#Remote Posts

The Toptal Engineering Blog is a hub for in-depth development tutorials and new technology announcements created by professional freelance software engineers in the Toptal network.
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Boost Your Productivity With Clever Travel Hardware

You can buy capri pants, cheap flip-flops, and boonie hats anywhere on vacation, but beachside shops usually don’t carry quality hardware that can help you be more productive on the road or save you time and money for more enjoyable activities.

In this post, Toptal Technical Editor Nermin Hajdarbegovic takes a look at inexpensive and readily available travel hardware designed to boost your productivity on the road. You can put most of these gadgets on your summer shopping list without making a dent in your travel budget.

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Productivity On The Road: Work Full-Time, Travel Solo, Have Fun

Do you have what it takes to travel the globe while working full-time? Can you work on the road while still finding enough time to take care of yourself and enjoy the adventures of travel? It’s not a lifestyle for everyone, but it’s probably not as tricky or demanding as you think, especially when you have a sense of purpose.

In this article, Toptal Director of Operations Dror Liebenthal explains how to enjoy the nomadic lifestyle without compromising your professional performance, health, or social life.

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Encouraging Action And Timeliness In A Remote Workplace

Synchronizing productivity for interdependent team tasks can be a hassle even in the best traditional workplace environments. Add in the inherent challenges of a remote team, and the hassle becomes two-fold. But it doesn’t have to be.

Toptal’s Technical Editor Kate Scheer takes us along on her journey to inspire timely content from her remote authors, and her communication recommendations cross into other realms of remote work.

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Rethinking Authentication And Biometric Security, The Toptal Way

How does one secure a vast, distributed network of tech talent? There are three ways of doing this: the right way, the wrong way, and the Toptal way. Today, we will be discussing the latter, and unveiling our plans for a comprehensive overhaul of our onboarding and authentication procedures.

In this post, Toptal Technical Editor Nermin Hajdarbegovic will help you get acquainted with our brand new processes. Since all Toptalers will be required to use our new security platform, we encourage you to comment and contribute to our efforts.

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Bootstrapped: Building A Remote Company

There are a number of things which motivated me to start my current company. Breaking away from client work while retaining all the benefits of being a location independent freelancer was one of them.

We’re a team of 10 now, serving more than 1,500 businesses worldwide. We have an office in Berlin, but many of us work remotely. In this article, I’ll dig into to the principles, tools and lessons that have helped us along the way. After reading it, I hope you’ll be able to architect your software company so it’s remote-friendly right from the start.

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Toptal Global Mentors: Education Everywhere

The Toptal Global Mentors program is designed to help novice developers around the world improve their skills and create new career opportunities. In our diverse, yet interconnected global industry, cutting-edge skills are always in short supply. The program aims to bridge the gap between skilled software engineers in developed countries and students from across the globe, who aspire to join the industry.

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Skype Tips for Remote Teams

Toptal has a strong remote culture), to say the least. To keep up with each other, we need a tool to keep team members in sync, where we can reach any other person at a moment’s notice. We use Skype as our main communication channel among Toptal’s core team.

Over the years, Skype has grown a lot, and has become a versatile tool that can be used on all of your devices at once, syncing chat amongst them, and providing a simple way to call and share screens. It is a tool that we leverage every day for our internal operations.

As heavy Skype users, there are a few things we’ve noticed that might not be clear to everyone. Here are a few tips on how you and your remote team can get the most of of Skype.

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A Remote Worker's Guide To Staying Healthy

There are a lot of developers who take good care of themselves and enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. If you are one of them, you can skip the rest of this post, because I wrote it to help developers like myself, who could benefit from a healthier lifestyle.

Even if you are entirely focused on your career, and think you don’t have enough spare time to lead a healthy lifestyle, bear in mind that good physical health will also boost your productivity.

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Things To Watch Out For While Working Remotely

Remote jobs can be good for you, but depending on your character, they can also have some unpleasant side-effects. Burnout affects people in all walks of life and in all industries, so what makes remote workers different?

Recognising burnout symptoms early on is of vital importance and I cannot stress this enough. The deeper you sink into it, the longer it will take to recover, it’s as simple as that.

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Choosing The Best Headphones For Developers

Even if you have a brand new notebook and a flagship smartphone, you should not rely on stock hardware for professional voice calls. It’s simply not good enough; otherwise there would be no aftermarket audio industry to begin with.

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How to Make Remote Working Work for You

Remote work comes with lots of things to take into account when designing your schedule, so finding the right balance that works best for you can be tricky. Here’s how to create a remote working schedule that works best for you, enabling you to get the most out of life while staying productive and effectively supporting your colleagues.

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Ergonomics for Digital Nomads: Working on the Road Without Killing Yourself

We live in a time where technology has made it possible to work from anywhere, and many people have eschewed the traditional office for the chaotic din of a cafe in Bangkok or a hotel in Prague. Yet, while this trend has opened up unprecedented opportunities, it also brings with it a number of challenges, perhaps the most insidious of which is a lack of ergonomically healthy options in non-traditional workspaces.

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Power Efficient Home Offices Can Save Money And Polar Bears

Most of us work from home offices, so we use cheaper household electricity and enjoy better prices than businesses in many parts of the world. Since we don’t commute or drive to work each morning, we already save a bit of money and reduce our carbon footprint. However, there is always room for improvement.

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Advanced Tactics for Highly Collaborative, Remote Teams

Any time you’re physically out of the office or working with someone who isn’t next to you, you’re working remotely. At Toptal, working remotely is a productive and efficient reality that we evangelize to our clients, while practicing what we preach.

In this article, Toptal COO Breanden Beneschott shares great tactics in operating highly collaborative remote teams.

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How Not To Manage Your Remote Team of Developers

When entering the remote developers’ world, the biggest obstacle that managers must overcome is to change their mindset by accepting that the developer will not be in plain sight, and where they can manage and follow the work being done.

This new paradigm requires businesses to implement a number of mechanisms to track progress and avoid a redundant workload. Such mechanisms will help both manager and developer be more productive, which is in everyone’s best interest.

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Anti-Patterns in Telecommuting

As a veteran telecommuter through multiple jobs in my career, I have witnessed and experienced the many joys of being a remote worker. As for the horror stories, I have more than a few I could tell. With a bit of artistic inclination and a talent for mathematics, I also have a fascination with patterns: design patterns, architectural patterns, behavioral patterns, social patterns, weather patterns—all sorts of patterns!

When I first encountered anti-patterns, I discovered a trove of wisdom I wish I had known before I had learned the hard way. Anti-patterns are recognizable repeated patterns that contribute significantly to failure. For example, the manager that keeps interrupting the employee in order to see if the employee is getting any work done is engaging in an anti-pattern that serves to prevent the employee from getting any work done!

Based on my own experiences and experiences of friends and co-workers, I am assembling descriptions of anti-patterns related to telecommuting.

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Why Writing Software Design Documents Matters

Congratulations, you’re an independent developer. From beginnings working maybe as a tester you’ve progressed to a team developer, then a senior developer, and now you’ve made another leap, the biggest of them all, to working directly with clients.

But where the other transitions were linear, this last one was exponential. While in the past you got your marching orders from an employer that worked with clients or was itself in the software business, now all those responsibilities that were once distributed between expert-testing, program management, etc., are all yours. And now you’re working with clients who are not in the software business; they’re in another business that needs a piece of software, and they don’t have a clear and precise vision of what they want from you. This is a far greater challenge than it appears.

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The Ultimate Remote Team Culture

At Toptal, we’re building a software product that aims to revolutionize team creation, contracting, and human resources. Our team is completely distributed: we have no office, and we work from all around the globe. And when I say “all around the globe”, I mean “all around the globe”: our internal staff consists of nearly 50 full-time individuals from Brazil, USA, Russia, Argentina, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, and more. This includes engineers, designers, recruiters, sales, and executives.

We all work from home, and we’re good at it: we’ve had countless Skype sessions, code reviews, feature iterations—all components in building a great product. We work hard, and we’ve been at it with as much fervor and energy as ever.

Earlier this year, we decided it was time to bring everyone together in the same location. We’ve had tremendous success as a distributed team. But regardless, we wanted to add an edge to our collaboration and creativity, and connect in-person. Our journey, the results that came of it, and the economics behind it are all explained thoroughly in the post that follows.

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How to Work Remotely and Still Be the Best

Starting a new remote gig, be it a contract project or a full-time job, can be a little intimidating if you’re used to going into an office day after day.

But this style of employment is growing in popularity, with some very notable companies lending it their endorsements.

I’ve worked remotely for years now on projects of various scales and durations. With this post, I hope to enumerate some of the best practices that I’ve picked up for working in a variety of situations. The advice here ranges from specific recommendations for software and hardware, to tips for hitting your team’s deadlines.

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