Perils Of Working At Home

Perils Of Working At Home

Featured, Process
While many people work at home on a regular basis, recent circumstances have forced a lot of people to make the transition. Remote workers face different challenges and different distractions. Here are some tips for making your work at home experience more productive and enjoyable. Set up a space: Just like you have a desk or workstation at your workplace, you need to have a dedicated space to work in. It can be a corner of a room, a full home office, or even part of the dining room table if need be. The important part is that when you are in that space, you are at work. You need to think of that space as separate from your home. Going there is going to work.Go to work: When you…
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Dealing With A Black Swan

Dealing With A Black Swan

Featured, Process
Businesses (and people) all over the world are dealing with the global pandemic of COVD-19. For most organizations, this was a black swan. For those not familiar with the term, a black swan is a situation that could not be anticipated. The phrase was a common expression in 16th century London as a statement of impossibility. The London expression derives from the presumption that all swans must be white because all historical records of swans reported that they had white feathers. In that context, a black swan was impossible or at least nonexistent. However, in 1697, Dutch explorers became the first Europeans to see black swans, in Western Australia.  So how do you plan for something you cannot predict? Start with determining exactly what resources you need to continue operating. Once you know what you need, determine how much you…
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For Cybersecurity Even ‘Trusted Sources’ Need To Be Watched.

For Cybersecurity Even ‘Trusted Sources’ Need To Be Watched.

Featured, Process
The prevailing wisdom when protecting yourself from online scams is never open files sent to you by people you don't know. While this is good advice, it still leaves you open to problems caused by "trusted sources." You may know that the file sent to you by your child's school is not a scam, but you don't know that their system hasn't been infected. Your trusted sources obviously aren't trying to hack your computer. You don't know if their computer systems have viruses and malware that could affect you. My son learned this the hard way when he brought his laptop to school and logged into the school network. His virus protection software went crazy as it detected all of the problems from the school's network drive. The same school…
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Set “Time Boundaries” to Protect Your Schedule

Set “Time Boundaries” to Protect Your Schedule

Featured, Improvement, Process
Meetings that run long or unexpected requests from colleagues can prevent you from getting an important task done, make you leave work late, or even disrupt family time. How can you set and communicate boundaries so that you feel your time is respected? Start with your calendar. Block out times when you’re commuting, taking your kids to school, or when you’re getting focused work done, making sure you’re marked as unavailable. Next, ensure that you’re setting meetings for an appropriate amount of time, and stick to a focused agenda. If you’re not running the meeting, tell your colleagues that you have a hard stop. You also need to manage communications. Make your preferred way of communicating — for example, email versus Slack — clear with your colleagues, and respond on…
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Don’t Let Work Stress Keep You Up At Night

Don’t Let Work Stress Keep You Up At Night

Featured, Process
Work stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Try these strategies during the day to avoid worrying about work at all hours of the night. Make a to-do list. The act of writing down uncompleted tasks allows you to put them out of your mind. You also might consider keeping a journal, where you write down your thoughts and feelings. Putting pen to paper can help you process emotions and reduce anxiety. Get some exercise. Physical activity — even a single instance — decreases rumination, which is often linked to insomnia. Or practice meditation. Researchers in the Netherlands found that even small amounts of mindful meditation (10 minutes before and after work for two weeks) helped calm racing minds and…
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Manage the Endless Stream of Email by Setting Boundaries

Manage the Endless Stream of Email by Setting Boundaries

Communication, Featured, Process
One of the reasons email is so hard to manage is that sending it is easy. We can fill up each other’s inboxes by just clicking a button — which is why it’s important to set boundaries around email. Harvard Business Review recommends trying three things: Use autoreplies. When you need time to focus on work, your email autoreply can tell people that you’re unavailable and when you’ll get back to them. Whether you’ll reply in a day or a week, let people know what to expect. (And in the meantime, give yourself permission to ignore messages that can wait.)Set guidelines for your team. Tell people how and when you prefer to communicate, and ask colleagues and clients about their preferences as well. Don’t forget to revisit this discussion when people join…
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The Problem With Processes

The Problem With Processes

Featured, Process
Having a process is the best way to get things done. Following a process means you go step by step with no variations. It ensures that the same quality is achieved no matter who follows the process. Customers get the same thing they expect me and time. It's what makes McDonald's so successful. Customers know what to expect and they get it time after time. A process only works when all the pieces stay the same. In a world dependent on software and social media, change is inevitable. When there is a change in one part of the process and you don't adapt, the process is not effective. In the online world, Google and Facebook change their algorithms on a regular basis. Doing the same thing that got you noticed…
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Why An Ecosystem Works For Your Business

Why An Ecosystem Works For Your Business

Featured, Improvement, Process
Companies offer all kinds of products and services to help you build your business. At The Modern Observer Group, we offer an ecosystem of products and services that can be used individually or in conjunction with other. What is the advantage of using services that are part of ecosystem? The fact is that no segment of your business runs in a vacuum. Each part of your business affects every other part. For example, you can focus on your branding and create exactly the brand you want to portray. However, if you don't have proper processes in place a customer can have a terrible experience when they interact with your business. If that happens, all the time, money and energy you spent building your brand has just gone out the window.…
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Structuring Your Business Plan

Structuring Your Business Plan

Featured, Improvement, Process
When starting a business, a plan is a great starting point to make sure you understand all the elements of your business. Once you are in business, it is a great exercise to do every few years. This lets you examine where your business has gone and the changes that have occurred. To keep your business plan simple, here is a structure to follow. Executive Summary If you had two minutes going down an escalator with a potential investor, you should talk her through your executive summary. This should answer questions such as: What is your company’s mission? Why is it important to you? Why do you think your company can make money pursuing that mission? What is your track record of winning? How much money do you need? What…
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Make Your Meeting More Effective By Following Up

Make Your Meeting More Effective By Following Up

Featured, Process
It’s easy to think that your work is done when you walk out of a meeting. But the decisions made in the room will only be effective if you carefully follow up. Start by writing a succinct summary note, describing what was discussed and clear action steps. Attach any notes from the meeting. Draft this in a way that allows others to forward your message to anyone who missed the meeting or who cares about what occurred. Record any task due dates in your calendar so you can make sure they’re completed. If there’s someone who has a particular stake in the meeting outcome, such as your boss, follow up in person to make sure they’re aware of the decisions made and next steps. Finally, spend some time reflecting on…
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