Make Working From Easier With These Clever Home Hacks

Working from home is a fantastic way to take your income into your own hands. You don’t need to rely on your employer and you can set up multiple streams of money so that you’re financially secure. However, working at home can be challenging for several reasons.

For starters, you need to actually find a way to work from home. Most people do this by working as a freelancer or being self-employed, but you can also find remote working opportunities if you look hard enough. Once you’ve finally found an at-home job, you’ll find that your home can actually affect the way you work and how productive you are.

To help you out, we’ve prepared a few clever home hacks that will help you make your at-home job easier and be more productive.

Learn to Prep Food

Food prep is something that we can all benefit from. It’s essentially a way to prepare meals in advance so that you spend less time cooking and more time doing other things. There are plenty of easy food prep ideas that are both delicious, healthy and incredibly easy to put together. You’ll spend more time cooking on a single day, but each day you eat from your stash of prepared food, you’ll spend far less time cooking and more time being productive.

Invest in Taking Care of Your Kids

There is a very good chance that you’ve chosen to work from home because of your kids. Whether you’re a single parent that wants to look over their children or just want to spend more time with your little ones, working at home is a great way to look after your kids. However, they can also be distracting and it’s important to find ways to take care of your kids more efficiently. Consider investing in quality nursery furniture sets that will make your kids more comfortable. They’ll fall asleep more quickly and you’ll spend less time monitoring them so you can focus on your work.

Stop Working in Comfortable Places

We’ve all probably tried to get some work done in bed, especially if you work from home. However, it’s actually a terrible idea to do work in comfortable places, especially your bed. This is because the more relaxed we feel, the more likely we are to procrastinate or even fall asleep. While you shouldn’t force yourself to work in horrible conditions, you don’t want to confuse your brain by trying to work in a place that you would normally sleep in.

Try your best to build your own office space. You can do this by clearing out the garage and moving your workspace there, or taking over a part of the kitchen and designating it as your working environment. The idea is to train yourself to treat certain parts of the home as the place you want to be productive in. This will lead to fewer distractions and help you be more productive at home.

How To Be Truly Seen In An Interview

If you’ve been applying for various jobs for the past few weeks, and you’ve finally bagged the important interview that you wanted – congratulations. This is a big deal! You need to know that you essentially only get one chance to impress them (no pressure!) But that’s the thing – it is a lot of pressure, and that can really get to you and cause you stress during the build-up of the big date. So how do you go about making sure you ace the interview? There are so many various pieces of advice that is available, how are you supposed to know what to listen to, and what to avoid?

Well, here are all the best tips that will secure you the job you want by making yourself seen on the day of the interview.

Take charge

You may think that the interviewer is the one that holds the power, but this is only partially the case. It’s very common for a recruiter to fall prey of unconscious biasty, allowing themselves to focus too heavily on experience rather than competence. While it is important, it’s not necessarily the be all and end all. So take it upon yourself to make sure that this doesn’t happen. Give them a reason to fall out of habit and look at the bigger picture of what you have to offer the company.

Always prepare

It’s no good turning up to an interview if you’re not thoroughly prepared. You can never put in too much of your free time into preparation. It’s your job to do as much research about the company as you can. The more you know, the better, because it will show them that you are invested and care to bother – as others won’t. Generic information isn’t enough, anyone can figure out a couple basic facts. Delve deeper and find out how the place is organised, the reason behind the business, the industry trends, and maybe even a little about the interviewer if you can. Look into the specific job challenges too so you can them give examples of why you’re the right fit.

Know your stuff

You can’t expect to get the job you want if you don’t have all the qualifications and skills that you need – this won’t get you to an interview in the first place, let alone give you a chance of getting the job. You don’t necessarily have to go back to school though to do this, you can find leadership mba online courses that fit in around your busy schedule so that you don’t have to worry about taking time out of what you normally do, as you can squeeze this into the free time that you have, be it at home, or on the move. Remember, knowledge is power, so get your credentials.

Create a strategy

Before you arrive, think about a few specific messages that you want to convey to the interviewer. Make a connection between what you’ve done previously, and how that will work towards this job role. People much prefer listening to a story than having short bits of information thrown at them like a robot. Avoid sounding monotone as this is boring and you won’t draw anyone in that way. Make everything you say interesting and exciting so they don’t want to stop conversing with you.

Highlight your potential

As much as you would like to be perfect – the perfect candidate just doesn’t exist. So rather than trying to make excuses or good reasons in the areas that you may be lacking – focus on the things that you’re awesome at. It’s far more effective to big up what you know you’re good at than trying to make up for what you don’t. If the interviewer brings up those areas, demonstrate how you have a great ability to learn and overcome struggles, and adapting to new situations that you are faced with.

The first half a minute

People always talk about the first impressions being the most important, and they are. Within the first thirty seconds, people will form an opinion about you – this isn’t their fault, it’s just what our brains do. They will watch you walk into a room, they will listen to how you speak, and they will see how comfortable you look as you take a seat, so the way you do these three things are very important. Engage in eye contact, maintain a good posture, speak clearly, and think confidently – even if you don’t necessarily feel very confident, fake it. If you’re worried about how you’ll look, record yourself at home and see how you appear. You don’t have to tell anyone you’ve done this, but it can really give you an insight into how you look to others.

Think fast when you need to

No matter how hard you prepare for an interview, you can never predict how things are going to go – you can’t envision the future, so you need to be ready for anything. In order to do that, you need to learn how to keep on your toes. You will need to learn how to tweak your performance to play to various situations of how everything will play out. You may need to mix up your answers just in case they take a different direction than you had expected them to. One good tip, is that a lot of interviewers tend to like the sound of their own voice, so give them centre stage until they pass on the torch.

The most import thing is staying focus and calm. The last thing you want to do is turn up on the day a nervous wreck who can barely speak because you’re so consumed by stress and anxiety. At the end of the day – you’re just having a chat with another human being. That’s it. So don’t overthink it. And if you don’t end up getting the job, know that there will be others.

Image: Amtec Staffing

Eww! Your Website Could be Embarrassing Your Business

You’re a savvy, switched on 21st century entrepreneur. You know that even if your business doesn’t make extensive use of ecommerce, most prospective business leads will get their first taste of your brand through your online presence. But you’re also a parent. You can’t afford to fork out a small fortune on a stop shelf web developer to completely overhaul your online presence, and you don’t have the time or energy to become a proficient coder in order to create a website that stands shoulder to shoulder with those of the multinational corporate titans. Thus, many nascent small business people do the best they can with the resources at hand, and while the results may look just fine to their eyes, a more experienced hand would be able to tell you that you’re making mistakes that could undermine the credibility of your business. Thus, while a tip top website may represent a modest overhead, it’s almost always one worth covering.

Fortunately, it needn’t be a costly or time consuming exercise to ensure that your online presence is saying all the right things and none of the wrong things about your business. It’s simply a matter of knowing the “tells” that could make for a potentially embarrassing website and acting on them quickly and decisively. Such as…

Default WordPress templates

There are lots of reasons people set up websites. Some are established by businesses, while others are built by amateurs who simply want a platform upon which to promote their blog, their photography or their worldview. While both have every right to an online presence, it could prove a black eye for your business if you use the default WordPress templates favoured by amateur webmasters. These templates could make your website look amateurish to more practiced eyes. Fortunately, WordPress website design is a fairly easy discipline to source. There are many free to use templates that look much more professional than the defaults. Even if you need to subcontract a freelancer to create one from scratch this can usually be accomplished with a minimum of cost.

Cheaply sourced content

You probably know enough about SEO to know that one of the surest ways to climb to the top of search engine queries organically is by posting regular content. But this can lead thrifty entrepreneurs to outsource their content to low cost, low quality overseas “farms”. This content tends to be poorly written, factually inaccurate or lacking in substance. Make sure that you dedicate sufficient time to contribute your own content, entrust it to a member of your staff or outsource it to a more reputable provider that uses a pool of talented writers.

Non responsive

If users complain that your website is “non responsive” it could mean one of two things. Firstly, it may mean that when customers try to click on a call to action or navigation button it either doesn’t work or results in an unexpected response. This is likely a symptom of poor development or misleading UX (user experience) copy but is fairly easy to fix once isolated.

Secondly, it may mean that your website is not well optimized for mobile consumption. It may become distorted or rendered unusable when viewed through a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. In an era where mobile usage has overtaken desktop usage, making your website more responsive should be among your highest priorities. Fortunately, most templates designed these days are build with mobile use in mind.

Public domain images

How to Keep from Getting Stressed as a Work from Home Mom

From the outside looking in, working from home should be a piece of cake. You get to wear whatever you want, set your own hours, and be there for your family when they need you most. Though these perks are true, working from home takes some getting used to. You end up needing to spend so many hours in the initial stages of growing a business, that sometimes it could seem like you see your family less.

Not to mention, with increased work hours that leaves less time for you to care for yourself. Eventually, some women end up feeling less accomplished than when they worked a 9 to 5. Some, become depressed while others become so inundated with responsibilities and the pressures to succeed that they start to feel overwhelmed.

Know the Signs of Stress

Stress comes with the territory of being a working parent. Whether you work in the office or from home, the constant battle of trying to find a work/life balance is difficult to deal with. Though some stress is to be anticipated, when it starts to get out of hand, you may notice things like:

  • Headaches

  • Body aches

  • Lack of energy

  • Weakened immune system (getting sick easier)

  • Changes in sex drive

  • Changes in social life

  • Resentment or distancing from your family

  • Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol

If you’ve noticed these signs of stress, it is imperative that you begin taking the proper measures to reduce these feelings before things get worse. For those who are suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, finding the right detox center is ultimately the first step towards recovery.

Keeping Stress to a Minimum

If you realize that working from home has brought with it an undue amount of stress, you need to start taking steps towards reducing it as much as possible. This doesn’t mean that you should go back to your 9 to 5, however, it does mean getting a clear understanding of what your stressors are and finding effective solutions. Below are some of the most common stresses of working from home and how you can keep it to a minimum:

Your Family is ALWAYS There – When you work from home the lines between work and personal life can blend quickly. If you have younger children, they’re always home with you, and you’ll also find that friends and family members will just pop up or call whenever because they believe you have the convenience to do as you please.

Set Boundaries – It is imperative to set boundaries. Set business hours and ask your family to honor those hours. Avoid answering your personal calls or emails unless there is an emergency. Lastly, consider enrolling your younger children in classes or programs for kids. Even if it’s an art class or summer camp for half the day, it gives you time to focus solely on work.

It Gets Lonely– In an office setting, you had the pleasure of being able to communicate with your coworkers. Whether you were talking about an assignment, what you did over the weekend, or exchanging recipes, it provided you with time to spend talking with others. Now that you’re working from home, communicating is less of an option and it can become depressing.

Get Out of the House – Social isolation is a huge problem for those who work from home. You need to get out of the house to break up the monotony of being indoors, alone all the time. Join a business networking group, go and do work at a local coffee shop, link up with your clients or colleagues on occasion for face-to-face communication.

Your Self Esteem Plummets – Wearing what you want has its perks, however, there is a thin line between wearing something comfortable and not caring about your wardrobe at all. When you’re in the house all day, you begin to feel like there’s nothing to get ready for and your personal appearance and self-esteem can suffer because of it.

Take Care of You – You have to be diligent about self-care now, more than ever. You should continue to get dressed every day, do your hair, and be mindful of your hygiene.

Working from home does have advantages – It allows you the opportunity to pursue your wildest dreams on terms that work best for you and your family. With that being said, there are still some burdens to bear when working from home. To ensure that you don’t burn out, it is imperative to recognize your areas of stress and do something about it such as the tips described above.

Image: efuetatem

Employing Staff: Be The Boss You Always Wanted

One of the main signs that your business is going extremely well is the need to bring new members of staff onboard. These new employees will help take on the extra workload and will make it possible to grow and develop the business as organically as possible.

There’s just one concern that some entrepreneurs and business owners worry about when it comes to recruiting their first employees – they just aren’t sure they’ll be any good at managing them. Management is an acquired skill and new leaders might think that their skills aren’t quite up to scratch for new people on their team. Thankfully, though, being a good manager is something that can be learned and you should be able to easily pick up all the required knowledge and experience as you go along. There are just a few tips that could help you from the outset. Read on to find out more!

Image: DanaTentis

Outsource Hiring And Recruitment

Once you do have your first members of staff, you will find that your role starts to completely change and you’ll be extremely busy. That’s because you will now have to look after these new employees and help them settle in and get on with their jobs. And that is all on top of doing your own work. So, when the time comes to increase the size of your team and bring in even more staff, you just might not have the time to dedicate to sifting through CVs and carrying out interviews. Don’t panic, though; you will be able to use the services of an HR recruitment agency which will make recruiting new employees a whole lot easier. You can outsource as much of the whole recruitment process as you’d like, making your life and business a lot better to manage!

Create A Family Atmosphere

Sure, most people go to work mainly for the paycheck at the end of the month. But there are some other perks of being in full-time employment too. Take the social advantages, for instance. I’m sure that most of your new employees will want to join your team to make friends and meet new people. So, it’s worth trying to create a family atmosphere in your office. This will be good for team building and will help everyone settle in very quickly. As well as encouraging everyone to get along, you might want to give your employees certain benefits, such as being able to bring their dog or baby to the office with them. This helps keep the atmosphere in the office light and friendly, and also ensures that your employees’ personal lives aren’t inconvenienced by having to go to work each day!

Image: JerryKimbrell10

Work On Your Communication

Once you are a boss, you will need to have impeccable communication skills. That’s because your workers will want to know exactly what is going on in the business, especially in their own department. So, you need to have a policy of transparency and open communication in place. Otherwise, you will find that your workers start to distrust you and rumors might start to fly around the office. As well as you being a good communicator, you also need to encourage your staff to be as well. For instance, it’s really worth encouraging all of your employees to give you any feedback whenever they see fit. Make sure there are various ways for your staff to reach out to you, such as through email, an instant messenger app, or a specialist communications platform such as Slack. You should also ensure that you have a friendly demeanor and are approachable so that your employees are never put off to come forward and talk to you about whatever may be on their mind.

Put Good Training In Place

It is also essential that, as an employer, you give your employees plenty of opportunities to take part in training and develop their skills within the workplace. As the business owner, you are responsible for all of your staff’s training, and letting your employees take time out of their jobs to further their skills really will benefit you and your company as a whole. There are various types of training that your employees can take, but the main ones to consider are job-specific types of training that will help them improve their daily work and team-building training that can help their collaborative efforts. Overall, the team-building training will help your company feel like more of a tight-knit team. Plus, it’s worth thinking of offering some onboarding training for the new hires you bring into the company. This type of training ensures that newbies get a good overview of how the company works and the part that they play in it all. It also ensures that they settle into their new position as soon as possible.

Be Decisive

Image: PhotoMIX

Do you always say that you are bad at making decisions? That needs to change and pronto! Once you have employees who work for you, you will be responsible for making the majority of decisions in the business. After all, you are leading the organization, and your workers will be looking to you for help and guidance. So, if you aren’t too hot when it comes to making decisions right now, this is something that you will have to work on. Just remember that the key to making the right decision in any situation is to be as informed as you can be.

Delegate According To People’s Strengths

Once you are in a position to be able to delegate jobs and responsibilities to your employees, you need to make sure that you do so in a way that everyone is given work according to their strengths and areas of expertise. That way, you are 100% sure that the best person for the job is working on it.

Once you follow all of these tips, you’ll find that you become a great manager and will be a real hit with your new team of employees. Good luck with it all!