Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Tag Archives: Health

Things To Watch Out For While Working Remotely: Addressing Burnout with Nermin Hajdarbegovic [Abridged]

Submitted by Irene Papuc of Toptal

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

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.

Read more of this post

Cultivating an Anti-Victim Mentality in Times of Adversity

Anxiety and fear experienced after a layoff or during a period of unemployment can lead to a couple of different outcomes when it comes to finding work. Negative emotional states serve a purpose as they compel people to take action in order to alleviate themselves of discomfort. Some are successful in achieving their goal of landing another job. For others however, that very anxiety sabotages efforts to do so. 

In contrast, those who are naturally less anxious exhibit stoicism in the face of a layoff or unemployment period. Stoicism can lead to different outcomes as well. One outcome is that, since you don’t feel like anything is terribly wrong, you’re able to go on and enjoy your life during the “down” times. However, at some point, someone close to you will say, “Why aren’t you panicking and stressing out?! What’s wrong with you?!” and then you realize so much time flew by as you didn’t experience a lot of internal pressure to do anything about your circumstances. On the other hand, it is an advantage to come across as someone who is confident when you finally decide to do something about your circumstances. Read more of this post

A typical day with misophonia

Imagine what it’s like to be forced to endure the typical office environment when you have misophonia (selective sound sensitivity syndrome). It’s a neurological disorder whose prevalence is unknown and for which there is no known cure. However, it’s regarded as more common than previously thought.

To an extent I know what it’s like as the high-pitched sounds of certain yappy little dog breeds never fail to drive me into a hulk-like rage. However, the sounds of the usual light-hearted social chatter that happens throughout the day in an office setting (pleasant though the subject matter often is) are not just wearying to me as an introvert. At the end of each day, I notice an indescribable internal pain which is relieved only by silence.

I find that long-term use of ear plugs or having to blast sounds one prefers to hear in order to block out other sounds isn’t the way to go for health-related reasons. Those who follow my blog know what I’m about to say. This is yet another reason to grant workers more control over their working environments. If providing isolated offices isn’t a viable alternative due to the price tag associated with space then a remote work arrangement may be the answer.

Read “A typical day with misophonia” to discover how different someone else’s experience of typical work environments can be. This post by Emlyn Altman also provides an excellent description of what it’s like to have misophonia and endure the sounds in the typical workplace.

Haunted by everyday noises

Disclaimer: Suffering exists in this world in many different forms. On this blog, I will share what it is like to live with misophonia. I have loved ones with cancer. Loved ones with crippling addictions and other sturggles. I am in no way saying that my life is worse than anyone else’s. Life can be a challenge for every creature on this planet, and my story is just one example of that.

Today I went to work. As I walked out my front door, I checked once more that I had at least one pair of earplugs on me. As I got on the subway, I made sure my iPod was blasting music. I sat down to notice a woman facing my direction on the car was chewing gum. I looked down at my lap to avoid seeing her chomp down over and over again. Soon it was my stop…

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Why I Stay Up Late and 3 Reasons You Should Too [Satire]

young Long-eared owl (Asio otus), surroundings...

To begin with, I’d like to make sure readers know that one of my strongest personal convictions is, “It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round.” I respect morning and night people equally. Really, I don’t care whether someone goes to sleep early and wakes up early or goes to sleep late and wakes up late. That said, for the past week I found this post, Why I Wake Up Early and 3 Reasons You Should Too by CNBC Correspondent Julia Boorsin, along with responses to it very amusing. Surely there is a lot of truth to this as many “morning larks” seem to agree. However, if you are a true “night owl” then this may not square with your experiences. Secondly, I’m well aware that the word “should” can get you in so much trouble with people and want to make it clear at the outset that I don’t think it’s healthy to be functioning in a way that is unsustainable in the long-term. So don’t take this post too seriously!

Without further ado, and out of fairness, here are my words of support for night owls! Why I stay up late and 3 reasons you “should” <rolls eyes> too: Read more of this post

Living With or Leaving the 9-to-5 Lifestyle?

Many of you are already familiar with the living-for-the-weekend mindset and with how fleeting weekends seem to be. As soon as another weekend creeps up, it’ll soon be over and you’ll be dreading Monday all over again. For those who experience an intense level of anxiety and stress on Sunday nights, the following tips and coping strategies may be worth trying:

To those suggestions, I’d add: Try to keep the situation in perspective. Indeed, there are worse life situations to be in, and there are plenty of people out there who have it much worse. However, the question of whether you should focus on accepting the situation or trying to break free and create a work-life that you have more control over is a personal one. Some questions you can ask yourself to clarify if making a break for freedom is for you: Read more of this post

“You’re like that stubborn mule who moves forward when you want her to back up and backs up when you want her to move forward.” This was a recent remark about my contrarian mindset by a long time friend who is one of the few privy to my deepest nature. Indeed, I’ve often dealt with social pressure to go along with a group by digging in my heels and doing the opposite of what’s desired just because I find social pressure odious. I’ve managed to stifle this part of myself at work so successfully that I can’t think of anyone who would suspect that I’m not the “cooperative team player” type. Due to the social undesirability issue, it takes guts to admit this as bloggers like Bruce Byfield noted. However, as his blog post explains, when you dig deep and think about how weaknesses are also strengths it becomes evident that there really is an appropriate place, a role, for each and every person in the world of work… even if you’re not a cooperative team player!

Also, check out what these other writers have to say on this subject!

I’m Not a Good Team Player… And That’s a Good Thing

Why hearing “you are not a team player” isn’t such a bad thing

It’s Okay Not Being a Team Player

Off the Wall

OK, I confess: I am not a team player – at least, not in the sense that the expression is usually used around an office.

This admission is so burdened with nasty connotations that finding the courage to make it has taken most of my adult life. Nobody ever says so in as many words, but the implication is that something is wrong with you if you are not a team player.

In an office setting, not being a team player means that you are uncooperative, unwilling to make sacrifices for the sake of the company for which you work, and probably first in line to be fired. It suggests that something is deeply wrong with you, and that maybe you have other nasty habits as well.

In many ways, the usage reminds me of the admonition by a crowd to be a good sport. In both cases, the implication…

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Boredom at work is one issue that many people I’ve encountered don’t take seriously. Some have even asked me, “How can you be bored when you have so many repetitive tasks to do all day?” The answer is explained very well in a post by Alex Hagan. This post contrasts the roots of boredom with the roots of anxiety at work. The issue of establishing a work environment that would facilitate engagement and the experience of “flow” is also discussed alongside an interesting look at how the typical environment at Las Vegas casinos is designed to keep people immersed in activity there.

Strategic Workforce Planning

Does Las Vegas have anything to teach Employers about employee engagement?

I’ve recently been reading about “flow”, a state of extreme focus and productivity – and the lengths that Las Vegas casinos will go to in encouraging it.  This got me thinking about how Flow could be applied to the workplace, and whether Las Vegas has anything to teach employers about it.

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