How to Build Good Working Relationships in Your Virtual Office

Fostering a healthy working relationship with your teammates is as essential as establishing a good working relationship with your boss. But when you work from home, networking with fellow team members may be a challenging feat all because of the distance, the inability to see facial expressions, the differences in attitudes and views towards work. However, when you run a virtual office, you still have to foster the value of team work among other virtual professionals because at the end of the day, you only have one goal and you are all part of just one company. Here are some guidelines you can apply as you build relationships with your peers:

Take group meetings seriously. When there are scheduled meetings or group discussions, make sure that you are always present. Establish visibility (although only virtually) as

Meeting in the Office

much as possible, and show up on time. Participate as the entire group tackles an agenda, and share your ideas. Exert an effort to mingle with fellow team members.

Be responsive to emails and other types of communication. Sure enough, email plays a valuable role in communication especially in a virtual office. Respond to email threads, acknowledge receipt of messages even the not-so-important ones. Exchange mobile phone numbers and keep communication lines open. If a team mate needs assistance, place a call to help out or even to just be a listening ear. Gestures like these somehow allow good relationships to flourish even in the virtual world.

Spend a little time knowing your teammates better. During off-work hours, chat a little with a workmate about anything but work. Talk about your interests, or share a little bit about your weekend to ease up the tension associated with work, and just relax with a new pal. You don’t have to share your entire lives though, but at least, the atmosphere between you and your workmates will lighten up and make room for fun stuff.

Share best practices and exchange ideas. Do not hesitate to share your techniques or strategies that work for your job. Initiate brainstorming sessions and respect your co-workers’ individuality. Acknowledge their ideas and make everyone feel how much their presence and cooperation is being valued.

Greet your workmates each day. Start your day with an inspiring quote, or even with a funny joke that will surely uplift everyone’s mood. Not only will you cheer up your peers’ day, you will also exude the sense of being approachable. When your peers feel that they can approach you anytime, they will tend to open up more to you and eventually start a fun working relationship with each other.

Do your share of the tasks. When a group has a project, most likely tasks are being delegated among its members. Do your end of the deal; make sure that you contribute to the success of the project as much as the others do. Do not just sit around doing nothing while your workmates are exerting so much effort to complete the project. Get involved and cooperate.

Good relationships with your teammates add pizzazz to your work life. Network and socialize a little. Who knows, you might find friends worth keeping for life.

Time Management Tips for Work from Home Mums

Juggling motherhood and a remote freelance career is never easy. At times, things can be so disorganized that by the end of the day, you realize that you almost went crazy as you kept up with the demands of your job and your family. But there is a way to prevent situations like these from happening. With the implementation of the strategy called time management, things will surely get done in a prompt manner. Time management plays a very important role in keeping a successful freelance career, and if you are a mom who is currently working at home, then I share with you some techniques to keep you as efficient and sane as possible.

Create a to-do list.

Keeping a checklist of the things that you need to do on a daily basis will help you keep track of the prioritized tasks. Plot your tasks according to schedule and strictly adhere to it. Not

Work at Home Mums

only does it keep you efficient in the things you do, but it saves you time as you move from one task to the next.

Make use of a timer.

Timers may just be what you need to complete a specific task at a specific allotted time. When you set an allotted period for a specific task, you tend to be conscious of the time that’s ticking, leading you to finish it as quickly as possible. It is a good strategy to ensure that time is spent wisely and productively.

Plan your week ahead.

On weekends, it is highly recommended to make an arrangement of your tasks by schedule. Plan everything else as well, such as your meal menus, errands, appointments and meetings, and even playtime with the kids. When you already adapt this habit, navigating through the work week will not be as time-consuming and stressful as it used be.

Determine the factors that lead you to waste time and get rid of them.

Sometimes, even the simplest of things can cause us to waste time, and interestingly enough, most of the time, we don’t notice. Take for instance checking Facebook or Twitter. The original plan is just to quickly reply to a friend’s message, but before you know it, you have already spent over 30 minutes browsing over a friend’s newly-uploaded album. Another one is multi-tasking. Not all people are more efficient when multi-tasking, and that is because the required level of attention that is supposedly provided to one specific task is divided to other tasks, which may result to a poor quality of work. When the quality of work does not end up to what we desire, re-doing the project will be required just to achieve the quality that we aspire for.

Time management is a skill, and like all other skills, it takes discipline and some practice for it to be perfected. I hope these pointers will help you on your way to success and still continue to be that amazing mom that you already are.

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Building Your Employer’s Trust: A Must for a Successful Freelance Career

Thousands of people have started to establish their careers as remote freelancers due to both practicality and passion. Some have been successful in their course, while some have not. So if you may ask what made these successful freelancers successful, the answer is simple: TRUST.

Successful freelancers have one thing in common: they have worked and earned the trust of their employers. In this post, you will learn some important pointers on how to build trust towards your employers, which will eventually boost your freelancing career. Go ahead, read on.

Be transparent.

When applying for a job, be honest with your potential employer about your skills. Do not overpromise. Assess your abilities and make sure that you are truly capable of performing the

office inside

tasks that are entailed to the position. Keep observing transparency towards your employer even when you are already hired. Let him know about your progress, and even with your struggles, as you try to get the job done. Clue him in on the resolution or workaround you are taking when you encounter problems relating to your work.

Keep an open communication with your employer.

Communication is essential in building a good working relationship with your employer. It is not just merely listening to your employer as he or she discusses about company goals and targets, it is also about fulfilling your employers’ needs as far as business is concerned. Reach out to your employer, be proactive and offer assistance in other tasks that need to be done urgently, listen to the tone of his voice and let him know you understand what he is saying.

Be aligned with the employer’s goals.

Take down notes during conference calls to make sure you don’t miss out any important details, set your own goals that will complement perfectly with your employer’s goals, and try to exceed his expectations. If he says he needs certain reports in a week’s time, aim to submit them in three or four days. If he shares with you about his vision for the company, implement strategies for yourself that will slowly help your employer realize his vision.

Fulfill promises.

Do everything you can to meet deadlines. Employers are mostly very busy and do not have the luxury of time to wait for the output of a task that was assigned to you. Deliver the quality that you promised to your employer. Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing how satisfied your employer is for the work you have done.

Being Productive Whilst Working At Home

Productivity is a word most work-from-home freelancers are challenged to attain. It is not something that can be worked on overnight, it is a state that needs a well-planned process for it to be achieved. It is a quality that requires focus and the right mindset as you work on every project.

Because of the inevitable distractions from family members and friends, home life being mixed with work and a few other factors, several work-from-home individuals find focusing on

the joys of working from home

their jobs very difficult. They end up not having used time effectively, accomplishing nothing at all. If you are currently working from home, regardless of whether you are still struggling in the productivity area or whether you already worked out a way to ensure efficiency, let me share with you some great tips on being productive.

Set up your own work space and tools. It is very essential to have your own work space. It could be an entire room with a desk, your computer and your office materials, or it could just be a little space in the corner. It has to be a quiet space, one that allows you to focus. When you are deciding on a space for work, you have to also make sure it is equipped with the tools that are necessary. All of your tools such as pens, office files, markers, boards, etc., should be available within your reach so you do not waste time traveling to another part of the house just for you to get them. Get a really good chair as you would be spending most of your working hours sitting.

Create a work schedule that best suits you. Some people work well in the mornings, while some are mostly alert in the afternoons. There are also a number of people out there who work best at night. Get attuned with your moods and find the perfect time on when you are able to think well; and when you do, schedule your working hours accordingly. Most likely, you will find yourself coming up with excellent ideas.

Invest on technology. Gone are the days when you use the internet just for leisure. Gone is the time when you use your mobile phone just to keep in touch with friends, or simply update your status on social networking sites. Now that you use the internet to make money and establish an online career, your devices such as your computer, internet connection and mobile phone should be of high quality. These devices are your instruments in communicating with clients from all over the world, your tools in closing the deal, and most importantly, in making money, so it is necessary that your tools are in good condition all the time.

Document your accomplishments and progress. Create a list of the tasks that need to be done for the day or even for the week, and each time you get something done, write it down on a notepad just so you can visualize what you have already fulfilled. It will be much easier for you to move on to the next task instead of trying to remember which ones have been accomplished already, which takes more time.

Find assistance.Working from home will definitely keep you busy, and most likely, there will be errands that will be impossible for you to attend to. Don’t try to do everything, allow

Hiring a Maid

other members of the family to help you by delegating errands and tasks to them when you need to focus on work. If your budget allows, hire a house-cleaning service to help you with household chores like cleaning the entire house, washing the car or taking care of the laundry. You have to be careful not to be too exhausted and to keep things balanced as much as possible. Getting help will also allow you to take some time off and pamper yourself.

Focus on enhancing your skills even more. You have the talent and you have the experience, but that does not mean you have to stop there. Learn about other techniques in your field, take online courses, surround yourself with people who are veterans in your field of expertise, and do just about anything to further develop your potentials. When you constantly educate yourself with new strategies in the field you are interested with, you get more things to bring to your job, which results to a more effective output in every project you work on.

Know when to rest. Don’t hesitate to take a short break or a nap. Recharge your energy and relax a little from time to time. Grab a cup of coffee, listen to soothing music, or better yet, visit a spa and get a good foot massage. When you go back to work, you’ll be surprised by the ideas that come flowing through and will again lead you to perform excellently on your next task.

The Disadvantages of Working from Home

Working from Home: A Dream or A Nightmare?

This is part two in a two part series I have written about working from home.   In the previous post I discussed my thoughts on the Advantages of working from home.  This time, lets look at the disadvantages.

The Downsides of working from home

On the other hand, working from home also has its downside. These disadvantages also play a great factor in your decision-making so let me also dish them out for you.

No face-to-face interaction with co-workers. Managing an online career can be very lonely. There are no fellow employees to exchange hellos with, no after-work snacks to grab with – absolutely no one to bond with. Sometimes this can be unhealthy, especially for sociable people who love to connect with others. Bonding with workmates can also boost your emotional and psychological state at work, and oftentimes, it brings an avenue for you to also have fun at work. An online career will not be able to provide you this as you will only have your computer and your desk with you throughout the day.

Motion Blur FrozenLack of competitive spirit. When there are no other employees in the office, there is no competition. When there is no competition, the possibility of not aiming to exceed goals and targets is most likely to happen because there is no feeling of being challenged by others’ skills and talents. Good competition often pushes everyone to do things beyond their limits and mostly results to an outstanding output. You may have co-employees from other parts of the world, but the competition that is being fostered amongst each other is not enough to hone your skills even more.

Prone to distractions by family and friends. When you attend to a home-based job, people tend to think that you do not need to focus as much as you need to when working in an office. This mentality often leads family and friends to disrupt you at any given time. Kids may expect you to play with them during the afternoons and friends may drop by more frequently than usual. These situations keep you out of focus which results to lesser tasks getting done.

No room for brainstorming. In a typical office, sharing of ideas is not very hard to do. When you work remotely, this may be difficult because of the fact that the only communication you have with your co-workers is only through the internet. Yes, the internet makes communicating to other parts of the world very much possible, but the idea of meeting up in the boardroom, exchanging brilliant thoughts with other great minds for hours is not attainable. This could be a huge impact as a team because there is a lack of correspondence and huddle among members.

Noise. You definitely need some quiet time in order for you to concentrate, and working from home may not provide you the quiet time that is highly required to perform the job. The inevitable noise may be coming from the neighbours’ party, the sound of the barking dog, the honking cars running on the street and kids crying due to tantrums. This can result to a poor performance and an unsatisfied boss.

Cyclone Day - Chennai Marina BeachNo visibility. When you can’t be visible to your boss, a lot of incorrect judgment can take place. The boss cannot see the extra hours you’ve put in for a certain project or the hard work that you have dedicated, which may result to you being judged only by the scores and the intangible things. I bet anyone would find it tough to go through a situation like that.

Being a remote freelancer definitely has its perks and pitfalls, which are very hard to ignore; but oftentimes, the gravity of the negative points are outweighed by the positive ones. The keys to working from home are high levels of self-discipline, time management and willpower. When you have these three, you get to maximize the benefits and eliminate the disadvantages of working from home, and for sure, you will then realize that you have built a strong foundation as you start your new-found journey.

I hope you enjoyed my two part series on working from home.  If you have any comments please leave them below.

The Advantages of Working from Home

Working from Home: A Dream or A Nightmare?

This is part one in a two part series I have written about working from home.  No, this isn’t one of those “we’ll sell you some scam to work from home” but my point of view of what it is like to work from home.

96 Maison de FéeMore and more people are gearing towards working from home. With a significant number of employers outsourcing talents from all over the world, and with the help of employment platforms on the web nowadays, there is no doubt that demands for remote contractors are relatively increasing. Starting an online career may be a risky decision for many of us, considering that we have always relied on the traditional way of working that involves going to an office and establishing visibility towards work. If you are seriously thinking of starting an online career, then allow me to break down the pros and the cons, and let me help you come up with a sound decision.

Benefits of working from home

Having a home-based job obviously has its benefits – and when I say benefits, I mean key points that make a huge impact not only in your career, but in your life in general. So here they are:

Flexibility of schedule. One of the best things that come along with working at home is flexibility.  No more battling with the alarm clock in the morning or hurrying to prepare for work. You are free to set a schedule that suits you best, allowing you to work whenever and for as long as you want. If you need to go out of town but do not want to miss a very important meeting, working from home makes connecting with your boss possible because of the mobile nature of the job. You can work anywhere for as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection.

Save up on costs for fare or gas, wardrobe and office food. Reporting to an office means you have to spend on cab fare or on gas if you drive a car.  That sums up a big amount of cash by the end of the month. Pulling off a smart corporate wardrobe everyday can also mean spending a significant amount of cash every month or so, not to mention your daily expenses on lunch food with the officemates. Not all office cafeterias offer healthy options of food, which can take a toll on your health in the long run. Having an online career eliminates these expenses because there is no need to travel, lunch food is readily available at home, and there is certainly no need to dress up. Your boss will not care whether you are in your PJs or whatever type of clothing you are wearing, what matters are your online presence and your productivity.

Save on travel time. All of us value time, and most of us hate it when we end up wasting time on things that are less (untitled)important. Working in an office means having to travel every day. Some people take about 10 minutes to go to the office, while there are also some people who painstakingly travel for 2 hours just to get to the office. This kind of situation is definitely not very ideal for all of us, since there are more important things we’d rather do such as finishing a report or spending time with the family. Traveling can also add to the stress that we have already acquired and to the feeling of being worn-out. If you have an online career, your travel dilemma can be put to rest simply because your office is right in the comforts of your home. By just logging in to your computer, you instantly get access to office updates and work-related matters.

More time with your family. Who would not want a day with their kids in their backyard? How about an extra time with your spouse or partner? Most of us would find it blissful to have the capacity to be with our loved ones anytime we want. Having an online career actually means no more counting the days until weekends come, because you can now spend your breaks by checking in with your kids in the play room or have a quick snack in the dining room with your spouse.

Reduced stress level. All jobs can be stressful, and that is because pressures from all aspects of work are inevitable. There are 278/365 - Hey Guys Hey Guys Hey Guysdeadlines to beat, more reports to accomplish, clients that need to be entertained and a few other things. But even with these pressures, you are still most likely going to deal with lesser amount of stress compared to the stress level you usually get from working in an office. Setting your own goals at your own pace and capabilities and the thought of not being compelled by an employer to complete a task at a required time are some of the factors. Networking with colleagues may also contribute to this. You do not have to suffer listening to a workmate who whines all the time and you do not have to worry about being affected by the negativity that is being disseminated by these types of people. Sure, there can be stress coming from interruptions by family members or friends, but these are people who matter the world to you and you know for a fact that they understand when you really need to focus on work.

Good for the health. When you work from home, you tend to worry less, which leads you to have a more peaceful sleep during the night. A good night’s sleep often keeps you awake during the day and bolsters your memory, allowing you to perform your tasks better. Another point is the food that you eat. The food that you are mostly accessible to are way healthier compared to the usual menu in the cafeteria since food will be coming right from your kitchen. You have the freedom to choose which types of food to prepare instead of just settling down with whatever is served in the nearby office canteen.