Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: Observations

Evolution in the Face of Adversity

L. P.:

For those who have an interest in marketing, check out this post for some essential wisdom and strategies for thriving in these volatile times.

Originally posted on Out of My Gord:

First published January 15, 2009 in Mediapost’s Search Insider

I am an unrepentant Darwinist, which probably doesn’t surprise anyone who reads my columns on a regular basis. The whole topic of evolution and emergent behaviors in complex systems constantly fascinates me. As Steven Johnson pointed out in his recent book, “Emergence,”  the theme of patterns rising from complexity is  ubiquitous and could well define the 21st century.

The World is a Cruel Place – Get Over It!

One of the most interesting things about evolution is that the pace of evolutionary change picks up in the face of adversity. The more hostile the environment, the faster the wheels of evolution roll and the quicker we adapt. Of course, we do so in a pretty ruthless way. The weak get culled faster. There are no consolation prizes in this lottery. Winner takes all. Richard Dawkins didn’t call genes “selfish” for…

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To Live Differently – A Personal Manifesto

Recently, I realized that I’m coming upon 3 years of blogging about modern work-life issues and, particularly, remote work. With regard to the latter, I’ve repeatedly mentioned benefits for the environment, some employers, and some employees. However, I’ve yet to share my personal views and reasons for my insane dedication to this topic.

Some presume that I’m a lofty idealist, envisioning that everyone will be working this way in the future. On the contrary, I’m quite a realist and know that not everyone wants to. For example, some enjoy commuting for the hour or two designated to listening to their favorite podcasts. (Though, as I like to point out, one can still walk around the neighborhood for that amount of time and listen to a podcast before and after working at home or wherever one chooses to work.) Nevertheless, I’ve blogged incessantly to spread awareness of remote work as a real choice while realizing that individual preferences would, to some extent, assert themselves and determine who works remotely and the proportion of time spent doing so. Read more of this post

You Are Here: Thoughts on Working Remotely


Brett G. Porter is Chief Engineer in Development Practices at Art & Logic, a 100% virtual company. With almost two decades’ worth of experience working remotely, Brett has substantial wisdom to share regarding virtual work arrangements that succeed. In “You Are Here: Thoughts on Working Remotely,” Brett’s article covers issues such as infrastructure requirements, keeping people connected, maintaining boundaries, structuring projects, as well as characteristics and circumstances that enable people to succeed at working remotely. Also, please visit “Office Free: Building the 21st Century Company” to vote for Art & Logic in SXSW Panelpicker Interactive 2016 and watch remote workers describe their experiences in a highly engaging video! (Successful introverted remote workers are represented by the way.)

Originally posted on Art & Logic:

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and discussion lately on the pros and cons of using distributed teams. It’s a topic I’ve given a lot of thought to — I just had my 17 year anniversary working for Art & Logic in a completely distributed environment, and over the years there have been many words written both in favor of it (see Scott Berkun’s recent book The Year Without Pants) and against (maybe most emphatically by Alistair Cockburn, who in his book Agile Software Development (2002) who says that ‘distributed development is becoming more commonplace, but it is not becoming more effective’). I’d certainly take exception to the assertion that it’s not possible to be successful and effective developing software in distributed teams, but that doing so requires that you adopt or reject certain situations, practices, and scenarios:

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The Future of Money [Infographic]

This gorgeous infographic, which was created by Envisioning Technological Research Foundation, traces the history of money (and other previous methods of exchange) and provides speculation on the future evolution of money. Realization of this potential for a more decentralized, distributed system would significantly impact our lives. As explained in the infographic, “People are coalescing and demanding free, real-time access to their transaction information in order to reclaim financial decisions from institutions.”

Envisioning is an independent, virtual research institute based in Brazil. The global team is comprised of academics, designers, and hackers. Their mission is to study technology in order to understand accelerating change and provide technological foresight to policy and decision-makers worldwide.

To see an enlarged image of this infographic or download a PDF copy, click here.

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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


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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