Person on video call holding dog in lap and waving its paw says, “And now, Miss Fuzzwuggles will take us through third-quarter financials.”
Person on video call holding dog in lap and waving its paw says, “And now, Miss Fuzzwuggles will take us through third-quarter financials.”

When a video call goes wrong, it pays to have a plan for making it right.

When you’re working from home, video calls are your lifeline to the office. When you’re working from the office, video calls are the way you stay in touch with colleagues who are out of the office that day. Either way, a video call that goes wrong can blow a hole in your day ー which is why we’re here to help.

1. You can’t connect to the call.

You click the meeting link when it’s time for your conference to begin and….nothing. Your app fails to launch, or it launches and hangs, or it launches and tries to connect but fails.

How to recover: Don’t try to…


Woman alone in office, looking at giant video call with 16 colleagues, says, “It’s great to be back in the office so we can all meet face-to-face!”
Woman alone in office, looking at giant video call with 16 colleagues, says, “It’s great to be back in the office so we can all meet face-to-face!”

How to thrive in remote+office hybrid

This post was written with my Remote, Inc. co-author, Robert C. Pozen.

The office is reopening, but you’re more productive working from home.

Splitting your week between home and office sounds great…until it comes to figuring out which days will actually give you the collaboration time you need at work, and the quiet time you need at home.

You’re managing a team that will split the week between work and home — but you need to get everyone in sync and working effectively together.

Welcome to the new hybrid workplace. After a year in which many of us plunged into…


Illustration: Simo Liu

Guide To Google Drive

The ultimate self-improvement tool is something you already have

I’m a little intense about Google Drive.

Through years of hyper-organized experimentation with the suite of apps that includes Sheets and Docs, I’ve developed systems to streamline and simplify, well, pretty much everything in my life. Grocery shopping. Holiday gift-buying. Parenting. Financial planning. My freelance project ideas. Even my love life!

Is your Google Drive doing all it can for you? Maybe you just use it to store files, or as free writing software. But it can do so much more. …


The real secret to online collaboration doesn’t lie in the software

Every year, my experience of remote work changes dramatically from winter to spring. In the fall and winter, I lead a relatively independent existence as a freelance tech writer and researcher. That pace changes when it comes time to rejoin the team at Sprinklr, where for the past four years I’ve been the data journalist on their annual partnership to develop the Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs list, which came out last week.

The experience of working on this project always leads me to reflect on the differences between solo and collaborative remote work, but never more so than this…


Go to bed angry, appreciate each other out loud, and other lessons

Photo of a couple lying on opposite sides of the couch.
Photo of a couple lying on opposite sides of the couch.
Photo: Fuse/Getty Images

Co-authored by Rob Cottingham

It’s our 20th wedding anniversary. This feels like both a blessing and an achievement, and we wanted to celebrate by sharing what we’ve learned — and what we’ve recognized in retrospect — about how to make a marriage work over the long haul.

The truth is, happiness in marriage is largely a function of choosing the right person in the first place. (It tells you a lot about our compatibility that we both thought that writing a marriage guide would be a fun way to spend our anniversary.) …


‘In the anxiety of this moment, I deeply appreciate the calm and resilience I’ve found since changing the way I eat.’

Close up of unrecognizable woman cracking an egg for breakfast while putting it in a frying pan.
Close up of unrecognizable woman cracking an egg for breakfast while putting it in a frying pan.
Photo: skynesher/E+/Getty Images

Normally, having an article of mine tweeted by Bernie Sanders would have been all I could talk about. But on the day it happened, my doctor told me something that made the career high pale in comparison: “I’ve never had any patient stay on a low-carb diet this long.”

That was six months ago; I’ve now passed the two-year mark as a strict adherent of the ketogenic diet. Originally used as a treatment for epilepsy, keto (as it’s commonly known) involves cutting out virtually all carbohydrates and instead eating a moderate-protein, high-fat diet so that your metabolism flips from burning…


How to organize your news consumption, social media interaction and pandemic engagement so you don’t melt down

I know I’m usually the person telling everyone to spend MORE time on social media, but right now, I want to offer some different advice. Like a lot of folks, I’ve really struggled to find some kind of mental health equilibrium, and find myself gripped by intermittent, intense anxiety — not so much for our own personal situation but for the larger world.

But I’ve found three strategies that have made a huge difference for me, so I want to share them. Here’s the short version:

  1. News consumption: Choose two or three sources you will look at once a day…


What I learned from building a COVID-19 support site

Last weekend, I did a really stupid thing. Like, the kind of thing that people actually pay good money for me to tell them not to do.

It didn’t seem like a stupid thing at the time, of course. On Friday night, I simply noticed that some people had started a “Vancouver Mutual Aid” spreadsheet in order to share offers of help and support within the community, and I was totally inspired by their vision of people just doing whatever they could to help out during the COVID-19 crisis. …


How to deal with COVID-19-induced social distancing without getting too… socially distanced

Photo: MoMo Productions/Getty Images

“Social distancing” has abruptly become a buzzword. In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, public officials are telling us to stay away from group gatherings, work from home if possible, avoid any unnecessary travel, and generally limit our comings and goings.

All this solitude is a big adjustment if you’re used to riding a packed bus to get to the bustling office, and then heading to a crowded gym for a workout before meeting up with friends at a busy restaurant. Overnight, we’ve gone from a world in which a jam-packed calendar is a status symbol, to one…


crowded swimming pool
crowded swimming pool
Photo: Newtown Grafitti, Flickr

A Canadian lesson on coping with COVID-19

Hello American friends and family,

I want to let you know what’s happening up here in British Columbia on the COVID-19 front. We now have 53 cases (in a province of 5 million) but the province is doing an extraordinary job of communication and case management.

Crucial to containment efforts, there is a lot of coronavirus testing: We’ve tested at least 2,008 people compared to 2,747 in Ontario, a province with nearly three times the population. I truly feel there is no jurisdiction in North America that is doing a better job of managing the crisis.

As of today…

Alexandra Samuel

Author, Remote Inc: How To Thrive at Work…Wherever You Are. Tech speaker. Writer & data journalist for Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review & more.

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