The Way We Work

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

Week of 11/30/2012:

Harvard Business Review: Make Results Matter More Than Face Time
If performance—not face time—drives organizational success, why are workers still so focused on punching the clock? Ellen Galinsky, President of the Families and Work Institute, considers the lagging implementation of results-only work environments, concluding that it may be due to employee skepticism and the inability of managers to accurately manage performance. Regardless of potential obstacles, Galinsky challenges businesses to put results ahead of face time. She uses the example of Ryan LLC, a global tax firm, to highlight the benefits of a successful transition.

McKinsey Quarterly: The Evolution Of Work—One Company’s Story
Virtual collaboration has revolutionized the way we work today, but how can companies adapt to these changes? Rebecca Ranninger, Chief Human Resources Officer at Symantec, reflects on her company’s implementation of a virtual work program and discusses the dissonance between the tremendous benefits of a flexible workforce and the issues that can occur when employees are no longer in the same room. Ranninger highlights the importance of tailorable solutions, and recommends training managers to utilize remote work as they see fit.

Harvard Business Review: How To Manage Conflict In Virtual Teams
There are few threats to productivity as significant as workplace conflict, but how do you resolve conflicts in the virtual realm? Keith Ferrazzi shares his knowledge about conflict resolution in the virtual workplace. While conflicts are less likely to surface in the virtual world, a lack of face-to-face contact can exacerbate issues that do arise. Ferrazzi suggests that the use of online discussion boards and shared virtual workspaces can help quell issues through promoting frank, productive discussions and helping defuse potential conflicts.

Huffington Post: Commute Smart Means Work Smart
Tired of the morning commute? Ray McGroarty, Global Director for Enterprise UC Solutions at Polycom, urges workers to skip the commute and move towards the flexible, mobile future of work. With ready access to the necessary technology, McGroarty suggests that teams must surmount “cultural and behavioral barriers” to thrive remotely. In order to reap the benefits of mobile working, McGroarty advises corporations to set ground rules, which can shorten the learning curve for both employees and managers. He also recommends establishing support mechanisms for technical issues, bolstering communication on IM and video chat, and creating a culture of trust.

Business Insider: How To Boost Morale In A Virtual Workspace
Workplace collaboration has become increasingly virtual now that teams are often spread around the country, if not the globe. As a result, teamwork has never been more important, relays Katherine Graham-Leviss, founder of assessment and virtual coaching company XBInsights. In her interview with Business Insider, she shares her insight into the intricacies of virtual collaboration. A veteran of managing virtual teams, Graham-Leviss emphasizes the importance of adjusting communications strategies to best fit the personalities on your team, as well as the benefits of a structured virtual work environment.

Fast Company: Remote Worker Disaster Response Checklist
From floods and hurricanes to blackouts, oDeskers have overcome incredible odds to get work done in the face of adversity. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Cali Williams Yost shares some great tips to help freelancers prepare for any trouble that could come their way. From power to security, Yost provides a short checklist of freelancing necessities to help online workers prepare for any disruption.

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