How to manage remote workers across different time zones

video call
Flexible schedules and different time zones can make it difficult for teams to collaborate effectively.

  • It can be tricky to coordinate remote workers who are spread across different time zones.
  • To avoid a loss in productivity, create clear agendas and set up a centralized workflow.
  • You can also swap traditional meetings for pre-recorded videos that don’t require real-time attendance.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A healthy workflow is an essential element of success for every professional team. However, problems begin to arise when a project manager has to orchestrate a consistent flow within a virtual environment.

The modern shift to a remote-heavy work model has put a novel kind of pressure on teams as they strive to stay on the same page. Flexible schedules and different time zones can make it difficult to be on the clock at the same time – let alone to collaborate together.

Here are a few suggestions for simple yet effective ways to overcome those growing pains and reconcile your team’s workflow.

1. Create crystal clear agendas

Meeting agendas aren’t a perfunctory step for a professional gathering. They’re an art form that, when done well, can revolutionize the productivity of a meeting. Agendas provide purpose, set expectations, empower individuals, and enhance focus.

A good meeting agenda should include the topics being addressed as well as action items, talking points, and other activities. These should be outlined, with each task assigned and meeting objectives unequivocally stated.

The meeting organizer owns the agenda, but it’s absolutely critical to provide the agenda to the entire team before the meeting. By doing this, you ensure that whenever your team is assembled for a few moments, everyone comes prepared and informed.

2. Embrace asynchronous meetings

When you think of a meeting, it evokes images of well-dressed employees gathered around conference tables in the same space. It’s time to throw that idea away.

Instead, try using an asynchronous meeting approach. This is a kind of meeting where communication doesn’t happen in real time and also doesn’t require an immediate response. By sending out a pre-recorded video of the meeting, meetings can take place without the need to align schedules.

An asynchronous meeting can be as simple as an email exchange or communication via some other messaging application that doesn’t require real-time attendance. However, that doesn’t mean you let the conversation run wild.

To hold a real asynchronous meeting, you must provide a sense of structure. Meeting organizers must select a limited number of participants and create an agenda with a clear purpose. As the meeting “takes place,” they must also set clear deadlines, invoke responses, and generally oversee the progress of the event.

3. Set up a centralized, cloud-based workflow

It’s easy to attack the inefficiencies of meetings, especially in an online format. However, the truth is, meetings do offer a sense of structure and forward momentum for a team.

One of the best ways to maintain this progress with a multi-time zone workforce is by setting up a centralized, cloud-based workflow space for your team’s activities. This isn’t just referencing a cloud data storage solution like Google Drive or Dropbox. It can require a full-blown workflow application.

A good workflow app doesn’t just offer universal access to critical team information. It also helps shepherd your team through its activities through things such as setting deadlines and assigning responsibilities. It also provides a central, organized space where your team can upload shared documentation from various third-party applications.

The remote work world has a plethora of benefits. But that doesn’t change the fact that it has thrown a monkey wrench into the workflow of a lot of companies.

The good news is that there are alternatives that can ameliorate the issue. If you’re willing to embrace things like clear agendas, asynchronous meetings, and workflow apps, you can eliminate the bulk of the need for regular meetings – and not shed an ounce of productivity in the process.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 habits ruining your efficiency and productivity while working from home

dad working from home with two children in kitchen
You need to have your work hours and spare time organized in advance.

  • More and more companies are working towards remote and hybrid work models.
  • While working from home has its perks, bad habits can take a toll on your concentration.
  • Creating schedules and a quiet workspace are just two ways to ensure you work efficiently.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Working from home can take a lot of discipline – from the bed and the TV to just taking a quick break to go to the gym or take a shower, it can feel like there are endless distractions.

You’d think little breaks might help you reboot but they could have an impact on your performance if done to excess.

When you throw into the mix the fact that you have to work from home with kids, a partner, or flatmates, you may find yourself being interrupted even more, which obviously hinders productivity.

To be able to work from home effectively, you need to be able to concentrate and have your work hours and spare time organized in advance, particularly if you’re sharing space.

Here are five habits to avoid to ensure you can work from home more efficiently.

1. Different ‘work hours’ for the whole household

One of the biggest challenges when working from home is staying focused in the face of the myriad of distractions around you.

Many of them come from other household members.

To avoid this, all the members of your household should agree on work schedules and a common break time for everyone.

If everyone is working at the same time – including schoolwork if children are involved – it’s more likely that occasional interruptions can be avoided.

2. Choosing the wrong work space

A key part of being able to work from home effectively is making sure you choose the most appropriate place for your office.

Look for a space in the house that’s more private, especially if you have to make a lot of calls or do video conferences.

Having a door is ideal as, by keeping it closed, you’re indicating to others that you don’t want to be interrupted, making it more likely that you can go on about your day as you would in your office.

3. Not planning your day out properly

Planning your day in advance is a basic tool for increasing productivity.

“Planning your day before it starts each morning doesn’t mean there won’t be any unforeseen events, but it will help you stay focused on your goals and give you a good chance of achieving them,” neurosurgeon Mark McLaughlin told Insider.

You can make use of digital apps, but don’t dismiss using a traditional paper planner, some research suggests that writing by hand helps you retain information better.

4. Not prioritizing and saying ‘no’

To be more productive, you need to know how to correctly define what you’re going to spend your time on.

In other words, you need to know how to prioritize tasks so you can manage your day properly.

When organizing your tasks in order of priority, start with the most complex ones and leave the simplest for later.

The obvious reason for this is that you can put in the time on the more complex tasks when you have the most energy; when you’re tired, you’ll have the simpler tasks left.

Improving your work performance entails accurately defining your priorities and rejecting anything that won’t help you get them done, according to Google productivity expert Laura Mae Martin. That means you need to know how to knock back other tasks or unforeseen events that may divert your attention away from your main goals.

5. Not taking breaks

Exhaustion is productivity’s worst enemy.

Unfortunately, no one is immune to needing rest.

If you don’t take the time you need to disconnect and recharge, you’ll get tired and it will have a direct impact on your performance.

To avoid this, schedule breaks so you don’t forget to take them.

Taking breaks will allow you to switch off for a bit and return to the tasks feeling more refreshed, so don’t use them to answer emails or anything else work-related. It’s best to use these breaks to interact with others in your house or to go out to the balcony to get some sun or fresh air.

It’s best to organize your day so that you dedicate short periods of time of around an hour to fully focusing on what you’re doing and alternating these with breaks of about 15 to 30 minutes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

West Virginia offered $12,000 to remote workers looking to relocate – there were so many applicants that the state is giving them all $2,500 off their mortgage

Woman and man hike on rocks at top of mountain in West Virginia
  • West Virginia announced a program earlier this year that offers $12,000 if remote workers relocate.
  • The program was flooded with 7,500 applicants – 53 were selected.
  • The rest of the applicants will be offered $2,500 to help purchase a home in the Mountain State.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Earlier this year, the state of West Virginia offered remote workers $12,000 in cash if they relocated there for two years. Unsurprisingly, it was flooded with applications.

The talent attraction and retention program, dubbed Ascend West Virginia, was created by the state’s tourism department and Intuit Executive Chairman Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys. Ascend WV announced Thursday that it has selected 53 people for its first “class” of remote workers moving to West Virginia.

Those workers, who hail from 21 different states as well as countries like Germany, will receive $12,000 in cash, plus free outdoor recreation, the option to earn certifications through West Virginia University, and access to coworking space and networking opportunities.

Those who were selected for the program will be moving to Morgantown, home to West Virginia University. Ascend WV said most of those workers are bringing family with them, meaning more than 110 people total will be relocating to the Mountain State.

They will receive the $10,000 paid in monthly installments for the first year and the additional $2,000 if they stay for a second year.

But it appears to have been a competitive selection process: Ascend WV received 7,500 applicants for the program.

“As soon as I heard how many applications were pouring in, I knew the team had to think bigger,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement. “If this many people wanted to live and work in West Virginia, we had to do everything we could to make that a reality.”

The state decided to partner with Rocket Mortgage to offer all 7,500 applicants $2,500 off their closing costs if they purchase a home in West Virginia.

The program is also accepting applications for its next host city, Lewisburg, which is located in the southern part of the state, near the border of Virginia.

Read more: There’s a battle brewing over salaries for remote workers – and it could change the way everyone gets paid

Ascend WV is funded by a $25 million donation from the Smiths with the goal of luring remote workers to West Virginia by promoting the state’s access to hiking, rafting, rock climbing, skiing, and more.

“Modern technology and changing assumptions about work are finally liberating large numbers of knowledge workers from the office. When workers have geographic freedom, they look for a place that offers quality of life and experiences that make their lives outside of work more meaningful,” Smith said in a statement, adding that he believes this new class of workers is the “first step in establishing West Virginia a top remote-work destination.”

West Virginia is one of a handful of placed hoping to entice new residents as remote working continues to be the norm for many American office workers. Late last year, Tulsa, Oklahoma, announced a similar program that grants workers $10,000 to relocate to the city. And in early 2021, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez partnered with Softbank Capital to invest $100 million in making the city friendlier to tech startups hoping to relocate.

Read the original article on Business Insider

If you’re the remote worker in a meeting you’re more likely to be overlooked – here’s how to stay visible

Zoom face
  • Hybrid meetings could lead to remote workers being overlooked.
  • Karin Reed, author of “Suddenly Virtual”, says it’s important to create a virtual presence.
  • She shared her tips with Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In March 2020 the way that many companies worked changed forever. With much of the world in lockdown, those that could were thrown into working remotely – some for the first time.

How well a person coped was largely dependent on factors like their age, job role, living situation, and the quality of the manager – but in some ways, the playing field leveled.

The hybrid working plans that many companies are rolling out following the pandemic will change that, according to Karin Reed, co-author of “Suddenly Virtual: How to Make Remote Meetings Work.”

There is a huge difference between being virtual like many were at the start of the pandemic, and the hybrid way of working that many companies are planning for, said Reed.

With people split between the home and the office, companies will go from a situation where there is a single mode of communication to one where people are showing up from different locations, and potentially using different means of communication, said Reed.

This could easily lead to meetings becoming confusing or tip the conversation in favor of those who are physically in the room. That could mean those who work remotely are overlooked.

Early research indicates that it may be primarily women who lose out as a result, with more women (31%) than men (23%) saying they would prefer to work at home all the time, per December data from Pew.

Adapting to hybrid will require employees and managers to rethink how they communicate, Reed, who is a former broadcast journalist and now coaches CEOs on communication, told Insider.

She shared some top tips for remote workers to avoid getting lost in hybrid meetings.

1. Be engaged, even if your manager is leading

Video call
Video call from home featuring grid view.

Ultimately managers have the overwhelming responsibility to create presence for everyone in the meeting, but attendees also have a responsibility to understand who is in the meeting, said Reed.

Ideally, before launching into any sort of hybrid environment, there should be a team agreement to determine expectations and possibly develop a turn-taking policy.

However, regardless of who your manager is, it is important to create as much presence for yourself as possible, said Reed. Keeping your camera on is an obvious basic essential.

“If you are joining remotely, having your camera off makes it much more likely that you will be overlooked,” said Reed.

2. Buddy up

If they can, remote workers should seek out an “in-room buddy” who can act as an advocate and pull them into conversations, suggested Reed. This could just be a fellow team member or friend who is in physical attendance.

It’s also important to think about how you participate.

This doesn’t always need to be verbal, said Reed. Using features like chat or “raise hand” present in most mainstream video call apps can also help to boost your presence.

“Hopefully the leader will attend to it and weave it into the dialogue, but trying to participate in as many forms as are available to you is a great best practice,” advised Reed.

3. Over-communicate about your emotions

smartphone video call conference call

Another significant challenge that virtual attendees will have to overcome is the “stunted” nature of virtual communication, which can make it harder to read body language and other non-verbal cues, explained Reed.

“If you’re remote, let people know how you’re feeling about something. If you were in person with that person, you could probably gather that nuance better, but virtual is a little bit harder to read,” said Reed.

Actively “verbalizing your emotions” can help people to better understand the intent of your message if they can’t easily perceive your non-verbal cues.

4. Make it easier for others to read you with good lighting

Finally, Reed said, remember how you look on screen is important. But it’s not all about vanity, it’s about having respect for your conversation partner.

“It doesn’t matter that much to us if we show up with our face in shadow, but it makes it very difficult for your conversation partner to receive your message in full,” said Reed.

Aside from ensuring that your face is evenly illuminated, other key things to focus on are how you’re framed – showing your full face and a large part of your body to ensure that people can read your body language – and to ensure that your background is not too distracting.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tech legend Marc Andreessen says the rise of remote work might be more important than the internet: ‘A permanent civilizational shift’

remote work
Remote work has changed everything.

  • Remote work is “a permanent civilizational shift,” Marc Andreessen wrote in a recent blog post.
  • It’s “a consequence of the internet that’s maybe even more important than the internet,” he wrote.
  • Remote work has freed up opportunities for knowledge workers, which could lead to shared prosperity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Technology has saved the world.

So said tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen in a recent blog post, in which he said he believed remote work was “a permanent civilizational shift.” Its impact could be even greater than that of the internet itself, he added.

“It is perhaps the most important thing that’s happened in my lifetime, a consequence of the internet that’s maybe even more important than the internet,” he wrote. “Permanently divorcing physical location from economic opportunity gives us a real shot at radically expanding the number of good jobs in the world while also dramatically improving quality of life for millions, or billions, of people.”

He continued: “We may, at long last, shatter the geographic lottery, opening up opportunity to countless people who weren’t lucky enough to be born in the right place. And people are leaping at the opportunities this shift is already creating, moving both homes and jobs at furious rates.”

Already, remote work has freed up many more possibilities for knowledge workers, unshackling them from the office desk and freeing them to move to more affordable areas during the pandemic. It spurred what seemed to be a mass migration from superstar cities like San Francisco and New York to more mid-tier cities like Austin and Miami, as these workers fanned out around the country.

While recent US Census data shows that the pandemic didn’t really change population growth, the rise of remote work helped accelerate existing migration patterns of those moving from the cities to the suburbs. Such movement fueled a housing crisis marked by a historic shortage, as everyone suddenly became an aspiring homebuyer. But the upside of the migration is that it could help create a new era of more broadly shared prosperity.

Read more: 3 ways the US economy is uniquely positioned for a great new era in the 2020s

Andreessen is alone in highlighting the significance of this shift. “I have long said that we will see the rise of the rest, given the incredible expensiveness and affordability of existing superstar cities,” Richard Florida, urban studies theorist and economics professor at the University of Toronto, previously told Insider. “But it’s not going to be the rise of everywhere. It’s going to be the rise of a dozen or two dozen places.”

These places will consequently attract new talent, Florida said, changing economic development, but he doesn’t see bigger cities going away, predicting a resurgence upon widespread vaccination, even if remote work is likely here to stay. He did predict that post-pandemic cities will be reshaped and revived by a newfound focus on interpersonal interaction that facilitates creativity and spontaneity.

“Even as offices decline, the community or the neighborhood or the city itself will take on more of the functions of an office,” he said. “People will gravitate to places where they can meet and interact with others outside of the home and outside of the office.”

The impact of remote work has already trickled into other facets of life outside of geography. Consider the restaurant industry, which has already been reshaped by remote work.

Many restaurants had to adopt technology for the at-home worker to keep afloat during the pandemic, and many now expect more than half of their total revenue to come from online ordering. In dining rooms, some higher-end restaurants have ditched jacket requirements as part of the pandemic’s sartorial shift to more casual wear.

Many global companies are prepping for a hybrid work model post-pandemic, implicitly agreeing with Andreessen. If remote work is here to stay, at least in some form, it will just continue to reshape society, with major implications for the economy and everything else.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Working mothers could face more negative effects from hybrid work models than their single male counterparts. Experts say the solution is to make remote work the default.

Mother working from home with child
A child plays while his mother works remotely.

  • Partial remote work could create a two-class system where workers in the office are rewarded.
  • This system could benefit unattached men and harm working mothers who need flexibility.
  • Experts say the solution is to make remote work the norm, not the exception.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In some form or another, remote work is here to stay.

While some US workers are adamant that they’ll never return to an office, others just want flexibility – the option to stay at home when they want to and come into work when they need to. In corporate America, this has been dubbed a hybrid model of working, and everyone from Google CEO Sundar Pichai to JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon have decreed that their companies will adopt a new, flexible way of working.

On the surface, this type of flexibility will be crucial for workers whose lives no longer revolve around commuting five days per week, or for working parents who need to adjust their schedules to support childcare duties.

But experts warn that there could be a hidden downside to hybrid models of working if employers don’t handle it properly – one that could harm the careers of working mothers, and hamper diversity efforts for years to come.

A two-class system

Zillow CEO Rich Barton was one of the first executives to publicly question what flexible working arrangements could mean for workers. While Zillow has fully embraced the hybrid model of work, Barton has voiced concerns about the challenges his team could face.

“We must ensure a level playing field for all team members, regardless of their physical location,” he said during the online real estate company’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February. “There cannot be a two-class system – those in the room being first-class and those on the phone being second-class.”

Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, told Insider that he’s worried about a hybrid future because of the impacts it could have on employee morale, diversity, and company culture.

“Frankly, I think it’s unsustainable to have a gigantic headquarters and then a whole bunch of people dispersed around the country, around the world, and expecting that the dispersed community is going to feel equal to the ones who are at the headquarters,” he said.

Unless companies make substantive changes now to hire more women and people of color and to support people who require flexibility, he said, company culture, particularly in tech, could easily become a sea of homogeneity: mainly white, unattached males who are willing and able to commute into an office every day.

Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economist who’s an expert on remote work, took it one step further. In an interview with Bloomberg’s Olivia Rockeman published this week, Bloom warned that this system could lead to at-home workers missing out on promotions to their peers who show up to the office, which could eventually lead to a diversity crisis in six to seven years and “a legal minefield of quite justifiable lawsuits.”

According to a survey of over 1,000 US workers from employee analytics firm Perceptyx, four out of 10 employees who work remotely at least part of the time said they felt impacted by a “perceived absence” from the office compared to their peers who reported to work every day. They reported feeling like their work was evaluated less often, they received less recognition, and they were less likely to receive a raise or promotion than their peers.

And according to Bloom, the population that chooses to stay home most of the time will not be random going forward.

“For people with children under the age of 12, you find almost 50% more women than men choose to work from home five days a week,” Bloom told Bloomberg.

Women have already been beaten down by the pandemic, economically speaking

A report from the International Labour Organization from January found that women, as well as younger workers, experienced the greatest employment losses during the last year. Last September, nearly 900,000 women reported that they were no longer employed, compared to 216,000 men who said the same.

A survey by McKinsey and Co. from last fall found that that one out of every four working women was considering scaling back their hours or leaving the workforce altogether, citing the challenge of juggling their work with childcare and other household tasks.

Read more: We’ve failed working mothers (again). This is how we build a better world for them.

Now that life is slowly returning to normal, women – who are more likely to shoulder the childcare burden – will require the flexibility to stay home a few days per week or adjust their hours to handle pick-up from school or daycare. This flexible future should be a blessing. But over time, inequity could rear its head, said Raafi Alidina, a consultant for diversity and inclusion consultancy Frost Included.

Alidina said he’s worried the hybrid model could also change the behavior of the employees who feel they need to keep up with their colleagues.

“You’ll end up having the people at home, noticing that they’re being treated as second-class and they’ll either leave [their job] or they’ll try to come back to work like they used to, they’ll try to go to the office,” he said. “And when they do go to the office, they won’t be at their best because they’ll be thinking, ‘Oh, I wish I could be at home with my kid,’ or they just won’t be able to work the way that works for their lives best.”

He added: “You’re not going to get the best version of them as a worker, you’re not gonna get the most productive version of them.”

Make remote work the norm, not the exception

So what’s the solution?

Alidina said there are a few ways to curb the rise of a two-class system. One way is to be proactive about helping employees feel connected to their workplace by driving home the value and importance of their work – and explaining how all employees are connected to their workplace, regardless of where they are.

He said companies also need to make employee recognition a priority, and ensure that that recognition is inclusive of every role.

“The accomplishments that you’ll feel are worth touting are going to be based on your own biases,” he said. “Credit isn’t always given as often or as easily to people of color, people with disabilities, and other members of marginalized groups.”

And finally, it’s all about how a company messages the work arrangement to employees. Rather than asking workers to request remote work, make remote work the default – and make managers justify why an employee needs to report to the office.

“It’s the same kind of thing that needs to happen for any kind of inclusion: If you’re the person who has more power and privilege in society, it’s your job to adapt to to help that other person feel like they can be their entire selves,” he said. “It’s the same way with managers the people who report them.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 things you need to know about the future of hybrid and remote work

Spotify employees, spotify office
Spotify’s new work-from-anywhere program will promote flexibility and diversity, executives told Insider.

  • As more Americans get vaccinated, companies are starting to reconsider their reopening plans.
  • Employers like Spotify and TIAA are investing in hybrid work models.
  • This guide explains what you need to know about the future of hybrid work.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The post-pandemic workplace is going to look a lot different. Mostly, there will be fewer people in the office.

As more Americans get vaccinated, companies are starting to think about what their reopening plans might look like. Some employers, like Spotify and TIAA have decided to invest in hybrid work models, giving employees the flexibility to work from the office, their homes, or another location.

Insider compiled a guide with the four most important things to know about the future of hybrid work.

1. Remote work is leading to burnout.

Burnout and fatigue are familiar themes of pandemic life. Meetings are booming, workdays are lengthening. And at the same time, per recent LinkedIn survey data, 74% of employees are taking “shelter” in their current job as a way of mitigating risk during tumultuous times.

While what it means to work from home isn’t going to be the same in post-pandemic life, these remote and hybrid – where you come into the office some of the time – work styles are likely to. But conflict is rising around the best way to do it without sacrificing quality, company success, or personal wellbeing.

Read more:

Remote work can unlock productivity or push burnout. Here’s how smart companies are planning for our ‘hybrid’ and WFH future.

Use this 6-step checklist to conquer workplace burnout, protect your mental health, and re-energize your team

A day off work and ‘Zoom-free Fridays’ aren’t going to cut it. Here’s how to really tackle burnout.

Consulting confessions: 6 current and former staffers at Deloitte, PwC, and other top firms detail pandemic burnout

2. Prioritizing camaraderie and communication can improve remote-work culture.

Open lines of communication are key to improving the culture when you’re working from home. Leaders ned to ensure that all employees feel informed. It’s also important to give employees the opportunity to connect in more casual settings, like a virtual happy hour, to help them feel included.

Read more:

A Facebook exec shares 4 strategies any leader can use to improve communication and camaraderie when working remotely

Etsy’s chief operations, strategy, and people officer shares how the company maintains its culture while working remotely

3. The rise of remote work also means the rise of the virtual headquarters.

The pandemic means some employers have reduced the amount of real estate they own or rent. Some are getting rid of offices entirely.

But this presents a new challenge for employers, who now need to recapture the visibility, casual conversations, and collaboration that came so easily in person. Their best bet, technologists working to solve the problem said, is to create a virtual HQ – a suite of office tools that allow employees to work collaboratively from home.

Read more:

The ‘virtual headquarters’ are coming

4. Employers are debating the type of work that makes the most sense for their workforce.

Hybrid work doesn’t work for everyone. Wall Street, for example, wants employees back in the office.

But employees will be looking for more flexibility post pandemic. Here’s how companies are providing flexibility to their employees.

Read more:

TIAA’s HR chief shares the thinking behind its new hybrid work model that sorts employees into 4 categories of flexibility

H&R Block’s CEO and HR chief explain how the company decided against fully remote work – and why they expect staff in the office 3 days a week

Spotify’s new remote-work plan ‘isn’t in response to the pandemic’ – it’s a bet on diversity

Read the original article on Business Insider

We’re living in the golden age of pajamas

GettyImages 992250636
Caroline Daur in printed pajamas during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019.

  • If you splurged on a matching pajama set for the first time over the last year, you’re not alone.
  • Those fortunate enough to maintain an income shifted “scheduled spend” from normal routines to indulgences.
  • People also satisfied their “skin hunger” with silks, satins, plushes, and Peruvian cottons.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In March 2020, Vanessa Diaz was supposed to be in Mexico getting married. Instead she was quarantined in her Los Angeles apartment with her fiance and their chihuahua/pug mix, Raisin Bran. But she had just splashed out on a new set of pajamas she was planning to wear on her wedding weekend, and with no reason to leave the house she started wearing them more – like, a lot more.

Soon, Raisin Bran had his own set, too.

Diaz didn’t stop there, deciding to treat herself when she had to postpone her nuptials. Since she chose a lower-price-point Target set for $22 and kept her job in PR, Diaz was able to splurge on more sets, and over the course of a year she spent more than $100 on new pajamas. She said she’d never bought this much sleepwear before.

Prior to the pandemic, Diaz said, her leisure clothes consisted of oversized T-shirts. On the subject of pajamas, she said, “I just thought it was kind of like an unnecessary, luxury purchase, you know?”

Yes, we all know. Last April, PJ sales spiked 143% compared to March, launching an intimates-fueled year of quarantine. And in the year leading up to January 2021, market research firm NPD Group told Insider, pajamas priced at $50 or more grew at triple the rate of the total pajama market. In 2019, the global industry was worth more than $10 million, and it’s projected to reach more than $18 million by 2027.

Even the ultrawealthy got in on the action, fueling a boom in $1,000 pajama sets for the 1%.

The durability of this golden age for modern pajamas may even be a part of the new normal as the world reopens. That will depend on how long “skin hunger” and disruptions of “scheduled spend” continue to change the shape of the economy.

A post shared by Raisin Bran The Dog (@raisinbranthedog)

From unnecessary luxury, to comfort and self-care

When Ashley Merrill founded the pajama brand Lunya in 2014, she said her biggest task was convincing people to pay nearly $200 for something to wear around the house.

“They’re very comfortable spending $250 on a cocktail dress, despite the fact that they’ll maybe wear it once or twice, and very uncomfortable with the idea of spending $200 bucks on a sleep set which they will probably wear 197 out of 365 days a year,” she said.

That changed in a big way in 2020, as pajamas took the place of office clothes, red carpet glam, and streetwear. Those in the $50-to-$200 range from brands like Lunya, Eberjay, and Lake brought luxury to middle-class bedrooms, and sub-$50 sets from the likes of Target and Marshalls also served as a self-care indulgence for many in quarantine.

The market has shifted, Merrill said. Her brand, which has historically sold its washable silk sets in solid, neutral colors, is launching its first pattern. Merrill said she believes people have proven they’re willing to splurge on at-home clothes and are ready for a little more distinctive.

“We’re playing with some things that are a little more special, a little novelty, because we’re realizing, people are ready,” she said. “They now get the value of what it would mean to have something that they feel great in around the home.”

We’re suffering from ‘skin hunger’

In the last three months of 2020, searches peaked for pajamas on the shopping app Liketoknow.it, with over 200,000 unique queries for the term. A spokesperson for the company said shoppers are on the hunt for “silk pajamas,” “pajama sets,” and “satin pajamas” – all of which had triple-digit month-over-month growth last year and still sit in the top searches today.

These fabrics satisfy what Lorna Hall of London-based trend forecasting firm WGSN calls “skin hunger.”

“Many of us are starved of touch,” Hall said, “so tactile fabrications become really important, because they sort of mimic touch.” She said silks, satins, and plushes are examples of fabrics that satisfy this need.

The spokesperson for Liketoknow.it separately agreed with Hall. “Our consumers are very much still in the cozy mindset, with search data for things like loungewear, matching sets, nap dress, and home bedding all trending since the start of lockdown last year,” the spokesperson said.

Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon, the cofounders of pajama brand Lake, said their most popular product had a blowout 2020. They sold 38,816 Peruvian pima cotton short sets, contributing to a 136% year-over-year increase in revenue. Lunya, which Hall credits with bringing washable silk to the masses, claims it has doubled revenue every year since launching in 2014, but declined to share exact figures.

The pandemic disrupted our ‘scheduled spend’

Among a certain set of customers, Hall told Insider, the pajama splurge could be the result of “lots of cash, nowhere to go.”

“The luxury pajama really fulfills a way to spend that makes sense, because you can wear them straight away, which, with a lot of apparel at the moment, you just can’t,” Hall said. “And you don’t have the event to wear something luxury and decadent to, because those events really don’t exist.”

Self-care items like pajamas took the place of what Hall calls “scheduled spend” or the purchases people regularly made in their pre-pandemic routine, like coffee, commuter fare, and lunches out. As routines changed, so did our regularly scheduled budgets. After all, Hall said, “bedtime is a thing that comes around every day, and lounging around in the house certainly is like a ubiquitous state for many of us.”

Plus, as Paris Fashion Week demonstrated, it’s no longer just about bedtime. Designers brought pajama-inspired looks to the catwalks this year, Hall said. “With pajama dressing and luxury nightwear, there’s a real crossover at the moment on the catwalks,” she said, describing Jil Sanders’ slip dress as “ostensibly going-out wear, but it’s a slip dress that could also be worn as a night dress, or is related to the night dress in terms of its shape.” In addition, Fendi’s wide-legged pants and intimates-inspired dresses fall in this category of “silky, satin-y, easy-to-wear, pajama-type wear as well.”

Hall said she believes the pajama boom will stick around post-pandemic, bolstered by designers’ pajama-inspired going-out wear. “Once you’ve treated yourself to something that’s of a certain fabric and quality level, it’s quite hard to go back when you’ve had the luxury sleep item.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The hottest fashion of the pandemic is the pajama set

GettyImages 992250636
Caroline Daur in printed pajamas during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019.

  • If you splurged on a matching pajama set for the first time over the last year, you’re not alone.
  • Those fortunate enough to maintain an income shifted “scheduled spend” from normal routines to indulgences.
  • People also satisfied their “skin hunger” with silks, satins, plushes, and Peruvian cottons.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In March 2020, Vanessa Diaz was supposed to be in Mexico getting married. Instead she was quarantined in her Los Angeles apartment with her fiance and their chihuahua/pug mix, Raisin Bran. But she had just splashed out on a new set of pajamas she was planning to wear on her wedding weekend, and with no reason to leave the house she started wearing them more – like, a lot more.

Soon, Raisin Bran had his own set, too.

Diaz didn’t stop there, deciding to treat herself when she had to postpone her nuptials. Since she chose a lower-price-point Target set for $22 and kept her job in PR, Diaz was able to splurge on more sets, and over the course of a year she spent more than $100 on new pajamas. She said she’d never bought this much sleepwear before.

Prior to the pandemic, Diaz said, her leisure clothes consisted of oversized T-shirts. On the subject of pajamas, she said, “I just thought it was kind of like an unnecessary, luxury purchase, you know?”

Yes, we all know. Last April, PJ sales spiked 143% compared to March, launching an intimates-fueled year of quarantine. And in the year leading up to January 2021, market research firm NPD Group told Insider, pajamas priced at $50 or more grew at triple the rate of the total pajama market. In 2019, the global industry was worth more than $10 million, and it’s projected to reach more than $18 million by 2027.

Even the ultrawealthy got in on the action, fueling a boom in $1,000 pajama sets for the 1%.

The durability of this golden age for modern pajamas may even be a part of the new normal as the world reopens. That will depend on how long “skin hunger” and disruptions of “scheduled spend” continue to change the shape of the economy.

A post shared by Raisin Bran The Dog (@raisinbranthedog)

From unnecessary luxury, to comfort and self-care

When Ashley Merrill founded the pajama brand Lunya in 2014, she said her biggest task was convincing people to pay nearly $200 for something to wear around the house.

“They’re very comfortable spending $250 on a cocktail dress, despite the fact that they’ll maybe wear it once or twice, and very uncomfortable with the idea of spending $200 bucks on a sleep set which they will probably wear 197 out of 365 days a year,” she said.

That changed in a big way in 2020, as pajamas took the place of office clothes, red carpet glam, and streetwear. Those in the $50-to-$200 range from brands like Lunya, Eberjay, and Lake brought luxury to middle-class bedrooms, and sub-$50 sets from the likes of Target and Marshalls also served as a self-care indulgence for many in quarantine.

The market has shifted, Merrill said. Her brand, which has historically sold its washable silk sets in solid, neutral colors, is launching its first pattern. Merrill said she believes people have proven they’re willing to splurge on at-home clothes and are ready for a little more distinctive.

“We’re playing with some things that are a little more special, a little novelty, because we’re realizing, people are ready,” she said. “They now get the value of what it would mean to have something that they feel great in around the home.”

We’re suffering from ‘skin hunger’

In the last three months of 2020, searches peaked for pajamas on the shopping app Liketoknow.it, with over 200,000 unique queries for the term. A spokesperson for the company said shoppers are on the hunt for “silk pajamas,” “pajama sets,” and “satin pajamas” – all of which had triple-digit month-over-month growth last year and still sit in the top searches today.

These fabrics satisfy what Lorna Hall of London-based trend forecasting firm WGSN calls “skin hunger.”

“Many of us are starved of touch,” Hall said, “so tactile fabrications become really important, because they sort of mimic touch.” She said silks, satins, and plushes are examples of fabrics that satisfy this need.

The spokesperson for Liketoknow.it separately agreed with Hall. “Our consumers are very much still in the cozy mindset, with search data for things like loungewear, matching sets, nap dress, and home bedding all trending since the start of lockdown last year,” the spokesperson said.

Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon, the cofounders of pajama brand Lake, said their most popular product had a blowout 2020. They sold 38,816 Peruvian pima cotton short sets, contributing to a 136% year-over-year increase in revenue. Lunya, which Hall credits with bringing washable silk to the masses, claims it has doubled revenue every year since launching in 2014, but declined to share exact figures.

The pandemic disrupted our ‘scheduled spend’

Among a certain set of customers, Hall told Insider, the pajama splurge could be the result of “lots of cash, nowhere to go.”

“The luxury pajama really fulfills a way to spend that makes sense, because you can wear them straight away, which, with a lot of apparel at the moment, you just can’t,” Hall said. “And you don’t have the event to wear something luxury and decadent to, because those events really don’t exist.”

Self-care items like pajamas took the place of what Hall calls “scheduled spend” or the purchases people regularly made in their pre-pandemic routine, like coffee, commuter fare, and lunches out. As routines changed, so did our regularly scheduled budgets. After all, Hall said, “bedtime is a thing that comes around every day, and lounging around in the house certainly is like a ubiquitous state for many of us.”

Plus, as Paris Fashion Week demonstrated, it’s no longer just about bedtime. Designers brought pajama-inspired looks to the catwalks this year, Hall said. “With pajama dressing and luxury nightwear, there’s a real crossover at the moment on the catwalks,” she said, describing Jil Sanders’ slip dress as “ostensibly going-out wear, but it’s a slip dress that could also be worn as a night dress, or is related to the night dress in terms of its shape.” In addition, Fendi’s wide-legged pants and intimates-inspired dresses fall in this category of “silky, satin-y, easy-to-wear, pajama-type wear as well.”

Hall said she believes the pajama boom will stick around post-pandemic, bolstered by designers’ pajama-inspired going-out wear. “Once you’ve treated yourself to something that’s of a certain fabric and quality level, it’s quite hard to go back when you’ve had the luxury sleep item.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Revolut, the $5.5 billion fintech startup, says it will let its 2,000 staff work abroad for 60 days a year

Revolut's London office.
Staff working in Revolut’s London office.

  • UK fintech Revolut, valued at $5.5 billion, plans to let its more than 2,000 staff work overseas for up to 60 days a year.
  • The policy, announced Thursday, follows demand from staff to work abroad, and is due to roll out once travel restrictions lift.
  • In a survey, Revolut staff said working from home hadn’t reduced their productivity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Staff at UK fintech Revolut, one of Europe’s biggest startups, will soon be able to work abroad for up to two months each year, the company said Thursday.

The policy would apply to all of the company’s more than 2,000 employees, it said.

“Revolut staff members who wish to work outside their country of employment for personal and non-business related reasons, will be able to do so for a period of up to 60 calendar days over a rolling 12 months,” Revolut said in a statement shared with Insider.

Bloomberg first reported on the news.

The policy was set to start once COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased, and would comply with guidelines from national health authorities, Revolut said.

Read more: If you want to ask your boss to let you work from home forever, use this script

Revolut, which was valued at $5.5 billion last year, making it the UK’s most valuable fintech, said it designed the policy following requests from staff who wanted to visit family abroad.

“Our employees asked for flexibility and that’s what we’re giving them,” Jim MacDougall, Revolut’s VP of people, said in the statement.

Revolut has faced criticism for the way it treats its staff. A 2019 Wired report into the company’s work culture found high staff turnover and burnout among workers. Some applicants were also asked to work for free, according to the report. Revolut declined to comment at the time on specific points in the report, but said its “culture is evolving as rapidly as our business.”

In February, Revolut piloted a hybrid working model that let staff choose between working from home and in the office, and said it was repurposing all its offices as flexible collaborative spaces.

After a survey of its staff, Revolut said more than one-third wanted an entirely remote job, and just over half wanted to work from home between two and four days a week. Just 2% of staff said they would like to return to the office full-time.

Revolut's London office.
Revolut said its survey found that working from home didn’t affect staff’s ability to work as a team.

It added that 95% of respondents said that working from home either didn’t impact their personal productivity or had a positive impact on it, while the figure was 89% for team collaboration.

There is growing momentum for companies to let employees work from home permanently, leading to some companies canceling office leases.

Google is taking the opposite approach: In March, the tech giant announced plans to invest $7 billion in US offices and data centers, including new offices in Houston, Texas, and Portland, Oregon.

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ramps up across the US, some companies are considering making vaccinations mandatory for staff, which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says they’re within their rights to do.

Read the original article on Business Insider