10 Easy Meditation Methods for Working Remotely

If you regularly work remotely, on the road, or from home, you know it comes with some sweet pros and some unexpected cons.

As remote professionals we put our heads into email, internet, social media, and digital marketing virtually every day. We're inundated with messages, requests, demands, and calls to action — almost always with increasing urgency.

When we work from home, we often don't get the mental relief and positive energy that come with in-person coworkers. When we work on the road, we don’t have friends and family to fill our cup after work. We structure our own tasks & schedules, which often requires more brainpower than having our workload structured and dictated by a supervisor.

Perhaps most glaring of all, we simply have a hard time turning OFF.

As a result of all these factors, remote pros are more prone than 9-5ers to feeling disorganized, stressed about their schedule, and mentally buzzy from digital saturation and personal isolation.

A consistent meditation practice helps all of this. It decreases mental chatter, stress, and anxiety. It increases energy, focus, and the ability to self-soothe. Your meditation practice is a way of cultivating inner peace, growing it in small pieces over time like a gardener tending to their plants each day.

Do you think there’s more potential to the efficiency and joy in your work/life balance?

Do you want to maximize your work time so you have more brain space for the rest of your life?

Do you feel out of balance or overwhelmed or stressed?

Hey, good news. Meditation is a perfect solution to these quandaries.

Virtually every major religion & spiritual practice encourages some kind of meditation, whether it's in the form of intentional silence, prayer, yoga, Tai Chi, or even the art of drinking tea. They're all slow, daily mindful practices which cultivate a deeper sense of presence, connection, calm, and vitality.

The main goal over consistent days and weeks is to ease your mind down from its nonstop thinking, which in turn increases your awareness of your own body, settling you into a relaxed state of flow.

You'll still be thinking, but not so loudly or quickly. That’s what’s so helpful for both maximizing your workday and being able to turn off when you’re done.

Many people never follow through on meditation, for a few common reasons: the misconception that it's attached to a philosophy or religion; personal discomfort sitting alone with your thoughts & feelings; having tried it for a few days but stopped before it got easier and the benefits became clear; or maybe you just don’t like hippies. No judgment!

These are totally valid opinions and experiences. And sure, there are other ways to get similar benefits. But the way I think about it, everyone can enjoy meditation. The only essential elements are breath and patience. Other than that, we just have to find the right methods and variations that work well for us. Here are just a few of the many methods and variations that can help you get started:

  1. Guided Meditations

  2. Vipassana Insight Meditation

  3. Kundalini Meditation

  4. Mantra Meditation

  5. Mindfulness Meditation

  6. Metta/Lovingkindness

  7. Visualization

  8. Object Focus

  9. Walking Meditation

  10. Meditating In Public

Do you have another method or style that has worked for you? Have any questions about meditation? Comment below!  

Photo by Isabell Winter

Is Telecommuting the Future?

More and more companies are migrating to remote offices and leaving brick and mortar buildings in the dust. According to QZ.com, Auttomatic, the company who owns WordPress, recently ditched their gorgeous San Francisco office after giving its employees the option to work from home. Only five employees were coming into the 15,000-square foot building on a regular basis. In this case, it was a no brainer for Auttomatic. It does, however, still have brick and mortar offices in Maine and Cape Town, South Africa.

Companies such as Buffer, Zapier, FlexJobs, UpWorthy, and Thin Pig Media all offer 100% remote opportunities. While this saves the company overhead costs, it also allows them the ability to select from nationwide talent instead of narrowing it down to a certain geographical location. Since 2005, regular telecommuting has increased by 103% and 3.7 million employees now work remotely at least half of the time. This isn’t counting the individuals who own their own businesses and work from home.

As mentioned above, TPM works 100% remotely. Before joining this team, I was worked in the main office for a nationwide company with 1,000+ employees. To go from that hectic atmosphere to working out of my home office has been a drastic change, to say the least. While I love having the opportunity to work from home or wherever I choose, it wasn’t the easiest transition. I missed taking breaks with friends at work, walking around the pond chatting about weekend plans, and discussing what we learned in the latest meeting.

I’ve now been with TPM for six months and truly think working remotely has more benefits than drawbacks. My creativity is never stifled working from wherever I choose, versus working in a cubicle. The stress of commuting and traffic, not to mention spending money on gas, is a non-issue. Wearing whatever I want to work is also a nice perk. Overall, telecommuting really offers an employee a chance at a healthy work-life balance that many office environments do not.

If you work from home, what do you see as the benefits and/or drawbacks? Tweet us @ThinPigMedia

Facebook Reactions: Friend or Foe?

Many of us use reactions to express how we feel about a certain post or ad in our Facebook feed, when texting our friends, posting on Instagram, or even when we send a Snap to our friends. Since Facebook Reactions were first introduced eight years ago with the thumbs up ‘Like’ button that later expanded with the ‘Haha’, ‘Love’, ‘Sad’, ‘Wow’ and ‘Angry’ buttons, these little icons have fast become a permanent fixture in the way we communicate on social media. In fact, it seems we have so many bottled up emotions to share that since Facebook first launched Reactions, we have used them over 300 billion times, totaling a whopping 800 million uses each day! 

The Facebook algorithm determines what content users see in their feeds at any given time. However, understanding Facebook’s algorithm is a bit of a science. Fortunately, in the last few years, Facebook has begun sharing more about how their news feed algorithm works, what it favors over what it doesn’t, and what it means for brands. Speculation by users finally got Facebook to admit that using Reactions impacts the way a user’s news feed looks. Furthermore, Facebook’s algorithm seems to focus more on the ‘Love’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Haha’ Reactions over the ‘Like’ button, allowing these little icons to decide what will appear in a user’s feed.

Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post. So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person.
— Facebook quote via mashable.com

Although Facebook says all Reactions are currently looked upon equally, the ‘Love’ Reaction makes up more than half the Reactions shared. So how can brands use Reactions to their advantage? Through Facebook’s Reactions algorithm we have learned that women use Reactions more often than men, Wednesday is the most popular day for sending reactions, and that people are more likely to use 'Wow' for GIFs, shares, images and videos.

While Facebook continues to work on its algorithm, one way for a brand to ensure social success is to listen and respond to users’ reactions. After all, Reactions on Facebook are probably the best way to analyze your users’ sentiment. Good luck harvesting success using Facebook Reactions, and don’t forget we are only a call away should you require help managing your social community.

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Tips for Successful Hotel Review Management Responses

As an agency managing the online presence for many hotels, we know that social media networks aren’t the only places where businesses can shine online. In fact, hotels are fortunate enough to have additional sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, hotels.com, etc., where potential guests can read what others say about the property and gauge whether or not it’s the right hotel for them. Hotels can certainly benefit from being active members on review sites by responding to guest reviews.

Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer, TripAdvisor says, "There is no denying that reviews are a powerful and a significant part of the travel planning experience...not only are travelers referencing reviews before they book, they are clearly more highly engaged by businesses that respond to reviews.” In fact, according to PhoCusWright, 77% of global respondents usually or always reference TripAdvisor reviews before selecting a hotel.

While many hotels understand the importance of responding to guest reviews, many do not understand exactly how to respond. Many times, they get nervous that their responses may actually work against them and push potential guests away, or that it's not worth the amount of time it takes. What we have found is that guests want to see management responses. They want to know that the hotel cares enough to read reviews and respond. And with the following recommendations, your hotel will be on the path to review management success!

  • Be genuine yet professional, while still maintaining the tone of your property. Responses should not sound like copy and pasted scripts. Instead, really take the time to read and understand from where each guest is coming.
  • Stick to the facts. Don’t get too emotional, and when responding to a negative review, don’t get aggressive or angry. Try to stick to the fact of the matter while still being constructive and getting to the bottom of the guest’s dissatisfaction. 
  • Respond in a timely manner. Depending on the number of reviews your hotel receives, daily or weekly response times will be appropriate.
  • Treat each review as a learning opportunity. In most cases, the past guest is giving their honest feedback regarding their stay. Learn from their experience. If you see the same complaint frequently, do something about it on-site. The more improvements you make based on the reviews you receive, the less you’ll see these constructive/negative reviews.
  • There is no need to respond to every review. In fact, a recent Cornell University study found that "responding to some reviews may be beneficial, but perhaps that impact decreases as hotels start to respond to all reviews.” A good rule-of-thumb is to respond to all 1, 2, and 3 star reviews, and 50-75% of 4 and 5 star reviews.

Remember when you respond, you’re not just responding to the guest who wrote the review. Anyone who is looking at your hotel reviews will likely scan the review and your response. These stats from PhoCusWright were especially informative when remembering this recommendation:  

  • 87% of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review "improves my impression of the hotel.”        

  • 70% of users agree that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review "makes me less likely to book that hotel" 

  • 62% of users agree that seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally "makes me more likely to book it" (versus a comparable hotel that didn't respond to travelers.)

Lastly, if you are responding, and plan to take action, be sure you thank the reviewer and let him/her know that you will be investigating, or taking some action based on their review. Not only will this be a positive mark for the guest to read, but also other readers.

 If you are looking to partner with an agency and have experts manage your review management, don’t hesitate to contact us