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The Growth of Global Investment: Digital Nomads and a New Generation of Investors


The Growth of Global Investment: Digital Nomads and a New Generation of Investors


In recent years, a slow but profound transformation has started to take place in the way people work and invest. The advent of technology, growth of frictionless remote work opportunities, and a desire for more flexible lifestyles in the wake of the pandemic has given birth to a new breed of professionals known as “digital nomads.” These individuals have embraced a location-independent lifestyle, allowing them to work from anywhere in the world while simultaneously exploring new cultures, experiences, and investment opportunities. These are an addition to the existing expat community, now numbering almost a quarter of a billion, who are investing cross border.

The Emergence of Digital Nomads

The traditional 9-to-5 office job has gradually given way for many to more flexible working arrangements, thanks to advancements in communication technology and a growing global “side-hustle” and gig economy. Digital nomads, a term first popularized in the early 2000s, are individuals who leverage these advancements to work remotely while traveling the world.

This lifestyle is not without its challenges, including visa regulations, time zone differences, and the need for reliable internet connections. However, the allure of experiencing new cultures, landscapes, and a sense of freedom has led to a steady rise in the number of digital nomads worldwide.

Investing as a Digital Nomad

One might assume that digital nomads, with their unconventional lifestyle, have equally unconventional investment strategies. While this is partly true, it is essential to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Digital nomads come from diverse backgrounds and possess varying levels of financial knowledge and risk appetite. The principles are the same, and in fact being able to operate in multiple countries and currencies opens up a whole range of new opportunities.

Here are some ways they are investing:

  1. Remote Work and Freelancing Platforms:

Many digital nomads earn their income through remote work and freelancing platforms, such as Upwork, Fiverr, or remote job boards. With a steady income stream, they can invest in traditional assets like stocks, bonds, and real estate.

  1. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology:

Digital nomads, often tech-savvy and early adopters, have shown considerable interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. They believe in the potential of digital currencies to disrupt the financial world, and some have allocated a portion of their portfolios to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

  1. Real Estate Investments:

Despite their nomadic lifestyle, some digital nomads invest in real estate as a means of generating passive income. They might purchase properties in affordable locations with high rental demand, using property management services to handle the day-to-day operations.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Lending and Crowdfunding:

Digital nomads are often open to alternative investment opportunities. Peer-to-peer lending platforms and crowdfunding projects offer them a chance to diversify their portfolios and support businesses or ventures they believe in.

  1. Remote Business Ventures:

Many digital nomads leverage their skills and expertise to establish remote businesses, such as an e-commerce store, online course, SEO agency or digital marketing agency. These ventures can provide them with both income and potential business equity. 

  1. Sustainable and Ethical Investments:

A significant number of digital nomads align their investments with their values, focusing on sustainable and ethical companies. They seek businesses that prioritize environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices.

Challenges and Considerations

While the digital nomad lifestyle offers flexibility and adventure, it is not without its challenges when it comes to investing:

  1. Tax Complexity:

Digital nomads often face complex tax situations, as they may be subject to taxation in multiple countries. Seeking professional tax advice is crucial to ensure compliance and optimize tax efficiency.

  1. Currency Fluctuations:

As digital nomads often earn and spend money in different currencies, they are exposed to currency exchange rate fluctuations, which can impact the value of their investments.

  1. Retirement Planning:

A nomadic lifestyle may not naturally align with traditional retirement planning. Digital nomads need to consider long-term financial security and explore investment vehicles suitable for their unique circumstances.

In Summary

The rise of digital nomads has challenged conventional notions of work and investment. Embracing technology and a location-independent lifestyle, these individuals have shown remarkable adaptability in managing their finances and investments. Using a global portfolio tracker is one way digital nomads and internationals can keep track of their finances, even when moving countries. This allows them to track all their assets in real time, using analytics to be able to make important decisions with more information than ever before.

While their investment strategies may vary widely, digital nomads are united by their shared pursuit of financial independence, personal freedom, and the desire to explore the world while building a secure financial future. As the digital nomad trend continues to evolve, it will be fascinating to observe how their investment approaches shape the future of finance and work.


employee median

5 Ways Leaders Can Use Empathy to Increase Employee Job Satisfaction

As many workplaces struggle to retain and hire employees during the “Great Resignation,” leaders don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves. But it may be time for more of them to feel empathy toward their workers.

Ernst & Young’s 2021 Empathy in Business Survey showed around 50% of employees quit a previous job because their boss wasn’t empathetic to their struggles at work or in their personal lives. On the other hand, nearly 90% of workers who were queried believe empathetic leadership creates loyalty, and 85% say that it increases productivity.

Empathetic leadership is a must in today’s COVID-affected workplace, as employees struggle with burnout, working from home and other issues, according to research by Catalyst, a nonprofit that works to advance women in leadership positions. But until more business owners, executives and managers put a priority on listening to their employees and showing them they care, workers will look for companies that are more tuned in to their concerns, says Kathleen Quinn Votaw, the author of DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work.

“Most people do not know how to truly understand someone else’s point of view without letting their own thoughts, opinions, and emotions get in the way,” Quinn Votaw says. “Leaders often sit in their own place of judgment rather than using empathy as the bridge to understanding and connection.”

Quinn Votaw says that while empathy has gained importance in the work culture in recent years, many managers aren’t prepared for that role.

“Leading with empathy means understanding and accepting that people are not always operating at their very best,” she says. “Issues from home affect work lives. Working within and around that reality is the best way to create a place where people want to come to work.”

Quinn Votaw offers these tips on how leaders can lead with empathy and enhance the employee experience:

Be authentic. “Like actors in a Shakespearian play, we play roles versus showing up authentically,” Quinn Votaw says. “We have been taught to hide our true selves and display a false sense of bravado. To lead with empathy, get beyond the facade we all walk around with. Go the extra step – with your willingness to dig deep in terms of caring and asking questions that convey your interest in them as people.”

Communicate with a personal touch. A leader who consistently communicates with a personal touch for a variety of reasons – praise for the employee, concern and support for them – builds morale and increases retention, Quinn Votaw says. “The more personal they are, the more appreciated they are by the employees.”

Make space for connection. Quinn Votaw says leaders need to respect how their employees need personal connections with each other, and also says leaders should personally connect with employees once or twice a week outside of regular meetings. “Make time for more social and genuine connections in virtual meetings,” she says. “Have fun with virtual coffee chats, happy hours, trivia contests, or scavenger hunts.”

Provide remote workers with the tech support they need. ”There’s a growing economic inequality crisis with remote workers not having money for or access to technology,” Quinn Votaw says. “No one wants to lose out on high-quality talent because they lack funds for high-speed internet or a computer. Create a program to provide office equipment for your employees so they can have a functional setup in their personal space.”

Respect the boundaries of work and home life. Working in a remote environment has thrown off a lot of employees. “It was easy to have barriers and work/life balance when we commuted,” Quinn Votaw says. “Leaders can help  employees create a home space where they can turn work on and off, which boosts productivity, enhances connection and creates a healthier work/life balance.”

“Empathy is not about you, the leader,” she says. “It’s about taking time to listen, putting yourself in someone else’s place, and providing what they need in that moment.”


Kathleen Quinn Votaw ( is the CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm. She is the author of DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work. Regarded as a key disruptor in her industry, Quinn Votaw has helped thousands of companies across multiple industries develop purpose-based, inclusive communities that inspire employees to come to work. Her company has been recognized in the Inc. 5000.


Retaining Talent Through Sustaining Momentum: Tech’s Starring Role in The Great Resignation

We’re in the middle of a major shift in the workforce.

The pandemic caused a massive change from shared office space to remote work. As people spent time at home—and as they faced a multitude of intense stressors and even direct loss—they reevaluated what’s important when it comes to their careers.

Because of this, we’ve seen four million people quit their jobs in July 2021, and a record-breaking 10.9 million jobs remain open. You may have also seen the troubling statistic that up to 95% of the workforce is considering leaving their current company right now.

Companies looking to recruit and retain high performers are smart to take action in light of this Great Resignation. However, the answers may not be found in hefty signing bonuses or hasty returns to in-office collaboration.

The key is to lean even harder into the technology that has gotten us through this pandemic.

The pandemic as an unfortunate but powerful catalyst

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed business as usual, and companies had to become virtual, digital-centric, and agile faster than they could have imagined.

According to a global survey of executives conducted by McKinsey, companies took an average of only 11 days to move to remote working–40 times faster than they thought possible. Companies also adopted digital technologies for advancements in operations and decision-making 25 times faster than expected.

The pandemic disruption removed (sometimes artificial) barriers to adopting new technology and made it imperative that companies keep investing in technology to sustain, grow, and thrive.

Now let’s take it a step further: If we can leverage technology to get our businesses through a global pandemic, we can absolutely do the same to keep our people happy and engaged.

Here’s how.

1. Dig into the tools you already have

Businesses jumped into collaboration tools out of necessity over the pandemic with a very practical goal of keeping operations running remotely. With that hurdle cleared, it’s time we refocus our efforts from pure functionality to connection, culture, and engagement.

My team, for example, has been using Slack for nearly all of our internal communication and collaboration since 2017. Back then, our primary goal was to lessen email fatigue (which 38% of office workers say is likely to make them quit their jobs).

Once the pandemic hit, we needed that platform to do some heavier lifting for us. Some changes we’ve made include:

-Creating new forums (channels) for conversation around everything from the pandemic itself, to how we can best deliver value to our clients remotely, to social injustice and unlearning bias.

-Adding new integrations including more practical HR tools that “show” who is out when you can’t physically see your team, and fun tools like the Donut bot that randomly pairs employees up and facilitates conversations.

-Learning and taking advantage of the package’s ongoing developments, like the “huddle” feature and direct messaging with outside organizations.

-Doubling down on using our few mandatory channels for clear communication on changing policies, amplifying team achievements, and—perhaps most importantly—soliciting feedback.

Of course, keep in mind that simply providing tools is never enough; you have to also provide your team with the training to take proper advantage of them, and the safety and opportunity to do so. This is a place where active involvement (and modeling) from your leadership team can make a big difference.

2. Evaluate your tech through the lens of individual experience and equity

When it comes to engagement, 42% of employees say their peers have the greatest influence. We have also (fortunately) entered the stage where employees will not stand for what they perceive to be unfair treatment.

It’s incumbent on employers, then, to zero in on how employees experience their work on a day-to-day basis and whether they feel connected to their team and heard as an individual.

Take a run-of-the-mill department meeting, for instance. Say your new hybrid configuration has half the department in your office and half at home. Do the remote workers have equivalent means to participate in the meeting itself? In the more casual chit-chat that takes place before and after?  Can they clearly hear who is speaking and when they can interject? Can they read and add to notes being taken? Do they have the same opportunity to execute on any follow-up items?

Unbalanced interactions like this are subtle, but over time will erode connection and leave certain teammates feeling alienated. Identify places where you may be unintentionally creating rifts, and use that pandemic-inspired tech confidence to fix them. Some common areas for improvement are:

-A better conference room setup with barrier-breaking tools like the Vibe whiteboard and the Poly Studio soundbar/camera.

-A better home office setup with external cameras and speakerphones as needed, a stipend for better internet bandwidth, extra monitors, and so forth.

-Standardizing on a document co-authoring solution like SharePoint or Google Docs.

-Training your managers to opt for the most inclusive meeting and collaboration formats over what is most convenient.

Any new tools you add will require—you guessed it—training!

3. Make sure your digital presence reflects your priorities

My final point is one of visibility. If your company is making these great strides to do right by your team, do them and your business a favor by giving talented job seekers enough insight to want to join you.

Questions to consider are:

-Does our online presence (website, social media) show—not tell—our commitment to our people?

-Do our online employee reviews paint an accurate picture?

-Do our job descriptions capture our values in a way that an outsider would grasp? Are we explicit about remote work policy and benefits?

-Does our hiring process mirror our culture? Does it blend the responsiveness of automation with empathy?

Part of this involves the thoughtful use of specific technology tools. We, for example, have had great success with Bamboo HR to digitize, secure, streamline, and humanize our hiring and onboarding processes.

But a lot of this is the evolution of taking our office-bound corporate cultures digital. First and foremost we make sure all employees, regardless of location, are connected and bought into our culture. Then we take it externally and let all the talent out there know what we’re bringing to the table.

And the more we can get our current employees to tell our story online, the better—not only do most candidates inherently trust individuals over brands, but this also reinforces engagement with those employees.

Final thoughts

It’s true that the Great Resignation and the current labor shortage won’t last forever; people who want to change jobs or careers right now will make those shifts, and eventually the waves will settle.

The question is which organizations will come out on the other side with their high-performing employees intact, and with some new star players (whose previous employers weren’t savvy enough to keep them) on board.

If you want it to be yours, keep the momentum going. Technological competence and creative use of the right tools at the right time will empower your team to forge strong connections no matter where they’re physically located.

There are few competitive advantages as powerful as that.


Heinan Landa is the Founder and CEO of Optimal Networks, Inc., a Rockville, MD-based IT company that helps law firms and associations achieve measurable business results by way of thoughtful technology guidance and white-glove support. For three decades clients have turned to Optimal when they are spending too much time overseeing their IT team, are worried about the security of their data, or are concerned their technology isn’t providing the mobility or flexibility that their employees and clients expect. For more,, 240-499-7900, or


How COVID Affected the World Economy and What that Means for Business Owners

The COVID virus was one of the most recent viruses to sweep through the world. It has had a significant impact on both individuals and businesses, but not in ways that are all negative. In this blog post, we will discuss how the COVID virus affected the global economy and what it means for business owners.


Many business owners have decided not to add any new employees until they see what impact COVID will have on their bottom line profit margins – this can be seen through “hiring intentions” and the “average monthly increase in employment”.

Employment growth is slowing but this can be seen as an opportunity for job seekers to find a great new position before others do. There are currently more open jobs than unemployed people looking to take advantage of that.


Stock prices fell at first, with business executives unsure how the new tax plan would affect them, but those concerns vanished quickly as consumer confidence rose and company profits skyrocketed. The stock market and interest rates suffered as a result of the impact of stagflation. This impacted businesses negatively because it made investments less profitable by decreasing their net worth. It also caused inflation to rise, which increased costs for business owners who had no control over how much they could charge customers for products or services. Because people were spending more money on food and other necessities due to inflation, this led them to spend less money on luxury items such as expensive cars or homes, so sales went down at car dealerships and real estate companies alike.

Tourism Industry Crumbling

The tourism industry might be feeling some pain as it will now cost more to travel outside of one’s country due to COVID and other new tariffs that have been imposed on certain goods. This may impact those who enjoy traveling abroad, but with unemployment rates decreasing at such a rapid rate, the demand for labor will also increase. Many businesses that rely on tourism as a large source of customers and revenue might take a hit but it may be short-lived if they can adapt quickly enough.

The travel industry is feeling some pain from COVID already, especially with tariffs placed on goods like electronics and other items that are commonly exported and imported. Tourism is a vital part of many economies, but it will take time to see the true impact COVID has on international travel and tourism.

Online Shopping

Online shopping has impacted stores in a big way. Many consumers prefer the convenience of buying from home rather than going out into crowded retail centers to shop for items they need or want. Online retailers have been able to adapt quickly by increasing their marketing spend on Google Adwords so that they can be more visible when people search for products online. This might be a good time to consider an online marketing strategy if you own or operate a retail store.

The rise of e-commerce has allowed many consumers – especially Millennials and younger generations – to buy things from the comfort of their homes without ever leaving. Many brick-and-mortar retailers have been able to adapt quickly by increasing their digital marketing presence so that they can compete against online retailers.


Loans are getting harder to come by as banks begin to tighten their lending standards due to fears of rising defaults rates. They have not yet raised interest rates but many experts believe it is only a matter of time before they do! Businesses that need funding for various projects might look into alternative financing options or increase spending to boost revenue and profits so that they can generate enough cash flow to cover their debt obligations.

The difficulty of obtaining loans has increased as a result of COVID and other new tariffs placed on various goods from different countries. This is especially true for those who are deemed “high risk” borrowers by lenders, but it might be time to find alternative financing options if you need them.

World Trade

The world is slightly less connected as a result of COVID and other new tariffs that have been placed on goods from certain countries. This means it will be more difficult for those who rely on international sales to sell their products, but there are still plenty of opportunities out there. Business owners should keep an eye on how this plays out over time and consider new marketing strategies if they rely on international sales.

There are still plenty of opportunities out there for those who rely on international sales. If you haven’t considered it already, now might be the time to invest in some marketing strategies that will help you reach a larger audience.

Working Abroad

The ease of working abroad may decline as the world continues to become less connected. This could impact those who enjoy traveling and want to work while they are on holiday, but it might also make sense for some people if they can save money by living in another country. It will take time before we know how COVID affects the ability of individuals or business owners to work outside their home countries long-term.

It has become slightly more difficult (and costly) to travel overseas and work there due to tariffs placed on goods like electronics that many workers bring with them when they go freelancing or contract jobs globally. However, this is still an option open for businesses that want cheap labor; something which should be considered sooner rather than later if you are looking to expand your business overseas.

With all this information at hand now comes the time when you can use it to your advantage. Remember that while COVID was a major international event, many other factors are affecting the world economy which you should also consider when making decisions about your business or investments. Understanding how they interact and affect one another will help you make better-informed decisions for yourself in this fast-moving globalized society of ours.

supply chain

Tips to Manage Successful Remote Teams in Supply Chain Management

A recent CNBC/Change Research States of Play poll concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic managed to push 42% of Americans into virtual workplaces. Supply chain analysts have encountered many challenges in terms of analysis of the projected supply chain needs from flexible working spaces.

With the new changes, they will have to identify new suppliers, monitor existing supplier inventories, and use analytical data to predict the timelines for new inventory orders. To run the operations smoothly, supply chain managers should prioritize establishing appropriate protocols in due time to enable their employees to work efficiently from home. For that to happen, the right remote culture becomes essential for a promising employer branding which you can establish using the 7 tips mentioned below.

Tips to Manage Remote Teams:

1. Implement Technology: With teleworking becoming the new normal, most companies have started to leverage the latest technology available to enhance the communication channels with employees along with ensuring higher employee productivity. Some of the necessities for successfully implementing technologies to work include teleconferencing software like Skype, Zoom, etc., remote desktops, VPNs, collaboration tools, and stable internet connections along with reliable cellphones. Additionally, tools like relevant field service management software will help keep a track of your on-field workers and customers to analyze and maintain your inventories adequately. Essentially, rely on an intelligent blend of the technological assistance available at your disposal.

2. Promote Right Infrastructure: Corporate supply chain software, ERPs, and other systems are the most used tools by most supply chain workers. The right infrastructure typically means being able to access the data from these sources easily over the cloud via the internet. Once that is in place, your employees can access them to manage their remote work culture relatively easily. By promoting these infrastructure changes you will gather a small core of IT experts, maintenance staff, and supervisors to resolve any issues including scanning and emailing documents between employees.

3. Place Appropriate Policies: A lack of appropriately drafted work-from-home policies can ruin the investment you make in your technological updates for remote work. Beginning with addressing cybersecurity to keep official data confidential and secure, you should also mention the employer expectations, formal clothing for virtual meetings, physical workspace necessities, telework locations, ideal working hours, the required internet speeds, etc. You can even consider desktop sharing software for the IT department to access employee computers remotely should any problems arise.

4. Equip Your Team: Once the technological requirements are in place, supply chain managers need to provide their teams with essential hardware including laptops or desktops, scanners, printers, etc. along with necessary training. That becomes inevitable because not every employee will have a background in using remote operational software on their computer and some of them would not prefer company programs on personal devices. Did you know that both communication and project management, known as collaborative tasks, need specialized software to run effectively? Supply chain managers should look into employing tools such as Slack, Trello, and Quire to manage these responsibilities.

5. Communicate Effectively: During these uncertain times when your employees are working remotely, you must ensure that they are frequently reminded about their job role and company expectations competently. Clear, easy-to-use, reliable, and well-sought-out communication channels are essential components to maintain worker productivity. Now, supply chain managers will have to efficiently communicate with the team about what is required from them more often than was required during office jobs. Look for newer ways to remain in contact and reach your team apart from the occasional virtual meetings.

6. Administer Trust: I understand that trust may sound like just a touchy-feely word but believe me it has become a more salient factor for productive teamwork. The level of accountability and reliability between teams and managers determines job satisfaction, commitment to work and productivity levels, workload responses, turnover, work quality, and office dynamics that benefit the company. Do not remain short-sighted about it and pick up your phone to call or text the teams to collaborate with them on a real-time basis along with administering video calls for emotional reinforcement and trust-building.

7. Prioritize Security: Lastly, do not overlook the fact that cybersecurity is a fundamental need especially for flexible workspaces. Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for different gaps and vulnerabilities within businesses to extract critical corporate information. To avoid any data leaks, you must equip all the employee computers with the latest software and security patches along with reputable anti-virus software. Besides, unsecured Wi-Fi could pose a cybersecurity threat therefore your teams should use secure WiFi along with firewalls and access passwords.

Work-from-home is the new normal and as dependable team leaders, you can assure a seamless transition for your team by using these tips. With the right tools, policies, work practices, and reliable logistics partners you can effortlessly maintain your supply chain output and manage logistics during the pandemic.


Author Bio: Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager for Jobsoid – Applicant Tracking System. She is responsible for leading the content and social media teams at work. Her expertise and experience in the field of HR enable her to create value-driven content for her readers – both on Jobsoid’s blog and other guest blogs where she publishes content regularly.

employee workplace

Top Tactics to Improve Business and Employee Efficiency – The Eric Dalius Guide

Even as the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way businesses operate to a great extent, the world over, improving business efficiency remains a top priority. According to Forbes, improving business efficiency not only boosts profits but also reduces employee stress. A few tactics that can help to boost employee productivity while saving time:

Delegate to the Maximum Possible

It is understandable that as an entrepreneur, you think that you are the best person to handle everything that needs to be done. Instead of trying to do everything and burning yourself out, the best policy is to hire competent individuals for all the critical functions and delegate both responsibility and the necessary authority to enable them to function efficiently. Not only do you get more time to focus on the things you can do to expand your business but also you can relax in the knowledge that vital functions are being handled capably and perhaps better than what you would have been able to do yourself.

Match Functions to Skills, Suggests Eric Dalius

One of the most effective ways of boosting employee efficiency is to give tasks that have the right fit with the employee’s competence and skills. If you are hiring for a fresh position, listing the key result areas and looking for candidates who fit the bill is the way to get things done better. Demanding that your employees be versatile and handle everything thrown at them well is not realistic. You could end up with results that are less than satisfactory. Performing a quick analysis every time you give a new task to someone will usually reveal if the person you are giving the responsibility has the competence to do it well.

Retain Your Focus on Attaining Specific Goals

Employees can only be efficient if they know exactly what they need to achieve. You should ensure when you are assigning tasks to employees that they are as specific as possible, and you and your employees are clear on what it entails, including the time frame. It can also help if you share with the employee how what they are doing has an impact on the organization. A good way of ensuring this is to have SMART goals – i.e., the objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, observes Eric Dalius.

Invest In Training and Development 

You may instinctively tend to think that cutting down on training or eliminating it is a great way of saving on costs and improving profitability. However, the truth is that it can be very inefficient when workers are forced to learn on the job. Instead of forcing employees to learn without guidance, it is far better to invest time and effort to give them proper training that will make them more productive.

Implement Flexible Work Location and Hours

More than ever, after a certain stage in life, employees are concerned about their work-life balance. Giving the opportunity of working remotely, or if that is not possible, the freedom to come to the office at their preferred times can give the business the benefit of maximum productivity and efficiency. Not only will the employees be happier with this convenience, but also they will be able to focus more on their work. Remote working has become more of compulsion in recent times due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic raging throughout the world. While many employers were skeptical about it being effective, the results have been surprising, to say the least, with a large number of organizations reporting an uptick in employee productivity. In the new reality, remote working may well become the norm with significant advantages to both employers and employees.

Make the Work Environment Happier and Less Stressful

It is no secret that happy employees are not only more productive but also more efficient and have a better quality of output. They are more inclined to be focused on their work and not distracted by things like checking out social media or personal emails. While asking employees for their suggestions on improving their workplace comfort is a good idea, special points of focus can be things like comfortable chairs, large enough desk space, less crowding, good lighting, the reduction of noise level, and clutter. Other issues could be too great a distance to access shared printers, copiers, and shredders or even the quality of the coffee. Regulating the temperature better and introducing greenery into the work environment can help a lot to reduce stress. You can even think in terms of installing pods where an employee can de-stress himself by lying down and listening to music.


When you are trying to boost business efficiency, it can be easy to get bogged down with details and start to micro-manage everything. It can help to think of the big picture and scrutinize all processes and practices before junking any of them. Communicating clearly and adopting automation for repetitive tasks can make your business more efficient.


How Remote Work Lends Itself to Reshaping the Back Office

The pandemic has been hard on everyone in different ways, and though the end is in sight, we’re not there yet. But, as we close in on a year and a half of working from home, we can look back with some perspective and perhaps a little pride at how we’ve adapted and changed. During this time, many people and organizations have discovered that they’re much more nimble, creative and resilient than they previously imagined.

I can see that in the accounts payable organizations with whom I have worked. The dual challenges of figuring out how to get payments out the door in a different way and learning to work remotely have been daunting, but people have figured out ways to get the job done.

Perhaps more than any other function, AP used to be a strictly in-the-office job, mainly because of all the paper processes they had in place. Invoices come in the mail. They have to be opened and keyed into accounting systems. Some companies have machines and OCRs (Optical Character Recognition) to help with this process, but many still follow manual processes. Checks must be printed, stuffed into envelopes, and run through a postage meter before they’re mailed. Security and controls are often paper-based, too—safes are kept for blank check stock and sensitive information.

It seems incredible to think that a year and a half ago, that was business as usual for the vast majority of organizations, and not many had plans to change. But change they have.

A New Way of Thinking

Nobody had a plan for sustained remote work. They may have had a short-term disaster recovery plan—for one or two people to work offsite or cover for the absence of a key employee. But nobody had a plan for the entire AP team to be out of the office indefinitely.

The initial struggle was to be able to continue processing payments on time. People brought their laptops home, but not their whole setup. They kept sending skeleton crews to the office to handle the paper processes. The thought was that we’d have to stick it out for a short period. We all know how that turned out.

Around the latter part of April 2020, we started to see people planning for the longer term. Companies set people up with home offices and all the security and connectivity they needed. They had to figure out new ways to communicate and collaborate. They had to figure out how to be productive at home, in many cases while juggling childcare and homeschooling.

At the same time, they started switching vendors to ACH payments in earnest. According to recent data from Nacha, the National Automated Clearinghouse, B2B ACH payments to vendors jumped a whopping 11 percent in 2020. They had to figure out new processes and new ways to keep information secure. Both of those are heavy lifts, which is a big part of the reason paper has persisted for so long.

It has been challenging to say the least, but I think that AP teams should be proud of how they’ve adapted.

Where to go from Here

Probably not back to the office—at least not five days a week. According to a recent report by Upwork, roughly one in four Americans will be working remotely in 2021. By 2025, 36.2 million Americans are expected to be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that given the option, more than half of employees say they want to keep working from home even after the pandemic abates.

Employers are becoming comfortable with the idea and are even finding some advantages, including access to a much larger talent pool and the ability to offer flexible work hours as a benefit. That could help AP to address the long-standing talent shortage.

The more significant opportunity, though, is to continue to think differently. I would be surprised if very many AP departments decide to return to the paper processes of old. The biggest reason people stuck with those for so long was that they were “working.” It’s hard to say that now. It’s also hard to say that accounts payable work can only be done in the office because we’ve been doing it outside the office for a year. The considerable delay in payment processing that some people expected never materialized. AP had to find a better way, and they did.

Moving Forward

They shouldn’t stop there. AP organizations should seize the moment to bring in technology partners to automate the entire payment workflow, address the growing fraud and security risks associated with ACH payments, and ensure the resiliency of payment workflows in a remote work world. They should be looking to automate invoice ingestion and processing and integrate into other transactional systems, eliminating manual work once and for all.

Nobody likes being forced to change, and that’s been perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the experience we’ve all been living through for the past year. Now that AP teams have proven they have the resiliency and the ability to handle all the change that was thrust upon them, they should seize the opportunity to become drivers of change and key players in leading their organizations into the future.


Kim Lockett is Vice President of Customer Success and Services for Nvoicepay, a FLEETCOR company. She has more than 30 years of experience in payments, with a heavy focus on back-office operations and customer engagement. Prior to Nvoicepay, Kim held operations management and leadership positions with Comdata, Crestmark Bank, and Regions Bank.

remote work

4 Ways Continued Remote Work Could Torpedo Business and Career Success

The rise of remote work has changed the face of business, and in some cases brightened the outlook for employees weary of battling traffic during morning and late afternoon commutes.

Many of those employees hope their companies will stick with this new work-from-home reality even after the pandemic is nothing more than an unhappy memory.

But despite the benefits, continuing remote work beyond what is necessary could result in serious consequences, says Clint Padgett (, president and CEO of Project Success Inc. and the ForbesBooks author of How Teams Triumph: Managing By Commitment.

“Working from home limits the interaction between employees and their managers and co-workers,” Padgett says. “That might be fine for a short time, but over the long haul it means you aren’t developing relationships or communicating in ways necessary to create a cohesive team.”

So far, most people choose to focus on the upsides. More than half – 54 percent – of remote workers say that if given a choice they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center.

Padgett says employees and their employers may both come to regret that view. He says potential downsides of permanent work from home could include:

Employee burnout. When someone leaves an office at the end of the day, they put both actual distance and emotional distance between themselves and work. With remote work, Padgett says, that barrier between home and work is removed, which could lead to greater instances of burnout. As a result, people are more likely to produce poor quality work or leave their current jobs in search of something they hope will be better, he says.

The end of “serendipitous” meetings. In an office setting, not every exchange of ideas happens in scheduled meetings or formal brainstorming sessions. People see each other in hallways or the breakroom and start to chat. “Those organic conversations often result in creative thinking and problem solving,” Padgett says. “That’s a missing ingredient in the creative process with remote work.”

An increase of “silo-itis.” Even in an office, human nature leads people to seek out like-minded individuals, which means people within departments often stick together unless steps are taken to make sure they interact with others. “With the lack of physical interaction that remote work gives us, we will be even more isolated, working only within the team structure,” Padgett says. “That’s problematic because you get better results when people come out of their silos.”

The potential for lower pay. One of the perks of remote work is that people can live where they please and no longer need to be in the same general area as company headquarters. That means they can abandon high-cost areas in favor of communities where housing is cheaper. But Padgett points out that there are already news reportsthat some employers are considering paying people less as a result.

Right now remote work is the reality for many people, so to get the most out of it, managers should be proactive about making sure remote workers are actively included in Zoom meetings, Padgett says.

“And while I know nobody wants more Zoom meetings,” he says, “people may need to schedule one-on-one time with coworkers or to gather virtually in small groups just to chat and discuss non-work-related topics.

“That can help restore some of those serendipitous moments and reduce the problems associated with a return to silos.”


Clint Padgett (, the ForbesBooks author of How Teams Triumph: Managing By Commitment, is the president and CEO of Project Success Inc., a project management company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.


Technology Gives Remote Workers A Way To Communicate, But Something Is Missing

Ready for that first one-on-one chat with your boss in 2021?

If you’re like many employees across the country, you may have begun the new year the same way you ended the old one – communicating via Zoom, Google Chat, email, text messages or some other venue where you and the other person were physically apart.

That might work all right for a quick exchange of basic information. But it’s not the best way to handle more complicated information or to build esprit de corps within a team, says Clint Padgett (, president and CEO of Project Success Inc. and the ForbesBooks author of How Teams Triumph: Managing By Commitment.

“One of the fundamental components to successful teamwork is communication,” Padgett says. “If you can’t talk to your team, you can’t be successful. And the key to developing communication is face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball conversation. That’s how you pass along complex information and build relationships.”

But what’s ideal and what’s reality don’t always match up. In 2020, many office workers saw less and less of each other in person as the pandemic forced them to work remotely, and that trend could pick up steam rather than fizzle out even when the pandemic is over, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Pew surveyed people whose work responsibilities could be done from home. Prior to the pandemic, just 20 percent had worked remotely all or part of the time. Now, 71 percent of those workers are doing their job from home all or most of the time. And more than half – 54 percent – say that if given a choice they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic.

Padgett winces at the idea of remote work as a long-term solution, but says it’s incumbent on managers and employees to find ways to make it work. One way is to understand the communication limitations that must be overcome.

“The way we communicate remotely – with email, text messages, Zoom calls – doesn’t replace face-to-face meetings and the relationships you develop with people when you can sit down in the same room and have a conversation,” he says. “Communication and conversation are not the same thing.”

Email and text messages are a series of one-way communications, not dialogue, he says. Yes, there can be back and forth, but not in the same way as an in-person conversation. And remote work doesn’t allow those breakroom chats where team members build their relationships and their rapport.

At least for now, though, remote work is a reality, so Padgett offers a few tips and some cautionary advice:

Work to overcome technology’s communications limits. Technology is great for a lot of things, but when you communicate with emojis or by using the fewest words possible, your message can be unclear, Padgett says. “If I ask you a question by email or text, and your response is a smiley-face emoji, that could mean any number of things,” he says. “Be honest, how many times have you misinterpreted the tone of an email or a static document?” Skip the emojis in workplace communications and strive to make your communications as clear as possible. Put yourself in the other person’s place. If you received this text or email, would you understand the context without more explanation?

Set up clear, two-way communications. The only way to manage a project effectively is to develop the project around clear two-way conversations, Padgett says. “One-way communications should only be used for simple, clear questions that have yes/no answers or are used to piggyback on conversations,” he says. “In other words, it’s okay to text or email questions before a conversation takes place or for follow-up responses afterward. Conversations need not be the only form of communication, but they are the most important by far.” While video chats have their own limitations, at least they provide an opportunity to engage in that needed dialogue.

Appreciate technology; value people. Many managers (and others in an organization) may approach communication from a technical standpoint because they want software to be the answer, Padgett says. “But it isn’t the answer, it’s a tool,” he says. “Technically, communications on a project could happen electronically, but if you choose technology over people, your project won’t be successful. While your communications will be fast, you’ll sacrifice quality, clarity, accountability, and, ultimately, success.”

“Conversations force clarity that you don’t get with other forms of communication,” Padgett says.“For nearly a year, businesses have tried to duplicate those face-to-face conversations through Zoom or Google Chat, and that will continue for the foreseeable future. We all need to devote serious effort to making it work. But at the same time, the question we will continue to grapple with is this: Is a conversation conducted on a screen as meaningful and productive as an in-person conversation?”


Clint Padgett (, the ForbesBooks author of How Teams Triumph: Managing By Commitment, is the president and CEO of Project Success Inc., a project management company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

work from home

Cities Most Prepared to Work From Home

Since March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused record numbers of Americans to transition to remote work. As COVID cases have surged across the country, recent CDC guidelines suggest that workers should be allowed to work remotely if they can. While many jobs are suitable for a remote work environment, most are not. Using data from the Census Bureau as well as a recent study by University of Chicago researchers, about 31 percent of U.S. workers are employed in remote-friendly jobs, but this varies substantially on a geographic level. Additionally, not everyone who works in an occupation that can be performed remotely is well-positioned to do so. Differences in computer and high-speed internet access, as well as available space in the household, all impact an individual’s preparedness for remote work.

Working from home typically requires both a computer and a high-speed internet connection. According to data from the Census Bureau, nearly a quarter of U.S. households don’t own a computer and close to 30 percent lack broadband internet, such as cable, fiber optic, or DSL. Not surprisingly, owning a computer and having high-speed internet tend to go hand in hand. At the state level, states, where more households own computers, are also home to more households with high-speed internet. On a regional level, the South is less prepared to work from home—Southern states tend to have lower rates of home computer ownership and fewer households with broadband internet.

In addition to having the necessary hardware and internet access, being able to create a clear boundary between your home life and work-life can make all the difference when working from home. Having a suitable home workspace is associated with increased telework satisfaction and self-reported productivity. Workers with a spare bedroom at home will find it easier to create a dedicated workspace than those whose only option is a shared living area, such as the kitchen or dining room table. For example, while the San Francisco metropolitan area is home to a disproportionate number of laptop workers with high-speed internet access, a majority of these workers don’t have extra space for a home office, making full-time remote work more challenging in the Bay Area than in areas with more affordable housing.

To find the most prepared places in the U.S. to work from home, researchers at Filterbuy analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the University of Chicago. They created a composite telework preparedness score based on the following factors:

-Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs

-Percentage of households with a laptop or desktop computer

-Percentage of households with broadband internet, such as cable, fiber optic or DSL

-Percentage of households with at least one spare bedroom that could be used as a home office

-Median number of rooms per person in each household

At the state level, many of the most-prepared states to work from home are on the East Coast. The two states flanking Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, rank the highest in the country according to the composite score. Over one-third of jobs in each of these states can be performed from home, and a large proportion of households in both states have computers and high-speed internet access. The South tends to be less prepared to work from home. Arkansas ranks the lowest in the country according to its composite score. Just 26 percent of jobs in Arkansas can be performed from home, while less than two-thirds of Arkansas households own computers. Only 56 percent of Arkansas households have high-speed internet.

To find the metropolitan areas in the U.S. most prepared to work from home, researchers at Filterbuy ranked metro areas according to their composite score. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size:

-Small metros: 100,000–349,999

-Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999

-Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

Here are the large metros most prepared to work from home.


Metro Rank   Composite score  Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs  Percentage of households with a laptop or desktop computer  Percentage of households with broadband internet  Percentage of households with at least one spare bedroom  Median household rooms per person 


Raleigh-Cary, NC     1 87.69 35.9% 84.6% 78.6% 66.0% 2.7
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA     2 86.99 35.0% 82.8% 76.8% 65.6% 3.0
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV     3 85.72 38.1% 87.6% 82.7% 58.8% 2.7
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI     4 85.67 35.1% 83.8% 77.1% 63.3% 3.0
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO     5 85.40 35.8% 86.1% 80.6% 61.5% 2.7
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD     6 84.48 35.9% 81.4% 75.6% 63.3% 3.0
Richmond, VA     7 83.74 33.4% 78.1% 70.4% 70.9% 3.0
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC     8 83.36 32.9% 79.0% 76.1% 66.7% 2.7
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD     9 83.32 33.9% 80.0% 77.6% 61.8% 3.0
Columbus, OH     10 82.01 32.9% 80.4% 77.3% 62.2% 2.7
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL    11 81.97 31.8% 81.3% 75.9% 64.4% 2.6
Salt Lake City, UT    12 81.70 34.7% 86.6% 76.6% 61.8% 2.5
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA    13 81.58 36.6% 87.1% 82.3% 57.0% 2.3
Pittsburgh, PA    14 81.55 32.6% 75.8% 73.5% 67.2% 3.0
Kansas City, MO-KS     5 81.35 32.2% 79.7% 73.5% 64.0% 3.0
United States    – N/A 30.7% 77.3% 70.8% 60.8% 2.5


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Filterbuy’s website: