Posts

Proactive Monitoring is Key in the Post-Pandemic Workforce

Proactive Monitoring is Key in the Post-Pandemic Workforce

The coronavirus pandemic is making significant impacts on today’s workforce. One of these is the transition to working remotely for millions of people across the globe. A year later and many of us are still working from home. Some of us have even made this a permanent transition. However, this shift to remote work has generated a surge in security breaches, increasing the importance of proactive monitoring.

A spike in cyberattacks for remote workers

With millions of people working from home, companies are becoming more vulnerable to cyberattacks. According to software and security company VMWare Carbon Black, ransomware attacks have double during the pandemic. And Breadcrumb Cybersecurity CEO Brian Horton explained that working away from the office can make an employee far more vulnerable to a hack. Horton claims that “When organizations moved to a work-from-home context, they inherited the security risk of the employee’s personal home network.” He explains that “Whereas traditionally, they would focus on securing organizational assets, employers were left scrambling to secure remote work environments.”

When your employees are working from the office, IT teams have more control and better defenses in place to prevent cyberattacks. As employees work from home, they become more vulnerable as they work on unsecured networks, work-related files on personal devices, and begin to use their work computers to view personal, sensitive data. It’s easier for IT professionals to proactively monitor these risks in the office and stop them from wreaking havoc on their companies. However, with working from home becoming the new normal, IT folks will have to be on their toes to keep their employees and company safe from these attacks.

What can employers do to mitigate these WFH cyberattacks?

So, what can your IT team do to mitigate these WFH cyberattacks?

Share best practices

One of the easiest ways to reduce your company’s vulnerability to cyberattacks is to share best practices with your staff. Send regular emails with your company’s IT policies and procedures to reduce your risk of these attacks. Make these practices and rules visible to your team, and encourage them to ask questions or report suspicious activity.

Proactively monitor network

With your staff more aware of potential security risks, your team can now focus on proactively monitoring your network. Moreover, your team must continuously monitor your network to avoid any issues with systems and ensure your network operates smoothly. Proactive monitoring will help your team identify problems ahead of time and avoid costly downtime.

Work with an IT consulting firm

If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to monitor your network proactively, it may be time to outsource it with a professional. Internal IT teams have their hands full, with most of the company’s staff working remotely. Partner with an IT consulting firm like JSG to keep your systems running safely. JSG offers proactive monitoring solutions to create escalation alerts, fault monitoring, firewall activity, and so much more. We can create a custom solution to keep your data and employees safe by proactively monitoring your systems 24/7/365. So, if this sounds like a good fit for your company, reach out to our IT experts today!

How To Answer Interview Questions About Remote Work

How To Answer Interview Questions About Remote Work

If you’re interviewing in 2021 and beyond, chances are, interviewers will ask you questions about remote work. The modern workforce is rapidly changing, and many managers are rethinking their previous aversions to working from home. So, how do you address it during your interview? First, there are two different situations we must examine: if you have experience working remotely and if you do not.

If You Have Remote Work Experience

Having experience makes fielding questions about working remotely a little less intimidating. However, it’s still important to prepare yourself! Prior to your interview, take some time to think about your previous work from home position(s). Here are some common questions that you can expect in your interview:

  • Who was your supervisor, and how did you communicate?
  • What was your accountability structure?
  • How did you fight distractions?
  • How did you prioritize your tasks?
  • What are your strategies for maintaining a work-life balance?
  • How did you overcome any obstacles that came up?
  • How did you stay in touch with fellow team members?
  • What was the most challenging thing about working remotely?

If You Do Not Have Experience Working Remotely

If you don’t have experience working remotely, make that known upfront. The last thing you want to do is get caught in a lie or be put in a position to handle something you’re not equipped for. Instead of answering questions related to past experiences, you’ll need to be able to speak on common remote work skills such as your adaptability and accountability. Here is an excellent example script that you can customize to fit your personality, skills, and experience.

“While I don’t have any previous experience working remotely, it’s something I believe I would excel at. In previous positions, I’ve been largely independent – charged with setting my own schedule, meeting deadlines with little assistance, and jumping in to help on projects in other offices. I pride myself on being adaptable, focused, and innovative. For example, when I finish one project, I don’t just sit there twiddling my thumbs until I am assigned something else. I always keep a collection of back-burner projects and tasks that I can jump into at any time. This helps me stay productive and motivated!”

Either way, it’s essential, to be honest. While working from home can be rewarding, it also comes with its fair set of challenges. Be sure to assess if this remote position is indeed the right opportunity for you! And if you need more interview advice or tips on working remotely, be sure to explore our candidate resources.

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

It’s been nearly a year since the beginning of the pandemic where thousands of companies were forced to transition to a remote working environment. This transition is temporary for some employers, but many are permanently shifting operations to allow their staff to work from home. Regardless of which boat your company is in, you will eventually have to hire a new staff member on a remote basis. Hiring someone for a remote position takes a unique skill set and requires you to ask different interview questions to ensure candidates will be the right fit. You need to understand if they are reliable, flexible, and excellent communicators. Here are three interview questions you should ask remote work candidates.

Have you worked remotely in the past?

First of all, you want to understand in what capacity they have worked remotely in the past. Are they currently working remotely? Or are they considered an essential worker and able to work on-site? Shifting from working on-site to your home “office” is challenging, and you need to see if your prospective candidates are up for the task. You are looking for qualified candidates that fit the work style or environment. Understanding what capacity a candidate has worked from home is an excellent first step.

If a candidate has not worked remotely, that is not a dealbreaker. You will just want to look for qualities in their answers to understand if they fit that working style.

What types of communication tools have you used, and how did you use them?

Asking a candidate what type of communication tools they use will help you understand how they will virtually work with others. You want to see what tools they have used in the past and how they have used them to communicate. Clear communication while working from home is essential. They don’t necessarily have to have experience with the same tools your team uses. For example, skills with Microsoft Team will undoubtedly translate into using Zoom or Slack. Most importantly, is learning how they use these tools to work with others successfully and complete assignments.

How do you control your time management and remain organized?

Time management and organizational skills are crucial for remote workers. It is much easier to check in on workers when you physically share office space. However, when people work remotely, they have much more independence; candidates will be more responsible for managing their time and organization. Asking this question will allow you to understand how a prospective candidate keeps track of their time, prioritize their work, and stay organized throughout the day. Answers will differ from person to person. So, what you are looking for is that they have a thoughtful method for managing their time and staying focused.

Need more hiring input?

So, these are three basic interview questions you should ask remote work candidates to see if they are a strong fit for your team. If you need more help vetting candidates for remote assignments, reach out to our team at JSG. We can help you identify the candidates that will make an immediate impact on your team from the safety of their homes. Let’s work together!

The 2021 Job Search Checklist

The 2021 Job Search Checklist

If you are ready to seek new employment opportunities in 2021, there are a few things you need to do to be successful. The labor market is still in recovery mode, and you will need to put in a little extra work to land a job this year. Here is the 2021 job search checklist to help ensure you land the job you’ve been working hard to find.

Are you ready to work remotely?

When you are looking for a new job this year, there are a few questions you should ask yourself; one of these questions is, are you ready to work remotely? Even after the virus is long-gone, remote work will be here to stay in some fashion. Many employers are permanently moving to remote working environments, while others will offer a hybrid system where you will work both onsite and at home. So like it or not, working from home is the new normal. And that’s not a bad thing! There are many benefits to working from home, like a more extensive job market pool for you to enter. You may no longer be restricted to local job opportunities. Remote work allows job seekers to apply for exciting opportunities across the nation or even globally.

Give your resume a facelift

Giving your resume an upgrade is one of the most critical points on this job search checklist. Your resume is often your first impression, and if it’s not up to par, you could be disqualified from the hiring process. In 2021, there will be a lot of competition throughout your job search. To stay a step ahead of your fellow job seekers, you must tailor your resume for each position. If you blindly submit your resume to every job posting you see, you won’t have a lot of luck. Quality is better than quality when it comes to your job search. Customize your resume objective, tweak your skills section, and reword your bullets to fit the job description better.

Look outside your current field

We have been talking about this a lot lately. 2021 may be the year of a career shift. And we are not just talking about switching jobs; we are talking about changing careers entirely or transitioning to an unfamiliar sector. Some industries are performing better than others right now, and it may be time to shift to one of these areas. If you have the right transferrable skills, your opportunities are virtually endless. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge into a new career.

Network early and often

Another essential bullet point on the 2021 job search checklist is networking. Many people underestimate the value of networking. It unlocks doors to opportunities you would never find on job boards. Also, networking gives you a sense of camaraderie. If you have been hunting for a new job for a while, you are not alone. Networking allows you to share your stories with others that are also struggling and provides a platform to help one another out. You never know who can lead you in the right direction or make an introduction in your network. Network early and often to make the most out of your job search. And once you land a job, don’t forget to share with your network. They are invested in your career adventure and would love to share this exciting moment with you.

Partner with a recruiter

The final mark on the job search checklist is to reach out to a recruiter. If you really want to optimize your energy and time spent on your job search, work with a recruiting firm. Our JSG recruiters have access to exclusive job opportunities, work with clients that are ready to make hiring decisions immediately, and have your best interest at heart. Partner with us today and let us help you find your next job opportunity this year. Take a look at our job board and let’s work together.

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!

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

How To Ease Back Into Office Life After Working From Home

How To Ease Back Into Office Life After Working From Home

As many states start to ease back into a semi-normal routine, many workers throughout the country are returning to the office. After over two months of working from home, this may be quite a shell-shock. Not to mention, so many things have changed! As you begin to establish your new normal, be sure to take these three things into consideration.

Be Flexible

In a post-pandemic world, flexibility is going to be key. Companies and employees alike are trying to navigate totally uncharted waters. Your workplace has been working around the clock to implement safe and sanitary procedures. Please have patience and practice being flexible! It will take some time to get used to foregoing handshakes, practicing social distancing, and sanitizing everything constantly.

Take Time To Check In With Your Coworkers & Partners

It has been a whirlwind couple of months. As you step foot back in the office, take the time to check in with everyone. This is an excellent opportunity to spark meaningful conversations that go beyond the current weather. Ask people how they spent their time working from home – did they binge-watch anything great? Catch up on a fantastic book? How was balancing homeschooling with work? It won’t do any good to jump straight to business. Your coworkers and business contacts will appreciate the chance to socialize and catch up!

Give Yourself Some Grace

It can be tempting just to jump right back into your old way of working. However, don’t forget that things are very different now. It may take a little while to get back into the swing of things (and that’s okay!). Ask for support from your team or leaders if you need it. Most importantly, if you feel sick or rundown at any point, STAY HOME.

Heading back into the office is probably stirring up a large variety of emotions. Be sure to check in with yourself and take advantage of the resources at hand both at your workplace and online!

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.