The Way We Work

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

Week of 2/8/2013:

Stack Exchange: Why We (Still) Believe In Working Remotely
Upon launching, Stack Overflow embarked on an ambitious plan to build a blended team, seamlessly integrating remote and in-office employees to grow their business. Three years and many lessons later, the company’s VP of Engineering David Fullerton shares takeaways from the experience, providing a detailed account of why they decided to go remote, how it has played out, and what they have learned about being successful in the world of dispersed work.

The Globe And Mail: Public Service Begins To Embrace Remote Work
From cloud computing to video conferencing, ever-improving technology is enabling professionals to get work done wherever they may be—and governments are beginning to take notice. David Israelson discusses government endeavors into the world of telework, noting that in the U.S., the UK and Sweden, governments have taken steps to extend the benefits of flexible work to their employees, while other countries like Canada are starting to do so informally.

ASTD: Effective Leadership In A Virtual Workforce
The increasingly global workforce has redefined what it means to be an effective leader, requiring collaboration across languages, cultures and continents. For managers looking to benefit from the global expertise of dispersed teams, these changes necessitate adaptation and even a reexamination of leadership itself. Donna Dennis, Deborah Meola and M.J. Hall consider the new challenges of management in the virtual world, finding that clear execution is a must-have for a new generation of managers. “Virtual work and learning environments with dispersed teams are here to stay,” they conclude, “so finding ways to work effectively to harness the collective energy of these teams is critical to the success of organizations for now and in the future.”

Huffington Post: The Redefinition Of Work
With traditional employment levels at a 20-year low, turmoil in the job market has become a significant widespread concern. But the key to thriving in this job market may be to reject the word “traditional,” argues Shelby Clark, founder of RelayRides, who writes that new platforms such as Lyft, TaskRabbit and oDesk are creating new opportunities for self-made entrepreneurs. Clark concludes that, even though traditional jobs are still hard to come by, ever-expanding opportunities in the world of entrepreneurship and self-employment are creating a new market for bold professionals.

The Globe And Mail: Mobile Workers Are The ‘New Norm’
More than two-thirds of Canadian professionals work outside the office every week, and according to Krista Napier that number is likely to increase in the coming years. Discussing data from IDC’s Canadian Mobile Worker Forecast, Napier shares key takeaways on current and future trends in the world of mobile work—including the finding that the Canadian mobile worker population will increase from 12.1 million in 2012 (representing 68.9% of employed Canadians) to 13.3 million in 2016 (73% of the workforce). “The future will see work becoming increasingly flexible,” she told The Globe & Mail. “It can be done on any kind of device, anywhere and anytime. And it’s secure. The good news is we are not that far away from the future.”

Worksnug: Maximize Mobile Workers’ Potential—Mentor Them
Integrating remote workers into the office culture is no easy feat. One way to jumpstart engagement? Establishing a mentorship program with mobile workers, to help build flourishing relationships. In this article, Jessica Stillman espouses the benefits of engaging with remote employees, noting that it can strengthen on-the-job learning and connect distributed employees with the home office.

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