if you absolutely must work from home and you need to ensure remote work is a permanent perk at the company, you can clarify their policy with the following question:

“So, you mentioned that some employees are currently working remotely. Is this a policy [company name] plans on supporting in the future?”

Asking this question is an excellent way to understand the company’s stance on working from home permanently.

Don’t be afraid to ask

At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to ask the employer about their WFH plans. Policies are changing, and remote work is more convenient in specific locations and industries. As long as you ask earlier in the hiring process, you are in good shape. Just like with the salary and benefits, never start the conversation off with the company’s opinion on working from home. And even if they do not support a hybrid workforce, that doesn’t mean they won’t make an exception for the right person. You don’t know until you ask, but you must ask at the appropriate time.

What’s the Best Day to Work from Home?

What’s the Best Day to Work from Home?

Hybrid working schedules – where you work some combination of in the office and remotely – are gaining in popularity. Thousands of companies shifted to supporting a remote workforce, and many of these employers are continuing to do so post-pandemic in some capacity. However, how these hybrid working schedules will be structured is a mystery to most. Some employers are designating which days their staff can WFH, while others have the flexibility to choose their schedules. So, what’s the best day to work from home without raising any red flags with your employers?

Mondays and Fridays

For most employers, the beginning and the very end of the week are a no-go, which is not a surprise for many. These days are off-limits for most employers, and if you have the opportunity to choose your days off, you’re better off choosing one of the other three days in a workweek. Unfortunately, the automatic thought for most employers about working from home on Mondays and Fridays is you are either extending your weekend or trying to coast into the next one. This is obviously not true for many works, but this is the perception that it can create choosing one of these days.

You can argue that you can start or end the week on a strong note by working from home on one of these days. You wouldn’t have to commute and sit in traffic and can get right to work. However, there are better days to work from home in most situations.

Tuesdays and Thursdays

Tuesdays and Thursdays are better options for most. Working from home on one of these days offers a nice break into the workweek. Before the pandemic, I worked remotely every Tuesday and Thursday. It provided a nice flow to the week: one day in the office, one day at home, one day back in the office, one day at home, and one more day in the office. It gave me a nice balance for the week. Also, it allowed me to plan specific tasks that were more suitable for the office environment (meetings, collaboration, etc.) and other activities that were more appropriate to my home “office.”

However, you may only get the opportunity to work one day from home. In that case, working remotely on a Tuesday or a Thursday may not be ideal. It may feel like your time is chopped up if you work from home only after one day at the office and then three more days straight in the office from Wednesday through Friday. The same goes for Thursdays. It may be challenging to work from home on a Thursday and then have to return to the office on Friday to finish out the week.

Wednesdays are the optimal WFH days

That leaves us with Wednesday, which is probably the best WFH day you can choose. Choosing to work from home in the middle of the workweek may seem odd, but it provides an excellent balance and flow to your work schedule. Two days in the office, one productive day working remote, and two more days in the office to finish out the week. 

This splits up the workweek symmetrically and can allow you to really schedule out your entire week. You can start the work week with two collaborative days in the office and tackle any important meetings at the beginning of your week. Then, you have an entire day to grind out some tasks and other work activities that require more concentration and solitude. Finally, you end the week strong with two more collaborative days at the office where you can wrap up any tasks or meetings before the weekend arrives. Plus, by scheduling your work from home day in the middle of the week, you avoid and superstitions about you trying to extend your weekend with remote work on Mondays or Fridays.

Ultimately, the day that works best for you depends

As a general consensus, the best day to work from home is a Wednesday. But that may not always be the case. Everyone has a different working situation and a remote day that works best for you clearly depends on your lifestyle, the industry you work in, and the role you play in your company. If the best day to work from home is on any other day, it may not be a dealbreaker. So, if your employer has strict guidelines about your work from home policy, express your concerns with your manager. If they don’t understand your situation and why a certain day remote might work better than another, it’s difficult for them to support you.

Regardless of which day works best for you, the bottom line is transparency and open communication with your employer go a long way. In most cases, they will understand your situation and may offer you some flexibility. After all, we all had to be a little bit more flexible over the last 18+ months.

If you are looking for ways to boost your productivity while working from home, here are three easy ways to stay productive while working from home.

How WFH Will Change the Office

How WFH Will Change the Office

Is heading back to the office after working from home for over a year making you feel a little anxious? For the last year and some change, we have discussed in great detail how the pandemic is altering the workforce. But as offices begin to open back up, it’s time to discuss how working from home for the last 12+ months will change the office environment. Here is how WFH will affect working in the office.

More flexibility

Most people WFH have experienced more flexibility: flexible working hours, more accommodations, and less direct supervision. As we transition back to work in the office, this additional flexibility isn’t going anywhere. Giving employees more space and freedom has fostered better work-life balances, more creativity, and better overall work satisfaction. If employers want to keep their workforce happy, they cannot just brush this flexibility under the rug.

Managers will be more accommodating moving forward to fit the needs of their staff better. A typical 9 to 5 isn’t the ideal schedule for many workers. As we continue to adjust to our new “normal,” companies will be more supportive of individual needs. For example, if you need to work remotely once a week to be present for your kids, chances are employers will be more supportive and understanding. More flexibility will help employers better manage hybrid workforces and offer equal leniency to all their staff members.

Relaxed dress code

How many of you enjoyed working from home in your lounge wear or shorts and a t-shirt? It’s really nice to ditch the formal business wear and enjoy a more relaxed dress code. As we return to the office, you can expect a more casual dress code. And I am not just talking about casual Fridays – I am talking about a permanent dress code change. Employees can be just as productive in blue jeans and a shirt instead of business casual. It may be a small change, but this is one that workers will appreciate and feel more comfortable at work.

Employers taking better care of their staff

One thing that will separate good employers from excellent ones is how they take care of their staff. Besides additional flexibility and dress code changes, employers are actively looking for ways to support their teams. One example of this is LinkedIn closing up shop the week of April 5th for a paid vacation for their entire workforce. In an effort to recharge and avoid burnout, LinkedIn is providing this paid week off to take care of their employees during a stressful time. Other companies are also offering mental health days to keep their employees happy, healthy, and productive.

Interested in exploring new opportunities?

These are just three of the fundamental ways WFH will change the office. If you are looking for a new opportunity with an employer that takes better care of their team, check out our job board. We have hundreds of exciting roles across North America with fantastic employers!

WFH burnout

3 Signs You’re on The Verge of A WFH Burnout

Show of hands: how many of you remote workers thought you would still be working from home in November? Yeah, neither did I. It has been a long eight+ months for most of us, and what seemed like a nice treat might be the bane of your existence. Working from home can be fantastic, but millions of remote workers are on the edge of a burnout. However, with a few tweaks in your day and good habits, you can combat this feeling and keep productivity rolling strong. Here are three signs you are on the verge of a WFH burnout (and how to avoid them).

You haven’t established WFH boundaries

Not everyone has the luxury of a quiet, at-home office to work from. In reality, you are probably working on your dining room table or the couch. And while your temporary setup might have been nice in the beginning, the lack of boundaries is starting to diminish your productivity. However, you may not have that leisure if you are also trying to facilitate your children’s distant learning or keep your dog entertained.

No matter what your work setup is, you have to set boundaries for yourself. Establish working hours (if possible) and create a space where all you do is work. If your entire home and day consist of working, you will quickly start to feel burnt out. Create healthy boundaries for yourself to improve your mental health, productivity, and job satisfaction.

You feel the need to respond instantly

While working from home, it is easy to feel the guilt of not responding to an IM or an email right away, even if it’s after your “working hours.” I get it; it’s hard to resist the urge to reply to a co-worker when you are off work but just a few feet away from your laptop. This is where you need to exercise self-control. It’s okay to read the message, but that doesn’t mean you have to respond right away. Of course, if it’s a work emergency, go ahead and reply. However, if it’s just a normal message, it can probably wait until tomorrow.

So many remote workers are on the verge of a burn out by always being available. It’s easy to do so or just think to yourself, “it will only take a few minutes. I can respond to that now.” But after eight months, that mentality starts to take a toll on you. Just like when working in the office, you are not always available, and that is okay. We must realize that we don’t need to instantly respond to every message to prove that we are working. If you struggle with this, put your email on do not disturb, or set quiet hours so that you don’t even see the messages come through at a time you set for yourself.

You don’t take any time off

It can be challenging to take time off right now. Let’s be frank; there isn’t a whole lot to do as far as vacations go. Regardless of our current circumstances, it is essential for your mental health and productivity to take time off. We earn vacation and PTO days for a reason; don’t be afraid to use those days to take a step away from all the chaos and relax. Even if you are just hanging out at home, taking a day off here and there is so rewarding. It makes you feel refreshed when you return to work and will help avoid WFH burnout.

And this doesn’t have to be a week-long vacation. This can be taking a Friday off to make a long weekend or taking a half-day to go enjoy some nice weather. So, if you have the time off, don’t be afraid to use it. The longer you put off carving out time for yourself, the closer you will be to a WFH burnout.

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

post-pandemic company

How to Make Your Post-Pandemic Company Better Than Before

COVID-19 has been a very tricky time for companies around the world to navigate. Businesses needed to do things they have never done before, like work from home, attend video conference calls, and experience a lapse in breakroom donuts. As we strive into the future together, we cannot revert to the same ways; let COVID-19 be an opportunity for a better, brighter future for your company. Here are five things your organization can do to make your post-pandemic company even better than before.

Increased Flexibility

COVID-19 has shown us the importance of workplace flexibility, and now, it is no longer a benefit, but an expectation from employers. In a survey from Zenefits, they found that 77% of workers have flexibility as a top priority in their job search, which means offering a flexible workplace will be crucial to hiring great talent. The transition to a more flexible working environment must happen quickly because about 30% percent of workers have left jobs due to their lack of flexibility. 

So, the spectrum of flexibility will vary from team to team. Still, you can offer flexibility with better PTO policies, WFH benefits, and empathy for sick employees – because if this pandemic taught us anything, it is to stay home when you feel sick! 

Enhanced Digitization

The quickness of the pandemic pushed workers around the world to dial in on their digital skills. Suddenly, workers needed to establish a WFH office to maintain a “normal” workday. For a boost in efficiency, we expect an increase in video conferences and other technologies to make your workforce more agile. Make the necessary investments in the technology your post-pandemic company needs to keep the ball rolling and your team more productive.

An Overload of Sanitizer

Once everyone returns to the office, workplace hygiene will be at an all-time high. Employees washing their hands and sanitizing throughout the day will become habitual, and honestly, completely necessary. An overload of hand sanitizer and other cleaning routines should be encouraged to ensure the safety of all employees.

Clear Expectations

Transitioning into a post-pandemic world will have its own set of challenges. It is different than it was previously, and you need to lay out clear expectations for what you want from your employees. Clear communication and building trust with your team will be essential as we start to return to work.

Laid-Back Dress Code

Professional outfits hit the back burner while WFH parents had to work from home and watch their children. As we transition to a new normal, there’s a trend toward casual dressing. If appropriate, relax your dress code protocol to make your team feel a little more comfortable as they return.

So, let’s reimagine your post-pandemic company: more flexible, caring, and safe. Relax the strict workplace rules that have been around for decades and offer your employees a workplace experience that they won’t want to leave.

working from home

Will You Be Working from Home Permanently?

Working from home has become the new norm for millions of Americans over the last couple of months, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, even as states begin to reopen, some companies are extending their work from home (WFH) policies throughout the summer. Others are pushing them out until 2021. For example, Google and Facebook have both extended their work from home policies until this fall. Some companies, like Twitter, are making WFH a permanent option. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, just announced that he is allowing his employees to work remotely permanently, even after the pandemic is over. So, will you be working from home permanently? Or, are you counting down the seconds until you can head back to the office?

The work from stigma is fizzling out

Many employers that were once against working from home have turned over a new leaf. With millions forced to work remotely because of stay at home orders imposed by our states’ governors, most employers did not have a choice. As a result, companies are changing their tune on letting their employees work remotely. This shift will have a significant, lasting impression on the modern-day workforce for years to come. Employers that once refused to let their team operate remotely are now hiring new employees for remote positions. In fact, job postings for remote positions were up 42% on LinkedIn in March. This trend will likely increase, even after we overcome this virus.

The benefits of working from home

Millions of Americans are getting the privilege of WFH for the very first time. And the majority of them are enjoying it. A recent study from ZDNet found that 40% of workers would prefer to work remotely full-time in the future. Furthermore, working from home has improved the productivity and communication of many workers. A report from USA Today found that 54% of workers are more productive than when working in the office. This result is due to the time saved from commuting, as well as fewer distractions and meetings.

With a positive impact on our workforce, don’t be surprised if more employers begin to offer remote work in the future.

Looking for ways to stay productive while working remotely?

Working remotely is definitely an adjustment for many of us. And although there are tons of good things coming to fruition because of this newfound productivity working from home, others are struggling to make this transition. If you need a little help boosting your WFH productivity, check out our blog on how to effectively work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.