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As entrepreneurs we might already be used to working by ourselves remotely sometimes, along with the client meetings, coach sessions or coffee dates. But as more people around the globe are being asked to stay home completely, many of us are wondering how to still keep up our daily work schedule and tasks.

The last few days we at The Female Hub have been asking ourselves the same question. How can we still communicate effectively with each other, our community and clients, manage our projects and keep our daily work tasks running as smoothly as possible?

The answer, as you might have guessed already, is technology. In case it wasn’t already, now is really the time to make technology your best friend. Over the coming weeks you will be using it namely for everything – meetings, marketing, scheduling, project management, budgeting, tracking and securing prospective leads. This last one is especially important as you will want to secure as many leads now as possible to keep you afloat until you can resume business as usual.

This might sound straightforward now, but in practice can offer a lot more challenges. For one, there is sooo much technology that you can use out there – which one is best for you and your business? Which ones are free? Are the free ones any good? The search and choice are overwhelming, so we have compiled a list here for you of technology we use at the Female Hub while we work from home.

1.Zoom

You probably know this one already as Zoom is an amazing tool to use for video calls with colleagues or clients. The audio and video quality are top and the various features like screen share, chat boxes and video recording are really useful for long interactive meetings. Another advantage? Clients or colleagues joining the meeting don’t need to first set up an account with Zoom, they simply click on the meeting link you shared with them! And the best thing is: it has a free basic plan that offers most benefits!

2.Slack

Think of Slack as WhatsApp, but then for business. You can text and call your colleagues or clients individually or as a group. The best thing about Slack though is that you can create different channels and topics, so you can easily find back all the comments made under one specific topic. No more scrolling through WhatsApp for hours trying to find comments or tasks that were discussed! Also, we believe that you shouldn’t mix business and personal life, so you don’t want to be constantly available on WhatsApp!

3.Toggl

Not having regular office hours and meetings can throw you off-balance when it comes to tracking your work hours. However, if you are an entrepreneur or freelancer working on an hourly fee it is especially important for you to track each hour you spend on a project or client. Even though you are working from home in front of a laptop you need to make sure to keep a good overview of how many hours you spent on what. Toggl is a handy application for your phone that is a timer, calendar and report generator in one. You can time your hours spent on various projects, set dates and events in the calendar and view all your billable hours at the click of the report button.

4.Trello

Trello is easily one of our favourite’s here at The Female Hub. We can easily set up various boards and task lists to create an overview of what needs to happen, what is already in the works and what is done on every project board. Trello can be used as a team, so everyone can view and edit the various tasks for each board. But you can also use Trello for you to keep an overview of your own personal tasks, goals or projects! Visual reminders really help to focus your mind and be more productive, so make use of this kind of project management technology!

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts!

5.Pomodoro Timer

The Pomodoro Timer is an extension of the Pomodoro technique, and is effectively a time management tool. For many, especially when working from home, minutes can drag into hours without you being able to get anything done. Having a timer set to 25 minutes creates a sense of urgency (“the ticking clock”) and the 5-minute break after each “Pomodoro” helps to keep you focused. Ideally, each task on your to-do list should be roughly four Pomodoros, after which you can take a longer break. If it takes more, try breaking down the task to ensure that you can still work effectively!  

6.Wally

With growing uncertainty about the economy comes the need and desire for more overview and control. Not only about the financial situation of your business, but also your personal finances. Wally is a completely free app that allows you to track your spending’s, savings, debt and financial goals.

Regardless whether you are tech-freak or technophobe, now is really the time to get familiar with all the various tech tools out there. Give our recommendations a try and see for yourself what works best for you and your business. Do you have any technology tips and favourites for our community? Let us know in the comments below or send us a DM on Instagram!

Hi, I’m Hedda and I work at The Female Hub! Since yesterday we have started working from home as well, like probably so many of you. I know for many working from home sounds like a dream come true. You can wake up later, spend the day in your jammies and have more time to do other “boring”, but still important things like laundry, groceries and other household chores.

Unfortunately for me, that is not the case. Working from home offers too many distractions for me to be even remotely productive – between snacking, Netflix, lying in bed and my favourite, “procrasticleaning” (this is a real thing, read more about it here), I lose my concentration fast. Admittedly, the complete silence is nice sometimes but I miss talking and sharing ideas with my colleagues and hubbers.

If you are reading this blog then chances are that you, like me, have been asked to work from home the coming days or weeks. And maybe, just like me, you are also wondering how to cope with this new development. Nevertheless, it is important in difficult times to practice gratitude, and I know we all at The Female Hub are extremely lucky and grateful to be able to work from home. So, to make the upcoming days and weeks as productive and fun as possible I have come up with a tips & tricks list on how to make a productive home office

1. If possible, set up your home office in a separate room

I know Dutch houses are generally on the smaller side and so you might not have a separate room for a home office, but try maybe clearing out your storage room to make space for a desk and a chair (as long as it has a window in it!). If you really don’t have any spare room then set up your home office on your dining table, preferably on the side of the dining table that you don’t eat on. This division will help you create a mental separation between meal-times and work hours. Also, treat your home office the way you would your regular office as well. Make sure to keep it clean and tidy and make the effort to come in dressed in regular clothing and make-up (if make-up is normally part of your routine). This will also help your brain get in the work mode mindset.   

2. Have a weekly planner by your side

Another thing I know many people struggle with when working from home? The lack of clear schedule and routines. Humans thrive on habits and clear schedules, and working from home often interrupts that as you are not bound to physical meeting times like clock-ins, lunch hour and clock out times. Your schedule is suddenly driven by yourself, and for many it becomes challenging to stick to it if no one is there to hold you accountable. For this reason, I bought myself this cute weekly planner and filled in the “check-in times” (when I start working), my lunch breaks and my “check-out times” (when I round off the day). I keep one weekly planner by my side in my home office so I can always see my schedule, and one in the kitchen that shows me which days I need to clean & do laundry (avoid procrasticleaning this way!) and my meal plan for the week.

3. Limit distractions

Scheduling, Routines, Habits. I cannot stress these words enough. Working from home requires more discipline as we are alone and no-one is watching us or holding us accountable. Block specific hours for various tasks, schedule in and take your breaks and set up a habit for yourself that you can only do home chores such as laundry or cleaning after 5pm. If you need a break go for a short walk around your neighborhood or call a friend or family. Do not, I repeat, do not start watching a Netflix show, endless YouTube videos or scrolling for hours on Instagram. I know it’s tempting to just sit on the couch the whole day but you will likelygo down a spiral of unproductivity. Instead, make a habit of only watching Netflix, YouTube or Instagram in the evening.

4. Don’t just make it nice, make it you!

The one main advantage of working from home is that you get to play interior decorator and design your new home office just the way you like it. For me this means, lots of stationery (think post-its, pens, clips), fairy lights, some plants and some earthy green candles (some indoor forest bathing to help me relax). Do you like bright, bold colours all around you or a sleek, minimal look? The world is your oyster the next weeks so make the most of it! Now is also the time to support your local flowershops and invest in some air purifying plants. Not only do plants make you happier and healthier, but studies have shown that they can even increase your productivity. Click here to read more about the best plants for your home office.

For Tes it’s really important to have lots of natural light and a clear desk! What is important for you in your home office? Send us a photo or let us know in the comments!

5. Be social

Humans by nature are very sociable creatures and social distancing is a serious blow for many. You might not believe it now, but community and connectivity is just as important in your home office as your laptop, desk and chair. Therefore, even though we from The Female Hub team will be working from home we will still have our daily meetings together – virtually – and have made sure to amp up our communication efforts during these times. In practice this means a fixed check-in meeting at 9 am and check-out meeting at 4:30 pm using Zoom, as well as whenever other things need to be discussed. Check out different tools and technology to help you interact with your clients or colleagues and set up regular virtual meeting times each day, even if it is just a five minute coffee break. Look out for our next blog post where we will talk more about the best way to communicate virtually and give recommendations on which tools to use!

But it is not just about communication, but also about community. While we practice social distancing, it is important to find ways to check in with each other, share our knowledge and experiences and genuinely be there for one another. For this reason we will still have our daily lunches together but they will be virtual from the comfort of our homes. In the upcoming weeks will host virtual community tea times, e-books, webinars, brainstorm breakfasts and more. Leave a comment below or drop us a DM on Instagram if you have any ideas how to stay connected, how we can all support each other or simply to share a picture of your home office! We are curious to see how you designed yours!

It is important for us to support each other and stay as a community, now more than ever!

The Female Hub Team  

Each year on the 8th of March we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day which commemorates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Here at the Female Hub we like to honor this day by sharing which women inspire us and celebrating them in our own way.

So we asked a few of our Collective members who they find inspiring:

Ilse Weijland – LinkedIn coach and trainer

I immediately thought of Charlotte van ‘t Wout. One of the few entrepreneurs who really shows what it is like to build a successful business, with all the ups and downs that go with it. She is wonderfully transparent, super accessible and authentic. I follow her from the beginning on Instagram and saw her speak live a while back, where she appears exactly as she does online. And do you know all those Instagram courses of today? Charlotte was the one who came up with this idea and was the first to implement it. I have now followed 2 and found them enormously valuable. Truly a source of inspiration!

Charlotte van ‘t Wout

Karin van de Burgwal – Project Manager, Educational Design & Communications

Cliché as it sounds, as for many, Oprah Winfrey has been a source of inspiration for many years. I remember that as a teenager I cycled hard out of school to sit in front of the TV at 5 past pm when the show would start. What I really understood at that age of all the subjects that came along, I don’t know, but it already spoke to me then. I love how Oprah tries to get as close as possible to her own nature and dares to speak her own truth and share it with millions of others. The search for yourself, dare to be open and really connect with others, still inspires me.

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength”

– Oprah Winfrey

Hedda Chester – L&D Intern

Growing up with social media and especially YouTube, I have grown critical of all the influencers and vloggers. With soo many people delivering new content all the time, it is hard for an individual to stand out. And that is precisely why I find Sadia Badiei, owner and creator of Pick Up Limes, so inspirational. Sadia is a dietician living in the Netherlands and runs her own website, e-book and YouTube channel. I love how she delivers such concise and useful content, and how consistent she is with her website, her videos and her social media posts. In a world overflowing with information and content, finding informative posts is becoming a real rarity!

#growth

Suzanne Mau-Asam – Founder & Owner The Female Hub

I find Shirley Kind, Director Sales & Service at Nederlandse Loterij, an inspiration. I met Shirley about 10 years ago when I worked at the Nederlandse Loterij as a Learning & Development manager. Shirley came to work with us as a marketer. From the start it was clear that Shirley was full of ambition, perseverance and ideas. In 2019 she joined the executive team of the Nederlandse Loterij. Absolutely earned. In addition to her perseverance, good ideas and ambitions, she is also a great manager who values ​​learning and development. Together we have organized many sessions for her team!

A moment of reflection for Shirley and Suzanne during a Leadership Trail

Tes Traas – Sales & Marketing Intern

I came across Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx, through a podcast and am inspired by her tenacity and determination as an entrepreneur. For example, she didn’t tell any of her friends or family of her idea until she had actually created a prototype. This inspires me because it shows how much faith she had in her product and how she didn’t need any confirmation from others. Also, she physically stood in Neimann Marcus to sell her line to customers. I admire the way she walked up to women and how much she trusted what she had created. The fact that she was doing that was not questioned by the Neiman Marcus team because she did so with such confidence!

Riim van den Berg – Holistic Health Coach

For me an inspiring woman and writer, poet Maya Angelou. She wanted to change a world where racism occurs and where women don’t get the jobs the want. Unfortunately, that is still true today. She has written beautiful poems such as “Still I Rise“. This poem inspires me especially because it gives me courage and strength to carry on and rise no matter the challenges that lie ahead.

Small excerpt from the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

We are curious which incredible woman is your inspiration and why! Comment below or on our Instagram using the hashtag #sheinspires !