The Way We Work

oDesk’s weekly column brings you the latest news on labor markets, talent management, freelancing, and the future of work.

Week of 8/30/2013:

Gigaom | Skype Confirms 3D Calls Are In Development
It may sound like science fiction, but Skype has confirmed its plans to develop 3D projection, which would allow people who are skyping into a meeting to have a “body-double” (via hologram) attend in their place. The company plans to create a low-cost option for 3D communications, which would make it easier for remote workers to be more seamlessly integrated into their company’s day-to-day operations. There’s still a lot to be done before a fully 3D projected image will be affordable for a larger audience, but this move suggests that the possibility of being in two places at once may not be too far off.

Huffington Post | Making A Progressive Work Culture Work
Allison O’Kelly, founder and CEO of Mom Corps, looks at how savvy businesses are using flexible work to keep workers happy and reduce employee turnover. She highlights five businesses: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, AltaGas Ltd, Ernst & Young, Aflac and MITRE, and explains the type of progressive work practices they’ve implemented to attract and retain talent. The success of these programs across a wide range of workers, from new parents to older professionals, also highlights an often-overlooked aspect of the flexible work discussion: that freedom and flexibility are important to everyone, not just Millennials.

CNN Money | How To Manage Employees Who Work From Home
Drawing on his experience as the CEO of Eucalyptus Systems—a cloud software company where 70 out of 100 employees telecommute—Marten Mickos shares three tips for creating and managing a successful virtual team. The first step, he tells CNN reporter Anne Fisher, is to seek out people who have the skills to work remotely. To find those people, he suggests emailing interview questions (instead of a phone call) because being able to communicate clearly and quickly through writing is crucial when working from home. Marten also recommends investing in trust-building and open communication. Eucalyptus Systems purposefully shares important business information with all workers and encourages people to talk about things other than work in live chat rooms, in an effort to foster a close-knit company culture. In essence, members of a successful virtual team must communicate well, trust each other and enjoy their teammates, regardless of where they happen to be located.

Forbes | The 5 Must-Have Qualities Of The Modern Employee
Workers who want to thrive in the rapidly changing world of work need to possess five qualities, explains Jacob Morgan, co-founder of Chess Media Group. First and foremost, successful workers need to embrace change. New collaborative technologies are doing away with old hierarchies and making it easier for work to get done efficiently and effectively. On top of embracing these technological changes, it is important to adjust behaviors and attitudes towards work. Gone are the days when the CEO was the only voice heard; now, all professionals are expected to contribute and innovate without being told how, when and why.

Inc. | Paul Graham On Building Companies For Fast Growth
Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator—one of the most famous tech accelerators in Silicon Valley—sat down for a Q&A with Inc. reporter Issie Lapowsky. Having had a hand in companies like Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit, Paul Graham has made his career helping young entrepreneurs build ideas into a thriving enterprises. Sharing his opinions on everything from why so many startups fail to how he can “spot” the next big idea, Paul offers sound advice for entrepreneurs in any stage of their career.

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

Amy Partridge

Communications Manager

Amy Partridge is the communications manager at Upwork. In this role, Amy is focused on supporting and accelerating Upwork’s global PR efforts. She brings with her a valuable combination of PR agency and client-side experience. Most recently, Amy was the communications director at tech startup Grubwithus. Amy holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Communications.