Unearthing the root cause behind our collective meeting burnout

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“Too many meetings!”

Whether you’re working from home or from the office, the complaint is the same. It’s not just a matter of Zoom fatigue — though yes, online meetings are more exhausting than in-person meetings. It’s that we’ve taken a business culture that was already overloaded with meetings, and piled on even more, as if a never-ending series of individual and group calls can somehow make up for the loss of conversations that used to happen spontaneously at the office.

This is not a problem we can cure by simply returning to the central workplace, or by paring our…

An “always on” existence can be extremely draining

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When you work where you live, the effort to separate work life from personal life can feel like a bit of a performance: You’re hiding your PJs under a professional blazer, or throwing a green screen in front of your household mess. That’s why I’m going to take some inspiration from show business, and suggest six tactics you can use to create a bit more separation between work and home.

Make like Mister Rogers

Just as Mister Rogers made a ritual of changing from a jacket to a cardigan at the beginning of each episode, my grandmother had an end-of-day ritual of changing out…

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Many of us experience remote work as an assault on work-life balance. How do you draw a line between work and home when your living room is also your workplace?

In my last post I offered five principles for reframing the way you think about work and home — including the important idea that you can aim for work-life integration rather than work-life balance. Here are 6 tactics for putting that into practice:

1. Ask for help.

Look for opportunities to engage your kids, partner, friends or roommates in your working life. (Just take care not to violate any confidentiality agreements!) Maybe your kids can help illustrate your PowerPoint decks, earn extra allowance with a tedious data entry task, or give you a young person’s perspective on a new product or marketing campaign. Perhaps…

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How do you draw a line between work and home when your work is at home? This is one of the biggest pain points with remote work. What starts out as a quick after-dinner email check-in turns into an expectation that you’ll deal with after-hours emails every night; what begins as a one-time weekend sprint to deadline turns into an ongoing habit of 7-day work weeks.

To keep work from overtaking your entire life, you need big-picture mental shifts and nitty-gritty tactics. Let’s start with the big picture.

Focus on results, not office hours.

The more you can structure your work around specific goals and priorities…

How working from home aligns your work with what matters most

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How can remote work bring our working lives into alignment with our personal goals, our most important relationships, and our larger sense of purpose?

That’s the question I found myself mulling one year ago, on the eve of my 49th birthday.

I tend to have my major birthday crises a year ahead of schedule, and last year was no different: I was already thinking about where I should focus my energies for the next decade.

I was also mourning the loss of the long-held dream of publishing a book before I turned 50: Since it typically takes a couple of…

A game plan for injecting social interaction into your days

Credit: Getty Images

One of the worst things about office work is also one of the best: You’re constantly interacting with your colleagues. Those interactions can be distracting, time consuming, and frustrating ー especially if you’re deep in thought when someone pops their head into your office, or interrupts your reverie as you’re pouring a cup of coffee in the kitchen. But they also ensure you stay connected to your co-workers, keep you at least vaguely aware of what they’re each working on, and help prevent life from getting lonely or dull.

Work from home, and you experience the reverse boon and bane…

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…

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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