The Way We Work

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

Week of 9/28/2012:

FastCo.Create: How To Be A Happy And Creative Freelancer (Or Work With One)
In recent years, millions of professionals have chosen to leave their cubicles behind and embrace the freelance lifestyle. Rae Ann Fera shares insights from successful freelancers on how (and why) you should cut your corporate ties and enter the entrepreneurial workforce. The article provides a roadmap to freelance success, from taking the plunge into self-employment and building your own brand to getting paid and maintaining work-life balance.

Federal News Radio: Telework Rate Jumps As Agencies Take Advantage Of New Law, Guidance
In 2010, President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act, allowing the Federal Government greater flexibility in its telecommuting policies. Two years later, the bill has changed the way many government employees work, with 25% of eligible employees working remotely at least one day a week. Teleworking has helped government organizations reduce office space and lower costs, while being cited by policymakers as a crucial tool in “recruiting and retaining the best and brightest workers.” It took some initial attitude shifts, especially for managers to get used to not being able to see their employees working, but executives learned that “you need to focus on the results and the rest will follow from that,” as one federal official told the news program.

Inc.: Letting Employees Work Remotely Pays Off
Have you ever dreamed of leaving winter behind, taking your work with you and setting off for the tropics? This past January, mobile app development firm Dimangi did just that, sending much of its staff on a ‘work-cation’ to Brazil. After securing a high-speed Internet connection, the team found they had all the tools they needed to interface with the home office and work effectively. Far from a vacation, the team experienced improved communications, impressive productivity and “a really cool level of bonding” during their stint in Brazil―benefits that carried over when they returned home.

Intuit Blog: Six Mobile Apps For Recognizing and Rewarding Employees
Rewarding employee achievement is a great way to engage your staff, reduce turnover and improve productivity. When you’re managing workers located around the globe, however, recognizing a team member’s success is no longer as simple as a kind word and a pat on the back. Liz Magill reviews six mobile apps that help you virtually give your workers the credit they deserve.

Mashable: Six Etiquette Rules For Coworking
Coworking spaces have become a mainstay in the entrepreneurial community thanks to the flexible work space they provide, as well as the collaboration and networking opportunities they support. Eager to try coworking but not truly sure what it entails? This article from Mashable should get you started, providing six best practice tips for successful interactions with your fellow ‘coworkers.’

Harvard Business Review: Mind The (Skills) Gap
The true value of an undergraduate education has become a popular topic of debate in an era rife with high student debt and widespread unemployment. In this article for the Harvard Business Review, William D. Eggers, John Hagel, and Owen Sanderson claim that the skills attained through a bachelor’s degree will be outdated within five years of graduation. They argue that an increasingly technical focus among high-growth jobs has made—and will continue to make—the skills of many contemporary workers obsolete. In order to remedy the ‘skills gap’ and to help businesses address the talent shortages they are experiencing, the authors propose a renewed focus on retraining—both within firms and by the government—to prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

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