Remote Working: How to Be More Productive

Remote working should be be a doddle. Rodney Laws tells us how to make it even easier… and more efficient.

remote

Remote working means we often have to make do without our ‘home’ comforts we take for granted in the office. You’re working without your desktop PC with everything laid out just how you want it, or your desk organized to suit your daily routine. Instead, it’s just you and your laptop, and working on a smaller laptop is a less than perfect situation. 

Workplaces are changing and working from home is a much more common prospect. There are plenty of ways you can work remotely on your laptop and keep your productivity levels high though, here are just a few. 

Use an external mouse and keyboard

Ditching your laptop’s frustrating built-in keyboard and track-pad mouse for an external pairing is a huge quality of life improvement all remote workers can appreciate. The track-pad and keyboard on laptops are generally of lesser quality, especially on compact models. They can’t offer the same level of dexterity, hampering your working experience and forcing you to make compromises. These features may be useful when you’re literally using the laptop on your lap, but they feel unnatural and difficult when working at a desk. 

Invest in a good quality mouse and larger keyboard, they’re much more convenient options for getting substantial work done. Your typing speed will improve and your frustration levels will drop. A key part of successfully working remotely is replicating your most productive working condition, this classic pairing is essential to achieving that. 

Use a second screen

You never know just how important a second screen is until you get one. Just like a mouse and external keyboard, this is a quality of life improver you can’t afford to skip out on. 

Laptop screens are conventionally small and less likely to display all of the information a remote worker needs to see at once. Whatever your profession, chance are you need to keep track of a couple things at once, whether it’s research notes you’re writing from or multiple stats for a report. Jumping between windows and tabs just isn’t conducive to this kind of work. With a second screen, you can just simply turn your head. You’ll notice an immediate change in your productivity levels and find yourself with some extra time left over for other projects. 

If you’re a bit of a technophobe, this StarTech guide teaches you the difference between port styles so you can get your laptop hooked up to a display device without connection headaches. 

Adjust lighting

Just because you’re not working on your usual computer set up doesn’t mean your eyes should suffer. Eye-strain is a common ailment for office workers who spend a lot of time in front of a screen, and how well lit your screen is has a huge effect on that. If you’re working on a screen that’s too bright or too dim you could be hampering your productivity and doing permanent damage to your eyes. 

Before you start working for the day, make sure your screen brightness is adjusted to suit the lighting in the room. You should always aim to work in a well-lit room with plenty of natural light. Compensating for a dark room by turning the brightness up to its maximum will do more harm than good and slow you down in the long run. If you’re worried your battery will suffer from keeping the brightness turned up, make sure you’re working somewhere where you can keep your laptop charging permanently. 

Update all your software

Nothing will bring your productivity coming to a screeching halt faster than a slow laptop burdened with outdated software. To make sure you get as much done away from the office as you would do in it, spend some time the night before making sure all the software on the laptop is up to date and functioning properly. 

At some point, we’ve all told a software update ‘not now’, usually for a couple of months in a row. This is the time to accept that update though and make sure your laptop is in the best condition possible. It’ll save you slapping the poor thing out of frustration next time it freezes during a download. 

Block remote working distractions

Just because you’re working at home or in the hotel doesn’t mean you should be browsing Facebook every 15 minutes. Breaks are important, but distractions aren’t the same as breaks. You’re supposed to look away from the screen!

Set limitations for yourself, or, if you can’t control yourself it might be time to look into apps that block distraction websites, such as the ones listed here. There’s no reason for productivity to drop just because you’re out the office and no one is looking over your shoulder. You’re only giving yourself more work to do later anyway. 

Take a break 

Not the most groundbreaking advice, but it’s just as important to take breaks frequent breaks when working at home as it is in the office. The more breaks you take the less likely to get distracted you become. 

Take some time away from the screen and stand up to stretch your muscles. Take advantage of the fact you’re working remotely with a laptop and move around a bit. You aren’t confined to your desk and can work wherever you want, so work in bed, work in the coffee shop or do a couple of hours outside if you need to. Find what suits you and vary it up. 

Remote work can be exciting, but it comes with its own challenges to remain productive. These features should make it as easy as possible to work to your high standards on your laptop. 

Finalists announced for the AIBC Awards on blockchain island

Grammy-winning artist Akon and AKOIN co-founders Lynn Liss and Jon Karas will present the Social Impact Award at AIBC next month

AIBC

AIBC Summit has announced the finalists for the Malta AIBC Awards taking place 7th November 2019, at the InterContinental Hotel, St Julian’s Malta.

On the first day of the summit, the AIBC Awards ceremony will honour the best of the best in the worlds of AI, blockchain, tokenisation, robotics, IoT, and more. The awards evening includes a gala charity dinner at the InterContinental ballroom. This fund-raiser is organised by SiGMA Group and all proceeds will go towards The SiGMA Foundation.

Thousands of nominations were received for consideration and 30 experts from the blockchain, AI and deep tech space have chosen three finalists in each category. The winners of each award will be decided by a panel of 7 judges of influence within the industry.

Finally, it has now been confirmed that Grammy-winning artist Akon will also be judging the Social Impact Award along with AKOIN co-founders Lynn Liss and Jon Karas.

The finalists are as follows:

PAYMENT SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR 2019
Finalists: Wirex/Salamantex/Trustly

DAO BUILDING OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by AmaZix)
Finalists: Dash/MakerDAO/DAOcasino

IOT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by Momentum Protocol)
Finalists: The Things Network/Deloitte/Yptokey

SOCIAL IMPACT AWARD 2019 (sponsored by Lucky.io)
Finalists: Fintech4Good/Ethichub /Give Foundation

BEST AI APPLICATION OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by TakaMaka)
Finalists: SingularityNET/Spacept/Unbiased

MASS ADOPTION PROJECT OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by AmonTech)
Finalists: Salamantex /Future1Exchange/HUPAYX

FINTECH STARTUP OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by OVR)
Finalists: AeroBand/Cashaa/Pynk

ASSET TOKENIZATION OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by AeroBand)
Finalists: TaoDust/BlackMantaCapital/STOBOX

BLOCKCHAIN & AI FOR ARTS AWARD 2019 (sponsored by Black Manta Capital)
Finalists: Solarex/Umnai/Domineum BlockChain Solution

DEFI AWARD 2019 (sponsored by 8 PAY)
Finalists: MakerDAO/Sologenic/Simply VC

Malta AI & Blockchain Summit is a bi-annual expo covering topics relating to the global sectors for blockchain, AI, Big Data, IoT, and Quantum technologies. The event includes conferences hosted by globally renowned speakers, workshops for industry learning and discussion, an exhibit space accommodating more than 400 brands and much more.

Akon brings his Afro-futuristic city to Malta

Grammy-winning artist is bringing his Akoin vision for Africa to November summit

Akon

Akon, hip-hop superstar and one of  Africa’s most renowned philanthropists, has accepted a speaker slot at the crypto and blockchain focussed show in November.

He will be speaking about his Akoin token and how he hopes the blockchain-based cryptocurrency can empower young entrepreneurs in Africa to strengthen the continent’s rising economies and support the development of sustainable communities.

Akon’s vision for Africa is already in position, with first steps taken in Senegal’s capital city Dakar, where Senegalese President Macky Sall has gifted him 2,000 acres to establish an Afro-futuristic city.

The whole idea with the city is to create a renewable city. Crypto is the money spent in the city; all digital. All renewable energy; no gas, no nothing. We’ll create platforms of all of today’s newest technologies embedded within the city itself.”

Through the artist’s Akoin Foundation, inspired entrepreneurs will develop future-forward businesses and promote innovation, economic stability, and growth across Africa, as well as in the wider world.

Through the Akoin ecosystem of crypto-based DApps and Apps, rising entrepreneurs can learn, earn, spend and save, as well as have more transparency and security within these daily economic building activities, including civil engagement.

“I think banking systems can definitely benefit from blockchain, but the voting system will probably be the number one system for the technology,” he says. “The good thing about blockchain is it leaves a footprint,” explains Akon. “You can’t do anything without it being open for everyone to see it – it opens the road to transparency.”

Eman Pulis, founder and CEO of Malta A.I. & Blockchain Summit, commented.

With a vision so clearly in line with the best hopes for the blockchain world, Akon is sure to be a huge draw for the conference audience at November’s Malta AIBC.  We’re excited to work with him in using blockchain to make the world a better place for everyone.”

The Malta A.I. & Blockchain Summit takes place November 4-8th, 2019.

Pulse Sends FinTech Hearts Racing With Video Banking Stories

The New Pulse product from UK Fintech 11:FS uses videos to unlock the secrets of customers’ banking journeys from India to China and across the world.


PulseFinTech consultancy 11:FS has launched a new-and-updated version of 11:FS Pulse, the second iteration of the world’s first (and only) financial services UX insights platform.

The product crowdsources customer experiences from traditional and challenger financial services companies. For the first time, users can view on-demand videos of real customer journeys on real bank accounts from all around the world.

This could be a user on the Ant Financial platform in China, a PayTM customer in India, somebody using US banking services or even a UK High Street Bank user.

Pulse offers a subscription service that is instantly accessible for traditional banks, challenger banks or any company interested in FinTech and understanding how to embark on new territory opportunities.

11:FS Pulse gives users a seat behind the eyes of the customer, with time-stamped user journeys, top tips for success, and in-depth analysis conducted by in-house expert researchers.

“We have seen great value from the video walkthroughs of end-to-end customer journeys on the 11:FS Pulse platform. Gaining direct access to a large breadth of content with slick UI lets us filter information categories and has dramatically reduced our lead times,” said Joe Wood, Digital Insight Manager at Nationwide Building Society.

The FinTech ecosystem has become more crowded than ever before with a plethora of companies and services targeting the market and non-FinTech challengers ready to break through the sector.

Hugh Cornejo is the Head of Design at UK challenger bank Monzo and he is equally effusive about the 11:FS Pulse platform.

“11:FS Pulse is an incredibly well-organised and comprehensive tool. If you are a designer working in FinTech you should be begging for an invitation to use it,” he said.

Stakeholders and product owners are locked in a battle for customers, which means that rich insights and easy-to-access challenger UX data is fundamental to creating products that customers will genuinely love.

There is a constant conversation around the current approach to UX research. The current landscape of customer experience analysis relies heavily on slow-moving reports that heavily extend lead times and often result in a product that is not fit-for-purpose, driven by second-hand data and high-level UX research.

“11:FS Pulse has been created to take the guesswork out of UX insights. We have some of the biggest brands in financial services currently using Pulse to drive their innovation initiatives… or just to keep a close eye on their competitors.

“What we hear when we demonstrate 11:FS Pulse to customers is ‘I can’t believe this didn’t already exist’. For many of our customers, it is a vital tool that gives them the edge that they need to deliver exceptional customer experiences,” said Ross Methven, Co-Founder, 11:FS.

With insights and rich user-journeys from Alipay, N26, and many others across the FinTech landscape, 11:FS Pulse wants to shape the future of FinTech, and is the first in a series of announcements from 11:FS, which will shortly announce significant talent hires to continue its expansion and scale.

Everything you ever needed to know about blockchain

Picking your way through technology is harder than remembering the acronyms that govern our lives.

As the word ‘blockchain’ moves out of its humble bitcoin beginnings, many profess to know what it means while secretly munching their eyelashes at not getting it.

However, have no fear, the creative people at BitFortune.net have kindly supplied you with the following infographic that should still your beating blockchain heart.

Future conferences, dinner parties or even conversations with builders in dodgy pubs are no longer congregations of fear. Instead, you can dazzle, learn, share and you might even copulate.

Please see below…