The Way We Work

oDesk’s weekly column brings you the latest news on labor markets, innovation, and online work.

Week of 6/4/2012:

  • Which professions are working remotely today? The Conference Board set out to answer this question in its recent report on trends in telecommuting. GigaOM published a summary of the report, which found that while writers and sales representatives have the highest rates of remote working, lawyers, software developers and insurance underwriters are among the fastest-growing. The report also suggests that if you want to make your company’s remote work programs as successful as possible, invest in “strong management and robust IT,” since those were found to be the “dual lynchpins of effective teleworking.” Click over to GigaOM for more data from the report.
  • Hiring online workers from around the world offers businesses the opportunity to build unique, diverse and multicultural teams — which turns out to be a significant strategic advantage, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company. A recent study from McKinsey Quarterly found that diverse teams are outperforming and out-earning their homogeneous counterparts by a significant margin. Comparing the returns on equity (ROE) and margins on earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 180 publicly traded companies, the study concluded that corporations with diverse executive boards experienced much greater success. While this study focused on executives, there is certainly reason to believe that greater diversity in other parts of the organization will likely yield similar results.
  • Spurred by the recession but powered by technological innovations, a new culture of micro-entrepreneurship has created new, exciting and fulfilling ways to earn a living. Jamie Wong, the CEO of Vayable, explored the rise of micro-entrepreneurship (alternatively called self-employment and “the Do-it-Yourself Economy”) in a recent article for Fast Company. She discussed why micro-entrepreneurship is so appealing for both entrepreneurs and consumers, and highlighted the economic and societal factors that will continue to power micro-entrepreneurship.

“What defines this new economy is that it’s built on the empowerment of individuals and the technology that enables this,” Wong wrote. “It’s allowing individuals to create their own jobs. It’s a celebration of life and time, and a shift in perspective of money. Technology now provides an opportunity for people anywhere in the world to monetize their passions. And it’s not just the artists and under-employed flocking to these platforms, but professionals who seek a higher quality of life, greater flexibility, and more time with their families.”

  • Technological advances have ushered in a new era of unrestricted connectivity, resulting in significantly more flexibility — in both location and work schedule — for workers around the world. But with the increased flexibility comes some additional data security considerations. This VentureBeat article provides some best practice tips to help protect your data and keep your mobile workers secure.

Did we miss anything? Are there any insights you find particularly interesting? Let us know in the comments section below!

Jenna Weiner

Content Marketer

Jenna Weiner is the former content marketing manager at oDesk and was the editor-in-chief of the oDesk blog. With a background in business and technology writing, she specializes in content marketing and strategy, public relations, and branding. Before joining oDesk, Jenna was a writer and editor for Monitor Group’s marketing department (now Monitor Deloitte) and was the Business & Technology Section Editor for Brafton Inc.… read more