How to Balance Your Remote Work with Your Personal Life

February 15, 2019 / in Blog, Job Happiness, Remote Workers, / by number8

At first glance, working from home can sound like a dream come true. After all, who doesn’t want to stay in their pajamas, run to the gym in the middle of the day, or sip on a latte while you work from the coffee shop down the street? However, as you settle in, it can be more and more difficult to prevent your work from bleeding into your personal time. And when the work is on your laptop rather than at your office building, it can be hard to put down.  When it comes to preventing burnout and creating a healthy separation, it’s all about the habits you create for yourself. Here are 3 tips to help you tow the line for a better work life balance:

1. Create Your Own Workspace

Instead of moving from room to room throughout the day, dedicate a specific space to work in. If you need to get out for a change of pace, go to an internet cafe. This way you don’t find yourself being interrupted if others are in the home with you, or distracted by household chores and the TV. It's best for example, to leave the bed and the couch off limits. Setting these kinds of physical boundaries will help you enjoy spending time in these spaces more because they won't be associated with work. 

2. Take the Time to Get Ready

Put the pajamas down. We promise you will feel better and more confident about your work if you dress for the part. Getting ready for work, even when you don't plan on leaving the house has been proven to help remote workers stay focused. Not to mention, you'll be less likely to shy away from the last minute video call if you look presentable. 

3. Break up the Day

If you find yourself going all day without ever leaving the room, it's time to build in some breaks. Segregating chunks of the day by tasks and then setting little rewards for yourself can help you stay productive and meet those all too necessary deadlines. Everyone needs to get outside, move and interact with others in person from time to time. Additionally, having a somewhat set of office hours can be helpful in making sure that when you're supposed to be spending time with family, you actually are. While this can be difficult if you're working with others in a different time zone, it's imperative to enjoying your down time fully, especially given you don't have the transition that comes with a commute. At Number 8, we help companies connect with qualified remote employees to help with software development. We also focus on helping companies improve their internal IT processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

6 Tips for Keeping & Motivating Your Employees

February 7, 2019 / in Blog, Job Happiness, / by number8

Building a good team is hard, keeping it intact and running full speed ahead can be even harder. As employee retention rates drop across all industries, getting the most out of one's team, while ensuring they're all satisfied with their jobs and invested in the outcome of the business is becoming quite the balancing act.   Because every person is unique in what drives them, taking advantage of multiple strategies is key. Here are 6 techniques to keeping a team focused, happy and inspired.

1. Make time for everyone.

While team meetings are worthwhile in their own right, nothing is as effective as individual attention and feedback. Routinely speaking with each and every team member helps to build a sense of accountability and allows for mentor ship when needed. Everyone wants to feel as if they are contributing something worthwhile. It can help immensely to recognize a team member's work and show them how their efforts are being utilized. 

2. Provide opportunities for growth.

One of the biggest reasons employees leave is a lack of advancement. Even employees who come in feeling ambitious and excited may start to look elsewhere if their role has no evolution, the company doesn't promote from within or they're not being challenged enough. Growth can come in many forms. Sometimes it's as simple as bestowing a team member with more autonomy, new responsibilities, or additional training. Allowing staff to innovate and take ownership of their tasks often means they are inspired to go the extra step. 

3. Cultivate an open office environment. 

When it comes to making people happy and getting the job done, communication is king. Creating a culture of openness means employees are more likely to speak up and be proactive about potential problems because they feel comfortable doing so. In an office where everyone feels that their perspective is valued, it's easier as a leader to meet the needs of a team and fulfill project requirements. 

4. Lead by example.

Employees, good and bad, tend to look to their superiors when it comes to work ethic and office habits. In order to instill job satisfaction and motivate one's team to achieve great results, those in leadership positions need to exemplify the kind of behavior they believe it takes to get there. This starts with striking a good balance between one's work life and personal life. Instead of expecting the whole team to work long hours, look for them to come in on time and limit personal activities while in the office. These ideals begin and start at the top. Even taking some much deserved time off is a great way to show one's team that diligent work is rewarded and that self care is valued as well as understood.  

5. Design the office for productivity. 

Everything from lighting, to furniture, noise control and decor can impact a team's productivity. Take a look at how your office is designed. Does it enable collaboration or distraction? 

6. Create a team atmosphere.

Even if everyone works well on their own, it can boost moral and productivity to act as a cohesive unit. A simple routine lunch or team outing where everyone get's to socialize and interact on a more personal level can improve how they communicate and work together.  At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in agile product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!

The Most Exciting & Innovative Tech Projects of 2019

January 22, 2019 / in Blog, Computer Science, IT Trends, / by number8

With recent advancements in artificial intelligence, cutting edge security threats and more devices than ever connected to the Internet, 2018 proved to be a memorable year for the tech industry. Wondering what 2019 will bring? Here are our top picks for the most exciting tech projects set to debut this year, featuring a few notable head turners from the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES):

The First Flying Car

Tech has certainly had it's way with transportation as of late. Even among the reinvention of scooters, Ubers, bullet trains and electric planes, self driving cars have no doubt grabbed the headlines. That is, until now. Terrafugia has combined the features of an automobile and aircraft in it's latest flying car dubbed the Transition. All of our childhood visions will become a reality when the vehicle comes to market this year. 

A Portable Solar Charger

Thought solar panels were just for your roof? Though still in it's Kickstarter days, SolarCru's foldable solar panels intend to have us all re-imagining what we think we know about eco-friendly energy sources. This revolutionary device is slated to offer an outdoor charging option and is compatible with a range of devices. 

Powered Exoskeletons

Samsung's lower body exoskeleton made a splash at this year's CES. The wearable device known as the Gait Enhancing Motivational System is intended to help in the rehabilitation process and can even provide a gentle boost during a workout by adding resistance or allowing it's wearer to walk with less effort. Because if we can't beat the robots, we mine as well become them.

Flexible Mannequins

The one size fits all mannequin may be in the past thanks to a start up called Euveka who's mannequins are able to be reshaped in a matter of seconds. Whether it's liquid or air pressure driven, this feat of genius will help showcase a multitude of body types and allow designers to scale up or down their designs to fit truly everyone. 

In House Concerts

Sony's latest concept, 360 reality audio is working to incorporate a spatial dimension so that when songs are played through Sony's new speaker, they will sound like they are being performed live. The company also intends to bring this new level of sound to other speaker systems, headphones and even streaming services.

Musical Coding

Sphero’s Specdrums aim to teach kids to code through music. The “app-enabled rings allow children to create and play music by using colors on a variety of surfaces as their instruments.” This tactile way of turning color into sound is groundbreaking in it's ability to infer problem-solving skills that are necessary in the world of coding.  At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.  

Tips on Managing Remote Workers

While it’s ideal in terms of a project’s completion to have a big team working simultaneously around the world, the reality of doing so can make managing a project and a team that much harder. Here are a few tips to effectively managing a remote workforce and making sure everyone is on the same page.

1. Have clear expectations and instructions.

If you’re not careful, miscommunications can arise quite often in the world of telecommuting. When it comes to assigning tasks it can be most beneficial to first explain the overarching objective of the project and then outline how you wish them to fulfill their responsibilities, and by what date. This can help cut down on timely revisions. Additionally, don't be afraid to offer constructive criticism. Honest feedback is essential in order for a team member to reach his or her goals and continue to grow in their abilities. 

2. Be aware of the time difference.

While it’s great to have a team that works while you can’t, working with a staff in a different time zone means you have to be patient when it’s their turn to have time off. It’s up to you to walk the line between keeping them accountable by monitoring their use of time, and being realistic when it comes to setting deadlines or waiting for a response to an inquiry. Consider making a schedule everyone has access to so the whole team knows when they can and cannot reach each other, and implement a system for reporting what tasks were done when.

3. Be inclusive and offer incentives.

It’s just as important that your remote staff feels appreciated and in the loop as your onsite staff does. Rewarding them for going the extra mile and getting their opinion every once in a while will ensure that they are as invested in the outcome of the project as you are no matter how far away they are.

4. Keep a standard of professionalism.

Communicating online in today’s world has become increasingly relaxed. However, it’s still worthwhile to communicate with your remote staff in a way that shows leadership and respect. This is business after all and your employees will be less likely to slack off if they are held to a higher standard of conducting it. At Number 8, we help companies connect with qualified remote employees to help with software development. We also focus on helping companies improve their internal IT processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

The Top 3 Locations for Outsourcing Software Development

Outsourcing software development has become an increasingly popular path for startups and small businesses alike. Instead of taking on the overhead of hiring employees in house, utilizing a remote workforce allows you to focus on your core business functions while growing at an affordable rate. When it comes to outsourcing, there are a myriad of options available. One can opt to go Offshore, Nearshore or Onshore in terms of finding a remote workforce. Countries farther away are Offshore, those nearby are considered Nearshore, and Onshore means operating within your own country. Depending on your company's origin, there are many pros and cons that come with selecting a specific location to outsource your software development needs. While the U.S. and Canada each have tech reliant economies, the cost associated with doing business there tends to be higher and the demand for skilled workers has resulted in a shortage. Therefore, most businesses are left with the option to take advantage of the resources of a more global market. Here are the top 3 countries for software development in terms of quality and cost:

Latin America

While many South American countries including Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia are becoming increasingly adept in the tech world, Costa Rica is a popular choice when outsourcing software development work. Their top notch IT programs produce good programmers and their culture has embraced innovation in technology as well as the agile methodology of project management. 

Asia

While India and the Philippines are known for their IT services, China is the leader when it comes to the outsourcing industry in Asia. China produces twice as many graduates as the United States, and as a result has a vast tech advanced work force. Coupled with it's growing economy, China is a hot bed for outsourcing software development tasks. 

Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe, Poland and the Ukraine dominate the field of outsourced software development work. Both have an abundance of educated software engineers as a result of rich STEM educational programs.  Before outsourcing your company's software development, you'll want to properly vet each agency to ensure a high quality of work. Take language, cultural barriers and possible travel expenses into account as well. Countries with a stable and supportive government offer a more favorable business climate to operate in, and a difference in time zone could reduce the time to market or make communication difficult.  At Number8, we help businesses optimize their operations with onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing. Our teams–both foreign and domestic– provide effective communication and service that allow your business to grow at a rate that keeps up with your market. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

IT Job Prospects in 2019 and Beyond

As we kick start the New Year, many of us are looking to see how we can adapt and evolve our current skill set to better fit the future job market. Innovations like the cloud and artificial intelligence are transforming business operations as we know it and when it comes to careers in software and information technology in general, job opportunities are growing at a pace unmatched in other industries.

If you’re on the hunt for a new prospect, here are a few of the jobs and career sectors in tech that we anticipate to be the most in demand in 2019.

Business Intelligence Analysts & Data Scientists

Data is king and companies are now collecting it more than ever before. However, in order to best utilize the data that is being gathered, business’s of all kinds will need someone who is able to understand and see the patterns within it. Business intelligence analysts and or data scientists help process data and communicate trends to stakeholders in order to keep up with competitors, as well as grow and cut costs. These personnel typically bring to the table experience in analytics and reporting.

Security Specialists

While careers in security are certainly not a new addition to the job market, they remain an important component in software and IT.  From new finger and eye scanning procedures to the development of drones, security professionals are tasked with protecting customer data and company assets from sophisticated attacks and threats. As technology is implemented at every level of daily activities, it's crucial that companies make doing business safe and transparent. Those looking to grow in the field of cyber-security must be knowledgeable of current compliance laws and regulations.

Developers & Engineers

Advancements in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, augmented and virtual reality as well as robotics and automation are vastly reshaping the job market in many industries. While most fear a loss of jobs looming, the integration of these applications makes way for more developers and engineers. From the Internet of Things to 3D printing of artificial limbs, there are a wide range of career possibilities available to those with a deep understanding of machine learning and complex algorithms.

Cloud Architects & Engineers

As more companies transition to storing and accessing files online, managing the cloud and hybrid systems alike are becoming a prominent responsibility in doing business. Cloud architects and engineers are in charge of developing, maintaining and supporting IT cloud systems and therefore need a wealth of programming and security skills.

At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in agile product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

How To Design Your Office to Be More Productive

Where you work is just as important as what you do. Office designs have come a long way since the early 20th century and are still changing year to year. What makes for a productive office environment? There are plenty of details, both big and small, that can contribute to office productivity or create a distracting environment. From the lighting to the desk layout to the color of the walls, the environment you’re in is important for your success at work.

Open office space designs have received a recent uptick in popularity. The open design is thought to enable users to be more collaborative. It is also thought that open spaces prevent employees from slacking off due to the visual accountability they are held to. However, for some, open office spaces are seen as distracting and chaotic. There are plenty of companies out there who stick to the cubicle set-up or closed door offices and that method works for them. While it has been proven that office design affects employee productivity, the design of the space itself isn’t actually as important as the details within the design. There are certain aspects of the office environment higher ups should be paying attention to if they want to improve productivity.

Design Details That Influence Office Productivity

1. Lighting

Employees spend 8-10 hours a day in their office environment, so it is crucial that the office is adequately lit. Working in a well-lit area reduces eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and irritability. In a recent study, it was proven that productivity increases as much as 16% when employees are placed in a well-lit workspace.

2. Ventilation

Just like lighting, ventilation is another crucial detail to consider when designing a productive workspace. OSHA estimates that employers lose a total of $15 billion annually “due to worker inefficiency and sick leave” that is associated with low air quality. Installing air filters and incorporating fresh air will improve productivity, lower absences, and save the company money in the long run.

3. Color

Color is a huge part of office design and picking the right colors to incorporate can effect productivity levels. Blue is a color proven to increase productivity. Orange is another color that promotes energy, so it is often used on office walls. If blue and orange are not colors you prefer, a study from the University of Massachusetts shows that incorporating any color in office design promotes creativity and improves morale.

4. Office Furniture

Of course, it is important that the desks and chairs in your office look nice and appear professional. However, it is more important that your employee’s desk spaces fit their bodies correctly. There are a few quick checks you can do to make sure a desk space is ergonomic including:

  • Eyes are two to three feet from the computer screen.
  • The top of the monitor is at eye-level or slightly below it.
  • Feet are resting on the floor or a footrest.
  • A chair that can be adjusted for height and recline to relieve spinal pressure.

5. Temperature

It is a common misconception that a colder office is a more productive environment. Most offices are kept around 66 degrees for this reason. In all actuality, a warmer office environment can lead to increased productivity. A study from Cornell linked “warm offices to fewer typing errors and higher productivity”. The study also determined that an ideal office temperature is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

These five design details are a great place to start for those looking to make their office spaces more productive. Regardless of where you work, consider lighting, air quality, your desk area, and how you’re physically feeling. If you are going through a phase of being less productive than normal a slight switch up may help.

Costa Rica’s Sustainability Initiatives

December 19, 2018 / in Blog, Costa Rica, Job Happiness, / by number8

Costa Rica is a designated blue zone. This means it's an area of the world which is residence to some of the longest living people on earth. People who live in certain regions of Costa Rica live beyond the world’s average life span. This is in thanks to resources in the area and the emphasis on community in day-to-day life. To preserve the blue zone status the area has received, Costa Rica's sustainability initiatives are becoming a long list of goals to achieve over the next decade. These initiatives will help to ensure the region preserves its natural beauty, maintains its blue zone status, and continues to set an example on sustainability for other countries to follow.

Sustainability has been a huge buzz-word on the Internet for years. With recent reports on climate change, it is becoming a phrase that is heard more and more often. In order for our world to stay habitable, countries need to take major steps to reduce their carbon emissions. It is also crucial for countries to maintain their area’s ecological welfare. And Costa Rica is leading the race when it comes to setting sustainability initiatives and meeting them. Over 10 years ago, the country announced a plan to ban single-use plastics by 2021. The country also heavily relies on reusable energy and, after investing in wind and solar power, Costa Rica is mostly carbon neutral.

Costa Rica's Sustainability Initiatives Through the Next Decade

Costa Rica’s sustainability initiatives moving forward include going completely carbon neutral by 2025. With the country on track to ban single-use plastics by a set goal date, Costa Rica is hoping to achieve carbon neutrality soon after. Currently, the country can run for up to a quarter of a year on renewable sources. However, their transportation still depends on fossil fuels. Over the next 7 years, they plan to become completely carbon neutral. In doing so, will become the first ever completely carbon neutral nation in the world.

Saving Wildlife & The Planet

Costa Rica's sustainability initiatives are set to save the area of the planet the country occupies in addition to going completely carbon neutral. Five years ago, in 2012, the country banned sport hunting through a unanimous vote. Costa Rica is the first country in Central America to take this initiative toward preserving wildlife. This law came to fruition due to the number of tourists visiting to hunt trophy animals including jaguars, pumas, and parrots. Anyone caught violating this law will be hit with a $3,000 fine or sentenced to four months in jail; however, the local population is still allowed to hunt and fish as their lives often depend on it.


The country’s attempt to protect its wildlife and the lands they live on extends past shore and into the ocean.

 In the last quarter of a century, Costa Rica has been able to double the amount of forest cover in the country while also tripling its GDP. And 7 years ago, in 2011, the country created the Seamounts Marine Management Area to protect marine life surrounding Costa Rica. This oceanic management area is larger than the United State’s Yellowstone National park which covers 2,219,791 acres. It is the second largest marine protected area in the world after the Galapagos Islands.

Costa Rica is a country where the residents are happy, healthy, and the government is working to preserve that. It is second to Switzerland in a list of the “greenest” countries in the world. Costa Rica has also topped the global list of countries ranked by happiness three times in recent studies. The sustainability initiatives the country has set to carry it through the next decade will only better the country and its 4.9 million citizens as a whole. Costa Rica hopes to clear the path for other countries to follow in its footsteps before it’s too late.

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