The Way We Work

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

Week of 4/26/2013:

The Atlantic: How The Decline Of The Traditional Workplace Is Changing Our Cities
Technology has inarguably changed the way we work. Will it change where we live as well? Emily Badger, staff writer for Atlantic Cities, discusses the sweeping changes the mobile workforce may soon bring to cities. With today’s communities reflecting the working realities of a bygone era, Badger suggests that cities must adapt to accommodate the changing needs of the modern workforce.

Huffington Post: Is ROWE The Future Of Work? Or An Unworkable Fantasy?
Is an empty office a sign of a thriving company? In a Results Only Work Environment (“ROWE”), that just might be the case. A “comprehensive re-evaluation of the goals and methods of work,” ROWE allows professionals to work when and where they want, as long as the work gets done. Despite Best Buy’s recent cancellation of the policy, results-only work programs are thriving in offices around the country as companies realize that the increased freedom leads to greater productivity and significant cost savings. “There are practical benefits,” one ROWE employee told Huffington Post. “Better work, higher productivity. But there are also philosophical reasons. It has always struck me as paternalistic at its core when management dictates how people work and where they work. This is a more respectful way to work.”

Business Insider: If You’re Managing Remote Workers, Give Them Tools To Increase Efficiency
For Daniel Barnett, the mere “thought of sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day literally brings a cold sweat.” A veteran remote worker, Barnett turned his passion for working outside the office into a successful business as the founder of WORK[etc]. A fully dispersed company, the WORK[etc] team telecommutes from around the world, collaborating from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur. Daniel Barnett and Business Insider’s Max Nisen discuss the strategic rationale behind building a dispersed business.

Financial Times: Business Leaders See Benefits Of Flexible Working
According to a recent survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management, a full 82 percent of managers are confident that flexible work “benefits their business.” This confidence has increasingly spurred senior executives to move out of the office and work on the go, with 77 percent of chief executives and 54 percent of senior managers working flexibly in the past year. Tim Smedley remarks on changing attitudes towards telework, and discusses the impact of the 2012 London Olympics in kick-starting the adoption of flexible work in the UK. 

Harvard Business Review: How To Avoid Virtual Miscommunication
Virtual communication can be tricky to perfect — when voice inflections and facial expressions are replaced by exclamation points and capitalization, there is a lot more room for confusion (and miscommunication). With the right tools and execution however, virtual communication can be just as easy as a stroll down the hall. In this post, HBR contributor Keith Ferrazzi shares six best practices for helping your team collaborate in the virtual world.

Did we miss anything? Are there any insights you find particularly interesting? Let us know in the comments section below!


Bryan Moore

PR & Marketing Intern

Bryan Moore is the PR & Marketing Intern at oDesk. He currently attends the University of California at Berkeley, where he is pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Economics and a B.A. in Political Science.