The Way We Work
August 10, 2012 by Jenna Weiner

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

Week of 8/6/2012:

The New York Times: Average Is Over, Part II
New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman argues that, due to “advances in globalization and the information technology revolution,” average is no longer an option. This article presents a fascinating discussion of political versus corporate perspective on what it means to compete in the world today, and how organizations hire. Friedman concludes that in order to adapt to global competition, whether economically or scholastically, we cannot be complacent.

The Wall Street Journal: My Life as a Telecommuting Robot
Imagine navigating around the office and stopping to chat with colleagues on your way to a morning meeting. Now imagine that all the while you were at your desk, over 300 miles away. For a few weeks this summer, The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Silverman did just that, choosing to telecommute to the office via robot. She concludes that while technological advances have helped remote workers connect to the office with ease, robots are not yet the best tool to give remote workers a physical in-office presence.

ZDNet: The Olympics Changed How We Work
While the Olympics brought excitement to London, they also brought hundreds of thousands of visitors and substantial gridlock. In response, London-based companies began “a gigantic working-from-home experiment,” letting their employees telecommute to avoid the traffic. Steve Ranger, the executive editor of ZDNet, argues that this kind of flexible working should only grow in adoption from here on out, not be relegated to an event-related anomaly. In presenting his argument, Ranger examines how “the modern office is a strange relic” of industrial times, one that is no longer suited to the way the world works.

New Geography: Characteristics Of The Self Employed
In “Characteristics Of The Self Employed,” Joshua Wright presents EMSI’s latest data on self-employment in the United States. The article provides a detailed summary of employment trends—such as self-employment growth rates, self-employed workers’ average income and age, and most popular work categories—and elucidates the recession’s effect on freelance workers.

The Wall Street Journal: Getting Into Working Outside
New York entrepreneurs are taking their work to the streets… literally. “Getting Into Working Outside” details the creative ways startups and freelancers are circumventing pricey office space and getting work done. From Wi-Fi-enabled parks to benches under the Manhattan Bridge, New Yorkers are embracing unconventional workspaces and adding a dose of socializing to their work routines.

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