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  • 1
    object(stdClass)#4500 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5797"
      ["title"]=>
      string(48) "Tips to Stay Productive During Pandemic COVID-19"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(48) "tips-to-stay-productive-during-pandemic-covid-19"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(91) "

    The outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus has fractured many verticals of operation.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(8064) "

    The rate at which this virus spreads has made countries take decisions of curfew and lockdown. The total number of recorded cases, as tracked by Worldometers, has surpassed 2,70,000 as of 20th March 2020. The pandemic has already taken 11,000 + lives and is showing no signs of slowing down.

    Multinational companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Chevron, etc., have taken prompt decisions for their employees. From the United Kingdom to the United States, Japan to South Korea, all of these companies have introduced compulsory work-from-home programs in recent weeks in lieu of COVID-19 spread.

    Companies have tried to inculcate the work-from-home culture, and the employees have responded sincerely. The question of how to work during coronavirus has been answered well by the employees by showing incremental results, albeit, working remotely.

    Work-from-home implies that you no longer have the amenities of your office culture, your dedicated workstation, the daily team meetings, and a lot more. However, most of these aspects are coverable and just require an honest effort from the workers. 

    Let’s run through 6 of the best tips that’ll show you how to stay productive during coronavirus. 

    1. Follow a Strict Reminder-Based Schedule

    When you operate from your premises, you can easily get lenient with deadlines. This hinders the daily growth metrics, and you form an opinion that you don’t fit into the work-from-home culture.

    The solution to this problem is simple. Formulate a daily work-routine, fill it in your reminder app, and follow that with utter sincerity. Free tools like EfficientReminder and 2day can be used for the same. From the time you wake up to the moment you start working your assignment, keep everything under time-frame, and don’t violate them.

    When you strictly follow the routine, you become more productive because now you’re also saving the travel time. Within a few days, you deliver the results with greater efficiency, and you also lift the morale of the whole team.

    2. Get Rid of All the Distractions

    Once you are able to follow your work-routine, you stay productive with your work. However, working-from-home needs complete employee dedication. This includes isolation from all the non-essential components during the work hours. Learn and implement the Pomodoro Technique to utilize your time in the best way possible and dedicate your working hours for total productivity. 

    You can start by keeping your phone at bay. The dreaded sound of "ting" consumes precious work hours, and you're not even aware that it's a distraction. Try to work in rooms where you can focus on work, and there's a minimal disturbance.

    Also, inform your family members and roommates about your office projects to notify them about your work. This way, you ensure that they only disturb you when it's a real necessity. The tabs that you open while working can also deviate you from work, so narrow down unnecessary clicks.

    3. Keep in Touch With Your Team

    Set up morning team meetings and be on schedule to report to lay the foundation for a perfect day while working-from-home. Determine the action plan for a limited session, get in touch with the team again to discuss further action plans. 

    Discuss progress with your team for each session to better understand what needs to be done next. Ask for suggestions and provide a few from your side as well to create a healthy remote-working environment. 

    Use video calls and conference calls to keep the spirits high, and ensure that there are no communications barriers within the team. Use applications such as ZoomToggl, etc., to stay connected with the project members and schedule an end-of-day call to discuss productivity and the next set of actions.

    4. Create a Thick Line Between You and Your Surroundings

    Your family and your company both want you to work from home during the pandemicHowever, you can work efficiently only when you also want to do the same. Work with dedication and keep aside everything not related to work so that your focus doesn't deviate.

    Create a distance from the surroundings, ensuring that you concentrate only on the project agenda. Develop a virtual workstation at your home that suits your working style and keep everything else aside.

    There might be guest visits, something happening in the neighborhood, or a phone call from your best friend, but you have to make sure that you stick to your work routine. This way, you create a virtual wall between your work and the surroundings.

    5. Use Work-Management Applications 

    Office operability allows administrators and team leaders to delegate and adjust tasks according to deadlines and goals for the job. In the unavailability of this service, it could be difficult to formulate a time-bound to-do list for certain workers.

    Work management tools such as Trello for SlackTeamworkTaskworld, and many others can be used to great effect. Tasks are scheduled with preliminary deadlines using these tools, and dedicated tasks for specific time-frames can be easily allotted to the workers.

    6. Measure Your Work Output from Time-to-Time

    Measure all the effort that you put in while working-from-home or from office. COVID-19 and news related to it will surely kill some time. But make sure that these breaks are used productively, and you can even call your project members to discuss the work progress.

    Timely work analysis gives you the exact areas for improvement. You clearly know where you are nailing the work and also the areas where you need to improve. In the end, it's a fight against the COVID-19 disease, and don't question yourself twice for putting your health at priority.

    To Conclude

    Amidst the outbreak of coronavirus, it's a responsible act by the workers to understand how to work during a pandemicTo stay productive while working from home, start work on time, and follow a strict work routine. 

    Take care of all the distractions that come in the way of your work, and stay connected with your team members and project leaders. Isolate yourself from the surroundings to ensure that you don't deviate from your productive work hours.

    Use work management tools to keep track of your daily tasks and project deadlines. Measure the work that you're doing and the time that is investing in doing so. Discuss them with the team to learn and grow on a daily basis.

    Lastly, stay safe and hygienic. Keep your surroundings clean, and in case you fall ill, prioritize your health.

    What ways can you think of to stay productive during the pandemic? 

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    Tips to Stay Productive During Pandemic COVID-19

    Anuja Lath
  • 2
    object(stdClass)#4505 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5787"
      ["title"]=>
      string(39) "Effective Ways to Gain Customer Loyalty"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(39) "effective-ways-to-gain-customer-loyalty"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(122) "

    Do you know the people who can do the best in class branding for you, are not the ones you have on your payrolls?

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(6410) "

    Strange as it may sound, the fact remains that your most loyal customers are the best brand advocates you can get. Every business that has tasted success, knows the noteworthiness of customer loyalty. Your customers who have brought your products and are happy with you are the ones who will become your best salespeople. So, if you have still not looked into this valuable resource, then it is time you rethink your strategic blueprints to engage your customers. Businesses also start different customer loyalty programs to gain attention.  

    In this highly wired world, where internet penetration has gone up considerably, every next decision to buy is highly influenced by internet reviews and peer suggestions. Thus, the power your present customers wield in driving the next sales cannot be understated. This is primarily the reason why all the latest strategic models have shifted their focus from seller to the buyer. 

    So how did it all begin?

    Half the world today lives in Levi Strauss jeans, a brand that had won its first patent in 1873 to make an original pair of jeans for men. Do you know how did Levis get its market insights? 

    It took the direct conversation route that made this new entrepreneur from San Francisco realize that there was a dire need of work pants by men who go to work. It was because of the effort undertaken by the person that had led to the amazing discovery of jeans. 

    The Apparent Rise of Customer Participation

    The nuances of the present marketplace suggest that customer participation in your marketing decisions is at an all-time high. It is not wrong to state that the current impact has resulted from the internet revolution and the popularity of social media. Also, businesses have observed that their loyal customers not only love to flaunt their brand-love but also act like marketers.

    We are not trying to suggest that the traditional mode of marketing stands phased out, but want to underline the fact that going forward this is not sufficient. This calls for a need for the businesses to move forward in a way that all the phases of the customer journey are addressed. Every brand that arose to this growing reality has been rewarded by their customers who chose to market their products with much conviction than some of its best marketing campaigns. 

    How to Gain Customer Loyalty 

    Every brand is continuously striving to enhance customer loyalty and is erecting multiple points along the customer journey that builds participation. Most of the marketing efforts addressed the decision-making phase of the customer journey. The new age strides call for a deeper impact spread across different levels of the customer journey. Hence, brands now want to give value right from the trial phase. Let us see how to bag maximum benefit from customer loyalty during different phases of the customer journey:

    Multichannel Targeting

    Gone are the days when brands used to focus on only one channel for marketing. In the highly competitive world, every touchpoint matters and brands constantly try to catch the customers on all levels of the customer journey. Such customer targeting helps the businesses to capture vital insights about the customers and hence drive highly personalized brand messaging, that further accentuates customer experience. 

    Personalization

    This is a hyper-local marketing age and everyone wants to be under the spotlight. With the growth of technologies like Artificial Intelligence and social media, marketers now have the power to weave highly personalized experiences for their visitors and customers. These act as positive reinforcements and play a significant role in making your customers happy who will act as brand advocates and ambassadors. As they are doing it willingly, they do it the best and with complete conviction. They not only promote the brand but are also seen helping other users who are stuck at different levels of the buyer journey.

    Breathe Customer Service

    Yes, we mean it. As a brand, customer service should be your foremost priority. You should constantly strive to achieve it despite all odds. Also, note that customer service does not end with the sale, but takes on a new level with one. Infact, the real customer service begins when your customers face certain concerns with the product and need help with it. Ensure every query, call, the text is suitably addressed and rightfully solved to completion. There should be no gaps left here. Understand that this is your time to win or lose a customer.

    Bring Value

    Unless your product adds value to the lives of your customers, it will not be accepted. Value lasts and value stays. Fun is momentary. So, when you design your product offering, ensure it has equal portions of fun and value. Balance out every element. 

    Customer loyalty is often the result of customer participation and engagement. You have to find innovative techniques to bring in new forms of engagement. As Pareto Principle stated that nearly 80% of future revenue of your business will be driven by 20% of your current customers. This typically means that you have to constantly focus all your current marketing strategies leading to loyal and repeat customers.   

    You have to make your choice and see how far you are ready to stretch to build customer satisfaction and make loyal customers. Every person is different and has a unique set of needs. You can no longer afford to miss on the leverage you can gain from happy customers in a time where properly attended customer advocates have helped to turn the tide for many businesses.

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    Effective Ways to Gain Customer Loyalty

    Anuja Lath
  • 3
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      ["title"]=>
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      string(175) "

    The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) system is alive and well in many businesses, allowing employers to assign employees' professional numbers to their personal handsets.

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    This arrangement can save managers a fortune in hardware costs while enabling staff to work more productively.

    However, it can also give rise to various unexpected challenges. Here are some of the biggest, but also how your own business might be able to work around them.

    1. Your Staff's Workflow Can Be Disrupted

    Advertising personal numbers to attract more clients can bring a negative atmosphere by regularly interrupting staff when they are endeavouring to devote themselves to their usual routine. As a result, your workforce's productivity can be impacted, nibusinessinfo.co.uk warns.

    Then there's the danger of workers continuing to use their phones for personal purposes during office hours. HR Daily Advisor reports that, in a survey of US workers, two-thirds said they checked their phones multiple times during a workday, most often for personal messaging.

    2. Work-Life Balance Can Be Compromised

    Where does an employee's work life end and their personal life begin? It's not quite so obvious for those staffers permitted to take work-oriented phones home with them. Consequently, these people could end up receiving business calls outside the typical 9-5 office hours.

    You could avert this problem by using call routing to send out-of-hour calls to a different number, as Company Bug explains - saving staff from having to switch off their phones.

    3. It Can Be Surprisingly Expensive

    This expense can be easy to overlook if you are simply allowing staff to use devices they already own and, thus, have spent their own money on. However, it comes back to this point about corporate use of these phones coming into play even when your staff aren't strictly at work.

    As the costs of answering those after-hours calls mount, you should think about switching to a business-friendly tariff, like that offered with voice, data and mobile services by Gamma.

    4. Your Business Could Accidentally Be Guilty of Tax Evasion

    If you do let your staff use personal phones for work, how do you fund this system? Perhaps you pay the entire contract or just contribute a monthly allowance towards your worker's personal expenses.

    However, such contributions would constitute "benefits in kind" which must be declared, as employees would have to pay income tax on them. Not declaring these benefits would be tax evasion. You can avoid this issue by just giving staff a separate, business-specific number on the same device.

    5. Your Reputation at Risk

    Fortunately, this problem isn't as serious as tax evasion, but can still hamper your attempts to attract more clients. Your company contact details will naturally form a prominent part of your corporate publicity - and this is another reason for you to stick to business phone numbers.

    The sight of a personal mobile number on publicity materials can give the impression that your company is little-established and lacks the resources for its own premises or landline. You want a more polished presence than this.

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    5 Problems with Using Personal Phones at Work

    Anas Bouargane
  • 4
    object(stdClass)#4989 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5784"
      ["title"]=>
      string(63) "Why Right Now Is the Best Time to Show and Grow Your Leadership"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(63) "why-right-now-is-the-best-time-to-show-and-grow-your-leadership"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(83) "

    As I dialed in, I couldn’t help but think we should reschedule the call.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(5705) "

    Not only was I having a problem thinking about anything other than the coronavirus pandemic, but also talking about developing leadership skills during this time seemed insignificant. To my surprise, Susan had a completely different outlook and perspective.

    “John, I know there is a lot going on right now, but I am so excited to be here. I have never proactively taken the opportunity to develop my leadership skills. Now it seems like a requirement to handle the current climate.”

    While her words didn’t evaporate all of the challenges ahead, they ignited my mindset and reminded me: 

    When times are uncertain is when leadership is needed most.  

    Susan’s commitment to the development of her leadership skills during this time is crucial because the current environment is where her skills need to shine.  

    For example, most stockbrokers can grow money in a market that’s good, but the ones who make the difference can limit the damage in a downturn. The ones that limit damage are those who continue to develop their knowledge and skills on an on-going basis. Leadership is no different. It’s easy to lead during the great times, but the best leaders (the ones who continuously invest in their skills) shine during times of uncertainty and adversity.  

    Show Your Skills

    Websters defines a skill as the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance. While so many professionals care about their technical skills in the workplace (and they should), it’s the leadership skills that are essential in uncertain times.  

    The best measure of your current leadership skills is how you lead during the time of need. Ask yourself, “How am I helping my people handle and reject fear right now?”   

    People fear what they don’t know, understand, or are frightened by. Fear is the emotion of the mind – because the six inches between our ears paints a picture of all that could go wrong and all of the different scenarios that might happen. The keyword here is “might,” its the story we begin to tell ourselves to keep us safe and comfortable. Here is where fear gets complicated. It not only infiltrates your mind, but it seeps down to each person on your team, often in different ways and with different intensity levels.  

    Your leadership skills require you to communicate with your team how to best handle their current fears, and how to reject them in order to create the best possible outcome for everyone involved. I highlighted some strategies for leading others in uncertain times here. 

    Use This Time to Grow

    In 1665, Cambridge University closed because of the Bubonic Plague. During that time, Isaac Newton developed calculus AND formulated the notion of gravity as a universal force.  

    Newton didn’t settle into fear and do nothing. Imagine what you could do! When business slows down, an opportunity arises to put your focus on things outside of your typical responsibilities. Take advantage of this time to develop your skills and the skills of your people. 

    I have written a lot and often speak about Growth20, which is committing to 20 minutes a day to grow your mind and skills. During a slow down, you might increase it to a Growth60. Instead of binge-watching a Netflix show, read a book, join the Ultimate Leadership (Virtual) Academy, subscribe to Masterclass, dust off a project you’ve abandoned, or help team members develop their skills. The options are endless.

    Closing

    While there is no doubt the current environment isn’t as good as a month ago, you get the opportunity to have the mindset of Susan. Are you going to show and grow your leadership skills during this time or are you going to miss the opportunity?

    What are the ways in which you have shown your leadership skills in the last few days? How are you going to grow your leadership skills during the coronavirus pandemic?

    Get the #1 Best New Management Book to Read by Book Authority: Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead others.

    Virtual Leadership Development: Join the next Ultimate Leadership Academy to develop your leadership skills. It starts on March 18th.

    About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn's 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the "Follow My Lead" Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today's leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.  

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    Why Right Now Is the Best Time to Show and Grow Your Leadership

    John Eades
  • 5
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      ["title"]=>
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      ["introtext"]=>
      string(147) "

    In these dark times of the coronavirus being declared as a pandemic, we have come to realize that the Environment is at the greatest risk.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(7036) "

    With ecosystems breaking down, glaciers melting and pollution at its peak, saving our environment is at the forefront. It must be addressed and it must be addressed now. Everyone is responsible. There are no exemptions or excuses. We all float alike - individuals, businesses, governments, etc. 

    People at their own ends are awakening to growing changes in the environment and are feeling the chill, and thus have started to contribute in their little ways. Governments on the other end, have stepped up efforts in the form of different international pacts, summits, and suitable measures to fulfill the goals. So, when it comes to businesses, the calling becomes even more intense and also measurable. The first step is determining the impact of the business activities on the environment. 

    This preliminary step is often the most taxing!

    Business carbon footprint! What is it?

    A business carbon footprint is the elementary assessment of climate risks by the identification of hotspots of emissions along your value chain. Over the years, as the concerns around climate have risen, businesses measure and report their carbon footprint to all the stakeholders to keep everyone updated about their sustainability actions.

    If this sounds confusing, let us try to define what carbon footprint is?

    A carbon footprint is the most suitable estimate of the greenhouse gases produced during the direct and indirect operation of a product or business. Gases like CO2 (carbon dioxide), CH4 (methane), N2O (nitrous oxide), HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), etc. are often accounted for in the calculation. 

    What is a Business Carbon Footprint Calculator?

    Carbon footprints have been used globally to measure the emissions of GHGs annually. Data is compiled from a wide variety of industries including travel, operations, logistics, etc. to get an accurate account. 

    • The first step to the calculation is knowing where to start and what the inclusions are. These will define the boundaries of the footprint. As per the requirements, you have to include complete direct Scope 1 and indirect Scope 2 emissions, from the operations in addition to material Scope 3 emissions that comprise the direct category of emissions from outside the operational environment of the organization. 
    • Let us see what are the three Scopes of GHG Emissions:
    1. SCOPE 1: These are direct GHG emissions that are under the control of the company like the consumption of fuel, refrigerant systems, on-site waste facilities, etc.
    2. SCOPE 2: These include all the indirect emissions of GHG that include heat, electricity, water heaters, HVAC equipment, etc.
    3. SCOPE 3: These are those GHG emissions that result from the company but are not under its control. Various things that fall under its ambit are business travel, public transport use by the company employees, even transportation of the fuel that has been purchased by the company. 

    This classification helps to break the emissions in different sources and helps in the identification of hotspots that have to be dealt with on a priority basis. Once you have this information in place, you have to make a selection of emission factors for every source to finally calculate tonnes of CO2 emitted over a specified period. Once your data is in place, you have to now select a proper methodology for the calculation of your footprint. You may either pick up a basic spreadsheet or an internationally recognized standard. 

    Business carbon footprint calculation shows the way forward to organizations for reducing emissions and setting robust targets. 

    How to Bring Down the Business Carbon Footprint?

    In this world brimming with competition, running a successful business is a hard task but what is even harder is running a one which is accountable for its carbon emissions. Climate change is a real phenomenon that will change the way businesses are run in the coming times. The cost of operations will rise as the resources dwindle and more stringent governmental regulations come in place. This will mean, to remain in business you will have to neutralize your carbon footprint. Imagine if you handle this now, how much ahead will you get on the growth curve?

    Even consumers are showing an inclination towards eco-friendly brands and products. No doubt going forward this will become the norm. 

    Here are some simple yet sound ways businesses can adopt to become more carbon responsible.

    Zero Waste

    Sounds difficult! But if adopted this will have a lasting impact on the carbon footprint target. This can be done by identifying the main waste generation points, their management process, and the disposal. You can channelize your efforts towards reduction, reuse, and even recycle the products. Other small steps can include adopting a paperless approach, using eco-friendly products, donating old electric equipment, etc.

    Renewable Energy Sources

    It is time businesses reduce energy consumption and switch to cleaner fuels and sources. This not only gives a better competitive edge but also yields many environmental benefits. Solar power panels are a good bet to start and can also bring you many federal tax credits. 

    Lower Business Travel Emissions

    All modes of modern transport are the largest sources of emissions of GHGs. By bringing down business travel, a significant improvement can be made on the carbon footprint of your business. Simple steps like encouraging your employees to cycle to work, or facilitating carpooling can go a long way to take it forward. 

    Educate your Employees

    One of the most impactful ways is to involve your workforce in the effort. The businesses must empower their employees to be able to see their ability to bring about positive change in their immediate environment. It is important to educate your team on accountability. Whether it's on going zerowaste or switching to the green internet, simple talks or policies that help save energy can act as a powerful trigger for everyone to realize the importance of climate change. 

    Business carbon footprint can be very effective in cutting energy costs and bringing down emissions of GHGs. It is not always that the corporate has to be at odds with each other. Both can co-exist if they respect nuances that define each of them. 

    Business Carbon Footprint and How to Calculate itjpg

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    Business Carbon Footprint and How to Calculate it

    Anuja Lath

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