Working From Home: 24-Article Roundup of (Free) Tools & Tips

Working From Home: 24-Article Roundup of (Free) Tools & Tips

By Theo Winter White

In light of current events, this article roundup will primarily focus on positive, useful, 100% free tips and tools to support people leaders, HR practitioners, L&D professionals, facilitators, consultants, coaches, and anyone going a little stir crazy during the Great Home Migration. For those we know in the talent development industry making the transition from in-person training to virtual delivery, there’s plenty of amazing guidance and clarifying pointers. More broadly, working from home has been a fixture of recent workplace discussion and is trending among the most-searched terms online in Australia (along with office equipment, food delivery, supermarkets, and overseas travel), so hopefully there's at least 1 among this lot of 24 articles that may be of benefit to you or someone you know. Stay safe, look after yourself, look after others, and more importantly than ever, look for kindness in the storm.

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1 - How to Work From Home Coronavirus: How to Work From Home, the Right Way 13 March 2020 | BBC Worklife | Bryan Lufkin

Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually, for example, or your company might not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers, like the chat app Slack or video conferencing app Zoom, Larson says.

But even for those accustomed to it, working from home can feel unstructured and isolating. Last year, a study of 2,500 remote workers by online brand development agency Buffer found that loneliness was the second-most reported challenge, one experienced by 19% of respondents.

With a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate, it becomes easier to unlock the benefits of remote work. In a survey of 7,000 workers last year by FlexJobs, 65% said they’re more productive working from home, citing benefits like fewer interruptions from colleagues, minimal office politics and reduced stress from commuting.

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2 - 10 Best Practice Tips For Leading Virtual Teams

10 Best Practice Tips For Leading Virtual Teams 26 March 2020 | UNSW Media | Will Felps

UNSW’s Associate Professor Will Felps and former MBA student Virginia Kane conducted research on best practices in leading virtual teams. They found that the rules that apply to face-to-face teams do not necessarily apply to virtual teams and suggest managers must be more disciplined in their approach to managing virtual teams.

Drawing on best-practice insights from an in-depth review of the academic literature and interviews with nine experts, whose experience in leading virtual teams spanned telecommunications, technology, education, consumer packaged goods, banking and insurance, mining, transportation and professional service industries, these participants had faced challenges with virtual teaming and had great (and oft-surprising) solutions for leading effective teams.

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3 - What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting (12 Tips) 5 March 2020 | Harvard Business Review | Bob Frisch and Cary Greene

Virtual meetings — even impromptu ones sparked by fears of a contagion — can be run more effectively, using basic meeting best practices and easy-to-use, inexpensive technology. Here are 12 steps you can take to make that happen. 1) Use video.. 2) always provide an audio dial-in option.. 3) Test the technology ahead of time.. 4) Make sure faces are visible.. 5) Stick to meeting basics.. 6) Minimize presentation length.. 7) Use an icebreaker.. 8) Assign a facilitator.. 9) Call on people.. 10) Capture real-time feedback.. 11) Don’t be afraid to tackle tough issues.. 12) Practice once or twice while you’re still together.

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4 - The incredibly simple reason working from home could be here to stay The Incredibly Simple Reason Working From Home Could Be Here to Stay 23 March 2020 | Fast Company | Jared Newman

Companies are finally investing in the technology they’ve always needed to make remote work possible. Investments that might’ve seemed superfluous before have now become necessary to keep their businesses running.

Rob Smith, an analyst with Gartner, says he’s been inundated with calls from companies that are now trying to put remote work solutions in place. He estimates that roughly one-third of all companies were ill-equipped to send all their employees home, while another third had no remote work plan in place at all.

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5 - Working from home can make people more productive Working From Home Can Make People More Productive. Just Not During A Pandemic. 20 March 2020 | Vox | Rani Molla

I recently spoke — on Zoom, of course — with Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, who has written extensively about working from home and who has been pretty bullish about its benefits... But now, with the coronavirus pandemic turning many more people into de facto remote workers, Bloom is less optimistic about the new inundation of working from home.

[of the 500 workers out of 1000 who volunteered for the study in China] Working from home actually worked well for the employees in China who chose to work from home: They were 13 percent more productive, and the quit rates halved.

The key advice is to recreate social contact using video conferencing, two ways... For example, the whole group can meet for a 30-minute video chat at 11:00 every day to catch-up on their personal situation, chat about the news or life in general — no work talk.

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6 - bright side The Bright Side Of Covid-19: Seven Opportunities Of The Current Pandemic 23 March 2020 | Forbes | Jeroen Kraaijenbrink

The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of dark sides. No matter how serious and sad all of this is, there are upsides as well. The current crisis offers at least seven of them: 1) More time.. 2) Reflect and reconsider.. 3) Speed and innovation.. 4) Better meetings.. 5) Reconnect and help.. 6) Cleaner environment.. 7) Modesty and acceptance.

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7 - Adjusting to Remote Work Adjusting to Remote Work During the Coronavirus Crisis 24 March 2020 | Harvard Business Review

"The vast majority of organizations are not well prepared to suddenly move their entire workforce wholesale into remote work, even though they’ve had portions of their organizations participate in dispersed work or even global collaboration. So no, this is an unprecedented type of scenario that we’re seeing today."

Remote work is an actual learned skill. People don’t just do it well organically. So it’s important to help people, to coach people, to provide resources on how to do it well.

Ordinarily, productivity does not get affected with remote work. And in fact, evidence we have is that productivity actually goes up with remote work. Having said that, what I think will happen during this particular unprecedented era is that it is possible that we might see a dip in productivity because there’s this radical change, kind of this tsunami level shift that we’re seeing in our societies right now.

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8 - Going Virtual - The Impact Going Virtual: The Impact of Coronavirus on L&D and How to Navigate Through Change 20 March 2020 | TrainingZone | Nigel Paine

The most important lesson that came out of the webinar was that no one faced unique challenges. It’s clear that very few people have it all worked out, and there were many individuals willing to help in an official or unofficial capacity.

Another equally heartening acknowledgment is that there are many resources that can help, and more are being created every day. (I’m listing some of them at the end of this article). No one is trying to make money out of this, and individuals and companies are giving away their resources in a bid to help.

Learning leaders seem to be divided into three distinct camps at the moment: 1) Batten down the hatches... 2) Shifting online... 3) Ramp up the speed.

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9 - How to make sure your virtual L&D How to Make Sure Your Virtual L&D Training is Effective 20 March 2020 | Training Journal | Tanya Boyd

Here are some top tips to help you and your teams deliver effective training in a virtual space: 1) Be clear on what can be delivered virtually.. 2) Make sure you have the right technology in place.. 3) Make sure you have the right people in place.. 4) Make sure you set the scene and signpost to the future.. 5) Invest in the tools you need to keep clients engaged and constantly learning.. 6) Empower your people with everything they need to be successful.. 7) Challenge perceptions about virtual training.. 8) Consider individual preferences.

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10 - top HR prior COVID-19: Top Priorities For HR Leaders Revealed 20 March 2020 | Human Capital Magazine | John Hilton

The vast majority (88%) of organisations have encouraged or required employees to work from home, regardless of whether or not they showed coronavirus-related symptoms, according to a Gartner survey of 800 global HR professionals.

The Gartner survey shows that organisations, trying to balance employee needs with financial realities, are employing a variety of approaches to time-off policies in response to COVID-19. Nearly half (48%) of employers require employees to use sick leave first, then vacation leave and finally potential PTO for coronavirus absences.

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11 - 5 ways COVID HR 5 Ways the COVID-19 Crisis will Transform HR's Role 24 March 2020 | HR Morning | Tim McElgunn

Human Resources is at the front lines of employers’ response to the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis is forcing almost every business to immediately develop, adapt or improve remote work policies and procedures. As HR pros struggle to keep employees safe and informed, it helps to think about what changes will be more permanent and how you’ll guide employees and organizational leadership through those changes. Here are 5 effects that you’ll likely be dealing with long after things return to “normal”: 1) Remote work will be a permanent feature for more organizations.. 2) Nurturing culture gets more challenging in dispersed workplaces.. 3) Talent acquisition and retention remains critical.. 4) Engaging a remote workforce.. 5) Accommodation and compliance.

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12 - How to Create a Productive Working How to Create a Productive Working From Home Culture 20 March 2020 | HRD Magazine | John Hilton

Until the COVID - 19 pandemic, many managers viewed remote working as a privilege and continued to judge workers by their visibility rather than their productivity, according to speaker, author and mentor Donna McGeorge.

“I’m an advocate of outcome watching not clock watching at the best of times, and when working from home, this is something we need to be particularly diligent about,” said McGeorge. There are three key things that managers and workers need to stay on top of when it comes to having a productive working from home culture.

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13 - Psychology Experts Share Psychology Experts Share Their Tips For Safeguarding Your Mental Health During Quarantine 20 March 2020 | CNBC | Karen Gilchrist

A recent study from medical journal The Lancet notes that the psychological impact of quarantine can be great, resulting in a range of mental health concerns from anxiety and anger to sleep disturbances, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Indeed, separate studies of quarantined patients of SARS, a previous coronavirus outbreak in 2003, found between 10% and 29% suffered PTSD.

The Lancet’s report found mental health concerns could be inflamed by stressors associated with quarantine, such as infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, lack of information, financial loss and stigma associated with contracting the disease.

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14 - Engagedly to Provide Engagedly to Provide Remote Work Toolkit For Free 24 March 2020 | HRD Magazine

Engagedly has announced it is offering a suite of products part of its Remote Work Toolkit free to any organisation, until Sept 30th, 2020.

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15 - Greater Good Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus 18 March 2020 | Greater Good

We’ll continue to update this page with resources for individuals, families, and educators. Here are our most recent articles related to COVID-19.. Resources for stress and anxiety.. Resources for fostering connection.. Well-being resources for parents.. Well-being resources for educators.. Other coronavirus well-being resources.

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16 - 8 Zoom Hacks 8 Zoom Hacks To Try During Your Next Work Meeting Or Virtual Happy Hour 24 March 2020 | Bustle | Yeda Khaula Saad

Thankfully, whether you're stuck at home or somewhere else for the time being, video chat apps make it possible to stay connected with the people who matter most. If you just downloaded Zoom, here are some of the most useful hacks to remember next time you join a work meeting or chat with family.

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17 - 4 Pro Video-Conferencing 4 Pro Video-Conferencing Tools You Can Get for Free Right Now 21 March 2020 | PC Magazine

In the wake of the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, video conferencing and business messaging software and solutions have become vital tools used to keep people connected... Let's look at what's available, how to get it, and what you need to know for each of these available tools.

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18 - 28 Free Online Courses 28+ Free Online Courses Being Offered During the Coronavirus Pandemic 24 March 2020 | Parade | Jessica Sager

We’ve rounded up a ton of available free online courses, from free Ivy League courses online to free classes being offered from General Assembly. Whether you want to learn how to code, how Romans built arenas, the history of women at work or just about any other conceivable subject, here are the best online classes and courses being offered.

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19 - Online Therapy and Wellbeing Online Therapy and Wellbeing Resources You Can Access For Free During the Coronavirus Outbreak 24 March 2020 | Stylist | Lauren Geall

Although our access to traditional face-to-face therapy and mental health support may be minimised at this time, there are a great number of free and easily accessible mental health resources available online – with many more being created specifically to support those affected by the current situation... From free online therapy sessions to meditation courses designed to help you deal with uncertainty, these resources will provide you with tools to help you manage your mental health during this difficult time.

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20 - 50 Ways to Stay SANE 50 Ways to Stay SANE During the Coronavirus Pandemic 24 March 2020 | Yes! Magazine | Guy Dauncey

The idea is that you look through the list each morning and score each item that appeals to you from 0-10. If you have a partner, he or she does the same. Then plan your day, focusing on your top scoring items.

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21 - 40 Meaningful Things 40 Meaningful Things to Do When Stuck At Home in a Pandemic. 19 March 2020 | Clearer Thinking | Spencer Greenberg

Here's our list of 40 meaningful activities you can do (that are free or only of modest cost) when you’re self-isolating at home or stuck in quarantine. This could be your chance to revisit old friendships online, focus on important things you don't usually think about, or finish a project that you’ve been putting off for too long!

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22 - Time For Some Well-Meming Fun Time For Some Well-Meming Fun 19 March 2020 | The Daily Telegraph

Take a break from the news feeds... check out some coronavirus memes for a laugh.

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23 - Into the Storm- A Poetic Response Into the Storm: A Poetic Response to Crisis: Cocoons, Chrysalises and the Sublimation of Anxiety. 19 March 2020 | The Museletter | Jason Fox

I worry that many people’s mythical reference points for these times are apocalyptic. Terrible scenarios where individualism and tribalism run rife; where any sense of community collapses. Let’s not have that. This is a time of renewal. A means of remaking who we are and how we work. You might have been a warlock this past decade or so, devoting your life energy to the corporate-patron egregore-god of whatever brand you serve; selling your soul just a little more each day, in exchange for bit of wealth and power. Maybe it’s time to reconsider this dark pact?

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24 - 30 Books and Series 30 Books and Series to Read While Social Distancing 20 March 2020 | TIME | TIME Staff

Everyone has different ways of coping with the events of the outbreak; these books will allow you to get however close or far from what’s going on outside as you want. From stories of pandemics and post-apocalyptic societies and triumphant narratives about spending time alone to pure page-turning escapism, here are 30 books and series to read while staying home.

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