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How post-pandemic work-life will be different

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) There are a lot of changes going around, but one has to wonder, once COVID-19 is taken care of, what will work-life look like going forward?

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Man working from home displays work-life balance at his desk, leaning into a phone call.

Remember that time you asked your boss to work from home and they said, no. Maybe they provided some random excuse, ahem I mean reason, such as it wasn’t part of the culture or your role didn’t allow for remote access, or that was only allowed for senior staff.

Well now, if you are still employed and have an office job, you are most likely working from home. Booya!

Aside from the First World complaints I’ve read on my Facebook feed regarding work-life from home – the birds are singing too loud, the construction workers are too loud, the landscapers are too loud – most people are handling working from home (sans pants) pretty well all things considered.

In no way am I saying it’s been easy. If social distancing weren’t a thing, people would probably be enjoying working from home even more than they are right now. (Us pet owners know the doggos and cats are pretty excited.)

If you have taken the time to reflect during this time as I have, and which I highly recommend, you have probably considered this question: What do I want my future work-life to look like after the pandemic?

Just as some people are realizing they are ready for a divorce after spending time cooped up with their partner, who they now realize is not who they thought they were. I’m guessing many employees are considering if they want to continue their relationship with their employers and what is next. Now is the time to ask: If I could do anything and nothing was stopping me, what would I do? YOLO, right?

These types of questions can be challenging to consider when it feels like the world is imploding. Without checking yourself and your head, it’s super easy to feel fearful and worried. That’s completely normal. But, remember this: Everyone, almost everyone, is facing this new and unknown normal. Some folks have more resources at their disposal, sure. But, let’s consider all things being equal, we are all living in uncertainty. We were living in uncertainty before the pandemic and we will be after. So, now is as good a time as any to say, “If not now, when? If not me, who?”

While we consider what the world may look like and whether we decide to skip town, move to an island and start learning to surf, there are some predictions about what work might look like.

Over at Forbes, contributor Tracy Brower made some predictions about what the future of work could look like.

Companies will provide more support to employees.
Companies have had to take a holistic look at providing support for employees’ body, mind, and spirit. Also, they realize an engaged worker is a happier more productive employee. There will be more support for mental health. Isolation breeds mental health issues and it’s fair to say that employers who may have ignored mental health in the past will be more receptive to employees’ needs.

Leadership will improve. The poor, crappy leaders will be weeded out and those who are able to step up – and who maybe weren’t in top positions – will rise to the occasion.
Company Culture will become a real thing. No more filing TPS reports on the weekend Peter. Brower says it’s likely company culture will become important, as leaders realize its critical to engagement and employee performance and engagement.

Working well with others is likely to improve. Going through a crisis as a team is sure to build stronger bonds. There will be more understanding and acceptance of the challenges employees’ have managing work-life balance, especially now that everyone has had to work from home under strange conditions. And, inclusivity and diversity will be more welcome in the workplace.

Technology and the workplace will be better. Employees will have a better understanding of technology (we will never forget poor Jennifer) and it will make work-life easier now. Bosses should also treat their staff better. Things like office cleaning and comfort will be more important. I mean, after working from your couch that broken-down office chair that’s been around since 2004 isn’t going to cut it.

Corporate approaches will improve. Bureaucracy will go by the wayside, innovation will expand, and businesses will become more flexible.

Employees get a do-over. Unemployment is high. “During these times, companies have had to reassess critical jobs, expand definitions of responsibilities and explore new boundaries for key tasks. With such fundamental shifting of jobs and the way they’re designed, career opportunities will abound,” Brower says. And, every business will be a “start-up” because they will all be starting over in a new environment and wanting to re-establish themselves. It will also be a time of opportunity for new businesses and there will likely be an influx of new business and new ideas.

Interested in how life might change post-pandemic? Politico compiled 34 big thinkers’ predictions on the future of our world.

Regardless of what the thinkers think and the predictors predict, we can safely say life and work-life will be different. How that looks is TBD. As we move through this time, maybe a dose of Ferris Bueller could help us all.

Mary Ann Lopez earned her MA in print journalism from the University of Colorado and has worked in print and digital media. After taking a break to give back as a Teach for America corps member and teaching science for a few years, she is back with her first love: writing. When she's not writing stories, reading five books at once, or watching The Great British Bakeoff, she is walking her dog Sadie and hanging with her cats, Bella, Bubba, and Kiki. She is one cat short of full cat lady status and plans to keep it that way.

Social Media

This habit tracker shows you insights you may not want to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The Haptic Life Tracker app documents your (good and bad) habits. But how much do you want to know?

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Haptic, a habit tracker app for Apple, shows you almost too many data points.

Ah, Facebook. We hate you for being a massive time suck. We love you for documenting our lives (seriously, that memories feature toys with my emotions daily).

If that time suck becomes too sucky and you need to break up with your feed – but you want to keep a list of what you’ve been doing – check out the brand-spanking-new app Haptic Life Tracker for iOS.

The benefits, according to the makers: “Track your habits and activities in one timeline and get insights based on your actions. See what your life looks like at a glance.”

This habit tracker lets you track useful things like how many glasses of water or cigarettes you’ve had, music you’ve listened to, or what books you’ve read. If you need another reason to feel bad about yourself, you could also track how many times you got wasted last week vs. how many times you worked out – information you may or may not want to see in the cold, hard light of your phone screen (Hey, single people. It’s COVID-19 Time, so can we all just agree not to track the number of days since we’ve had a date? Thanks).

The free version of the habit tracker starts you off with seven preset categories, including music albums, games, and flights, and lets you add five customized categories. You can also auto import data from the iOS Health app.

Paid membership ($1.49 monthly or $12.99 for a year, with a seven-day free trial) gets you a virtually unlimited number of areas to obsess over. The membership also includes more ways to get insights and parse your daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly data.

With any tracking app, the big question is privacy and who gets to see your data. The app makers address privacy right off the bat. According to them, all content lives only on your phone and is not synced with external servers. So, hopefully, Google won’t learn how abysmally low your water intake is compared with your wine log (Am I projecting a lot onto this app? I think I’m projecting a lot onto this app).

Having all that data in one place could let you delete some of the more specialized tracking apps. By way of comparison, take a look at The Muse’s “The Top 50 Apps for Tracking Everything in Your Life.” There should be at least one habit tracker you could cut to whittle down your list. Although maybe not PooLog, which tracks your bowel movements by “type, time and volume” to help identify health issues. The Muse adds: “Or it’s just great for poo aficionados.” I did not know, nor did I need to know there are “poo aficionados.”

Haptic Life Tracker was recently featured on tech-product watch site ProductHunt.com, where comments from maker Alexey Sekachov reveal they’re working on versions for Apple Watch and Android, as well as potentially adding a social component.

Also on the informational treasure trove that is the Product Hunt comments feature, one commenter nailed the app’s minimalist look and feel: “Both beautiful and creepy. Black Mirror meets black turtleneck (Steve Jobs would be proud).”

The ability to use tech to gain insights into our habits and chronicle our lives is the same: Both beautiful and, if we’re honest, just a titch creepy. Haptic Life Tracker certainly has the potential to help us become more self-aware. Its potential pitfall is becoming another time suck: Obsessing over every detail of our lives. I’m looking forward to user reviews to see which idea wins.

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Real Estate Marketing

Top reasons people unsubscribe from emails

(MARKETING NEWS) Sometimes promotional emails can cause us to purge our inboxes due to over-inundation. New data examines specific reasons customers unsubscribe from mailing listings.

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mailblast email marketing unsubscribe

I recently registered my work email with a company that shall not be named in an effort to receive a 20% off coupon. While I received the coupon, I also found myself receiving somewhere around 10 emails per week from this company. But after a few weeks, I had no choice but to unsubscribe from this email listing. Though it did give me the option to minimize email settings, the overwhelming amount I already received was such a turn off that I unsubscribed completely.

This has happened time and again with countless other mail listings, and I know that I’m not the only one burdened with email after email. Apparently this is such a common occurrence that eMarketer was able to conduct a survey that complied the top reasons why people tend to unsubscribe from email lists.

The major reasons were broken down into 13 categories.

The additional reasons were as follows: 21% report that the emails were not relevant to them; 19% received too many emails from a specific company; 19% complained that the emails were always trying to sell something; 17%t stated the content of the emails were boring, repetitive, and not interesting to them.

Additionally, 16% unsubscribed because they do not have the time to read the emails; 13% stated they receive the same ads and promotions in the email that they receive in print mail (through direct mail, print magazines, newspapers, etc.)

Furthermore, 11% stated that some emails can be too focused on the company’s needs and not enough on the customer’s needs; 10% felt that certain emails seemed geared towards other people’s needs and not their own. Another 10% did not like the appearance of certain emails, stating that they were too cluttered and sloppy.

An additional 10% didn’t trust the email to provide all of the information necessary to make purchasing decisions. Finally, 1% claimed “other” reasoning as the main cause.

Fully 7.0% unsubscribed from certain email listings because they said emails did not look good on their smartphones. This is important for marketers to keep in the back of their minds.

Assess your email marketing strategy to ensure you’re fitting the needs of consumers, not just your own personal preferences. Data doesn’t lie.

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Real Estate Marketing

The rise of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) systems

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) The emerging success of “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) systems in the pandemic world has breathed fresh life into consumer confidence.

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Credit card being held out to our point of view, part of a buy now pay later system.

Within the last few years, a new payment option has slowly been rolling out across websites for consumers in the form of “buy now, pay later.” This system gives consumers the ability to split a payment up across a longer period of time and in small increments, and also tends to skip on interest or other standard monetary fees. In essence, this makes them a new style of layaway plan for modern day, and proponents of ‘buy now, pay later’ systems are stating this is one of the best chances to revitalize a worldwide marketplace rocked by the COVID pandemic.

On the European side of things, Klarna has an evaluation of $10 billion, which firmly cements it as the most valuable privately owned fintech firm in the country (and fourth overall globally). Australia’s Afterpay is another big player with its own substantial platform, while the United States based Affirm is looking to start its own IPO in the $5-$10 billion range. Of course, Paypal has long been in this market, and other companies – including Visa – are working with their own offerings.

Put another way: It’s big business. Big, big business. Forbes estimates as much as $24 billion annually. That’s definitely something. There are millions of users globally for these apps, with millions of purchases annually, and more are growing by the day.

Traditionally, consumers were relegated to using credit cards to facilitate purchases that they needed additional time, giving them the ability to obtain funds while retaining their ability to bring home goods and services. This comes with interest so that merchants and vendors have an incentive – they still make a sale, gather money over time, and get a little extra on top.

By contrast, ‘buy now, pay later’ systems are geared differently, aiming instead to address a growing digital market where sales are primarily online (or steadily getting there). Consumers may window shop even on websites, and ultimately abandon their carts when the purchase screen finally appears. This is where BNPL shines – it suddenly gives these shoppers a way to still move forward while lessening the initial monetary blow and giving them a way out of dreaded interest. Especially in these uncertain times, this has become a lifesaver for customers and vendors alike. The former gains the ability to purchase more with few penalties (if any), and the latter sees greater conversion and increased sales.

Meanwhile, the BNPL merchant is able to charge a higher percentage commission to the vendors – more so than credit cards even – to net themselves their own piece of the pie. Even with BNPL’s higher merchant fees of 4-6% in revenue compared to credit card companies, the pure numbers emphatically prove that this system is beneficial to everyone. As pointed out by Fintechtris, “Even though higher fees are being paid, retailers are able to take advantage of: an increase in shopping cart size (up to 30%), decrease in abandonment at checkout (down up to 25%), and repeat customers (up to 20% more). In particular, Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna (some of the largest BNPL fintech companies) saw average order value (AVO) rise 85%, 30%, and 45% respectively.”

Further, BNPL users have a variety of reasons for choosing this method over credit cards, including avoiding interest, the ability to borrow without a credit check, and being able to go outside of an existing budget without straying into troubled territory.

BNPL graph: growth is being driven by people who can't or don't want to use credit cards

Image source: PaymentsSource

Perhaps even more interesting is that BNPL companies are suffering lower delinquency rates compared to credit cards, with problematic payments at around 1.1% compared to 5.7% elsewhere. BNPL – with its lack of punitive measures – seems to attract all kinds of customers; it’s not just for those that might represent risk.

There is still something to be said about the dangers of overborrowing, with the possibility of charges sneaking up on someone. It should also be noted that avoiding using a credit card means that someone might build their credit history more slowly and sluggishly, and this could have negative ramifications long term.

Everyone is looking for ways to improve their cash flow right now, and as such, evaluating each and every option out there is vitally important. We might even see an accelerated push toward a cashless society following the pandemic. BNPL is still in some early stages, but it’s likely to see increased acceptance and usage as we continually push toward online sales.

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