Investment in broadband will alter the future of work and make talent more accessible for tech companies.
The Future of Work

$100 Billion Investment in Broadband Could Create Larger Pools of Tech Talent

The American Jobs Plan will have implications on the future of work like better access to talent for tech companies & a rise in skill training for tech workers.

As part of the American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration announced a billion-dollar investment in broadband infrastructure, which will have significant implications on the future of work; the investment could help solve the tech talent shortage problem, train the next generation of tech workers, and create diverse pools of talent. 

Here’s a breakdown of its principal implications for tech companies and workforces:

An investment in broadband could solve the tech talent shortage

Presently, tech jobs are abundant: Interviews for technical roles grew by 106 percent since the start of the pandemic. While the growth rate for other roles is 4 percent, demand for software developers is slated to grow by 22 percent. Sixty-one percent of HR professionals worry about meeting this demand with talented candidates. 

Companies adopting remote work can access a larger talent pool, bridging the gap between demand and supply. Recognizing this, top firms like Google, Twitter, Coinbase, and Atlassian have already embraced flexible work arrangements. 

However, almost a quarter of American adults—disproportionately residents of rural areas—lack high-speed broadband connections at home, preventing them from joining the remote workforce. A billion-dollar investment in broadband access for every American could change that.

The proposal will train future tech workforces

The proposal will allocate an additional $48 billion for in-demand skill training, such as STEM training. For instance, the initiative will fund computer science courses for high-schoolers and community college-goers. It will similarly train tech workers who would traditionally find such programs inaccessible, thereby expanding the talent pool to keep pace with growing demand. 

In parallel, tech companies should revamp vetting systems based on academic merit and hire from non-traditional programs, such as those the American Jobs Plan would fund. To that end, Google and Apple are already changing the paradigm by removing college degree requirements for certain jobs.

Companies will have greater access to diverse talent

The growing digital divide in the U.S. is depriving many low-income and underserved families of internet access. For example: in California, 25 percent of students—disproportionately Black, Latinx, or Native American–can’t attend remote school because they lack internet access. An investment in broadband infrastructure will bridge this divide and enable underserved Americans of all backgrounds to be part of the remote tech workforce. 

Research has shown that diversity helps companies stay competitive. Innovation generated a greater portion of revenue in companies with above-average diversity, which translated into better financial performance. Firms with diverse management teams produced EBIT margins almost 10 percent higher than firms with below-average diversity.

In this manner, significant investment in broadband infrastructure and technical training could create larger, more diverse talent pools for firms to hire from.

Read about the proposal in detail.

Recently a number of fast-growing companies have begun to attack the tech talent shortage problem with novel solutions to help companies find people with specific skills. For instance, Turing.com enables companies to hire from a large, diverse talent pool of 500K+ senior, pre-vetted developers with strong technical and communication skills. Firms can hire across 100+ skill-sets such as React, Node.js, Python, AWS, Java, among many others. Finding talented candidates to fill critical roles is no longer a challenge for employers. 

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page. 

By July 21, 2021
nurturing sound mental health in remote work
Management

Show Your Employees You Care About Their Mental Health With These Simple Strategies

Employers can help workers tackle burnout and workplace stress by following these simple strategies for sound mental health care.

Does your organization care about its employees’ mental health? Does it take measures to improve it? If yes, do your people know? Research suggests that many employees feel their employers do not empathize with their mental health. A Forbes study, for instance,  revealed that 82 percent of American tech employees felt burnout while working remotely. Eighty percent of workers said they would consider quitting their current position for a job that prioritized employees’ mental health. Another study by Oxford’s Saïd Business School found that happy employees are more productive. 

In this article, we’ll look at why employees feel neglected, what’s happening as a result, and how organizations can buck the burnout trend:

Frequent dialogue helps alleviate feelings of isolation

Remote workers report loneliness as their biggest challenge. Research shows that loneliness can drive employee burnout and turnover. Organizations should encourage casual dialogue between employees as it helps tackle the feeling of isolation associated with remote work. Managers should focus on building a culture of connection through regular check-ins. Virtual coffee breaks and “watercooler” channels can help in promoting break-time chatter and collaboration. Virtual lunch hours, where employees log-in and have their meals together, could also be an excellent way to improve social connections. Similarly, using communication platforms to create a sense of community can help develop positive engagement in remote workforces. 

Conduct regular mental health surveys and sessions

Many employees share that they don’t receive the support they need to manage work stress. Mental health surveys help identify signs of mental distress in employees and provide insight to restructure organizational policies to boost talent well-being. Frequent check-ins with experts can help prevent stress and burnout among employees. They can also equip remote employees with tools to create a healthy and productive workplace. Including mental health coverage as part of health care plans can also be an effective strategy to improve workforce mental well-being. Managers should ensure that shame and stigma don’t stop employees from using their mental health benefits to seek treatment. Rather, management should encourage and normalize the use of these services.

Encourage regular breaks and time-offs

Remote employees work the equivalent of 1.4 extra days per month compared to their in-office colleagues. What’s more, remote employees often feel guilty about taking a break from work. This inability to unplug can affect their mental health, leading to burnout. And thus, a remote work schedule must consist of breaks at regular intervals. Thirty-seven percent of remote workers said that taking frequent breaks helped them refocus and relax. Encourage employees to reserve time on their calendars for a workout. Organizations can also offer fitness stipends to help employees cover costs related to their physical activities.

Let employees choose their working hours

Rigid work schedules reduce employee creativity and heighten stress levels. Seventy percent of employees said that flexible working makes a job significantly attractive, whereas 90 percent revealed it helped boost their morale. A majority of them also said that flexible hours helped reduce stress and increase productivity. Flexible schedules allow employees to work when they are the most productive. They establish a healthy boundary between work and home. 

What’s more, they can help in reducing employee turnover in the long run. Managers should work with remote employees to set measurable and achievable goals for these schedules to run seamlessly. Goal-setting will move the organizational focus from the number of weekly hours put in by the remote employees to the weekly output they’re delivering.

Provide mental health training to managers and leaders

Remote workers often worry about their performance because of a lack of facetime and feedback. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of global employees said no one at their company had asked them if they were doing okay. These respondents were 38 percent more likely than others to say that their mental health had declined since the pandemic. 

Managers must demonstrate empathy with their employees. They should have regular one-on-ones with their team members to see how they are holding up. A sense of community is more likely to develop in organizations where leaders share their experience with mental health. This way, employees feel that there is a genuine and collective interest in their well-being. 

Organizations have a responsibility to support their employees’ mental wellbeing. Workplaces that promote mental health are likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and benefit from the associated gains. A WHO report states that for every US$ 1 put into scaled-up treatment for employee mental health, there is a return of US$ 4 in improved health and productivity. In addition, practices like flexible hours, regular check-ins, and mental health training can help create a healthy and stress-free work environment.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

By July 20, 2021
Remote software developer enjoying remote work
Developers Corner

Tips for Succeeding as a Remote Software Developer

Being successful in freelance software developer jobs means setting clear responsibilities, managing finances, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance

Many people dream of working as a remote employee. Aside from working from wherever they want, remote workers can better establish their workload and terms. However, not everyone dares to leave their corporate, in-office jobs—because remote work doesn’t always offer job security.

One profession that is flourishing in the boundaryless world is software development. Even if you’re not from the US, working with US-based firms like Turing can help you take advantage of labor arbitrage and potentially earn more than local, full-time roles.

If you’re looking to say goodbye to your 9-to-5 and join the remote workforce, we’ve listed some of our top tips to help you succeed as a remote software developer.

Set Your Responsibilities Clearly 

To manage your workload better, you should first understand the scope of your skills and responsibilities. Doing this allows you to avoid any miscommunications with your client. Because you’ll have to manage your projects, this means you’re also responsible for organizing and directing your activities—as well as ensuring your work is on time, on budget, and within scope. The best way to set your tasks and manage the expectations of your clients is by formalizing your arrangement or partnering up with solutions like Turing. Turing offers developers and clients a contract that covers both their interests⁠—effectively eliminating any chances of miscommunication and allowing both parties to set the record straight. Thus, you can avoid doing tasks outside of your role and protect yourself if your client decides to challenge you legally.

Get Your Finances in Line

If you want to achieve your professional and personal goals as a remote developer, you should organize all aspects of your life, including your finances. It’ll do you well to ensure that you get paid on time as a remote employee. Thankfully, solutions like Turing have payment management facilities that guarantee on-time payments for developers.

One way to take hold of your finances is by creating a budget. Through this, you can track all of your expenses and see where you need to be careful with your spending—whether it means choosing the most budget-friendly equipment or even cutting back on your coffee expenses. In addition, having a budget allows you to fully utilize your available resources and be more disciplined when it comes to spending.

Another way to find financial success as a remote developer is by using tools that can maximize your money. One such tool is a high-yield savings calculator, which allows you to figure out which banks and savings accounts have high annual percentage yields (APY) that will allow your money to grow. Yes, you can indeed make a lot of money by being a remote software developer. But without getting your finances in order, you might not be able to maximize your profits and secure your financial success.

Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Another way to find financial success as a remote developer is by using tools that can maximize your money. One such tool is a high-yield savings calculator, which allows you to figure out which banks and savings accounts have high annual percentage yields (APY) that will allow your money to grow. Yes, you can indeed make a lot of money by being a remote software developer. But without getting your finances in order, you might not be able to maximize your profits and secure your financial success.

While freelancing allows software developers to control their schedules and lifestyles, many are still prone to overworking themselves and taking on nightmare coding projects that creep into their personal time. If you want to succeed as a freelance software developer, you should understand the importance of having a healthy work-life balance. For one, it allows you to take better care of your relationship and retain a healthy social life outside of work. In addition, achieving a healthy work-life balance can also prevent you from feeling burnt out.

To achieve a good work-life balance as a freelancer, you should set a daily schedule that allows you to put a clear boundary between your personal life and career. However, don’t be afraid to also be flexible with your schedule, since your work arrangement allows for it. Another way to create a solid work-life balance is by understanding your limitations and not putting too much pressure on yourself. While more clients mean more money and better professional stability, over-committing yourself can hamper your productivity and result in poor quality work.

If you want to say goodbye to your corporate lifestyle and thrive as a freelance software developer, be sure to heed the tips we’ve listed above. Or better yet, you can turn to solutions like Turing — which combines the flexibility and independence of freelancing with the stability and financial security of a full-time position. Turing pairs remote software developers with top US companies for long-term roles. Plus, they are continuously re-matched with clients once their engagement ends.

By July 1, 2021
Healthy workplace culture
Management

Here’s How to Create a Workplace Culture Employees Will Never Want to Quit

Many employees quit due to bad workplace culture. Clear performance goals, constructive feedback, & employee recognition help build healthy remote work culture.

One in five Americans leaves their job due to bad company culture. The cost of this turnover is around $223 billion, according to a report on workplace culture. Replacing an employee costs up to 150 percent of their annual salary and has consequences on productivity. What’s more, 88 percent of job seekers say that having a healthy work culture is vital for organizational success. Organizations that want to succeed in the remote work era must ensure that employees feel valued to prevent them from switching jobs for better work culture. 

Key points for building a healthy remote culture:

Idea meritocracy and recognition lead to greater productivity.

Organizations with a culture of recognition are 2.5 times more likely to see enhanced employee engagement. Similarly, 90 percent of workers say recognition motivates them to work harder. Therefore, recognition from managers (or lack thereof) significantly impacts performance and workplace culture.

It is equally important to build a culture that implements and celebrates good ideas. This way, remote employees feel motivated to deliver high performance. A culture based on meritocracy promotes psychological safety, transparency, and permission to speak freely regardless of position. It prioritizes collaboration over competition. It empowers employees equally and overturns the arrangement where ideas from the highest-paid team members receive all the attention. It encourages remote employees to be vulnerable with one another. With such a culture in place, employees can share crazy ideas and freely differ from those they dislike, despite the absence of a shared physical workspace.

Setting clear goals leads to employee stickiness and accountability.

Establishing clear performance goals helps in improving employee engagement and decision-making. Engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to quit their organization. On the other hand, disengaged workers are 60 percent more likely to make errors in their work. 

A high-performing remote workforce is a product of transparency. Leaders and team members are most efficient when they have a good understanding of the company vision. Breaking the vision into smaller objectives can make it easier to track and manage progress. Using this method, business owners and managers can gauge if a goal is on its way to being completed on time or if it needs reevaluation. 

Employees are more committed to their work if they feel like they would hamper the team’s performance by lagging behind. This belief ensures that they are well-aligned with their colleagues’ tasks, leading to greater accountability. 

Daily rituals and regular feedback improve team performance.

Twenty-four percent of employees would consider quitting their jobs due to inadequate performance feedback. As opposed to this, employees who receive weekly feedback are 2.7 times more likely to be engaged at work. To build a healthy and sustainable remote work culture, managers must have regular check-ins with their teams. They should be sensitive to the needs of individual remote employees and find clever ways to keep them engaged. 

While delivering feedback, managers should address how the employee’s current contributions have helped achieve organizational goals and suggest ways to improve them. Good feedback highlights an employee’s strengths as well as weaknesses politely and strategically. Employees are more responsive towards business goals when they feel appreciated by their organization. 

Building a culture of constructive feedback shows employees that their opinions are respected in the workplace. Remote organizations should encourage employees to share feedback on the work culture and make adjustments accordingly. This practice helps in improving employee experience for future hires. 

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit the Turing Hire page.

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By June 29, 2021
Communication challenges in a hybrid model of work.
Management

Three Communication Mistakes Hybrid Teams Must Avoid

Communication is key to organizational success. Hybrid teams should avoid these common mistakes to reduce transactional communication and encourage spontaneity.

The rise of hybrid teams has divided employees into two classes: information-haves and have nots. A recent report stated that it has reduced workdays to purely transactional communications and killed spontaneity between in-office and remote workers.

Additional takeaways: 

Uneven visibility and access to information leads to inconsistent decision making

Hybrid teams often face uneven information sharing. Consequently, in-office employees have a considerable advantage over remote employees. This contrast creates an uncomfortable information hierarchy between team members. Hybrid teams should acknowledge this challenge and establish a few ground rules to encourage consistent information sharing. Handbooks with organizational protocols, FAQs, policy terms, and training resource links can help here.

Influence is a product of visibility. Those who are “visible” influence the flow of work and decisions. Naturally, in-office employees have the edge over remote workers in this aspect too. Remote employees often find it challenging to share their opinions during discussions; when the rest of the team is collectively debating an issue in the office, all they can do is rely on their laptop screens. Remote employees may be working longer hours and increasing productivity but still going unacknowledged compared to in-office workers. And thus, hybrid teams should adopt practices to even out these disparities.

One way is always to encourage input from members that logged in virtually before the rest. Additionally, managers must focus on equalizing employee experience by ensuring equal information accessibility. They should ensure that employee benefits are beneficial for both in-office and remote workers. 

The “Zoom gloom” dampens team morale

Hybrid teams tend to suffer from the “zoom gloom.” This phenomenon is a result of the stress and lack of human contact brought by virtual meetings. Zoom offered advice for eliminating the gloom of too many virtual conferences. It shared that seeing oneself during meetings heightened anxiety levels. And hence, hiding self-view could help in reducing stress. Another research found that when participants got a break and meditated between sessions, their stress levels dropped significantly and did not build up over time. 

Using informal communication channels to build employee relationships is a big challenge for hybrid organizations. More than two-thirds of workers wish to spend more time with their in-office peers to develop better connections. The virtual workplace gets work done but ends up losing out on ‘hall talk.’  Hall talk is crucial for organizations as it encourages new ideas, information-sharing, and relationships. What’s more, virtual workplaces eliminate spontaneity and hamper the quality of communication. Eventually, this can dampen team morale. 

Promoting relationship-building activities in day-to-day work calls can help fix this issue. Activities like ‘creative introductions’ and ‘team kudos’ can help build a rich hybrid workplace. 

Inconsistent engagement leads to misunderstood concepts

The physical office space does not serve as the central hub for engagement in hybrid teams. The absence of a central hub makes it challenging to conduct events that require high levels of engagement, like high-value client meetings. Video calls, although convenient, cannot replicate the richness of face-to-face communications, especially when complex issues are under discussion. As a result, 53 percent of remote workers fear being left out of crucial team meetings and other activities in the office. And thus, managers are in a constant quest to find arrangements that satisfy the communication needs of hybrid teams.

Managers should design a selection guide that allocates workplaces based on the task. This guide can help in identifying and harmonizing activities that genuinely require face-to-face conversation. Similarly, leaders should invest time into equipping hybrid teams with the tools and resources necessary for rich engagement. 

Read the complete article.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page. 

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By June 28, 2021
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