Ways Working From Home Can Cause A Team To Be More Proactive

As technology advanced, companies began to question whether they should set up their employees to work from home. But, once the health of their employees became a national issue, many companies had no choice but to allow this arrangement. Although it may seem that employees will become less aggressive about their duties, that won’t be the case. Here are the ways working from home will make their team more proactive.

Increased Performance

Managers and supervisors often feel they have to make their presence and opinion known to their staff throughout the day. They do this in hopes it will keep employees from slacking off on the work that needs to get done. But, when employees are constantly observed and critiqued, it causes them to work in response to your actions rather than by their initiative.

Working from home gives them more opportunities to make choices for themselves. And, it empowers them to tackle issues without interference. With the weight of reaching their goals lying more on their shoulders than before, they will rise to the occasion and perform better. Also, because they will feel appreciation for your trust, your team becomes dedicated to efficiently handling their time and goals.

Increased Productivity

Whenever your staff can predict how every day, week, and month will go, they will become bored with their work. It can be hard for them to continue with proactiveness when there are no longer any challenges with getting their work done. Your team won’t maintain productivity when there is no variety with their responsibilities.

A home-based office takes away monotonous tasks like a daily commute and getting dressed, so more time and energy is given to genuine work tasks. Without being in a traditional office, employees may be able to use unconventional tactics to make their day more interesting. They will have to find their ways to keep themselves comfortable and motivated. Just the challenge of being productive while at home stirs up their creativity and problem-solving techniques to be more productive.

Increased Talent

In traditional settings, management can evaluate the skill level of their staff during performance reviews. The normal rhythm of the year will stay in place until that season comes about. But while working from home, supervisors can see their teams in a new way.

The unexpected curve-balls of a home setup will highlight what each team member is better at than others. Plus, the management team will have less distraction so they can better see how each team member behaves.

Boosting Sales Through Blogging

The world of social media is a big and broad one. However, there are some constants out there. One of them is blogging, which remains a highly useful and relevant way of boosting your sales.

So, what are the benefits of blogging, and how is it worth the time and investment? Here are some thoughts.

Expert Positioning

Blogging gives you a chance to discuss a highly relevant topic in your industry, share your expertise, and give advice on a particular topic. This is about much more than just showing off or looking smart, as it gives you a chance to subtly demonstrate your expertise. This means that you can position yourself as a leader in your field and ensure that people will return to you or your business if they require your industry’s services.

Search Engine Optimization & Social Network Placement

Here’s a simple truth when it comes to Google: Search Engine Optimization is critical. This means that you must do everything in your power to create content that is useful, engaging, and relevant to your line of work.

Blogging is fantastic for that. Google loves frequently updated content, so the more content you can create, the higher your SEO will rank. This means that people who are looking for your line of work are more likely to find your blog, and this makes it more likely that they will find your website.

Furthermore, creating good content makes it more likely that your content will be shared on social networks by others. This is a great way of getting more exposure, and potentially increasing your sales.

Effective (and subtle) Calls To Action

When creating good content, you shouldn’t be overly sales-oriented. Indeed, broadly speaking, you shouldn’t sell too frequently on your blog, as this turns people off and makes them less likely to read your content.

However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t have a Call to Action. This means that every blog entry should conclude with some sort of action the user should take, and an easy way to commit that action. It may be “read more” or “subscribe to our email list,” but every blog entry should conclude with a specific action that a user should take.

Which Financing Options Can You Choose From When Purchasing A Car?

The auto market is now starting to rally after the initial shock of COVID-19, and consumers are now ready to get their next new or used vehicle. If you’re in the market for a car, you’ll need to consider which financing options are most affordable for you if you can’t pay the full amount of the vehicle in cash. You also want sure you aren’t paying off a car for an extended period as its value depreciates and interest payments add up.

Traditional Financing Terms

With most traditional auto financing, you’ll agree to a fixed interest rate that stretches out over some time when you purchase your new or used vehicle. You’ll usually have to make a down payment of at least 10% of the final sale price, but if you can make a larger one, you may get better interest rates when financing the vehicle. Going this route can keep your monthly payments on the vehicle consistent and pretty even. The downside is it takes longer to pay off the vehicle, interest payments add up, and there’s usually a penalty for paying off the vehicle early. It’s a good idea when financing a vehicle through the traditional auto loan to compare lenders and go for the lowest interest rate, and even possibly use that as leverage for the dealer to offer you lower rates.

Balloon Payment Auto Loan

A balloon payment auto loan works about the same as a traditional auto loan, but instead of making monthly payments to the end of the loan term, you will only pay those for only part of it. Your final payment will be a large lump sum that will pay off the vehicle completely making you the outright owner. This financing option is good if you only need financing for a short term, and then want to pay off your vehicle with no prepayment penalty. The bad news is if you can’t make the final balloon payment, you’ll need an exit strategy from the loan or the lender could repossess the vehicle. You’ll also usually need a larger down payment for a balloon payment loan than a traditional loan.

Lease Option

If you don’t think you’re going to be able to make loan payments for an extended period, and you want to avoid a balloon payment, you might consider leasing the vehicle. This is a little like renting a vehicle for an extended period, and you simply return the vehicle to the dealer when your lease expires. However, there usually are certain terms you have to agree to such as limitations on the number of miles you can drive it, and a requirement for certain insurance coverage. If you later decide you want to own the vehicle, there may be a carve-out in the contract for that. But you’ll have to read your contract carefully.

Oblique Exercises to Incorporate in Your Next Workout

Most people try to strengthen their core muscles with planks, crunches, sit-ups and reverse crunches. However, if these are the only exercises in your ab routine, you are missing out on strengthening half of your core! It is important to focus on the abs as a whole, including the obliques or the side muscles. It is important to train the entire core to ensure it can prevent injuries by improving your posture and supporting your spine. Training your obliques will allow your spine to retain its mobility and flexibility. The muscles in the obliques allow you to twist from side to side, flex, and bend sideways. Training your obliques will allow you to keep your core strong, allowing you to twist from side to side. Here are some of the top oblique exercises to do, regardless of whether you add them to your ab routine or dedicate an entire session to your oblique training.

Knee to Elbow Plank

When in a plank position, lift one foot off the ground while bending the knee to bring the knee to the elbow on the same side. When performing the movement, ensure that you are squeezing the side and the core before returning to a plank and repeating the movement on the other side.

Russian Twists

Russian twists are perfect for using your body weight, but you can also use a kettlebell or a dumbbell. When you are in a sitting position, focus on leaning backward slightly while lifting your feet off of the ground. Then engage the core while you twist from side to side, tapping the floor on either side with your hand. If you are using a weight or kettlebell, make sure you hold it in your hands while you twist from the core.

Side Planks

Side planks are great for the obliques because you have to engage the entire side of the body to hold yourself up. You can simply hold the position or you can add more variation by doing plank dips where you drop your hip to the floor and then use your oblique to bring your body back to the side plank position. Side plank crunches can also help you work out your obliques and your abs by moving the top leg and elbow to meet in the center of your core.

The Best Exercise Bands for At-Home Workouts

With the rise of COVID-19, many people are beginning to switch their exercise routines to at-home workouts. Having the right tools can ensure each workout is challenging. The top tools are often inexpensive and do not require a lot of space in the home. Adding bands to your home workout can ensure you take your exercise routine to the next level. Here are the top reasons you should add exercise bands to your home workout.

They Are Multifunctional

Most exercise bands come with a variety of levels to provide a range of resistance. This can help you improve your bodyweight exercises or even allow you to continue your physical therapy sessions. Most resistance band packages have suggestions but it is important to work with a personal trainer prior to using them in your workout. This will ensure you avoid injury by practicing the correct form.

Grips

The resistance bands can also come with handles to help you workout key muscles while performing more traditional bodyweight exercises like lunges or squats. They are compact, allowing you to pack them in a small space or an overnight bag if you are traveling.

Customized Workout

Exercise bands are perfect for all fitness levels because they come with a variety of resistance levels. You will be able to feel the burn regardless of how athletic you are. Beginners will be able to focus on their form while learning the proper technique and advanced athletes will be able to increase the tension in their workout.

They Are Inexpensive

Most people are trying to watch how much they are spending right now due to the pandemic. Adding resistance bands is a great way to improve your workout while also keeping your cash in your wallet. Resistance bands are a way to improve your routine without spending hundreds of dollars. They are typically less than $30.

Bust through the Plateau

Those who feel they are in a plateau for fitness or weight loss should consider adding a resistance band. Adding the resistance band around the thighs can make many exercises more challenging including lunges, working on the elliptical, and squats. There is also less risk for injury when using exercise bands.

This article was originally published on NicholasFainlight.org

How to Avoid a Tax Bill on Unemployment

More than ten percent of Americans are currently jobless due to the pandemic. If you’re fighting to get a job, you’re probably depending on your unemployment insurance benefits in the meantime. Unemployment benefits were recently expanded on a dramatic basis to help with the coronavirus relief efforts.

Unemployment benefits may be your best means of financial security at the moment. But they might also make your tax situation complicated next year. Unemployment compensation is taxable income, but it doesn’t automatically go through the tax process. You have to set aside a portion to pay to the government.

All taxable income is subject to federal income taxes. The state tax rates vary widely, though. Some states do have income tax on unemployment benefits, while others don’t consider this taxable income. If you live in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, California, Alabama, or Montana, you won’t have to pay taxes on your unemployment compensation.

In addition, if you live in a state without income tax, you won’t have to pay taxes on your unemployment benefits. There are nine US states that don’t charge income tax.

Taxes don’t need to be legally withheld from a person’s unemployment checks. However, there are benefits to doing so. The main one is that this course of action lets you avoid massive tax bills later.

Preparing to Avoid a Tax Bill

Proper preparation is key to avoiding a tax bill without getting in trouble with the IRS. Pay attention to all the forms you fill out during your unemployment application. There is an IRS form called Form W-4V that will allow you to apply to have ten percent of your compensation withheld automatically.

With that said, not everyone will pay a 10 percent federal tax rate. If your household income is above a certain threshold, you might have to pay more.

The IRS website has a withholding calculator that allows you to estimate how much you should be paying in taxes on a quarterly basis.

If you use the calculator and discover that you have to pay more than 10 percent, the automatic withholding form won’t be sufficient. Instead, you should make manual quarterly payments throughout the year. This helps prevent you from having a tax liability in the following year.

This article was originally published on NicholasFainlight.net

Remote Leadership Mistakes

Just when you think you have the whole leadership process figured out, a pandemic completely changes everything. Today, instead of face-to-face interactions, you are forced to conduct meetings and catch-ups on video calls. The most important thing is adjusting to the situation and learn how to motivate and manage your team remotely. Understandably, there are new skills you will have to learn. However, many leaders are continuously failing their remotely-working teams by making the following mistakes:

Lack of clear priorities, goals, and directions

As a team leader, you have to set clear priorities and goals to improve team performance. It’s not easy to do this remotely; however, ensure you review your team’s priorities and goals from time to time. An effective team will quickly outline goals, and a good leader will give team members clarity on their roles. Use virtual meeting platforms to update your team about any changes and hold catch-up meetings regularly.

Being Extremely Rigid

Today, most managers are tracking team members’ hours and monitoring daily activities to determine if the employees are working the agreed number of hours per day. Everyone can benefit from a flexible work schedule. Having a better integration of personal and work life can lead to a healthier, more productive, and happier team. As a leader, you should stop micromanaging and tracking how many hours an employee has spent on their screens. Instead you should focus on their daily achievements Give your team some space to breathe and don’t be so rigid. They know what works best for them.

Unproductive collaborations and communication

When working face-to-face, most collaborations and communications take place through informal conversations and interactions. However, this is not there with virtual teams. You need to find ways to foster better communication. The best option is to take advantage of online conferencing platforms such as Zoom.

Unconstructive, inconsistent and non-existent feedback

Giving employees feedback will motivate and improve their performance. It also keeps the team members satisfied since it shows you have their best interest at heart. Be consistent, offer suggestions on how they can improve, and coach them. Let your team learn from you, accept their feedback, and act on it. You can offer frequent feedback to your team through short video calls and creating one-on-one time with individual team members.

This article was originally published on NicholasFainlight.com

Social Media Marketing Through Instagram

Marketers using TikTok should consider switching to Instagram. The social media platform now offers Instagram Reels, which has many of TikTok’s features, including a way for new creators to find a following. Instagram’s Explore algorithm makes it notoriously difficult for marketers to have their Stories found. Brands can share their Reel to their Stories and their Profile’s Reels tab. Instagram users will also see Reels on their Explore page.

TikTok may not be around for long. A potential ban is leaving TikTok influencers asking their fans to follow them on other platforms. President Trump already signed an executive order barring U.S. companies from doing business with TikTok after Sept. 20th. American companies that violate the order could face a fine of up to a $1 million fine.

Marketers can get on Instagram Reels now and take advantage of new Instagram users influencers bring and the already one billion active users each month. Reportedly, Mark Zuckerberg is trying to lure popular TikTok influencers to switch to Instagram, which Facebook owns. Facebook has deep pockets too, deeper than TikTok, which is trying to keep influencers with incentives. Facebook’s rumored offer of bankrolling video clip production for influential creators to post their content exclusively on Instagram reels will be hard for TikTok to beat.

Only 28 percent of marketing professionals use Instagram. Expect this number to rise once Instagram Reels catches on as a way to reach a young audience with 15-second video clips with catchy music. Businesses have a chance to show off their fun side with authentic content on Reels. Humanizing a brand is an ideal way to build genuine relationships with their fan base. Features like Instagram Reels let brands showcase their personality.

Other marketers are considering educational content for their Reels. As Reels were released early in certain countries, brands have been sharing recipes and providing helpful tips. Sephora France already has popular makeup tutorial Reels. They encourage engagement by asking viewers about their favorite eye shadow color.

Marketers who start using Instagram Reels early on will find the competition is low in the U.S. market. With many influencers jumping ship from TikTok to Instagram Reels, it’s a great time for brands to find influencers to develop branded Instagram Reels.

This article was originally published on NicholasFainlight.com

Tips To Help You Be Better At Networking

Whether you’re running a business or trying to work your way up the corporate ladder, networking is something you’re likely going to have to engage with at some point in your career. Networking helps us meet other likeminded individuals that can help us strengthen our businesses and careers as well as learn more about success and failure. Of course, networking isn’t always easy. Most people aren’t fond of walking into a room and introducing themselves to a bunch of people they’ve never met, especially if they’re all intelligent and skilled business professionals. If you’re someone who struggles with networking or are going to your first networking event, here are a few tips to make things a little easier.

Be Informal

While you might have the urge to be as professional as possible, it’s important that you show potential customers and business partners the human side of you. If you be yourself, it’s more likely that a person will enjoy your company and then want to work with you. Of course, that isn’t to say you can’t talk about your career or business – sometimes people will decide to ask you about it and it’s perfectly acceptable to have that conversation. You just want to be sure you don’t come off too strong and that it isn’t all business, otherwise they may think you’re just trying to get a new customer.

Don’t Have A One Way Conversation

One of the most important aspects of networking is actually having a conversation – that means letting the other person talk while you listen intently, and then responding properly. While you may feel the urge to talk their ear off about you and your business, it’s important that conversations aren’t one way otherwise they may lose interest in you quickly. It’s also important that you don’t let them be the only one talking. Conversational skills are extremely important when it comes to networking, and if you’re shy then you won’t stand out.

Follow Up

If you feel that you’ve had a good time networking with someone, it’s important that the relationship doesn’t end when the conversation does. Be sure to ask them for their contact info. If they give it to you, it likely means that they also enjoyed your time together and chances are they’d be willing to get together again, which could lead to potential partnerships down the line. Everyone likes to connect differently, so make sure you’re available in various forms – phone numbers, emails, LinkedIn pages, Twitter – it’ll be different for everyone. Once you have this information, be sure to reach out the next time there’s a similar event to let them know that you’ll be there and that you should connect.

This article was originally published on NicholasFainlight.com

Tips For Returning Safely To The Gym During COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit American shores earlier this year, businesses all around the country were forced to shut down in order to flatten the curve. One of the biggest forms of business that was shut down was gyms. People all over the country were suddenly told they couldn’t go to the gym due to the risk of being around people or touching equipment that others have touched. Fast forward several months and depending on where you are in the country, gyms have either been opened or they’re beginning to open again. While that can be exciting, especially if you’ve struggled to keep up with your workouts while in quarantine, it’s important you’re still conscious about the pandemic and staying as healthy as possible when attending the gym. Here are a few tips to help you return to the gym safely during the pandemic.

Social Distance

Social distancing is of the utmost importance in all facets of life right now. While the circumstances can make it difficult at times, staying at least six feet away from others is a good way to stop the spread. Gyms will likely be enforcing this to the best of their ability, but it’s your personal responsibility to be aware. If you or someone near you is breathing heavily while working out, it’s probably best that you get even further away. This can be difficult depending on the layout of your gym though, so if you don’t think you can get 6 feet away, you might be better off not going to the gym.

Wear A Mask

While nobody wants to wear a mask while they’re working out, chances are your gym is going to make you do it anyway. Everywhere in the country is different but most places will make masks mandatory, especially since it’s likely due to state law. Beyond wearing a mask because you’re being told to, it’s just the healthy and considerate thing to do! If you don’t want to wear a mask while you workout, you might be better off doing it from the comfort of your home. In terms of other equipment, you might want to bring your own water bottle as well since water fountains won’t be open.

Avoid Group Classes

If you’re someone who typically attended group classes at your gym prior to the pandemic, it’s recommended you avoid them completely unless they’re outdoor or virtual. Indoor classes will likely be packed and even if they’re limiting the number of people in the classes, the fact that a large group of people will be gathering to do a high-intensity workout together indoors can make the virus spread faster.

Stay Home If You Don’t Feel Good

The ultimate advice for not only the gym but any situation where you’d be leaving your home and being around people is to stay home if you don’t feel well. No matter what your symptoms may be, it’s best to stay home until you recover both for your own health and the health of others.

This article was originally published on NicholasFainlight.org