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If you're in the creative industry, there's a very good chance you have experienced the winter-avoiding bliss that is working remotely. In the last four years, the number of people working from home one day or less per week actually decreased while the percentage of those working remotely for longer periods increased equally. 31% of employees work from home four to five days a week, indicating that the American workforce is embracing the shift.

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Having worked from home only a few times leaves you to likely conclude that it's "not for you," or that you'd "never get anything done," but let us tell you, a steady place in your home office is different from the occasional tv-filled Snowpocalypse workday.

Just because it different doesn't make it easy, so we've got some tips for you:

1) Get dressed.

You never thought wearing something as casual as jeans could shove you into working mode, but it's amazing what peeling off the pajamas can do to a person. There's a psychology behind clothing, so ignore your morning instincts to stick to the sweats, and put on something different.

2) Routine, routine, routine.

One of the most efficient parts of your day with an out-of-the-house job is likely your morning routine. You shower, get dressed, eat, or get coffee, and arrive at your desk at almost the same time, every single day. Your work at home can only benefit from maintaining regular hours and habits, so carrying over this everyday morning routine is worth a try!

3) Plan your lunches.

If you were leaving the house, you'd have mentally planned out what you'd be eating and where, so don't let that habit slip. Prepare your lunch just as you would if you were leaving, otherwise you'll find yourself standing at the fridge at 1pm scanning for something quick to nosh on.

4) Get out.

People's biggest suspicion about a home office is that they'll get stir crazy. Snow days and frigid temps aside, it can get a little stale unless you make an effort to get outside each day. Maintain a gym membership, walk your dog, walk your neighbor's dog, or just spread out your weekly errands so there's somewhere to go and fresh air to be breathed. Or, hit up a coffee shop for an inexpensive escape from your comfy office chair.

5) Stay in touch with coworkers.

Just like any long distance relationship, both parties must make an effort to check in. Loneliness is a genuine concern of remote workers, and losing out on the camaraderie of coworkers can be a tough adjustment. Ease your pain by touching base via email or chat throughout the day, and you won't miss the office as much.

6) Find a community.

The perk of not being in an office is the freedom of space and time, right? No one to interrupt your workflow, distract you with a chit chat or drag you into an unnecessary meeting. The downside is the lack of community found in a traditional office, but fear not! You can find your people through meetups or coworking spaces. All of the fun parts of a workspace with none of the gunk.

Posted: 11/29/2017 10:46:56 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


If you're at all involved at the management level in a company, your ears are surely familiar with the increasing requests for work-from-home opportunities. If your business is more traditionally structured, it can be really challenging to wrap your head around the inevitable changes arriving once you accommodate such requests. Will your company fall apart at the seams? 

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We can't promise anything, but there are definite bonuses to opening your mind (and opening your office). Embracing telecommuting will:

Lower stress levels and boost morale.

With 82 percent of telecommuters reporting lower stress levels, it's hard to argue that allowing for remote work boosts morale. Even if your office seems generally satisfied and content at work, consider the fact that this could produce even more efficient employees.

Improve employee engagement.

Think about how easy it is to go several days without connecting with some of your colleagues. You might see each other in passing, or be on the same email threads, but likely don't spend much time reaching out to each coworker individually. Telecommuting provides an opportunity (and need) to touch base with your team frequently, communicating more often and more thoroughly than they may have before.

Give the people what they want.

Work-life balance and salary still top the charts for deciding factors of new jobs, but this year's Flexjob survey shows that 59% of millennials are looking for the ability to work remotely. A remarkable amount of respondents (83%) who said they sought flexibility at their jobs claimed they would be interested in working from home 100% of the time. That's right, if you want to attract top young talent, you'll have to consider allowing your team some workspace options. With millennials commanding a large portion of the workforce, it's crucial to embrace the changes ahead. 

Reduce unscheduled absences.

Most people that call in "sick" aren't so much ill as they are in need of time to address family issues, personal needs, and stress. Flexible hours allow them to run errands or drop off kids without needing to take an entire day off. Telecommuters who are sick will usually work anyways – working from bed is monumentally better than getting up and heading to a germ-filled office.

Save some money.

Less people in an office means... ? Less office! Automattic, the maker of Wordpress, recently closed its 14,000 square feet of expensive San Francisco real estate, since so much of its workforce already worked from home. Less space and fewer office supplies remove a lot of overhead costs, and even arranging one work-from-home day per week eliminates 52 days a year of heating and lighting expenses. 

Get better candidates.

When hiring, a company is typically limited by geography, local cost of living, and whatever talent is nearby. Telecommuting opens the doors to anybody, in any state, with any kind of living cost or talent. You can be a little more selective (as long as they're comfortable working remotely, of course), and with an improved attrition rate, you're likely to see your team sticking around longer.

The benefits that come to an office that embraces telecommuting cannot be denied. What are you waiting for?

Posted: 11/22/2017 10:08:49 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Ever since the recession began a decade ago, the biggest topic of discussion has been one of our favorites: the job market. There have been small peaks and valleys since then, but with unemployment dropping to 4.3% this year (its lowest since 2001), it's safe to say the market is stabilizing, and 2017 has taught us some things. While the year isn't quite over yet, we've learned a few things you should know.

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1) Sayonara, cookie cutter jobs.

Gone are the days of job openings with very specific skills being filled by candidates who fit perfectly into the mold. The booming real estate market in many urban areas is the perfect reflection of the job market. Just as houses are being sold with all-cash offers, employers are searching for potential with each hired employee, requesting extra qualifications and offering jobs to those who bring more to the table. Make yourself a more attractive candidate by learning skills adjacent to your current expertise. Wide, varied knowledge about programs and systems related to your industry is a valuable trait in a new employee, and could land you the job over a just-qualified candidate.

2) There's no ignoring technology.

Anyone who insists they're "not great with computers" should take a deeper look at their choices. They're actually turning down an opportunity to make more money, and it doesn't take much! That's right, being proficient only Microsoft Word and Excel (with no other digital skill) translates to an hourly rate of $22.66, compared to $20.14 for positions without digital-focused qualifications.  After reading that 82% of middle-skill jobs require digital skills, it seems like a no-brainer to dabble in the simplest of programs. Nowadays, companies expect it.

3) That degree was worth it.

According to a Career Builder survey, 38 percent of employers have raised the education requirements over the last five years, with 33 percent of them hiring workers with masters degrees for positions that previously required bachelor's degrees. When asked about the reasons for increased requirements, almost two-thirds of employers claim the necessary skills have evolved, requiring a higher base level of education. So thank your lucky stars every time a student loan payment hits – that piece of paper was worth it.

4) Don't expect more money.

For the job economy to experience a healthy growth, the average salary must increase by 3-3.5% year to year. This helps workers keep up with inflation and fuels a consumer-driven society. Besides a surprising jump to 2.9% salary increase this September, wages have been trudging along at a dismal pace. According to Glassdoor, the annual median pay increased a mere 1.6 percent, year over year, last month.

Posted: 11/16/2017 10:38:28 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


If you sat down and listed out every single thing you did in one day – everything, from turning off your alarm in the morning, to checking your email at work, to picking up groceries on the way home – how long do you think that list would be?

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So many of your day-to-day actions are cyclical, being done every day, every week, every other week. At work in particular, you probably have somewhat of a Top 10 List of things you do every day. It might not seem like you're spending any unnecessary time going through the motions each day, but if there's a better way, why not embrace it?

We've got some tips, apps, and suggestions for you to make your workday more efficient. Because there's nothing worse than hitting 5pm and realizing you feel like you've completed nothing substantial.

Attack emails.

Don't read an email assuming you'll get to it later. You probably won't. Instead, take charge of your inbox with a tool like Boomerang, which a) allows you to archive messages and return them to your inbox to address at a later date, and b) will show a timer while you go through your inbox, helping you avoid the rabbit hole of email-checking. Can't seem to escape responding if you happen to see an email arrive? Utilize Boomerang's Email Pause, which keeps any new messages from popping up until you are ready to check emails.

Don't type if you don't have to.

Another great solution if you use Gmail for work is Canned Responses. If you find yourself typing out the same blurb for a project over and over, this will save you time! Not a standard Gmail item, you must go into Settings > Labs and turn on the option. Once set up, you can type in several commonly used paragraphs and create a little database for yourself. When the time comes that you need the text, it's a quick click and you've saved yourself typing it all out.

Outsource your spell checking.

Ever heard of Grammarly? It's better than spell check, because it even notices correctly spelled words used in the wrong context (i.e. "your" vs. "you're"). It proposes quick-click fixes to any mistakes you've made typing in an email, social media post, or other documents. Add an extension to your browser and Grammarly will be making you look like a pro in no time.

Have a solid file system.

For creatives, this is a must-do. How many times have you saved past project files intermittently in case the client wants to revert back to version 3? When you refer to a project later, do you ever remember which version is actually final? Set up a system for yourself to name in a way that will ease the stress of searching your hard drive later on, perhaps including the date so archiving is also done easily.

As for archiving? Might as well automate that as well. Time spent arranging, renaming, and organizing files is wasted time – keep it orderly from the start. If you have a Mac, use Time Machine, or try another cloud storage service. You'll never lose files again!

Try Slack.

The dreaded inbox is the everyday cloud darkly looming over productivity. If you're lucky enough to work somewhere that might be open to it, suggest shifting communication to a tool like Slack. It lets you organize team conversations, share archive, and sort files, all searchable and easy to access. Slack reports a reduction of up to 75% of emails, the average company reducing emails by 48.6%. And those painfully inefficient meetings? Kiss those goodbye, too – Slack is bringing company meetings down 25.1% on average.

Take the busywork out of work, and you might enjoy your job a bit more. Even giving one of these suggestions a try could save you some serious time in the long run!

Posted: 10/30/2017 10:56:54 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Scoring an interview when applying for jobs is like hitting the jackpot. It's your initial step in the door, a first impression, and you've already piqued their interest enough for them to want to meet you.

But here's the thing– just shy of 60% of interviewers have made a decision about your suitability within the first 15 minutes of meeting you, 25% deciding within the first 5 minutes. Knowing the time an in-person interview can consume, it's no surprise that many companies are moving the initial meeting to a phone interview. With 250 applications per job listing on average, hiring managers need to slim down their applicant pool, and a phone conversation can do just that in a matter of minutes.

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Those first 5 minutes can make or break your potential relationship with a company, so you'd better rock that phone interview! You should already know that it's important to prepare like you would for a traditional interview, but past that, we've got you covered with tips to win you Interview Number Two.

 

1) Resist the urge to prepare notes.

Anticipating questions and preparing answers is a great process to ready yourself for the interview, but having those answers in front of you during the call won't be helpful or go as smoothly as you hope. Some quick notes of projects you want to mention or questions you want to ask are fine to have, just avoid sounding like you're reading your response.

2) Tell your roommates to be quiet, and feed your pet.

Unexpected things happen! Just ask this BBC guest whose children interrupted his on-air interview. Don't be afraid to be over-prepared on this front - tell anyone you live with to be quiet during the interview time, and feel your dog beforehand. Nobody wants to hear a whining pup in the background of a business phone call.

3) Smile while you talk. 

Believe it or not, smiling while speaking will actually make quite a difference. Your voice tone goes up and you sound more enthusiastic and upbeat. It might feel a little phony at first but trust us, it'll pay off, and they won't even notice.

4) Use headphones.

Think about all those long phone calls with mom – is anyone comfortable holding a phone up to their ear for an extended period of time? If you were interviewing in person you'd have free reign to use your hands, so make this feel as normal as possible and try headphones with a microphone in them.

 

5) Listen carefully.

Since the candor of an in-person conversation is missing from a phone interview, it is more important than ever to listen intently, avoid interrupting, and don't let pauses sit for too long. Body language is obvious when you're sitting across from someone, but too much silence on the phone is uncomfortable.

6) Ask about next steps.

With a phone interview, it can be hard to know what to expect. Is this a pre-interview? Will you be expected to show up for an in-person interview or another phone interview? All companies do things differently, so there's a good chance you'll want to set a plan before hanging up. Ask if they are interviewing other candidates, if you should expect a next interview, or simply, when you should expect to next hear from them.

 

Good luck!

Posted: 10/2/2017 11:46:45 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments