Software

Everything You Should Know about Time Management and Productivity

Many of us frequently feel that we don’t waste time at all during office hours or at the workplace. In general, we come across a lot of people who say the same phrase “I was too busy.” But the fact is that we never ever actually count the number of working hours that we spent on those specific tasks.

The reason why I am saying this again and again is because, if we knew how much time we are actually spending on stuff is much less than the time we always thought we spent on those tasks, and there is a hell of a lot of scope for increasing our work productivity in a day to accomplish our targets in a faster and improvised way.

As someone once rightly said, “The first step toward change is awareness.”

If really you are aware how much time you spend on each of your daily duties or tasks, you can strive hard to increase your efficiency and productivity. Calculating tasks such as how much time you spend on completing a specific job or assignment will add up quickly. You need consciously be thinking how you will do this? Well, it’s simple. By deploying some kind of time management software or time tracking.

Time Management Software

Keeping a tab on time spent on the each and every job you did in a day is not building a satellite. All that you need is a good, efficient time tracking application that perfectly calculates the time you spend on each job. If you have a business that  based on employees’ working productivity then a time tracker system not only assists you in increasing productivity but also gives the encouragement to finish the given assignment within the stipulated timeframe.

This software will give you a good effect on your overall work productivity in a day. It keeps well-performing employees encouraged all the time so that they can keep themselves as good performing employees all the time.

In addition, it brings not-so-well performing employees to the organization’s attention. Management can then keep a track on them too. For instance, one of the team members may be finding difficultly with a particular job. You can help train them sufficiently so that they can perform their work better. If self-employed, you can introduce the training and professionalism to yourself to evolve into a developed business.

Track What’s is Essential

There’s no such thing that you cannot track by using this tracking application but also it is important to keep in mind that whether it is worth to track or not. Right from your resting time to your workout, you can track every little thing that you do in a day.

However, what you need to think about is whether tracking such things will help you in increasing your productivity or not? Personally, I am not a bit interested in knowing how much time I spend on some tasks or assignment at my office. So check what’s essential and track those things.

Transparency Matters

If you are a freelance professional and usually your work depends on per hour basis, then clients certainly would want to see how effectively you spend on each assignment or job. This is one of the hard things to not only explain to clients, but also trust issues come in the relationship if you are not utilizing a time tracking app.

Freelancers very frequently don’t get full credit may be because of their working style and sometimes it could be because clients think that they don’t spend enough time working on a particular project. So by deploying a time tracking software, you can send it as proof for how many hours you spent on each of their tasks and assignments.

Here are some of the essential things that may happen if you maintain this level of transparency.

— You don’t have to defend yourself. Your tracking software will speak for you. You shouldn’t have to do this, but you will have the information if you do have to prove it. Many companies have no idea how long some tasks should take. They assume it’s easy because they are not doing it and don’t know. 

Maybe you just want to push yourself and you can use time tracking to motivate yourself to be your best self, be faster—and make more money. And you’ll be able to see it.

— They may offer more business as you are making things easier on them.

— They may likely recommend your services to other businesses because they know how you work.

It Will Let You Grow Globally

Right from the day of inception of your business, you need to keep maintaining strong business processes such as time tracking invoice practices, etc. This is not just productivity wise, but the your entire business enhances efficiency and productivity more than you think. Whether your business is a freelancing type work or a business (Small or medium). In addition, you can utilize your data to make smart steps in your business and your systems to decrease the minimal errors that frequently take place in an administrative work.

Simplifies Your Client Billing Processes

No matter what kind of services you offer, whether it is web design or accountancy services, the number of working hours you generally spend on your clients’ work should actually let you generate revenue for your company.

You may be memorizing or copying the time spent on each assignment from your random notes. This will only make a loss for your business in some or the other way, but it takes copious amounts of time. Because most of the times, you either would be over calculating or under calculating the hours spent — and sometimes you lose the note you wrote on and then you can’t charge your client. A couple of those unfortunate events and you can lose a lot. 

See the Change for Yourself

Once you figure out after several months of time tracking, you can sit and analyze thoroughly those hours and see what can be changed. When I first tracked time of my tasks it was a complete unknown what the results would be. But once I knew what was going wrong, where I could improve and where I was spending more time — I was immediately able to change this for my own personal benefit.

Tracking time is as important as tracking your money. You will know the time all of your activities take. You will get a helpful data that gives you insights on various aspects and whether you really want to spend you valuable time in the ways you have been.

You will immediately see if you are making profit or loss. Find out the toughest projects that are giving you hard time so that you can know how much time ideally you should spend to get the desired results and what kind of niche you should interact with frequently.

I personally believe that the main hurdle that is stopping all of us from achieving a certain goal or dream can be solved in the finding of the correct amount of time to pursue them. As far as tracking time is concerned, it is an effective way to find out where your time is going and in which direction.

Let us know what methods you have used to help yourself in improving your work efficiency. Leave in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.

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LinkedIn data can predict how likely you are to quit, and it’s being sued to keep it public

LinkedIn is in a squabble with hiQ labs over its data.

LinkedIn has 500 million profiles online, an extraordinary wealth of information about the education and career paths of nearly 7% of all of humanity—and an absolute treasure trove for companies that build recruitment and human resources software. One of them is hiQ Labs, a startup that scrapes LinkedIn data to build an algorithm to predict whether employees will quit.

HiQ relies on the small portion of Linked profiles that are publicly available, and sells its products to employers looking to precent their best workers from jumping ship. It’s suing LinkedIn—now a unit of Microsoft—to ensure it keeps access to the data, a preemptive strike after LinkedIn sent hiQ a cease-and desist letter in May, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

LinkedIn says its data is proprietary, and says that hiQ violates hacking statutes by scraping its data. HiQ says LinkedIn is stretching the definition of the law, and is asking a federal judge to declare it has acted legally.

LinkedIn argues hiQ is violating the trust LinkedIn users place in the site. HiQ’s algorithm scours LinkedIn pages for profiles that have recently been updated, a sign that the person behind the profile may be looking for a new gig. “If LinkedIn members knew that hiQ was accessing and collecting their data in this manner, many would not update their profiles,” LinkedIn told the courts, according to the Journal

In an email to Quartz, hiQ CEO Mark Weidick said LinkedIn is trying to muscle into its business:

I’m a huge fan of the idea behind LinkedIn and always have been. I’ve been found, and found people, through the information we all choose to make public on LinkedIn. We understand LinkedIn wants to get into our business, and that’s fine. But LinkedIn is trying to illegally force out a smaller competitor so that they can have the business for themselves, plain and simple.

As social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook grow to gargantuan size, they’re attracting smaller companies that feed off them, like the remora that cling to the bellies of a great white shark. Often the parasite goes unnoticed, until it makes a pest of itself.

LinkedIn is in the odd position of arguing that web pages available to the public are not, in fact, public after a third party has figured out how to make money off them. It’s not unlike when Major League Baseball tried to declare that the statistics its players generated were its intellectual property, only after fantasy sports sites began to cash in on them.

In this case, it appears hiQ has discovered a useful application for LinkedIn’s data, but its scope is limited by having access to only 175,000 profiles. Given LinkedIn’s push into selling human-resource services to corporations, providing insight into the plans of employees is a smart business. Perhaps the solution is striking a deal with hiQ to give it access to the rest of the data for a fee, or perhaps LinkedIn should just buy it outright.

 


Read this next: LinkedIn thinks it can help find that mentor you always wanted

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Latest E-Invoicing Trends For Your Business In 2017

In a world where businesses are rapidly going global, E-Invoicing provides an efficient solution to several challenges ranging from taxes to compliance to late payments. Organizations across the world have begun adopting E-Invoicing now because of its obvious benefits.

What is E-Invoicing?

Simply put, an e-invoice is the electronic form of an invoice. It is a part of the electronic billing process. Electronic billing makes billing convenient for all the stakeholders involved.

In case of E-Invoicing, the invoice can be swiftly circulated among the stakeholders via email. Approvals happen faster and so do payments. Even if there are errors, they can be rectified easily and quickly. It not only saves a lot of time, but also expense in terms of paper and postage.

Latest Trends in E-Invoicing

1. Automation

In simple terms, E-Invoicing offers automation of the billing process. Automation of the process makes it more efficient. It simplifies the process of invoicing and requires far less resources. With automation the number of staff required to perform invoicing and billing can be significantly reduced. It leads to faster payments which in turn improves cash flow.

With faster payments, businesses can save precious time that is lost in chasing late payers through emails, phone calls, etc. As payments get delayed, secondary memos have to be generated with new invoices for a late payment surcharge. This can also be eliminated with e-invoices.

With the automatic changes in errors and better protection against frauds, it offers more financial security. Moreover, most of the E-Invoicing solutions also offer SSL (Secure Sockets Layers) encryption which adds an extra layer of security to the invoices.

Although paper invoices still rule, more and more businesses have come to realise the benefits of E-Invoicing and have started transitioning into Automated E-Invoicing processes.

2. Mobile Apps for E-Invoicing

As the trend for E-Invoicing continues to rise, another trend that has ushered in is E-Invoicing becoming mobile. Apps are becoming common for every function and invoicing is no exception. With the development of a mobile app, E-Invoicing will become further simplified providing instant access round-the-clock and from any location.

Many IT organizations are already putting their sweat and blood together to develop an app that enables businesses to submit tax documents using smart phones.

3. Moving to Cloud

We are rapidly headed towards a cloud-based world and invoicing isn’t far behind. Pretty soon, user access will be provided for E-Invoicing via cloud-based software or SaaS (Software as a Service). The cloud based invoicing software trend will allow users to access the invoicing data anytime and from anywhere just by using an internet connection.

It can also bring in automation in several tasks by the generation of payment reminders and scheduling of recurrent payments. There will also be a possibility of adding more features like digital wallets which will bring uniformity in the process.

The move to cloud will further reduce expenses, improve relationships with customers and streamline the cash flow.

4. Big Data comes into play

Several large companies and even tax authorities have shown keen interest in ramifying big data into E-Invoicing. With the implementation of big data, organizations will be able to make the most of data in the invoices. It will lead to better management of invoices and reduce tax fraud. It will also give better insights into consumer behavior.

5. Integration of Blockchain

Blockchain means recording each and every transaction happening using bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. Several industries are already using the concept behind blockchain for their transactions for the fact that it speeds up processes by eliminating third parties and makes transactions completely secure. Banking and finance industries could also tap the potential of blockchain and apply it to invoicing.

6. Unified Platform

While all these above trends bring their own advantages of improving accuracy, costs, and speed of the invoicing process, a unified platform can do a lot more. This trend is rapidly catching on.

With more and more businesses moving towards E-Invoicing, the invoicing services will be able to consolidate the market into a unified platform. It has begun with a few large vendors joining the move towards the evolving landscape of E-Invoicing.

In about 4 years, there will be a lot of promotion for a unified platform and market consolidation with E-Invoicing companies becoming global.

7. Global Acceptance of E-Invoicing

E-Invoicing is leading the world towards a real-time economy by providing accurate real time data which can be confidently used by businesses as well as governments. It offers instant access to information on various aspects of inbound and outbound invoices.

In fact, governments across the world are making E-Invoicing mandatory. It is expected that by 2018, the European Union and the US will have issued directives for making E-Invoicing mandatory in B2G processes.

There are already 14 million companies in EU alone, who have started using E-Invoicing and the volumes are expected to grow by 10-20% annually.

Latin America has surprisingly been in the lead in terms of E-Invoicing – with Brazil being at the top. Brazil has gone beyond B2G in applying E-Invoicing and applied it to personnel, inventory management, accounting etc.

Other Latin American countries like Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador too are not far behind. They are also taking initiatives to improve the existing scope of E-Invoicing. They are taking measures for the reduction of tax evasion and fraud through e-invoicing so that revenues can be maximized.

While North America and APAC (Asia-Pacific) regions have so far remained on the sidelines, they are expected to leap towards the trend of e-invoicing this year.

Bottom Line

The benefits of E-Invoicing are manifold. The only step that needs to be taken is its collaboration with third-parties.

It also needs to be in alignment with your business process and must have an efficient design. With evolving trends and new technology being developed, the issues of implementation can be easily addressed and it can lead to a bright future for your business.

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The scientific reason no one wants to see your PowerPoint presentation

Audiencs prefer animation in presentation software.

Hating PowerPoint is one of the society’s last acceptable prejudices.

The tedious PowerPoint slide deck has become a well-worn cliché of numbing office life, the communication equivalent of a jammed copy machine, and the program has been blamed for everything from dumbing down university education to crippling the US military.

There are lots of reasons PowerPoint, introduced by Microsoft in 1987, isn’t an ideal application for delivering information, but a big one is that its linear format isn’t designed for an audience raised on moving images.

When compared to Prezi, a cloud-based presentation startup that allows users to zoom in and out of a presentation, PowerPoint is less persuasive and less effective, according to a study from researchers at Harvard University and the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, California. (Note that the study was funded by Prezi, though it was published in PLOS One, an online peer-reviewed journal.)

The biggest difference between the two was the animation of a zoomable-user interface (ZUI)—a device similar to the zooming feature in Google Maps— which allows presenters to highlight details, then return to an index screen. While animations can be added to PowerPoint, they tend to be superfluous and distracting, while Prezi’s animated motion reinforces the message of the presentation.

Because the human brain process information both visually (using shapes and colors) and spatially (using location and distance, the researchers said, ZUI helps audiences by locating the information in a place, allowing them to mentally retrieve it later. (In memorization competitions, participants will create mental landscapes, and place “objects” throughout, then recall where they left them).

Audiences consistently prefer animated websites and advertisements over their static equivalents, the researchers said, and tend to rate presentations that use them more highly, regardless of content. “Because ZUI presentations are more engaging than slideshows, ZUI presentations and presenters are judged more positively than slideshows,” the researchers said.

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The fate of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was sealed in March

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick attends the summer World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, June 26, 2016.

Just a few months ago, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick “absolutely” had the full confidence of Uber’s board, according to director Arianna Huffington. Yesterday (June 20), he was forced out of the $70 billion company he founded, pressured by investors who found his leadership lacking.

Uber had numerous issues related to Kalanick’s leadership, including a sexist culture that resulted in allegations of harassment, a ruthless approach to expansion and labor relations that drew the ire of regulators and taxi unions globally, and the poaching of a former Google executive that led to a lawsuit from Alphabet over allegedly stolen technology.

All those issues—and more—led to a slowing of business and put the company’s prospects for an initial public offering in jeopardy. Investors, including Benchmark,​ Menlo Ventures, Lowercase Capital, First Round Capital, and Fidelity Investments had had enough and decided to push Kalanick out, the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall). Kalanick, 40 years old, had already opted to take an indefinite leave to mourn the sudden death of his mother in a boating accident that also critically injured his father on Pine Flat Lake in California in late May.

But the first public sign that Kalanick was on his way out came in March, with that “full confidence” remark. Historically, whenever a CEO, or a board—or your own boss—says publicly that they have full confidence in an executive, that marks them for firing, executive coaches and recruiters have long observed.

In June of 2011, Yahoo’s board stated they had “full confidence” in Carol Bartz as CEO. In September, she was fired over the phone by Yahoo’s chairman, Roy Rostock, one of the company’s co-founders. On July 25, 2010, BP publicly stated that Tony Hayward, the CEO famous for running the company during the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill, “has the full support of the board,” only to announce the next day that US BP chief Bob Dudley would take over; Hayward had been still negotiating his severance package.

Even in government, such statements read as career death knells. On Feb. 13 this year, Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway told MSNBC that then-national security advisor Michael Flynn enjoyed the “full confidence of the president.” Flynn was toast the next day. Whenever a boss says, ” ‘You have my full confidence,’ I often advise the person to update their resume,” Dee Soder, managing partner of the CEO Perspective Group in New York, which advises top executives, told Quartz. Such statements are often made publicly by sports team owners about losing coaches, says Randi Melnick, an employment lawyer in New York. “Those are red flags,” she says. “One more losing season and the coach does not have their confidence any more.”

For Kalanick, Huffington’s full-confidence statement was followed by a devastating report from an outside legal firm documenting numerous problems with the company’s ethics, culture, and business practices. And with that, the last whiff of investors’ confidence evaporated.

Read next: When your boss asks if you want to stay in your job, he’s saying, “You’re fired!”

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5 Moves You May Not Have Considered for Your Tech Startup

Startups are known for the speed at which they convert an idea into a viable product. That is the exciting part. This bigger picture tends to eclipse the part where founders have to deal with day-to-day operational issues. But this part matters, too.

With so much ground to cover between conceiving an idea and launching your product into the market, you might have only considered these five things in passing, or not at all:

Working with a developer using the hybrid model

If you aren’t a developer, you’ll need to find someone else to help you turn your idea into a product. But should you hire or outsource this talent? Having in-house developers has its advantages, chief of which is working with the same member or team during iteration.

However, it can deplete your funds more quickly.

The hybrid model lets you hire developers on contract from an outsourcing agent or partner. You can manage the developers directly, pay them for the period agreed on, and choose not to renew the contract if the first version of the product fails. This model allows you to avoid obligations you aren’t ready to meet, including a monthly salary and employee benefits.

Finding unlikely co-founders in your support group

In other words, delay finding a co-founder. That is if you’re down to searching for interesting candidates on Google Search. If this is the case, then you might not have the right kind of relationship yet. Doing it alone seems to go against conventional wisdom in building startups. But it’s the same wisdom that says you and your partner should invest equally in the project. 

At this point, you are better off with your existing support group. Some startup founders stress the importance of having a spouse, partner, or best friend who can provide you with emotional support during hard times. Chances are you can rely on the feedback from someone close, too. You’d want someone who won’t mince words when your test product isn’t living up to its promise.

Protecting the source code

It is likely that licensees will attempt to request access to the source code and other materials critical to maintaining the software. Without the raw code, they have no guarantee that they can still use or profit from your product should you go out of business. On your end, keeping it secret is about protecting your intellectual property. It can be damaging to your business to let it fall into the wrong hands.

It is best to set up a source code escrow to mitigate risk on either end. In this case, a neutral third party holds the escrow materials and releases them to the licensee if and when a mutually-agreed-upon event occurs. As the vendor, you will gain the confidence of your licensees without losing control over your product.

Offer software as a service

Software vendors are not exempt from the effects of human nature. There exist elements that take others’ digital property without permission. They are freeloaders in a world of hustlers. It’s good to be aware of the threats.

Purchase-and-download product packages are more prone to piracy. These days, most startups feel more secure when they offer software as a service. Through the subscription model, they provide clients packages each with a range of features from simple to advanced. Clients need to enter their credit card credentials to complete a transaction, so the chances of theft are slim to none.

Having insurance for your business

Investing in insurance is a prudent move for anyone who’s starting a business for several reasons. There are several reasons and types of insurance to consider. You may take on a “key person” insurance for employees whose skill sets are very important to your startup. You may also choose to get protected from a potential liability claim. The insurance is useful in situations such as when a client files a suit against you because your product did not perform according to your intentions. (Yes, this has happened.)

 Conclusion

The things pointed out here are supposed to help you avoid mistakes that might cost you not only your money but also your startup. So choose well.

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For programmers, the ultimate office perk is avoiding the office entirely

Programmers are most likely to work from home

Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, Basecamp, BlueJeans. Over the past decade, designers and engineers have invented dozens of new tools to keep us connected to the office without actually going there. Unsurprisingly, those same engineers have been among the first to start using them in large numbers. More programmers are working from home than ever and, among the most experienced, some are even beginning to demand it.

In 2015, an estimated 300,000 full-time employees in computer science jobs worked from home in the US. (This figure also includes related professions such as actuaries and statisticians, but the vast majority are programmers.) Although not the largest group of remote employees in absolute numbers, that’s about 8% of all programmers, which is a significantly larger share than in any other job category, and well above the average for all jobs of just under 3%.

These numbers are not easy to find. Quartz analyzed data from the US census, the American Community Survey, and the American Time Use Survey to estimate how many full-time employees work from home, what jobs they do, and how much time they spend in their home office instead of the office office. We excluded self-employed workers from this analysis, to focus exclusively on the home-working habits of the wage-earning workforce.

Programmers not only work from home more often than other employees, when they do they are more likely to work all day at home. From 2012 to 2015, the average full-time programmer who worked from home said they spent an average of five and a half hours doing so. That’s an 92% increase in the average time spent at home from 2003 to 2005, and nearly double the average for all jobs.

For many programmers, the attractions of working from home are obvious. I’m one of them—I wrote the code for this analysis—and I know all too well the intense concentration required to engineer good solutions to complex problems, as well as the productivity-wrecking frustration of being interrupted mid-flow. Working from home, assuming one can maintain a certain discipline, offers a tranquility seldom found in an office.

Technology companies, used to luring job candidates with office gyms and free meals, must now contend with an increasing number of candidates who don’t want to come to the office at all. In a survey conducted in January by popular programmer website Stack Overflow, 53% of programmers ranked remote work as one of their five most valued benefits. That’s more than chose healthcare, working hours, or professional development.

Hiring managers appear to be coming to terms with this, at least for employees with enough clout to negotiate aggressively. The number of programmers who work full-time from home has been growing at an average rate of 11.5% per year over the past decade, but this growth isn’t evenly distributed. According to the Stack Overflow data, better paid and more experienced programmers tend to be the ones who want to work from home, and they are also the ones most likely to be given the opportunity. (There’s another reason managers might be increasingly keen to allow employees to work from home: They want to join them. Managers are single largest group of remote workers in the US.)

 The movement of well-paid professionals out of the office could have broad social and political impacts. It’s unclear if these trends extend beyond the United States. National statistics in other countries are generally not as detailed nor as consistent as those in the US, making direct comparisons tricky. Most available data seem to suggest that working from home is less popular in most European countries, but even more popular in fast-growing economies like China, India, and Indonesia.

The movement of well-paid professionals out of the office could have broad social and political impacts. As a remote worker myself, I’ve brought my coastal salary to a small city in Eastern Texas. I personally know two other remote programmers in similar situations around here. For now the numbers are modest, but they provide a hypothetical path to reversing the intense wealth concentration that has made places like San Francisco and New York City unlivable for most Americans.

It may also just be more humane. Remote workers report being happier and more productive. Stack Overflow found programmers who always work from home are about 11% more satisfied with their jobs than those who never do. (This could also be because they tend to be more experienced and better paid.)

That said, working from home has many critics. Silicon Valley standard-bearers Facebook and Google discourage it. IBM recently announced it was telling thousands of remote employees to return to the office. Still, those companies’ qualms don’t appear to affect programmers’ rising enthusiasm for working from home.

The R code written for this analysis, as well as methodological notes, are published on Github.

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Jeremy WebbFor programmers, the ultimate office perk is avoiding the office entirely
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For programmers, the ultimate office perk is avoiding the office entirely

Programmers are most likely to work from home

Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, Basecamp, BlueJeans. Over the past decade, designers and engineers have invented dozens of new tools to keep us connected to the office without actually going there. Unsurprisingly, those same engineers have been among the first to start using them in large numbers. More programmers are working from home than ever and, among the most experienced, some are even beginning to demand it.

In 2015, an estimated 300,000 full-time employees in computer science jobs worked from home in the US. (This figure also includes related professions such as actuaries and statisticians, but the vast majority are programmers.) Although not the largest group of remote employees in absolute numbers, that’s about 8% of all programmers, which is a significantly larger share than in any other job category, and well above the average for all jobs of just under 3%.

These numbers are not easy to find. Quartz analyzed data from the US census, the American Community Survey, and the American Time Use Survey to estimate how many full-time employees work from home, what jobs they do, and how much time they spend in their home office instead of the office office. We excluded self-employed workers from this analysis, to focus exclusively on the home-working habits of the wage-earning workforce.

Programmers not only work from home more often than other employees, when they do they are more likely to work all day at home. From 2012 to 2015, the average full-time programmer who worked from home said they spent an average of five and a half hours doing so. That’s an 92% increase in the average time spent at home from 2003 to 2005, and nearly double the average for all jobs.

For many programmers, the attractions of working from home are obvious. I’m one of them—I wrote the code for this analysis—and I know all too well the intense concentration required to engineer good solutions to complex problems, as well as the productivity-wrecking frustration of being interrupted mid-flow. Working from home, assuming one can maintain a certain discipline, offers a tranquility seldom found in an office.

Technology companies, used to luring job candidates with office gyms and free meals, must now contend with an increasing number of candidates who don’t want to come to the office at all. In a survey conducted in January by popular programmer website Stack Overflow, 53% of programmers ranked remote work as one of their five most valued benefits. That’s more than chose healthcare, working hours, or professional development.

Hiring managers appear to be coming to terms with this, at least for employees with enough clout to negotiate aggressively. The number of programmers who work full-time from home has been growing at an average rate of 11.5% per year over the past decade, but this growth isn’t evenly distributed. According to the Stack Overflow data, better paid and more experienced programmers tend to be the ones who want to work from home, and they are also the ones most likely to be given the opportunity. (There’s another reason managers might be increasingly keen to allow employees to work from home: They want to join them. Managers are single largest group of remote workers in the US.)

 The movement of well-paid professionals out of the office could have broad social and political impacts. It’s unclear if these trends extend beyond the United States. National statistics in other countries are generally not as detailed nor as consistent as those in the US, making direct comparisons tricky. Most available data seem to suggest that working from home is less popular in most European countries, but even more popular in fast-growing economies like China, India, and Indonesia.

The movement of well-paid professionals out of the office could have broad social and political impacts. As a remote worker myself, I’ve brought my coastal salary to a small city in Eastern Texas. I personally know two other remote programmers in similar situations around here. For now the numbers are modest, but they provide a hypothetical path to reversing the intense wealth concentration that has made places like San Francisco and New York City unlivable for most Americans.

It may also just be more humane. Remote workers report being happier and more productive. Stack Overflow found programmers who always work from home are about 11% more satisfied with their jobs than those who never do. (This could also be because they tend to be more experienced and better paid.)

That said, working from home has many critics. Silicon Valley standard-bearers Facebook and Google discourage it. IBM recently announced it was telling thousands of remote employees to return to the office. Still, those companies’ qualms don’t appear to affect programmers’ rising enthusiasm for working from home.

The R code written for this analysis, as well as methodological notes, are published on Github.

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For these Microsoft workers charged with verifying images of child porn, the strain is too much

Microsodt is being sued by employees who claim they have PTSD after scanning child pornography

After screening thousands of images and videos of child pornography, a pair of Microsoft employees claim they are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the BBC, Henry Soto and Greg Blauert were responsible for verifying the content of that images flagged as potentially illegal. The two worked for Microsoft’s online safety team, which was responsible for checking images surfaced by software or reported as offensive, and forwarding illegal ones to the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In a lawsuit against the company, they allege Microsoft did little to prepare them for their jobs, and offered little support after they struggled with the demands of their job, which Microsoft denies. The software giant also tried to make the work easier by manipulating the images to make them less graphic, the BBC said. The photos are blurred, rendered in black and white and shown only in thumbnail sizes. Audio is removed from video.

Still, the two men had trouble coping.

Blauert had a mental breakdown in 2013, according to their complaint, and Soto said he suffered panic attacks, depression, hallucinations, and had trouble spending time with children, including his son. The men said Microsoft minimized their complaints, suggesting they take a walk or play video games to take their minds of it, and told them if they wanted to transfer, they would have to apply for a new job.

Microsoft has rejected Soto and Blauert’s claims. The company said it acknowledges the difficulty of the job and that the employees had access to mental-health professionals and an individual wellness plan to “ensure those who handle this material have the resources and support they need,” a spokesman told Quartz.

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Jeremy WebbFor these Microsoft workers charged with verifying images of child porn, the strain is too much
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Companies are automating performance reviews so that millennials get the constant feedback they crave

Millenials love feedback.

Annual performance reviews were not built for employees who want regular feedback, and perhaps that’s one reason they’re going out of style. Accenture, Adobe, Deloitte, Microsoft, and General Electric have all abandoned the yearly ritual.

The emphasis now is on “continuous feedback” systems. For instance, SAP SuccessFactors, a performance-review software product used by 60,000 companies and 45 million workers, added a feature in February for “ongoing one-on-one check-ins between employees and managers.”

Startups like Lattice, TinyPulse, and Zugata take the concept to the extreme with quick reviews that are often meant to be completed every week and sometimes coordinated automatically. TinyPulse CEO David Niu, whose customers include Facebook and IBM, promised that a new product launched in February would capture “all the real-time data people crave to measure performance, all while keeping it fun.” By fun, he meant, for instance, that managers and employees can assess progress on their goals with a Tinder-like swipe-to-rate system.

Zugata, which is used at more than 500 firms including the ride-hailing company Lyft, analyzes employee communication on project-management platforms, emails, and chat apps like Slack to figure out who works closely together so that it can coordinate weekly peer reviews. Coworkers then evaluate each other by flipping through a virtual flash-card deck and rating their colleagues on a series of skills (options include “rocking it” or “getting there”).

Based on the assessments, Zugata sends the employees materials they can use to improve in the areas where they’re lagging, though the focus overall is on positive feedback.

It’s tempting to blame (or credit) the frequent feedback trend on coddled young people who won too many “good try” trophies throughout their youth soccer careers or who, as Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson recently put it, “grew up with the internet [and] just expect quick feedback on things.”

While millennials now make up the largest generation in the US workforce, Zugata CEO Srinivas Krishnamurti pushes back on the idea that the need more for more frequent, positive feedback is a millennial-only concern. “When we started the company, that was one of our assumptions,” he said. But “I don’t necessarily buy that it’s a new thing or a millennial thing. Everything is moving much faster. I think that this is just one thing that hasn’t kept up with everything else that’s moving in our lives.”

Indeed, research shows that annual reviews are hated by almost everybody, and may actually hurt performance.

A survey of companies by Deloitte in 2015 suggested that performance-rating systems themselves are under review far and wide, with 90% of respondents saying they had updated their systems in the previous 18 months, were currently evaluating them, or planned to review them over the next 18 months.

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Jeremy WebbCompanies are automating performance reviews so that millennials get the constant feedback they crave
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