Join Us and Hit Your Professional, Personal, and Wellness Goals!
Around this time of year, I have the bad habit of coming up with about 15 different resolutions - don't bite my nails, stop drinking soda, do 100 crunches a day, cook 5 meals at home each week, write for 30 minutes each day, learn to levitate, etc. - and attempting to start all of them at once.
And around January 7th, I find myself mildly disappointed but not very surprised when I'm no longer committed to a single one.
If that sounds like you, then join me and the PowerToFly team as we tackle 12 bite-size monthly challenges. No lofty goals, just realistic ones.
The idea is to help us each hit our professional goals for the year by focussing on our personal ones. Challenges will cover everything from fitness to nutrition to breaking bad habits to being a better and more connected friend. Ultimately, we want to be more present, and to be kind to others and ourselves.
Who Are These Challenges Designed For?
- Remote Workers: At PowerToFly, we're a a remote startup spanning 12 countries… so we literally have people working around the clock, which makes it all too easy to burn out if you're not careful. If you don't have to physically leave the office, it's often hard to leave work behind you. That said, working from home (or wherever you choose) also offers enormous flexibility and benefits if you know how to take advantage of them, and that's what these challenges are all about! Using our workplace flexibility to be more connected as a team and community, not less. To break up our days with self-care so that we can be our most productive and happiest selves.
- Anyone with Limited Time: These small challenges are great for remote workers, but they can be done by anyone, anywhere, so if you're eager to fill 2019 with small victories, these challenges are for you! Whether you want to compete with your coworkers or participate by yourself, we can't wait to hear how you do.
What Do You Need to Do to Participate?
- Just make sure you're signed up for our newsletter so you hear about the latest challenges as they're posted. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so you can tweet, comment, message, or email your experiences.
- We'll be tracking progress our progress internally with a dedicated Slack channel and recommend you do the same if you want to do these challenges with your coworkers. We'll be sharing our results publicly in follow-up blog posts at the end of each challenge and tweeting along the way.
Why Are These Challenges More Practical Than "Typical" Resolutions?
- One improvement at a time - We'll announce each challenge a few days before the start of the next month. This is meant to avoid being overwhelmed by a whole slew of resolutions, and instead allow each of us to focus month-to-month on the challenges that we find most meaningful.
- Manageable Goals - We're not including any time-heavy activities, which are ripe for making excuses. Each active challenge (i.e. a challenge that asks you to do something, as opposed to reduce a behavior) will require less than 10 minutes a day. That said, no one will stop you from doing more… As someone who studied psychology in college, I admit my understanding of physics is limited, but I'm a firm believer in the idea that Newton's first law of motion also applies to human behavior: the hardest part is getting started (and the more daunting the task, the less likely we are to begin), but once you're going, you won't want to stop. By making our monthly goals more manageable, it will be easier not only to get started, but to keep going.
- Meaningful Goals - They may be small, but each challenge will be a worthwhile way to intentionally improve an aspect of our daily life, be it connected to physical or mental well-being.
- Measurable Goals- We'll be clearly defining each goal and/or asking you to define the goal for yourself - i.e., we won't aim to "reduce cellphone use," we'll aim to, "use our phones no more than 90 minutes per day."
- Accountability - We'll be sharing our results with you in a follow-up blog post and we encourage you to do the same! Tweet @powertofly or shoot us an email with your progress and experiences.
So, now that you understand the philosophy.... get ready to put your commitment to the test each month with a new challenge! (Click the links below for details about how to participate in the challenge & to see our results!)
Be proud of yourself - this is just the beginning!
How Our Remote Team Celebrates The Holidays
Before coming to PowerToFly, the company holiday parties I attended were radically different. There were gift exchanges, catered lunches, champagne, and lots of awkward interactions between co-workers (my favorite part). Sure, this was fun and all, but at the end of the day, I felt like I was missing something, and to quote a seasonal favorite, the Grinch;
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!
At PowerToFly, we're a small remote team spanning 12 different countries. We have a variety of backgrounds and beliefs, and we all celebrate different holidays.
So, instead of your typical "office holiday party," we have a "Secret Snowflake," where each employee is randomly assigned another employee and donates $10 to a charity in their honor. This gives us the opportunity to learn more about our Secret Snowflakes and get to know their teammates at the same time, as we ask around to learn more about our Snowflakes' interests, hobbies, and passions. (And of course, to contribute to some great causes.)
We spent time getting to know people we don't typically interact with on a day-to-day basis, while discovering charities and foundations all over the globe! Because we're all in different timezones, "small talk" isn't something we usually get to do a lot of, so meetings like this, where we have the opportunity to learn more about each other, are really special.
To me, this blending of cultures, understanding what my teammates truly value, and contributing to causes we care about (everything from the environment to animals to people in need), means more than any gift or catered meal, and embodies the true spirit of the holidays!
This year, our team donated over $300 to 30 the charities listed below:
- International Rescue Committe
- Karama Organization for Women and Children's Development
- Dizzy Feet Foundation
- Mutt Rescue
- Edo State Women Association
- Animal Rescue Foundation of Louisiana
- Texas Humane Heroes
- Ukrainian Philanthropic Marketplace
- Help Animals India
- Comedy Cures
- Palestine Charity Team
- Uniendo Caminos
- Animal Rescue of the Rockies
- Wounded Nature
- Ukrainian Philanthropic Marketplace
- Gilda's Club
- New Beginning Animal Rescue
- Women Who Code Kyiv
- The Trevor Project
- Sumando Manos Foundation
- Ecuador Children's Hope Organization
- International Street Dog Foundation
- The DREAM Project
- Basic Research and Development Society
- Ecologia - Youth Trust
- Spirit of Children
- CASA of Cook County
From the team at PowerToFly, we wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday. See you in 2019!
What To Buy For Your Favorite Remote Worker (Or Yourself!)
My friends were pretty jealous when I told them I'd found a remote job. They pictured me choosing my hours, working from the comfort of my bed, and rocking pajamas 24/7. All great things... in moderation.
Just a little over a month into my role at PowerToFly, I've already experienced many of the pros and cons of working from home. I know I'm not alone in this - the remote workforce is only growing (9 million people in the U.S. alone worked from home at least half of the time in 2017).
The beauty of remote work is that it lets you decide what kind of environment you'll be most productive in… but the downside is that if you don't build that environment for yourself, you might find you've got a lot of back pain (turns out, working from bed isn't so comfortable after all) and not much energy.
So in the spirit of the holidays, I asked my more experienced remote coworkers to share their must-have work-from-home items - the little things that keep them sane and smiling during their daily grind.
Whether you already work from home, are looking to do so in the future, or are shopping for someone who does (cough cough, Mom), this holiday gift guide is for you.
1. Blue light glasses to protect your eyes from long hours looking at the computer (and to keep you looking sharp at the same time).
Our Senior Marketing & Community Manager Lauren says: "I've never worn glasses EVER, but when I started working remotely my eyes got so tired. I've seen a huge difference after I started wearing blue light glasses, and no headaches!"
2. A bullet journal to help you stay on top of your goals. So you know you're being productive even when your boss can't literally pat you on the back.
Our Customer Success Associate Brinley says: "I use it for everything – hand-drawn calendar, to-do lists, and even personal stuff like budget planning and weekly goals."
3. A laptop tray so you can be productive from wherever you're most comfortable. (You haven't really worked from home until you've worked from your bed.)
Our Recruiting Manager Amy says: "I love my laptop tray!!! you can fit your planner, your laptop and most importantly, your coffee."
4. A productivity planner to help you become more intrinsically motivated. (Ideal for those lacking the artistic talents required for bullet journaling.)
Our President and Cofounder Katharine says: "It helps me manage and protect my time so that when I have creative work that requires a lot of focus, I can break it down into short, intense chunks and be more efficient."
5. A stylish stone diffuser that brings your favorite scent to wherever you're working.
Our Senior Account Executive Anastasia says: "Right now I'm working in a room that smells like a forest after a light rain." I've definitely never heard anyone say that about their cubicle.
6. A gym/workout class membership to keep you active (and sane) during the week - because exercise makes you happy and being happy makes you more productive! And a little bit of human interaction doesn't hurt, either.
Our Mid-Market Account Executive Deveshe says: "It's important for me to get out, shake a leg and jump around. Otherwise I wouldn't step out through the week."
7. A Peloton stationary bike so you can get in a great workout even when it's too cold to leave the house. (And once you invest this much money, you know damn well you'll actually use it, or lose ten pounds from gnawing guilt alone. Win-win.)
Our Operations Manager Gina says: "It allows me to stay fit no matter how busy I am…I can exercise during my lunch hour or in between meetings if need be."
8. A backpack with a dedicated fleece-lined laptop compartment to keep all of your equipment protected and organized, whether you're traveling across the world or walking across the street to your favorite cafe.
Our Director of Customer Success Cristina says: "Love it for packing my laptop and tech items as it has tons of pockets Including fleece lined ones for tech."
9. Bluetooth headphones with immersive sound so you'll never miss a word your boss says.
Our Director of Business Development Amanda says: "I can get up and move around the house while I'm on calls."
10. A battery case for your phone so you can work wherever you want, without running out of juice.
Our Production Lead Rob says: "When traveling, I have to have my iPhone charging case."
11. A speaker to listen to your favorite music/podcasts when the sound of silence is just too much.
Our Production Lead Rob says: "Working from home can get lonely sometimes so I love to play WNYC or podcasts when I feel like I need some company. I'm also a big vinyl collector and I have a turntable that can play wirelessly to a Sonos so even though my record player is in my living room, I can listen to it in my office."
12. An adjustable laptop stand that your wrists and your wallet (it's definitely cheaper than carpel tunnel surgery in the U.S.) will thank you for. Plus, this one doubles as a standing desk.
Our Customer Success Manager Lola says: "I'm using a box right now, but you definitely need something to elevate your computer."
13. A mate gourd and yerba mate, a.k.a the perfect workmates. Get the jolt you need without the jitters and gain your South American friends' approval at the same time.
Our DevOps Lead Emiliano says: "Very Argentinean, but definitely something that cannot be missing from my desk."
14. A foot massager to reward yourself for a job well done. Who says your home office can't double as a home spa? Work hard, relax hard.
Our Product Designer Jedidah says: "Sitting in one spot can get strenuous on muscles in my leg, but with my foot massager I get to improve blood flow in that area, and enjoy a great foot massage which eases stress."
My coworker Anastasia said it best:
I love that working from home you get to take charge of your surroundings - I'm never cold like I am in offices (the male vs. female divide there ha). And I like me some good ambiance which is obviously subjective too so I appreciate being able to control it alllll myself.
So take charge of your surroundings and make 2019 your most productive - and comfortable - year yet!
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In-Person Networking is Key - Check Out These Tips
Building your company's in-person network with events is more important than ever before. Not only are you forging personal connections with current and prospective clients, but attendees get to do more than just read your logo or motto—they're given an opportunity to interact with you, and your company's culture firsthand.
We sat down with Tracy Candido, Director of Programs at Lower Manhattan Headquarters (LMHQ) - a community, meeting, and events space in NYC, and asked her questions about hosting events and how to grow brand loyalty while showing the human side of your company.
With 15 years of experience building creative programs and events for brands to tell their story, communicate their values, and open hearts and minds, Tracy understands the true power of a great event! Not just that, but Tracy is also the Founder of Lady Boss, a platform invested in gender equality at work and exploring what a feminist workplace might look like. Knowing all that, we were certain that Tracy would be a wonderful expert for a PowerToFly Lunch & Learn! :)
If you continue to read below, we've provided a short yet informative recap of our chat with Tracy. If you are interested in attending future virtual chats with successful experts like Tracy, click here to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women here to empower one another.