Renovate your home office – from Modernize

All of us have to do serious communicating in our day-to-day worklives, and that concept becomes all the more pressing when you work from home

Work from Home? Renovate Your Home Office to be More Efficient and Tech Savvy

Erin Vaughan for | Modernize

12/08/16, 10:03 AM | Automation & Control, Audio & Video | Home Office Systems

With remote working establishing new norms across multiple industries, it’s no wonder that employees are crying out for new and better home offices. The IDC predicts that we’ll have a staggering 105 million mobile workers in the labor force by 2020. Meanwhile, even those of us who commute daily to a traditional office have begun to spend more time checking email and cinching up last-minute details outside the office. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average worker spends upwards of three hours working at home.

That means it’s time to start embracing the trend and thinking of our homes as not just a living space, but a place to work, too. Home offices could benefit from a spruce-up in not just design,  but a tech overhaul as well.

Rethinking the Desk

Most of us are used to the unwavering heft of a heavy, stationary desk. And while a carved oak writing desk does bring a certain ambience, it’s just not practical anymore. Work isn’t done with a quill and pen, so why should your desk design date back to before the Industrial Revolution?

The standing desk is, of course, one of the more obvious iterations of this line of thinking. And there may be something to them—not just as a benefit for your health, but as a way of tapping your inner reservoir of productivity. According to research coming from Texas A&M, ergonomical standing workstations actual boosted employee efficiency. An adjustable computer cart allows you to make your workspace wherever it needs to be for the moment—near a window for creative brainstorming, or in a spot with better light for presentations. You can use shelves and tables in other areas for stationary objects like your printer or office decor.

Read the entire article here:

Aetna cutting back on allowing work from home

Aetna, long praised as one of the nation’s most flexible employers, is cutting back on a policy that allowGTY_work_home_office_tk_131225_16x9t_608anagers who live within 50 miles of an office to start working in the office next year, according to several employees. Over time more rank-and-file employees will be brought back into the office.

Aetna has also announced plans for layoffs and an an early retirement package as the Hartford-based insurer moves to reduce operating costs.

Aetna spokesman Matt Clyburn said the changes to the telecommuting policy are being done “with the goal of increasing collaboration and driving innovation.

READ the full article here:


10 Hacks to Make Working From Home With Kids Work (Huff Post)


You won’t believe what people are doing to make working from home with kids work. Here’s a look at ten sometimes convenient, often free, mostly unconventional, and all real hacks currently used by real work-from-home parents:

    1. Swedish Meatball Mamas: Some parents are dropping their kids off at Ikea’s Småland to get free 1-hour childcare (for kids 4-10 year olds) while they crank out a power hour of work in the café.
  • It’s Fun To Work At The YMCA!: Nobody knows this better than parents taking advantage of Child Watch – the free 2-hour childcare program (for kids 6 mo – 7 years) offered by the YMCA – so they can get their work out (see what we did there?)
  • Circuit Potty Training: Why sweat it when you can head to the gym café and get that brief finished while someone watches your child for free (or for a very small fee) for up to 2 hours. With childcare for all ages often available at the gym, this is exactly what some parents are doing.

Read the full list here:


5 ways to increase productivity if you work from home – from Huff Post

Working from home sounds like a dream job, but workplace productivity can pose a major issue for distributed teams. When the only commute you have is walking from your bed to your desk, minuscule distractions can easily multiply when working from the comfort of your home. After approximately four years of working primarily from my home office, here are five ways I’ve increased my work productivity.

Create a workspace.
Create a comfortable workstation. Early on I made the mistake of working from my bed and sofa. I was too comfortable and often got distracted by a nap in the middle of the day. However, the best way to get into the mindset of “going to work” is to create a workspace, and treat your time there as a day at the office. By putting a desk in your room, or transforming your dining room into an office, you’ve created your very own workspace. In addition, you should organize your files and eliminate any clutter from your space to increase productivity – something that I continue to struggle with.

Read the full story here:

Stressed out woman in home office

Stressed out woman in home office

Top 5 things to sell at a flea market

The flea market business can be ideal for those who want to work from home.  You can spend the majority of your week at home preparing for the one or two days during the week that you have to man your stand at the flea market.  The challenge is finding the right product to sell.  What is it that people are looking for?  Here are our top 5:

  1. Toys.  Toys are a big item that people are looking for.  Collectors and the average public gravitate towards toys.  From Fisher-Price Little People to classic board games you can attract people to your stand if they know you have toys that they may be looking for.
  2. Sports Collectibles.  There are many people at the flea market selling sports memorabilia at flea markets – and there is a reason for that.  Collectors and fans will spend time at your stand and will keep coming back if you specialize in these products.
  3. Tools.  Tools are always popular.  Whether it is hand tools, garden tools, woodworking tools or others – you can’t miss with these items.
  4. Signs.  People love to decorate with signs.  They also love to give them as gifts. These signs could be vintage or they could be custom made.  Signs with religious sayings, signs about coffee, signs about friendship, signs about family, signs about sports, etc.
  5. Pets.  No, I am not talking about selling your animals at a flea market but rather selling pet goods.  Pet treats, pet bowls, pet tags, pet novelty items, etc.


5 work at home jobs you can start in your garage.

Here are 5 great work from home job ideas that you can start today from your garage:

1. Lawn mower repair.  You can fix and maintain lawn mowers.  Sharpen blades, change oil, replace the spark plugs and more.  Most lawn mower repair is simple and easy to pick up.

2. Build Doll Houses.  Put together Doll House kits or, better yet, build them from scratch.  Almost every little girl desires a doll house.  There is always a market.  Sell them online, at flea markets or on Craigslist.

3. Refinish furniture.  You can refinish furniture in your garage.  Use liquid paint and varnish strippers, sanding tools and more to bring back the glory to old furniture.

4. Make garden decorations.  People love to purchase garden decorations such as whirligigs, birdhouses, garden signs and more.  You can create your own designs or purchase pre-cut kits and just assemble them.

5. Buy and sell Garden tools.  There is a good demand for used garden tools.  Watch Craigslist, area Yard Sales or local Auctions for deals and then resell them via Flea Markets or Craigslist.


The Millennial Report: The Work from Home Generation – from The Var Guy

When it comes to finding the perfect job, there are three little words that can either drive a person to fits of joy or cause them to think twice about their decision. In case you hadn’t figured it out already, those words are “work from home.” At first, working from the comfort of your own home might seem like paradise, but the reality is that you can find yourself struggling to stick to a steady schedule and find it hard to motivate yourself when your bed and a cold beer are only just a few steps away.

As we move into a more mobile-centric world, more IT workers have the option of working from home (sometimes called telecommuting, back in the old days) because of the prevalence of network infrastructure virtualization and the growing use of virtual desktop infrastructure for graphics-intensive and video-centric work. And with the absolute dominance of smartphones, tablets and wearables in the workplace, it’s easier than ever to file your reports or close a sale from the comfort of your own home or even while on vacation.

Read the full report here:


Nine (legitimate) ways to make money from home – Christian Science Monitor

Ads claiming to provide lucrative payment for easy or unspecified work are probably scams, but that doesn’t mean making money from home is impossible.

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Everyone’s seen them: the ALL CAPS comments at the bottom of news articles claiming to have the secret to making $500,000 per month from home, or the ads featuring a smiling woman and her laptop with the headline: Area Mom Making $5 Grand a Week From Home! Click Here to Learn Her Secret!

Sadly, most of these ads are nothing more than straight-up scams. Some are check-cashing schemes: a fraudulent company might send you a check, ask you to take out a portion of that money, then send the rest back pronto. When that check inevitably bounces, you’ll be on the hook for the money you took out AND the check bounce fee–ouch. Others claim to give you access to easy work at home jobs for a “small” registration fee (often a few hundred dollars!), and once you’ve paid up, they shut off all contact with you. For a comprehensive list of these kinds of scams, check out this 2010 ABC News article, orthis 2011 piece from Forbes, and if you think you’ve been scammed, here’s a post I wrote a while back on how to get your money back from your credit card company.

So yeah, most ads claiming to provide lucrative payment for easy or unspecified work are probably scams, but that doesn’t mean making money from home is impossible. In fact, in the internet age, it’s easier than ever to do so, if you know where to look. I did some research and talked to the personal finance experts here on the Brad’s Deals team, and came up with this list of nine legitimate ways you can make money from home.

1. Rent out your home for the weekend

Want to use your house or apartment to make money without having to lift a finger? Consider renting it out the next time you go on vacation. Vacation rental sites like VRBO and Airbnb have risen in popularity in the past few years, and it’s not hard to see why. Renting an apartment is often cheaper than staying in a hotel, and in addition to perks like having access to full, working kitchens and multiple bed and bathrooms, spending the weekend in a lived-in home is a much more immersive and authentic vacation experience.

Read the full article here:

Want More Women Working in Tech? Let Them Stay Home

EVERYONE HAS THEIR theories about why there aren’t more women in technology. Some say it’s that women aren’t studying computer science and therefore aren’t applying for jobs in the field. Others say it’s due to a certain degree of bias in an industry where predominantly male leaders hire predominantly male employees because they see similarities between themselves and their hires.

But Katharine Zaleski and Milena Berry say there’s another reason, which is that tech companies aren’t giving women—particularly mothers—the flexibility they need to raise a family and pursue their careers at the same time. “There are two bad choices for women: go back to the office full-time or slowly lose your career because you can’t go back to the office full-time,” Zaleski, a former editor at The Huffington Post, explains.

Which is why the two working mothers decided to launch PowerToFly, a job site that connects women with employers who are willing to let them work remotely. The site launched in August, targeted primarily toward women in tech. Since then, it’s had tens of thousands of women across multiple industries register for the site and apply for jobs with nearly 700 big-name employers like Buzzfeed and Hearst. Just last week the company launched its own app, PowerToFly Connect, which serves as a sort of social network and news site for this new community of remote workers. “We launched strong with our job matching platform,” Berry, former CTO of a non-profit, says, “and now we’re creating a media platform around these issues for women.”

More Than A Hunch
The fact that employer flexibility plays an important role in the persistent gender gap is more than a hunch. There have been plenty of studies showing that despite their move into the workplace over the last several decades, women still feel more pressure than their male counterparts to step back from work once they have children. One 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of women said being a working mother made it harder to advance their careers, compared to 16 percent of fathers. That same study showed that 42 percent of mothers had reduced their work hours to care for family, while just 28 percent of fathers said the same.

Meanwhile, a recent study out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on why women leave the tech field found that one third of women surveyed left to tend to their families “because companies weren’t flexible enough to accommodate work-life concerns.”

“The vast majority of women will become mothers and face the same choices we faced,” Zaleski says. “The amount of women in the workforce peaked in 1999, and that’s because there’s no third way. We see ourselves as creating that option.”

Struggling to Gain Traction
Of course, not all companies are willing to embrace remote employees, no matter what it could do for their diversity numbers. One highly publicized example is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s moratorium on working from home when she took the helm at the tech giant. When Mayer defended the new policy, following much controversy, she argued that people are “more collaborative and innovative when they’re together.”

According to Zaleski, this is not an unusual viewpoint for large tech companies, which is one reason why PowerToFly has struggled to gain traction among major tech employers. “They want to deal with the issues internally,” she says, referring to issues of diversity in tech. “They’re very focused on setting up committees and talking about the issues, but they’re also very committed to having everyone in the office.”

Still, she says those businesses that are signing up with PowerToFly are already beginning to see results. The company, which vets applicants on behalf of businesses, receives an average of 14 applications per position. While PowerToFly won’t share exactly how many people have landed jobs through the platform, they say they’ve connected BuzzFeed with 20 new hires and Hearst with 16. Meanwhile, PowerToFly has hired its own employees through the platform, growing its headcount to 35 women working in eight countries around the world.

For Zaleski and Berry, this platform is not just a way to get more women into work but a quick way for tech companies that care about the gender imbalance to make an immediate dent. “You hear these guys talk education, education, education,” she says. “Well, that’s 10 years out. Why not invest in the women who are here now?”