Giving thanks to my readers & looking ahead to an opportunity to participate in user experience research

The Thanksgiving holiday reminds those of us in the United States to set aside time to express gratitude for what we have. Although there are a couple of weeks before the occasion arrives, I’ve decided to go ahead and write my thanksgiving post. I don’t blog just to chronicle my research efforts and knowledge about modern work-related issues. I blog to provide useful information to others and spread awareness of issues that don’t receive a lot of attention. So reader feedback and interaction has helped me learn what issues garner the most concern.

Also, as many of you are also bloggers, you probably know as well as I do how much hard work and dedication it takes to consistently develop content. A couple of years ago, before I wrote my first post, I thought blogging would be much easier. Along the way, I’ve received a lot of praise for my writing but I’ve learned that blogging is much more than writing well. Blogging also requires tremendous creative effort. Continue reading

Sitting Is Killing You [Infographic]

Just in time for Halloween season! Here are some scary figures illustrating some health consequences of spending much of our days seated. We have been hearing about the health hazards of sedentary office work more recently, so none of this may come as a surprise.

Sitting around watching television or engaging in computer-related activities during our free time is, of course, a choice that some of us make. Unless you have a standing desk or treadmill desk however, you’re likely required to spend most of your workday sitting if you are an office worker. It’s common for commuting to add another 1-2 hours to this, leading to the total of 9.3 hours spent sitting down per day as cited below. Telecommuting can make a difference by freeing up time that many of us need in order to fit in physical activity. While considering the option to telecommute, keep in mind that the good health of individual employees is also important for the organizations they work for.

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4 Tips for Forming Virtual Teams

Lynn Patra:

As a member of Better Collaboration, a virtually-based consulting firm, I can attest that a number of challenges must be surmounted in order to form an effective virtual team. Some of the most significant challenges are accurately described by Lisa Duncan, co-founder of an immersive, picturesque virtual work environment called Flipside Workspace (see here). Informed by direct experience, Lisa also offers excellent tips for addressing them. Hence, I refer you to her post.

Originally posted on Lisa Duncan | Alternative Workstyle Enthusiast:

Much has been written about the value of using virtual teams from a variety of perspectives: IT, HR, and management. While each contemplate virtual teams from different angles, the authors typically reach this conclusion:  the fast-paced global economy, the advancements in technological solutions, and the general acceptance of telecommuting have each contributed businesses using virtual teams to gain a competitive advantage.

But despite all of the blogposts on “10 Steps to Build Virtual Teams”, or the numerous “Virtual Team Guidebooks”, the truth is: forming and maintaining virtual teams can be hard.  Slacking-off on attention to critical details can spiral quickly towards wasting everyone’s time.

As a virtually-based company, we do know a thing or two about forming virtual teams for success; but a recent experience in forming a virtual group was a humbling lesson, and excellent reminder, of what is important when gathering individuals who are geographically dispersed.

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Here’s to the lazy ones. The slackers. The flaky. The unconscientious. The bumps on a log. The ones who cut corners. They’re not fond of duty…

For those who aren’t aware, the title of this post is stylized after Apple Inc.’s  “Think Different” (a/k/a “Crazy Ones”) advertising campaign quote. However, this isn’t a satirical piece but, instead, an exercise in challenging conventional wisdom. While conscientiousness, a Big 5 personality trait, is often cited as the single best predictor of career success, it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t naturally well-endowed with it. The catch is that you must possess some other extraordinary quality that is rewarded in the context of your work situation. I believe that General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord would agree as he stated back in 1933:

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

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A Better Collaboration virtual round table event: How to improve collaboration of dispersed teams

Better Collaboration

 

Better Collaboration is back! As a break from the lecture-style format of our events, we’re inviting attendees with interest and expertise in virtual work arrangements to actively participate in an informal discussion and initiate a community of practice. One topic of interest is obstacles to widespread telework adoption and steps we can take to overcome them. However, as this will be more of an open-ended discussion, attendees are welcome to introduce other relevant concerns.

This event will take place on Thursday, October 30th, 2014, from 4:00-5:00 PM Eastern time (EST)/1:00-2:00 PM Pacific time (PST). As always, there is no cost to attend. Simply click on the red bar for the Meetup group below to register and RSVP. A link to access the event will be emailed to those attending. Continue reading

On Becoming a Better Writer

Does using text-speak erode our writing skills? There has been much debate regarding this issue. While investigating various opinions, I was surprised by the following statements at Northhampton Community College’s site:

According to a recent survey, employers would rather hire workers over 50 than those under 30. This survey indicates that respondents stated older workers are more professional and have better writing skills than their younger counterparts. 46% of respondents stated younger workers needed to improve their writing skills versus just 9% for workers over 50.

 

The slow demise of the English language is nothing new. People have been lamenting the use of poor grammar and writing skills for years. However, it seems that the use of Instant Messaging (IM) and Texting has accelerated this decline to a record pace. Is new technology to blame? There is evidence that supports that conclusion.

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Truly need 10, 11, or even 12 hours of sleep per night? By all means, try to get it!

During the course of blogging, I’ve been surprised by how often my previous post about sleep, “Why I Stay Up Late and 3 Reasons You Should Too [Satire],” which celebrates the experiences of people with late chronotypes (also known as “night owls”), has been visited. To spread awareness about another aspect of sleep-wake biorhythms, this post presents information about why it’s important for those of us who truly need 10 or more hours of sleep a night (dubbed “long sleepers”) to get the sleep we need.

Before going further, I’d like to point out that it’s important to resolve any underlying issues (sleep apnea, depression, or other medical conditions) that may be causing someone to sleep for more hours than is normal. If medical conditions have been ruled out, if the long hours of sleep have been consistent and of high quality sleep throughout life, and if the sleeper wakes feeling refreshed, this individual might be a “long sleeper” – a category that describes about 2% of the population (see here). More facts about long sleeping from the American Sleep Association follow: Continue reading