The Way We Work

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

Week of 5/24/2013:

Huffington Post: ‘The Office’ Comes To An End, But The Virtual Office Is Just Beginning
Is the end near for the brick and mortar office? Todd R. Miller suggests that the time has come for companies to reconsider the necessity of the central office. The author of Going Virtual, Miller states that the “new disruptive best business practice” of virtual work is set to fundamentally change the way we work in the 21st century. Citing in-office distractions, high overhead costs and ineffective supervision, Miller argues that companies should “liberate their employees from the office altogether, freeing up found stores of productivity and profit in the process.”

Inc.: No Office? 4 Secrets For Managing Virtual Workers
Motivating and managing employees in the office is hard enough–so how do you effectively do so when they are hundreds or thousands of miles away? As distributed teams and virtual companies grow increasingly popular, the topic of managing and engaging virtual workers has become even more important. James DeJulio, co-founder of Tongal, shares four great tips for managing remote employees. DeJulio emphasizes the huge impact that structure, challenges, and rewards can have on maximizing remote employee engagement.

LivingGreenMag: Telecommuting—Good For The Planet And Your Business
Are you ready to turn your business green? Lea Green urges readers to consider telework, which can help businesses mitigate the environmental impacts of the modern office by eliminating long employee commutes and reducing energy use in the office. Green offers useful advice for professionals wishing to transition to a ‘green’ work environment.

Wired: What Marissa Mayer Doesn’t (And Does) Get About White-Collar Work
Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban Yahoo! employees from working remotely continues to stir up discussion about the merits of remote work. In this piece, Wired columnist Clive Thompson writes on the relative benefits of remote and in-office work. While studies from Harvard and Arizona State indicate that in-person interaction can boost innovation, other evidence suggests that employees working remotely are more productive than those in the office. Thompson concludes that the most innovative companies will embrace mixed work strategies—focusing on the subtleties of employee needs to create ideal solutions for their organization. 

New York Times: Big Data, Trying To Build Better Workers
For years, most corporations have chosen to adhere to traditional corporate orthodoxy—relying on historical best practices and ‘gut feelings’ to make complex decisions. The application of big data, however, is giving companies a new perspective on the workplace. In the the new field of ‘work-force science,’ corporations are utilizing data to gain new insights into how and when their employees succeed. Steve Lohr discusses the new ways companies are using data to improve how they manage, hire and interact with their workers.

StartUpSmart: Working From Home—The Seven Golden Rules
In order to live the work-from-home dream, freelancers must master new challenges—obstacles completely different from those in the office. Amanda Jesnoewski presents seven rules for professionals looking to work from home, stressing the importance of creating a concrete ‘work space’ and clearly separating work from the rest of your routine.

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.