Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: Observations

A Practical Reminder From My Peer Mentor: Don’t Argue With Idiots

Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. ~Mark Twain

Even while intending to enjoy a quiet evening surfing the Internet, today’s increased interconnectivity means higher chances of interacting with people who’re very different from you (e.g. at different developmental stages with different capacities to understand various subjects). Unexpectedly, you may find yourself slipping into a debate and committed to seeing it through to the end.

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A Day at Work with My Feathered Colleague

The idea for this special post came from a friend whose blog showcases spectacular photography work, featuring wildlife, art, and culture, from exotic locales around the world. Check out her work at http://cindyknoke.com.

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People have been shocked by my ability to perform solitary work (e.g., reading, writing, and research) for several hours a day, several days a week without feeling lonely. The reason why I can pull this off is because my introverted temperament makes me well-suited for this kind of work. Being devoid of human companionship doesn’t mean I’m completely alone however. Meet my feathered colleague, Nikita, a Pacific Parrotlet whose antics keep me in good spirits. Read more of this post

Psychology of the Office Space [Infographic]

A look at the history of the office reveals that office space configurations have changed considerably over time. Naturally, different space configurations impact workers differently (and of course, at the individual level, the manner in which physical space impacts people depends on the individual’s personality, job, and tasks the individual performs). More specifically, environmental space can positively or negatively impact attention spans, productivity, creativity, job satisfaction, and stress level.

University of Southern California, Dornsife, designed an infographic that expands upon this subject. Personally, I find myself agreeing with this assessment of the complete open office plan. However, I doubt that this phenomena, along with cubicles and private offices, will become extinct. A reduction? Yes. However, the complete absence of such configurations? No.

Not only do companies and work cultures vary, but there’s also great heterogeneity when it comes to people, the roles they play at work, and the types of tasks they perform. So, I think that there will always be a need for a variety of office configurations even if some configurations are more prevalent than others. For example, those who deal with sensitive information and interactions (like lawyers, doctors, and therapists) will continue to need a private office. This infographic is surely thought-provoking. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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How Technology Has Changed the Meeting [Infographic]

It is a rare occasion that I broadcast back-to-back infographic-centered posts however, upon encountering this infographic, I knew this must be shared. If you’re like me, an image-based timeline makes historical information easier to digest and retain. Behold the technological evolution from 1958 to the present and, from here, to what’s on the horizon.

Advancements in technology have changed the world of business in terms of communication, presentation, and project management. With these technological developments came a great change in the dynamics of the meeting room. Cloud based presentations and video conferencing have blurred the lines between the office space, the home office, and the meeting room. Brandeis University concludes that ultimately, the meeting room, as we know it, may disappear completely.

Brandeis University designed a compelling infographic that looks into the past and future of the meeting room to see how technology changes the way we do business. Read more of this post

What You Need to Know About Psychological Manipulation [Infographic]

This post accompanies my previous post on manipulators. One particular piece of information that I find valuable here is a guideline for distinguishing social influence from manipulation. In my view, what qualifies as manipulation is an attempt to restrict another’s sense of free will. Furthermore, as I am a “no means no” kind of person, my interpretation of “[social influence] does not threaten anyone’s health or well-being” extends to influencers’ being able to accept “no” for an answer. Continuing to persist violates the time and psychological space of the one who refused. Finally, to clarify, the “emotional hot buttons” section lists characteristics of individuals who are easier targets for manipulators. I welcome your thoughts on the information presented here. Read more of this post

Dissecting the Manipulative Helper

As a break from the topic of technology-driven changes in work-life, let’s turn to a work-related subject that will likely remain intact: difficult people and, specifically, a type of difficult person who generally goes unnoticed and unchallenged – the manipulative helper.

Overtly difficult people are a pain but are easier to spot, evade, and take action against compared to ones wearing the mask of a benevolent helper. Essentially, manipulative “helpers” inflict damage and get away with it because they’re presumed to have good intentions. Recognizing such individuals will help you make informed decisions about who to spend time and energy cultivating professional relationships with and, hopefully, facilitate success in building a quality network.

Mean people

 

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The Challenge of Telework Consulting and a New Direction for Me

During the course of blogging about telework and topics related to modern work-life issues, people who’ve recently connected with me have received the impression that I “have it made,” making a living doing what I love. This isn’t the truth, so I’m setting the record straight about my experience with, and understanding of, consulting in the area of facilitating remote work arrangements at organizations. Additionally, as I hinted about undertaking a personal YouTube content creation project in an earlier post, I’ll hereby provide readers with more information about this as I’ll be integrating it as new subject matter in this blog. Read more of this post

#HRPA2015: Why Your Organization Needs More Rebels, Heretics, and Weirdos

L. P.:

Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to share as it resonates with me deeply. Those of us who consider ourselves freethinkers and enjoy the process and benefits of honest, spirited debate and conflict have probably, at one time or another, experienced a form of oppression in situations where cultural norms overemphasize social harmony, cooperation, and cohesion. The problem with striving for an atmosphere of perpetual warmth and agreement, as Jane Watson describes, is that great ideas get squashed. Hence, going against conventional wisdom with regard to hiring for cultural fit is especially important for organizations that aim to be innovative. Watson’s post provides a thought-provoking alternative view on what makes a great team, so check it out!

Originally posted on Talent Vanguard:

What a whirlwind at the 2015 HRPA Annual Conference this week! On day one, following three keynotes, 2 sessions, lots of coffee, and two after-parties later, I arrived home with a brain full of ideas and an iPhone full of notes. Here’s my first post from this week’s HRPA Annual Conference 2015:

Why Your Organization Needs More Rebels, Heretics, and Weirdos

Take a second and think about the best team that you have ever been part of. What made the team great? What did it feel like to be part of it? How did the team members interact with one another?

If the team you’re thinking of was the picture of harmony and cooperation, it might be worth questioning your rose-coloured recollections of just how great it actually was. In the session “When Getting Along Doesn’t Equal Results” Nicole Bendaly notes that while harmony and cohesiveness often figure into our…

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How to Become an Instagram Instaguru [Infographic]

When I first started using Pinterest, I thought finding and pinning images would just be a frivolous activity I’d engage in when I’m bored. While I don’t spend a lot of time there, I have found it to be more entertaining than I initially expected. For those who really know how to use it, another potential benefit of using such imaged-based social media tools is that they can be an effective way to find and connect with others who have interests in common and, at the same time, promote oneself or one’s business. I’m more of a recreational user but, for those who’re curious, my boards can be found here. As a forewarning, I’ve somehow managed to amass a large image collection of featherless, baby parrots which some people find freaky… though I think they’re rather cute!

Having found Pinterest to be more interesting and useful than I anticipated, I became curious about Instagram’s potential as a practical tool for networking and promotion. Fortunately, I just found the following guide which offers tips worth thinking about if you’re interested in using Instagram to promote your business or yourself as professional. Have you used Instagram and have tips to share? Feel free to comment and share them! Read more of this post

Why I Love Working in a Digital Workplace

L. P.:

How did your transition back to work after the holidays go? For those who work from home and have yet to take down their holiday decorations, returning to work can pose a greater challenge. In this post, Lisa Duncan, co-founder of Flipside Workspace, briefly describes how an online collaboration platform that includes an immersive virtual environment facilitates separation between home and work as well as prime us, mentally, to go back to work. As an avid gamer, I’ve experienced how rich, virtual environments can transport us into a different world and put us in a completely different mindset. So I think Lisa makes an excellent point about the value 3D virtual environments can offer to remote workers.

Originally posted on Lisa Duncan | Alternative Workstyle Enthusiast:

Flipside Workspace conference room meetingIt’s my first day back after a fabulous and disconnected vacation.  I love these times where I get to fully disengage from work – energy, creativity, and inspiration swirl around me giving me months of “work” just to catch up with my thoughts. Only the heartiest of ideas make it through memory and grit into execution, a kind of Darwinian business process.

Today I was excited to get back to work, to catch up with my colleagues and exchange ideas. I was ready…sort of.

You see, I work from home and it’s after New Year’s.   Two weeks of fun and festivities means many decorations are still hanging in the house and the onslaught of stuff from a household racing out the door each morning to school or work is still scattered about.  So many distractions.

I love that mental separation of “go to work”.  I need that mental separation.  But where is…

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