The Way We Work

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

Week of 11/9/2012:

Financial Post: Telework—A Productivity Alternative That Hits Close To Home
Dramatic attitude shifts regarding remote work, especially among executives, have enabled wide swaths of the workforce to work from anywhere. Formerly seen as just a tactic to attract top talent, remote work has become recognized as a successful way to improve worker productivity and reduce overhead costs. While research continues to confirm the benefits of flexible work strategies, pushback from middle managers has delayed the diffusion of telecommuting. Denise Deveau advances the sentiment that managers—and HR departments—should embrace and promote the shift to a more flexible workforce.

Washington Post: In Sandy’s Aftermath, More Openness For Remote Work?
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, corporations should radically rethink their stances on remote work, suggests Jena McGregor. From CEOs to new hires, the devastation of Sandy forced professionals to adapt, working wherever and however they could. McGregor states that the resilience of employees during the hurricane proves that they can be productive even while working remotely in the most difficult of circumstances—which makes standard flexible work options almost a no-brainer.

Harvard Business Review: Is Technology Making You More (Or Less) Of A Jerk?
From email to Skype to Yammer, distributed teams rely on technology to collaborate from around the globe. But are you using virtual communications for good or for evil? Michael Schrage, research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, offers an interesting perspective on the impact of communications technology in the workplace, noting that it tends to make good managers better and bad managers worse. Schrage argues that while communications technology has enhanced what managers can do, they should remember to use these technologies to enhance their management and mentoring abilities—and not to micromanage.

IT News Africa: Remote Working The Key To Productivity
Can remote work help professionals seamlessly integrate work and life? Citrix’s Sean Wainer highlights the life-enriching benefits of remote work, while arguing that its productivity-boosting benefits make it a crucial strategy for competitive firms. Heralding the advantages of mobile work, Wanier outlines the key operational considerations corporations need to address in order to integrate remote work into their organizations.

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