A Starter Pack for Remote Workers

Remote work Starter Pack

The traditional workplace is an ever-changing entity. As a result, many once office-bound employees are now finding freedom in the option to work remotely. To help align with this influx, we assembled 8 tips that act as a starter pack for remote workers. Whether you’re new to the experience or a seasoned pro, these tips are for you.

There’s a common misconception that working remotely puts you at a big disadvantage when it comes to career advancement.  Some people feel this is a result of a lack of traditional value signaling. There’s no “face time” with the C-suite, no after-work happy hour to build team connections, no extra points for showing up early and staying late.

But what the naysayers overlook are the unique benefits working remotely presents for making big moves in your career. When you’re in charge of your own schedule, you tend to have more time and energy to invest in learning new skills. For many, building your personal brand becomes necessary which can be very valuable to long term career growth. 

As can new client developments from working outside the same daily office crowd.  Many who opt-in for coworking memberships report exponential new client growth from interactions with other members. Which ultimately helped them move up the career ladder within their current company.

 And for parents with small children or people living outside of big urban centers, remote work may be one of the only ways to build the career they want and have the balance of home life.

Adjusting to the Process

The newfound freedom is tough for some employees to adjust to. Since companies rarely explain effective ways to work remotely, we’ve put together a few recommendations that can help with the adjustment process.

1. Find a workspace

Have a designated space to do your work. Turn a spare room into an office. If space is limited at home, find a coworking space or a shared office environment. A designated workspace matters for a few reasons.

First, you’ll have room to spread out your work materials — such as papers, books, and reports — and leave them out the entire day. This beats working at the kitchen table where you have to clean up your materials for lunch; get everything out to work in the afternoon; and clear everything away for dinner. 

Second, a dedicated workspace can help your motivation. When you go to this designated space, you know that it’s time to get work done.

2. Invest in work materials

Some companies purchase equipment, from monitors to paper and pens, for their employees so they’re set up for remote work success. Others leave it up to the employee to purchase any needed extras.

Having the right materials, whether or not you buy them, is well worth it. Investing in a few supplies is a relatively minimal cost to do great work and maintain the autonomy working remotely offers.

3. Make a schedule

Give your day some structure and make a schedule for the day ahead. Organizing your day in a planner allows you to focus on stay accountable. 

Pro-Tip: Schedule breaks. For example, after writing an article for two hours, take a 15-minute break. Taking breaks is an important part of managing your energy throughout the day. Additionally, leaving your home or apartment for a bit and taking a walk is a great way to boost your energy levels for the productive afternoon ahead.

4. Communicate with Colleagues

Generally, you’ll find yourself working in large chunks of uninterrupted time. However, that’s not to say your heading for the hermit life! Prioritize communicating with colleagues. This is an important task when you’re working remotely and will be invaluable during the months and years of remote work successes ahead.

Oftentimes, it is helpful to check digital communication tools at designated times during my day. Emails, social media, and Slack, for example, can be distracting to the overall workflow when running at all times throughout the day. Some people set up an automatic response on their email, alerting colleagues when they should expect a response. And still others, like managers, may find it helpful to tell team members in advance when they’re available to talk or respond to emails.

5. Have designated work clothes

Separate work from play with the clothes you wear, recommends Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp, in his book Remote: Office Not Required. Maybe you have a handful of “work” t-shirts, which are different from the t-shirts you wear when you’re relaxing on a Saturday afternoon or in the evenings. Having designated “work from home” clothes can get you into the right frame of mind, as Fried suggests.

6. Reduce Distractions

One of the benefits of working from home is escaping workplace distractions that are imposed on you. So don’t inundate yourself with “home” distractions, like turning on TV and scrolling through newsfeeds on Facebook. 

Why? It’s because multitasking doesn’t work. 

Switching between tasks can result in as much as a 40% loss of productivity, according to Dr. David Meyer in an American Psychological Association article.

7. Define the End of Your Workday

A common challenge is working too much when you’re working remotely. You see your computer nearby, and you have a nagging urge to check your email constantly throughout the evening.

That’s why it’s important to determine in advance when you’re workday will end. Include this in your daily plan discussed above. Then, close your laptop and place it in your bookbag or close your office door so your computer is out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind.

8. Use your peak hours effectively

Some companies allow you to work where you want (remote working) and when you want (flexible work schedule). If your company offers a flexible work schedule, then it’s critical to determine your peak work periods. Do you work best first thing in the morning? Are you more alert around lunchtime?

The answer to such questions can help you determine your peak work periods. Prioritize your important tasks for the times when you are most productive.  Morning person? Get up and hit the toughest task for the day. Late starter? Tackle the uphill project after lunch. 

It’s good practice to save the less-important stuff for when you’re mentally fatigued. Knowing when you work best can help you get the most out of your day.

More companies should explain how employees can be effective when working remotely. Until then, try out the above suggestions and see what works best for you.

Need to ready your resume to highlight remote work experience?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Supply Chain, Procurement and Management

Supply Chain, Procurement and Management

How long is this chain?

Take a look around your current environment. What do you see? I see a cute plant in an even cuter plant pot with matching office accessories because a pretty desk makes for a happy me. I see paperwork, reading glasses, desktop, laptop, tablet, AND phone. Typical office desk, right?

All these items make up the long-line chain reaction that is supply chain, procurement, and management.

Think of these roles as compartments. Like that little cubby hole from in Grade 1. Remember those?

Step 1: Get the Goods.

Procurement, by definition, is the process of obtaining the goods and/or services required to fulfill a company’s business model. In the overall supply chain process, procurement stops once the company has possession of the goods.

Procurement process tasks include

  • Sourcing suitable suppliers
  • Connecting with necessary service providers
  • Planning purchases
  • Negotiating price
  • Developing the standards of quality
  • Managing purchase orders
  • Financing purchases, if required
  • Controlling inventory and disposal of production waste

Step 2: Mobilize the People

Supply Chain, by definition, consists of all the humans involved in getting the above-mentioned products in the hands of a customer.

Humans involved:

  • raw material gatherers
  • manufacturers
  • transportation companies
  • wholesale warehouses
  •  in-house staff,
  • stock rooms
  • and the teenager at the register.

It also includes the tasks and functions that contribute to moving that product, such as quality control, market research, and strategic sourcing.

Procurement is the process of getting the goods you need, while supply chain is the infrastructure needed to get you those goods.

To use a basic analogy, supply chain is the entire chair, while procurement and sourcing are parts of the chair. A simple picture that worked or me.

Step 3: Now Make it Flow.

Supply Chain Management or SCM

At its core, supply chain management is the act of overseeing and managing the above mentioned, supply chain. Amongst other things, this means ensuring all suppliers and manufacturers are maintaining quality and that everyone is practicing ethical business.

Yes, including ethical business practices.

There is no doubt, this is a significant issue faced by many organizations today. If a portion of a supply chain is not functioning in an ethical manner (think child labor or environmental damage) then the organization receiving goods from that supply chain can suffer negative repercussions as a result.

All the jobs.

All things considered, it’s an easy conclusion to make that the job be aplenty.  Job seekers can find ample posting seeking employees at all levels in the chain.

jobs available get the jobs

With this in mind, whether your education is rooted in management, machine manufacturing, business strategy, transportation, customer experience, R&D or even data analysis, chances are likely that Supply Chain, Procurement or SCM are potential hiring prospects.

Our team at PWU has worked extensively with professionals at all levels in the above-mentioned industries. Connect with us when you’re looking to update the resume to reflect your current education and experiences. We offer a free consultation, resume review and will work with you to deliver an ideal resume that passes ATS and Recruiter processes.

Shifting Careers Between Freelance and Corporate

shifting careers corporate freelance

We’ve recently been looking at the double lane highway of shifting careers between freelance and corporate life.  From the perspective of professional resume writers, we’ve definitely seen equal movement between these 2 career directions.

Without question, transitioning from life at a corporate firm to working freelance is a HUGE life change. The greatest technique is in all the individual action steps taken to create a strong outcome. Successes certainly live in the daily grind.

Write a plan of action.

This helps maintain accountability and keep you on track.

If you’re not entirely familiar with the details of a business plan, that’s perfectly fine.  Think of your plan like a map. Begin with goal setting. Outline short-term and long-term goals and place them into a loose chronological order, the specific dates matter less than the actual structure.

Don’t burn any bridges.

Although it’s tempting to skip gleefully out of the door on your last day in the office telling everybody how great your new life is going to be, don’t.  You never know when you might need these contacts again, not to mention references from your employer. Leaving with a recommendation is never a bad outcome. 

Friendly reminder: The world is a very small place. and you never know where your future clients may be. 

Network.

This may sound dramatic but, ultimately you need to make sure EVERYONE knows you are going freelance: ex-colleagues, friends, old classmates, that neighbor with a beard.  Everyone.  Remember, getting work once you go freelance can take longer than imagined so build-up a client base in all ways possible.

Work is much more likely to come through known contacts. That’s just the nature of humans in general. We work with who we know and trust.

Network as much as possible, both in person and on social media.

Speak to friends or acquaintances who have made the leap to freelancing. These people are valuable resources for advice not just on those first few weeks starting out, but for the long haul.

Essentially freelancing is building your personal brand. 

This is a fact. Fortunately, there is ample information out there on the specifics of personal branding.  Quickprout has a nice guide that summarizes the process giving actionable items that help map the route. A quick Google tour will land you in front of some seriously good content for designing and managing your own personal brand.

Utilize social media.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all useful tools. Additionally, if your LinkedIn profile isn’t yet optimized, get it there.  Our team is highly skilled at LinkedIn optimizations that show clients in their best light possible.  This is mandatory in today’s workforce.

Optimize linkedin profile

94% of recruiters are searching for talent on LinkedIn. Use this tool.

Lastly, consider starting a blog. Yes, they are timely but well-designed search engine optimized (SEO) blogs are a great way to drive attention towards your website. This, in turn, builds an audience and potential client base.

Don’t be shy about putting your business out there.

Now, if you find yourself on the highway heading back to corporate structures then the strategy is dramatically different. At this point, your resume must highlight all the unique skills acquired as a freelancer plus reflect positively on the actual time away from the workforce.

As always Power Writers USA is here to help guide you through the steps. Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Recruiter Resume Distribution are all available from our team at PWU. Connect with us for a free consultation and resume review!

Unquestionably, unless you are a writing wizard, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional resume writer now.  Freelance skills are diverse and translating all the detailed specifics to corporate necessity is key to your resume making it through ATS and recruiter processes.

There’s a New Kid in the Office

new hires first day new job

As mentioned in our blog post from last week, the projected hiring numbers are currently on the rise all across the Bay area and throughout Q4. Naturally, this got our office talking about the inevitable situation yet to come. There’s a new kid in the office.

Here you are in that well-planned morning office routine. The computer is on, next up is the daily cup of chamomile. Knowing the office kitchen is empty at this hour, you come around the corner all sleepy and BAM. There’s the new kid standing front and center looking, admittedly, slightly lost. 

 Quickly the mind transitions through a few options

  1. Panic and run back to your desk – nope
  2. Welcome the kid, introduce yourself and offer a tour – nope
  3. Pretend you’re invisible, and with no sudden movement, get your favorite mug under that hot water tap and return to your desk immediately – yep!

To be fair, not all personalities would take this approach.  Some people may actually resort to option 1.  Others are naturally inclined to take on Option 2.

Me, not so much.  I’m that introverted-writer-type who can spend an entire day interacting with my client calls and then happily writing, writing, writing and more writing.

Nonetheless, new hires are imminent.

We’ve all been here at some point and, let’s face it, being the new kid in class is always a little nerve-wracking, whether you’re 13 or 45.

All humor aside, obviously new hires should feel confident to ask colleagues anything necessary to their increased comfort around the office. That being said, part of the stress that comes with starting a new job is avoidable if we prepare ahead of time.

new kid in the office

Now let change the perspective. 

The new kid in the office is looking around the kitchen, lost as all-time and just wants to get that next caffeine fix. There’s a 200-page report parked on his desk demanding attention.

We’ve assembled a few tips on how to ease the office jitters before the first day. The goal is to be so ready that your focus can only be on the job.

Do your homework.

Do research on the organization or institution you’ll be joining — its structure, mission, and overall philosophy. You may be asked to provide feedback or even to come up with some questions and insights of your own during your first week. You’ll want to know as much as you can in order to feel prepared if you’re put on the spot.

Ask questions.

Be confident. You earned the position based on your skills and personality so don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Everyone was the new kid in the office at some point and we all know what it’s like to feel a little lost on the first day.

Take notes.

Your first few days at any new job are a real learning curve, and you’ll be taking in a lot of new information, from the mundane to the really important. Take notes so that can be referenced when a question comes up a few weeks or months down the line.  

Listen and absorb.

You’re stepping into a new role and the first few days and weeks are focused primarily on learning in order to be successful and thrive within the company. Make an effort to actively listen to everyone you come in contact — let them do most of the talking. Understand how the company works and where you will fit in.

Don’t criticize.

If part of your role is to improve things or change the status quo at your new employer, you may want to wait a few days before you start pointing out all the areas that need improvement. Ingratiate yourself with your coworkers first before letting loose with all of the problems you see in the company, or else they may end up feeling bombarded and hostile to any of your new ideas (no matter how beneficial they are to the company).

As always Power Writers USA is here to help guide you through the steps.

Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Recruiter Resume Distribution are all available from our team at PWU. Connect with us for a free consultation and resume review!