Tagged: covid

5 Great Ways to Increase Remote Working Productivity

When the COVID lockdowns started, most business owners probably didn't think much about the efficiency of their remote working solutions as long as they were able to keep the lights on. As we head into 2021, we can see that remote working is going to become a permanent feature of our business lives. With more than half of employees reporting frustrations with their remote work solutions, now is a good time to think about getting the best software and apps in to help your team stay productive.

Remember, too, that many of your people will find working at home a very lonely experience and so things like video conferencing can help alleviate the mental health impact of a lockdown.

Let's look at some of the products that are available to help you stay in touch and remain effective no matter what 2021 throws at you!

Workflow boards

One of the things that many people have reported is difficulty in keeping motivated and understanding what needs to happen and when.

When you're in an office, it's easy to simply lean across the desk and ask what is going on. But what happens when your team is all working remotely?

Using Kanban boards like Trello and Asana allows you to posts jobs, tasks, and subtasks and then allocate them to individual staff members or team so that everyone knows where they are and what still needs doing.

Remote access software

Remote access software can have some real benefits for users across the organisation and doesn’t need to be confined to your IT helpdesk.

Modern remote working can give users a virtual desktop, which is the same wherever they log on. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can also increase security.

Remote access software can also include functionality that enables video conferencing, chat functions, shared word processing, and file sharing, along with resources for troubleshooting in a pinch.

If you’d like to find out more about what it can do for you, check the best options in this excellent remote access software review by Neil Patel.

Remote shared storage

Many companies rely upon having drives readily available to all staff, and when you're all working in the same office, this is a simple matter. But when your team is spread out, then you need to think about organizing remote storage.

Google Drive and Dropbox are probably the most well-known offerings, but there are many more. They all provide you with the ability to have shared drives that are accessible based on your own organization’s security protocol.

Remote storage is a very competitive area, so prices have dropped over the last few years. So in many cases, you are better off subscribing to a best-in-class cloud storage solution (especially if it includes remote access desktops as above) rather than upgrading your on-premise servers.

Business-class video conferencing

For many businesses, this is one area where they just had to get a solution in place quickly so everyone could carry on working. But it really is worth choosing a business-class video conferencing system.

Having a better system makes life easier for your staff, but it also portrays a professional image to your customers and suppliers.

Free systems are great, but they will always come with limitations. Zoom, for instance, limits calls to 45 minutes on its free version. Other free solutions reduce video quality.

With paid solutions, the cost for a group subscription is often very reasonable when compared to the cost of losing even one customer.

Collaboration and sharing tools

When you can just pass files and papers across a desk, life is easy. But if you're miles away from your co-workers, contractors, and customers, how can you possibly collaborate effectively?

Many of the really good systems bundle in storage, video conferencing, Kanban boards and collaboration tools that help your teams act like teams rather than a collection of dispersed individuals.

Obviously, the big player here is Microsoft. But you can get excellent results with apps like Zoho Connect, Winio, and Wire. If you only really want chat capability, then look at Slack.

Take advantage of trials

What works for some people may not work for you and your company. But the good news is that pretty much every system mentioned here has some form of free trial.

The best advice is to take the developers up on their offer and test these solutions out. Get feedback from your employees and take into account how easy the apps are to use, the support available, and of course, the annual cost.

Don’t be swayed by attractive-sounding initial reductions. If the system is good, you’ll be using it for a long time. It is much more important to get the right features for you rather than buying something that isn't well-suited to the task because the developer was offering a half-price sale.
 

Rates Rising at Fastest Pace in Months

Mortgage rates are coming off a rough week– the roughest , in fact, since June 2020 by some measures. That’s the last time rates rose this quickly for market-driven reasons. There were a few instances of bigger moves in Aug/Sept as the new refinance fee was announced, delayed, and ultimately implemented. Either way, things aren’t great right now, relatively speaking. The “relative” qualification is important considering this abrupt move higher has yet to threaten to take the average top tier 30yr fixed quote above 3%–far from it, in fact. Most lenders can still offer 2.875% or better on refis and 2.625% or better on purchases. This assumes an ideal scenario with 20%+ equity, strong credit, etc. If this drama were to conclude right now, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal in the bigger picture

Rates Rising at Fastest Pace in Months

Mortgage rates are coming off a rough week– the roughest , in fact, since June 2020 by some measures. That’s the last time rates rose this quickly for market-driven reasons. There were a few instances of bigger moves in Aug/Sept as the new refinance fee was announced, delayed, and ultimately implemented. Either way, things aren’t great right now, relatively speaking. The “relative” qualification is important considering this abrupt move higher has yet to threaten to take the average top tier 30yr fixed quote above 3%–far from it, in fact. Most lenders can still offer 2.875% or better on refis and 2.625% or better on purchases. This assumes an ideal scenario with 20%+ equity, strong credit, etc. If this drama were to conclude right now, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal in the bigger picture

Mortgage Rates Find Some Support After an Ugly Start

Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

Mortgage rates were off to a very bad start this morning, but recovered a portion of what they lost by the end of the day. The specifics depend greatly on the lender in question. Sadly, few if any lenders are still able to offer the rates seen yesterday. To make matters worse, yesterday’s rates were already significantly higher than those seen just one week prior. But how about a big silver lining? One week prior to yesterday, the average lender was offering all-time low mortgage rates. So being “significantly higher” than that still hasn’t been enough to move the average top tier conventional 30yr fixed quote up to 3%. Before covid, 3.125% was the lowest ever 30yr fixed rate! If you’re in the purchase market, 2.75% is still common (2.875% for refis). Lenders continue to be widely stratified…(read more)

Forward this article via email:  Send a copy of this story to someone you know that may want to read it.

Alaska First-Time Homebuyer Programs

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) offers low-interest mortgage loans, and down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time home buyers and repeat buyers. This article takes a look at the requirements and provides links to the homebuyer program page for every city in Alaska. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage and Check Rates If you […]

The post Alaska First-Time Homebuyer Programs appeared first on The Lenders Network.

My Real Estate Goals for 2021 and 2020 Results!

2020 was a crazy year for many people, but it turned out to be a good year for us business-wise. I had many goals in 2020 including flipping 15 houses, buying 50k square feet of rentals, writing 2 books, possibly buying another car, and more! We did not accomplish all of the 2020 goals but … Read more