Authored by Nermin Hajdarbegovic, Technical Editor at Toptal
This abridged version was edited by Lynn Patra
TopTal has published numerous lifestyle posts encouraging people to give working remotely, or even the nomadic lifestyle, a try. We are a distributed team whose day-to-day operations involve much online communication between people in different time zones, working from home offices, co-working spaces, or holiday spots. We’re proof that remote work, for lack of a better word, works.
Researchers find that most remote workers are more productive than their office counterparts. Remote workers have fewer distractions, more flexible working hours, and less time commuting and preparing for work. No traffic jams, no office drama, and at face value, less stress. However, they are prone to burnout. Read more of this post
Over the years I’ve noticed personality psychology related posts are visited most frequently. So, I’ll expand on a popular, though cryptic, post on particular facets of the Big Five’s Conscientiousness scale and success in various professional contexts. Whereas that post explains in abstract terms, this one provides a concrete (and personal) example. With the lazy days of summer ahead, I’ll discuss that which seems impossible, or at least improbable, for those who live life in the slow lane – laid-back, Type B people with high achievements and financial comfort.
It stands to reason, as popular culture tells us, that hard-driving folks enjoy more fruit from their labor than their counterparts do. It might be hard to believe financial comfort is achievable for the latter if I didn’t have a source of inspiration, a family member that I’m nearly a carbon copy of personality-wise.
During my hiatus, I reassessed my endeavors. One of the joys of maturing involves reconciling lofty dreams that drive you with life’s realities. Dreams keep life from seeming bleak and boring though awareness of time passing by compels you to estimate your chances of achieving them. For instance, I too wish to discover some way, within my own capabilities, to avoid trading time for money. However, realizing I might be wasting time thinking about this, I settled on hope that perhaps someday I’ll have an epiphany (and then I’d share it with you).
However, there are practical steps I can take to decrease wasted time. I thought about what good, realistically, could come of efforts to present myself as a professional online. Like many issues in life, potential results depend on many variables. Some tips follow. Read more of this post
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.
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: Read more of this post
The next Better Collaboration video conferencing event on strategies for driving virtual workers’ productivity is coming up! The information that will be presented is geared towards organization leaders who’re interested in learning about the best tools and practices for virtual work arrangements. This event will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Standard Time/11:00am-12:00pm Pacific Standard Time. To register, please visit the Better Collaboration Meetup site. Details regarding this event follow: Read more of this post
Previously, we explored cultural as well as psychological and sociological factors determining receptivity to telework implementation in various regions of the world. As you may have guessed, there are still more angles to explore. Here I’ll discuss some societal structures that impact telework adoption as outlined in Growing the Virtual Workplace: The Integrative Value Proposition for Telework by Alain Verbeke, Nathan Greidanus, and Laura Hambley with support from the recently published Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. Read more of this post
More and more people find themselves conducting work on their own devices and at locations other than the centralized office building regardless of whether or not they are officially recognized as telecommuters by their employer. If you check around, you’ll find that many traditional 9-to-5 office workers find themselves working from home even after their 8-hour stint at the office is over. Yes, seriously! This is done in the attempt to “get some serious work done” – something they aren’t always able to do at the office thanks to all the distractions that come with sharing office space with others. As Lisa Duncan explains in this post, being “always on” puts workers at serious risk for burnout. She follows up by offering some excellent, practical tips on establishing boundaries between work and personal life. Read on for information that can improve your work-life or the work-life of someone you know!
With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to be commonplace in the workforce by 2017 according to a recent Gartnerreport, and our obsession with smartphones as this Business Insider report suggests, it is very easy to get burnt out with the “Always On” syndrome.
This syndrome is especially challenging for those who telework or who work from home.
You know what I’m talking about.
Sneaking those email messages when your kid is reading a book to you
Texting your brilliant idea to a colleague at 9:00 at night so you don’t forget it
Agreeing to take that 7pm call while picking your kid up from practice, just because you can with your bluetooth-enabled car
It is important to remember that burnout can come out of nowhere and hit you hard. But here are a three simple tricks you can implement to help avoid burnout from “Always On” syndrome.
If you haven’t yet participated in the “This or That? Work-Life Preferences” survey, then you may do so by clicking here! This survey is ongoing. Although just a handful of people have given voice to their preferences so far, these early results have taken me by surprise. I anticipated that there would be a diversity of preferences reflecting the diversity of participants themselves though. Some of the participants explained their choices to me through private messaging conversations which confirmed what I anticipated. The following are just some of the factors that impact people’s preferences. Read more of this post