Remote working tips

1. Designate Space

You need a working space. Don’t sit in the middle of the living room, kitchen or anywhere else the rest of the family congregates. Whether you have roommates or live alone, choose a space with the fewest possible distractions. It may be a spare bedroom, dining room, or even a large closet – as long as it has power and ideally a door to close (see tip 2). If you don’t live alone, make sure your family or roommates know that when you are in your work space, you are working and interruptions should be avoided.

2. Close Doors

If you have roommates, the door is a great reminder you are busy. If you live alone, the door also keeps out background noises from appliances and neighbors. If you have kids, lock the door, otherwise you may end up like poor Professor Robert Kelly, who conducted a TV Interview when his kids burst into the room.

3. Use Headsets

Headsets are the best option for keeping your hands free to type. Most consumer grade speaker phones have major limitations that make it difficult for two-way conversations. This is especially true for the speaker feature on most mobile phones. The microphone often picks up your voice or background noise and disables the speaker, to avoid feedback. Therefore, you won’t hear others as they try to speak. As a result, other participants could perceive you as ignoring them. Professional speakerphones, like those you may have at the office, are fine.

4. Pause Often

If you are on a conference call, pause your speaking often and listen for comments from others. With in-person meetings, body language signals when someone has a thought to interject. You lose this signal when meeting over the phone.Therefore, don’t go on long monologues without pausing often and asking for feedback and insights from others.

5. Use Video

A major component of our communication is non-verbal. A sense of agreement or disagreement is easily seen in the posture and facial expressions when meeting in the same room. Over the phone, we lose this feedback. If you have the benefit of easily accessible video devices and bandwidth, as most knowledge workers in the US do, leverage that when working remotely. This has the additional benefit of creating a more team-like atmosphere.

6. Make Eye Contact

It amazes me this is not done more often. Try this with a friend: on a video call, have them speak to you while looking at your image on the screen. See how you feel and how you perceive their message. Next, have them speak to you while looking directly at the camera on their end. Now, see how you perceive the message. When the speaker looks into the camera, the recipients of the message see them looking into their eyes. When the speaker does not do this, they appear distracted and disinterested. It makes a huge difference. Look into the camera when speaking.

7. Work Online

There are many great tools for synchronizing your work online, so you can access it from any location with internet access. Some of the most popular tools today are Microsoft’s OneNote / Office 365 or Google’s G Suite and Google Drive. Slack is also a very popular tool for chatting and keeping notes in a shared repository.

8. Make Backups

Most employers automate backups of your computer while connected to the network. If you’re working from home, this probably is not happening automatically. Therefore, be sure to manually backup your work by using services like Office 365, Google Drive or your corporate office network, by logging into your Virtual Private Network (VPN). Contact your IT support team for assistance.

9. Focus Time

When you are working, work. When you are with your family, be with your family. Wherever you are, be present. The lines blur easily when working from home.  Studies prove that humans do not truly multi-task. Your family and friends, seeing you distracted by work, could perceive you as disinterested. So follow the tips above, have a space, close the door, and focus your energy based on where you are.

I hope these tips help anyone new to working remotely. If you have any questions or struggle with any of these ideas, email me. Stay healthy and make the best of this change in your work / life alignment.

€4.5m stolen in invoice redirect fraud this year and problem getting worse

Almost €4.5m has been stolen in invoice redirect frauds since the start of the year, according to gardaí.

More than €2m has been stolen in the last month alone, they sad.

Under the fraud criminals send emails to businesses purporting to be one of their legitimate suppliers with the supplier’s new bank account details and a request to change the account to one that will ultimately benefit the criminals.

These requests can also come by way of letter or phone call.

The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau says various companies including sports clubs, accountants, hospitals, car dealers and pubs have redirected payments to fraudulent accounts solely on receipt of an email.

The bureau says it has recovered more than €1.8m, but has once again warned businesses not to rely on emails to change payment details and verify the request before making payments 

Last year Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan of the Economic Crime Bureau said this type of fraud had been going on for some years.

He said the criminals use emails that look like the real suppliers’ address but with some slight difference.

Often the fraudsters use students’ and young people’s bank account details by offering them a fee to allow use of their accounts for a few days.

Earlier this year an investigation was launched by the bureau into these so-called money mule accounts.

According to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, there has been a dramatic and worrying increase in CEO and invoice redirection fraud in the past few months.

Since January 132 cases have been reported with a total of over €4.4m stolen, €1.28m has been recovered but €3.2m is still missing.

Gardaí say the thieves succeed because while the person who makes the payments in a company is a senior manager, the person who can change the bank details for payments is often a junior clerk.

The fraudsters are also credible, they often create a false sense of urgency and the businesses do not verify the criminals’ details before handing over the money.

Inspire

Inspire 2019, taking place in Las Vegas July 14–18, is Microsoft’s premier event for partners and an experience for anyone interested in growing their business and strengthening their Microsoft partnership. The event brings together thousands of attendees from 130 countries around the globe for a week of networking and learning — all with the goal of increasing partner profitability and accelerating business growth. This year the keynote speaker lineup will include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, President Brad Smith, Executive Vice President Judson Althoff, who leads Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business organization, and Corporate Vice President Gavriella Schuster, who leads Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner organization. You can find other featured speakers listed online

SME READINESS CHECKLIST

On the 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect across all EU member states. The GDPR provides one framework data protection law for Europe, representing a significant harmonisation of data protection requirements and standards across the EU. Having just one horizontal framework law to deal with will benefit business, promote responsibility when dealing with personal data, and help ensure that the same data protection standards apply across the EU. However, despite being a direct-effect European Union Regulation, the GDPR provides some scope for EU Member States to implement further legislation to set national standards in some areas such as the processing of health data and criminal convictions, the digital age of consent and the circumstances in which an individual’s data protection rights can be restricted. Accordingly, it is important for all businesses and organisations to be aware that they are required to comply with the data protection standards and obligations set out in both the GDPR and the Irish Data Protection Act 2018. This guide and the accompanying checklist have been designed to assist in particular the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, who may not have access to extensive planning and legal resources. Using this guide, along with our twelve-step GDPR and You guide, will help those businesses in particular to prepare for a business future that is data-protection compliant

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