The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our working culture and environment critically. Who knew that this pandemic would transform the work culture along with a drastic shift of working from home? Every organization that we come across today is struggling with something or the other. The transformation has changed the life of the employer and employees in indescribable ways. Here are thoughts on boosting your productivity while working from home.
The pandemic has made organizations brainstorm and implement new ways of managing remote teams.
The job of managing remote teams seems challenging for organizations that have never been into remote teams. As for the employers, the same is the scenario with the employees. The work-place environment is a lot different than the home environment. The big task lies in maintaining a good work-life balance and delivering the expected results to your employer.
While some people are used to working from home, others might struggle with productivity. The level of commitment, discipline, planning, and consistency is always higher when you’re working from home.
Here are some “working from home tips” for the first-timers and those struggling with it.
You might have everything in your head. Putting down these things will help you to focus on the work that needs to be done. If you plan your day, you will know and be prepared for the next day. Building your mindset a day before is an important factor that will help you to be productive throughout the day.
Make the planner your soulmate:
When you list down the things that need to be done, the tasks will seem easier. It is a brilliant way to stay away from forgetting the list of your daily tasks. Being at home might bring many distractions, but a to-do list can help you stay organized. There are various tools for keeping track of your to-do list. I have tried to curate the best ones in this article you will find below.
Stay loyal to your work area:
Even if you are working from home, have your specified work desk or area. It increases your focus and allows you a professional environment. Having a separate desk also soothes your mind that has a positive effect on productivity.
Keep that personal beep away:
Limiting your distractions allows you to concentrate on your work. You can always start slow. For instance, keeping your phone on DND mode for 30 mins and then gradually increasing it to 2-3 hours. It will allow you to work for the preferred working hours.
Taking 10 minutes breaks after every hour or two breaks mental fatigue. It is a helpful way to stay focused on your work. However, you must take the right type of breaks. If you take the wrong breaks, it can become harder for you to focus when you re-start. Here is an article that will tell you all about taking breaks.
Get on your comfy clothes:
A lot of people say that you need to be dressed as if you are going to work. But it does not work for all of us. You need to explore what suits you the best. Some might feel confident in formal clothes, whereas some might be comfortable working in pajamas. Choose your clothes wisely and get through the day.
Turn on that inspiration:
Some people like to work with music or podcast and others might find it comfortable in a silent environment. Find out what brings in the most enthusiasm in you while you work. You can try some soothing soundtrack, jazz, or even let the natural sound come to you by keeping the windows open. There is some productivity-boosting music that is a must-try for all of us. Here is a detailed resource on finding the best music for you.
Being entirely new to work-from-home would need some tips and tricks and tools that can help you get acquainted with the new normal. Various tools can help you in working closely with the remote team. Let me help you by differentiating them based on their unique nature.
Work from home collaboration tools:
Lack of communication might end up creating problems for the entire team. It is difficult to pass on real-time information with remotely working teams and ensure whether it is understood correctly. Here are some real-time collaboration tools that might help you get real-time information from your team and colleagues.
Slack is a remote messaging application that helps the teams to work in sync. Your team can now have all the communication in a single place. It has a unique feature where you can create a hashtag and follow the communication in that particular area. It offers a fully native application for iOS and Android that allows you to complete the functionality of the tool.
Troop Messenger is an instant messaging tool that keeps your team’s conversation-flow in real-time. It is an ideal tool for any business size. Troop is a feature-packed tool that includes video calling, flagging, screen sharing, audio messaging, and more. They also provide small tutorial clips for all features in case of any need.
Chanty is an AI-powered application that allows users to connect with the team in no time. Its user-friendly nature enables the users to try their hands on all the features without any help or tutorials. It is designed to share files, unlimited messaging, support third-party apps like Google Drive. Make your remote team communication fun by sharing emojis and animated gifs on Chanty.
Work from home productivity tools:
Working from home is not easy. There can be a lot of distractions and you might not be able to concentrate. When I started as a freelancer, I could hardly work for two hours straight. Eventually, I fixed my timings and started as a full-time freelancer. I also keep a planner that helps me to complete my tasks efficiently. Some people use an online Calendar as their planner.
There might be times when you feel overwhelmed and would need a tool desperately. I have listed some tools that might help you to increase your productivity. Besides the below tools, a simple physical planner works wonders.
Google keep is a note-taking service that allows the user to strike off the job when completed. You can simply toggle between emails and the list or download the Keep mobile app for easy handling. You can use it for various types of files such as lists, audio, images, and text.
Asana is not only an individual productivity tool but can also be used for the entire team. It is not 100% useful if you’ are a single worker or freelancer. But it is a great tool for teams where you can keep a track of your projects, assigning users for various tasks, and so on.
Freedcamp can be used as a core tool for strategizing, organizing, and taking action. It is a user-friendly application where you can share your to-do list with other team members and join in the discussions. The biggest turn on for using Freedcamp is that it offers a ton of features for free. If you need any add-ons like CRM or invoicing, you can simply pay for what you need. It is one of the coolest applications that you won’t regret exploring.
Work from home monitoring tools
There are several applications in case you wish to monitor the time taken for completing various tasks. These applications can also be used if you are a manager and would like to see whether your subordinates perform their duties.
Toggl is a simple work from home monitoring tool that tracks time just by pressing the Toggl button. It is one of the most used applications for tracking down the time taken to complete various tasks. You can also fetch reports to see how much time you took to complete your tasks throughout the week.
Time Doctor is a SaaS tool that can help you with tracking your working time along with the breaks. It is one of the best time tracking tools that enable you to track your team member’s time. You can even look for the time spent on individual tasks by you and other members. If you want some screenshots from your team, simply specify the intervals and it will do the job for you.
A group founded Hubstaff while they were looking for a better way to manage their freelancers. Its metrics allows the manager or employers to manage their team. You can ensure your team’s productivity while you manage the remote team and their tasks. It has a unique GPS and geofencing feature that notifies the manager if they leave the job site.
Moreover, having said that, even if you have had remote workers before — because of COVID — remote work is new for almost all employers.
Because remote work — in the manner it has to be done because of the pandemic — is the reason why there are a lot of disagreements and debates in this area. We are going to discuss some of the top statistics to understand the positive side of it.
77% of employees believe that they are more productive while working remotely:
Doesn’t this study by CoSo Cloud have astounding facts? Who could believe that remote working can boost productivity? This is a win-win situation for both – the employer and the employee. It is a great opportunity for businesses to cut down expenses and boost employee productivity at the same time. In contrast, the employees can work at their convenience and that eventually reduces stress and helps in improving the quality of work.
More work is done in less time:
A study by Stanford found that work from home increases employee performance by 13%. The work from home scenario allows employees to do more work in a day and boosts work done each minute. The aspect of more work done with less time or resources is important for employees and employers.
Image Credit: andrew neel; pexels
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!