The Way We Work

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

Week of 9/7/2012:

The Wall Street Journal: Step Into The Office-Less Company
Do companies need an office at all?  The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Emma Silverman discusses the rise of the virtual office. While the number of “office-less companies” remains low, a significant increase in the number of employees working from home (66% from 2005 to 2010) shows that the segment is quickly expanding. Silverman concludes that while using a remote workforce lowers overhead costs and widens the available talent pool, the lack of personal contact (and the ensuing communication issues) can be an issue for some employees, leading virtual companies to adopt creative solutions.

Harvard Business Review: The Rise of the New Contract Worker
The contingent workforce is rapidly expanding, projected to grow at potentially three to four times the rate of traditional workforces. In this article, award-winning author Tarara J. Erickson delves into the reasons why professionals are going independent, and discusses how “tapping the contingent workforce as part of your talent strategy” can provide significant advantages for businesses. Erickson argues that leveraging independent professionals can help businesses allocate capital effectively, adapt to competitive challenges with more speed and agility, and boost innovation.

MBO Partners: State Of Independence Career Study
MBO Partners, a staffing organization for independent consultants, released its yearly report this week on the state of independent professionals in the U.S. The report provides useful insights into the lives of high-end professional freelancers, as well as data about the independent workforce in the United States. The takeaways? Independent workers are satisfied, committed, and their ranks are growing fast. Small Business Labs has a helpful summary of key findings here.

Chicago Tribune: Temp Workers Carve Out Alternative Careers
The Chicago Tribune’s Cheryl V. Jackson investigates the state of temporary staffing in the United States through chronicling the experiences of four contract workers in Chicago. Ranging from a freelance television producer to an experienced finance executive, the stories of these workers serve as a window into the impressive breadth—and success—of the freelance community.

BusinessWeek: When Your Personal Assistant Is Virtual
Govind Davis, an oDesk client in Cleveland who runs business software firm MCF Technology Solutions, is no stranger to distributed teams and remote work. His business is almost entirely virtual, with most of his 45 employees working from home, and they work with six to eight virtual assistants. Govind is one of a growing number of business owners turning to virtual assistants to get work done while containing costs and improving payroll flexibility, Verne Kopykoff wrote for BusinessWeek.

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