The Future of Remote Workers and How to Stay Engaged Outside of the Workplace

In recent years, How to Stay Engaged with Remote Workersthe formula for an office job has been pushed to evolve. In our current digitally-driven climate, the 9-5 structure has become almost obsolete. Employees are more inclined to work “remotely” or “telecommute” throughout the work-week. Rather than sitting at a desk for eight hours, remote workers conduct projects, meetings, etc. either from home, or from an alternative workspace.

In 2013, The Forrester Research’s US Telecommuting Forecast revealed that 34 million Americans worked from home, with predictions that the number would only continue to grow. A Wired article from the same time noted:

“From a talent acquisition perspective, remote working opens up a “treasure trove” of candidates from across the world. Companies and organizations that encourage such practices enjoy enhanced employee productivity for reduced infrastructure costs. Flexible working arrangements also boost employee job satisfaction levels and quite often, retention.”

GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com reported that at-home employees has grown by 103 percent since 2005. Additionally, about 50 percent of the jobs held in the US can be maintained remotely. Another study, from Leadership IQ, found that out of 3,478 participants, remote employees were 87 percent more likely to say they “loved” their job.

How to Stay Engaged

With all of the positive statistics, it may seem as though there are no difficulties when it comes to telecommuting. And while there are huge benefits with being able to hire employees from any where in the world, there are also steps one should take to ensure constant engagement and connectivity on all levels. Whether you’re working with employees an ocean away, or just a few miles, here are a few bits of advice to keep in mind:

Give it a Shot

The many myths and misconceptions about remote workers often dissuades companies from allowing employees to telecommute. Before you write it off, try it out. If you want to convince your boss of the benefits, provide a solid pitch and ask for a trial period. Or if you’re working to restructure your business, give employees the opportunity to work remotely a couple days a week. Keep track of the progress made in and out of the office. Have open discussions about what works and what doesn’t and use that feedback moving forward.

Take Recruitment SeriouslyRecruit employees all over the world

Hiring new employees is a difficult process to begin with. Add in an extra level: they don’t live in the same country. Telecommuting opens so many doors, but it also widens the pool of potential employees. Don’t let the intimidation factor prevent you from exploring all the opportunities. Develop a thorough vetting process to ensure you’re finding the best employees you can. The time and effort involved in recruiting will pay off in the long run.

Don’t Micromanage

Once you’ve hired remote employees, you need to trust in their abilities. Don’t waste your own time constantly checking on them. You’ve hired them for a reason; let them prove they’re capable.

Use Time Zones to Your Advantage

Obviously it would be most beneficial if your remote workers live within the same time zone, but don’t be discouraged if they don’t. Just be sure to establish clear rules surrounding communication.

Focus on Long-Term

Don’t worry too much about the day-to-day goals and instead focus on the big ideas. Everyone works in different ways, and it can be more beneficial to allow employees to set their own goals in relation to completing the final product. Keep communication flowing to ensure employees are on the right track, but don’t stress if they’re moving at their own pace.

Number8 operates both from our headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky and also from San Jose, Costa Rica. Our employees from both locations work together tirelessly to deliver the highest quality software in the business. If you’re looking to learn more about remote workers, and offshore employment visit our About Us page here, or give us a call at (502) 890-7665!

Tips Successful Software Developers Follow to be More Productive

How to be a successful software developerAll software developers have their own tips and tricks they use to keep on track and work efficiently and thoughtfully. However, those habits don’t necessarily pave the path to becoming a successful software developer. Below we have outlined a few helpful pieces of advice that established developers hold to be true. While it may seem difficult to adjust the habits you have already developed, take some time to think about these tips and see how you can work them into your day-to-day routine. It may just make all the difference when you’re looking for the next job opportunity. 

There are three overall concepts to keep in mind as you work to elevate your abilities as a software developer. If you can get into these mindsets it will become easier to follow specific steps and tasks that help to fulfill these ideas.

Have the big picture in mind

How does the work you’re doing directly impact and help the business you’re working for? The quality of your work is sure to improve if you feel personally invested in the outcome of the project. Even if it is a one-off freelance assignment, you should still take the time to understand the mission of the business and of the specific content you’re creating.  

Focus on problem solving

Don’t let yourself give up when a project gets difficult. That is exactly when it becomes the most rewarding. If you only work on projects that you know you can succeed at with little challenge then you’ll never grow. To become a better software developer you need to accept difficult projects even if you’re afraid that you won’t excel at them. If you don’t try to succeed then you never will.

Be flexible and stay open to new ideas

If you’re reading this, then you’re already on the right track to embracing new ways of thinking. It is important to remember that just because the way you’ve been working has been decently successful so far, that doesn’t mean you should commit to those methods forever. Keep your eyes and your mind open to new ways of approaching projects. Accept advice from others and allow yourself to adapt.

A few specific ways you can begin to adopt the above habits are as follows:

  • Be disciplined
  • Keep your code clean, concise and reusable
  • Ask for help
  • Track your time
  • Follow a routine

At Number8, we believe in the power of focus and flexibility. We know how important it is to be the best in the business so that we can provide our clients with premium service and attention. If you are looking to partner with software development team that not only cares about their code but also about their clients, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665!

Reduce Job Stress With These Tips

Reduce Job Stress with These TipsNo matter how much anyone loves their job, they will still have to deal with stress. Some occupations may entail more stressful situations more frequently, however everyone can benefit from learning coping methods. In the tech industry, stress often results from spending a significant amount of time in front of a computer, without enough fresh air and exercise. It can also be difficult to ever really “clock out” when your work can be done from almost any location. Here at Number8, we want to promote a healthy, and stress-free work environment. Below, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips that we use for reducing job stress.

Schedule for energy and focus

Begin each day with a plan. Be realistic and schedule for breaks. If you manage your expectations for productivity, then you’ll avoid getting overwhelmed by tasks. Be prepared for spur of the moment assignments that may have to jump up to the top of your priority list. Allow for flexibility, but don’t let those impromptu tasks take over. Stay focused on the projects that need the most attention.

Sleep well and eat right

Getting enough sleep, and developing a healthy diet is easier said than done. But getting into the habit can benefit your life in many ways. Being well-rested will allow you to take on challenges with a clear head. It can help prevent negative affect, and instead provide you with a more positive mindset which aids in the prevention of stress. A good diet will give you the energy necessary to a a productive, and stress-free day. Some quick fixes include limiting the amount of caffeine you consume, and instead focusing on drinking plenty of water.

Take time to relax

Depending on the workplace, it may be difficult to take time out of the day to get outside. So, instead work on developing some daily practices to help keep nerves calm, and avoid getting too stressed. Breathing exercises work great and don’t require leaving the office. Stretching at your desk, or even taking the time to get up and walk around every hour or so can greatly benefit your overall health and also your work ethic.  

Establish boundaries

With smartphones, now more than ever it is almost impossible to be unavailable. Even days off aren’t really days off. To help reduce the stress of always being on call, work with your peers and managers to establish boundaries. Let them know when you can be reached outside of the office, but also when you can’t. Its extremely valuable to draw lines between your work life and your personal life. If you don’t make these boundaries clear, you could end up resenting your job for following you wherever you go.

Avoid interruptions

Be present while you’re at work. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid keeping your phone close by. A text from a friend, or a news notification can quickly derail your focus and make it increasingly difficult to get back on task. It is also important to avoid multitasking. Try to follow your plan and stick to it without doubling up. If you divide your attention to multiple projects at the same time, none of them will be receiving your full effort. Each project should be treated with the same amount of integrity as the next.

 

Our employees at Number8 follow these tips to help reduce stress and maintain focus to deliver the best possible services. If you’re looking for motivated, and stress-free employees to help with a project, give us a call at (502) 890-7665 or send us an email through our Contact page.

 

UX Design Tips Any Business Person Should Know

UX design tips User Experience design, or UX, is the process of programming websites to better fit the needs of its users. Or otherwise adapting websites to ensure they are user-friendly. A goal for many business owners is to have the format of their website go unnoticed. This may seem counter-intuitive, but more often than not, the general public won’t think about the way in which a website is built unless it is structured poorly. A website should be well organized and function smoothly. When everything works well, the user isn’t thinking about the website itself, rather the content within it. And that should be the goal of any business person; for their customers to focus on the product.

Below, we’ve gathered some helpful tips about UX design and how you can use it to elevate your business and better engage with customers.

User Experience Design Tips   

Organize based on importance:

Users are most likely to focus on the content that comes first. Have your core mission and goal as a company up front and easily accessible. Your customer should be able to get the majority of necessary information just from spending a couple minutes on your page. 

Keep it simple:

Make sure the page length is reasonable. No one wants to scroll through a never ending page of content. UX should be about making the experience enjoyable and efficient. You don’t want to make your customers work. One way to simplify is with links. Make them clear and obvious. A user shouldn’t have to click on a link to figure out where it leads. The text should tell them.

Be consistent:

Your website should have an overarching theme that is easy to follow. Use similar color schemes on each page and make sure the design doesn’t overpower the content.

Think mobile: 

Today more than ever it is essential to design websites that can be seamlessly translated to mobile devices. When you are working on creating a site, or relaunching, keep in mind how the website will convert to a mobile version.

Be quick: 

Above all, keep load times low. Potential clients will leave your site if the information they’re looking for takes too long to load. 

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel:

All websites, no matter the content, have similarities in design. Users expect aspects such as the search field to always be located in the top right corner of the landing page. They also expect a FAQ page, or a general information page. Don’t stray too far from what people are accustomed to. They might be more resistant to consuming the information if it is presented in a strange way. 

Think from an outsider’s perspective:

Keep in mind what you would like to see on a website if you were the consumer. 

Take criticism: 

After all, it is about the user’s experience. Even if you may believe that you have the best website, if users are complaining, then it is time for some updates.

 

To learn more about UX, or have other tech related questions, give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!