Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: Telework (a/k/a Workshifting)

Special Feature: Advanced Tactics for Highly Collaborative, Remote Teams by Breanden Beneschott – Co-founder / COO at TOPTAL

In a time where ideas and statements are often repeated over and over again, even as they relate to innovative ideas like remote work, I’m delighted to present Breanden Beneschott’s surprising and refreshing psychological insights on improving remote teams members’ communication. This exciting article will help you see obstacles and solutions differently as well as how possible remote work arrangements really are.

At Toptal, nothing about remote work is controversial. Over the last four years, we’ve lived and worked remotely in more than 30 countries. We’ve been running a 100% remote, 90-person strong, venture-funded company that grows hundreds of percent year over year—almost entirely from our laptops, phones, and tablets. Working remotely is a productive and efficient reality that we evangelize to our clients, while practicing what we preach. Hiring remotely removes the constraints of geolimiting and makes it possible to build the best team, regardless of whether members are across the Bay or around the world.

But it turns out some very smart people don’t agree with me. Recently, a post by Paul Graham and a subsequent response by Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg sparked a huge debate about remote work. I circulated Matt’s post to my team, because I think it simply and concisely says what we’ve been broadcasting for years: hire the world’s best talent, regardless of where they live, and everyone wins.

You’re probably already familiar with the textbook cases of successful remote teams such as 37Signals, Automattic, GitHub, and many more, but consider some not-so-obvious examples of times when office-dwellers work from afar:

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Announcement: Due to great alignment in interests, Irene Papuc from Toptal has been invited to feature articles on remote work, business, and other related topics on my blog. So I’d like to introduce her to my readers now and welcome her. By the way, I’ll be posting more in the near future as well. More on this later!

Are Remote Workers Happier Than Office Employees? [Infographic]

TINYpulse’s survey research report, What Leaders Need to Know About Remote Workers: Surprising Differences in Workplace Happiness & Relationships, states:

Today’s workplace is a global one, with companies and even teams that stretch across geographical boundaries. Distance is no longer a barrier to collaboration, thanks to technologies that allow for instantaneous communication across state and country borders. The idea of supervising and working with employees you rarely meet in person — if at all — is more and more commonplace.

So what’re some benefits of having a remote workforce? This stunning infographic answers this question. It also summarizes 509 remote workers’ description of themselves and their work experience and, finally, shows how they stack up against office workers. Who are these remote workers and why do they work remotely? Find out below! Read more of this post

Working Remotely – Jack’s Journey Out of the Office [Infographic]

For those who’ve missed my posts on working remotely, this attractive infographic sums up the downsides of working in a traditional office and upsides of working in a location independent manner. Several interesting facts are strewn throughout this story. For instance, “80 million (50% of the workforce) U.S. employees hold a job that is compatible with working remotely at least part time” and “80-90% of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home at least part of the time.” Read more of this post

5 Challenges Users Experience in Online Collaboration [Infographic]

If you haven’t yet read the Flipside Workspace versus Videoconferencing report, this infographic beautifully illustrates some of the main findings of the pilot study. Read on to learn about other possible implications related to the online collaboration tools of interest as well. Finally, give Flipside Workspace a try by visiting http://www.flipsideworkspace.com/. I look forward to your questions and comments!

View the infographic in full at Duncan-Coleverria, Inc.

Flipside Workspace versus Videoconferencing: Comparing User Experience of Collaborative Online Platforms [Report]

As promised in my previous post, the Flipside Workspace versus videoconferencing user experience pilot study results are now available. Click here to obtain a copy of the report. As a brief introduction, you will find out how Flipside Workspace measured up against videoconferencing on the following psychological dimensions (Note: #4, identity exploration, only applies to Flipside Workspace): Read more of this post

Thoughts on Running the Flipside Workspace versus Videoconferencing Study

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, so I’ll first address the slowdown on my blog. Thankfully, this isn’t about running out of steam but, rather, preoccupation with projects – including the Flipside Workspace user experience study which I mentioned in January 2015. As it is wrapping up, this is a good time to revisit it and provide detailed information. What I left unmentioned previously is that this study contrasts users’ experience meeting in Flipside Workspace with videoconferencing across various psychological dimensions.

For those who’re new to Flipside Workspace, this is an avatar-based,  3-dimensional digital workspace. It’s best described at Flipside Workspace’s site as, “an immersive online business district that takes those perks of real-life office dynamics and brings them into a virtual environment.” To see how elaborately crafted the environment is, watch this video. Read more of this post

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

ArtLogic

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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PeopleG2: A virtually-based, leading human capital due diligence service provider

peopleg2logoAt its inception in 2001, PeopleG2 started out as an office-based company.  However, in 2008, founder and chief executive Chris Dyer, decided to transition into a virtual company to accommodate a growing workforce and surmount challenging financial pressures introduced by the recession. According to Michelle Rafter, in “Employees told to go home – and work,” a small office in Brea, California remains for a handful of staff who value having a physical office. However, the rest of the staff, comprised of researchers, sales and customer service representatives, and administrative personnel, work as a virtual team.

This arrangement has worked out so well that Chris Dyer never looked back and, today, PeopleG2 serves as a testament to how companies can successfully switch from brick and mortar to virtual. Just recently, Flexjobs featured them in “26 Virtual Companies That Thrive on Remote Work.” How did Dyer and his team make such a successful transition?

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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

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