The Way We Work
August 9, 2013 by Amy Partridge

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

Week of 8/9/2013:

Huffington Post | Imagine a World Where Everyone Was Freelance…
The co-founder of online talent marketplace MBA & Company, Daniel Callaghan, writes about the potential benefits and drawbacks for workers and businesses if everyone became a freelancer. Callaghan suggests that workers would need to learn how to market their skills appropriately to differentiate themselves — and in exchange would receive the freedom to choose where they work, with whom and on what. Businesses would gain access to a worldwide talent pool of millions, resulting in tougher competition to hire top talent but also in greater flexibility and efficiency. While a working world entirely composed of freelancers will likely never happen, this article suggests that attitudes towards freelancing are changing fast and a growing number of workers and businesses are opting for this style of work.

Forbes | As Job Growth Lags, Companies Outsource Work To Freelancers Through The Cloud
On the heels of the most recent U.S. jobs report, the World Economic Forum’s Elena Kvochko discusses how a growing number of companies are hiring freelancers to make their businesses more flexible and efficient. The types of work businesses are hiring for online include everything from social media marketing to data analytics, and because of this variety (as well as the large number of online jobs available), a wealth of opportunity has been created for freelancers everywhere. The advances in technology and communications tools — as well as the increasing comfort people feel when building relationships online — suggest that the way the world works is changing.

The Guardian | Avoiding the Distractions of Working from Home
As convenient as it is to work from home, it can also be filled with interruptions. A survey from Judy Heminsley, creator of an advice blog for home workers, found that the most common distractions when working from home are (in descending order) family, neighbors, housework and food/drink. To minimize these distractions, Heminsley gives practical advice, such as setting boundaries for family members and neighbors by reminding them that you are not available during work hours, even though you are home. If necessary, you can hang a sign on your office door that reads ‘Do Not Disturb’ or you can mime a work call when a neighbor comes by for an unexpected visit.

CNN | Work from Home Moms Face a Juggling Act Too
Mothers who work from home are often overlooked when discussing the challenges that working mothers face in balancing work and family. Kelly Wallace interviewed a number of work-from-home moms and found that, unlike moms with ‘9-to-5’ corporate jobs, mothers who work from home must convince others — even their children — that they have a ‘real’ job. On top of job and family stresses, mothers who work from home struggle to ‘shut off’ from work in the evening and can lose focus without a manager nearby. However, working from home is not without its advantages, as mothers can structure their work day around family activities and personal commitments.

Huffington Post | Starbucks, Google and the Future of Work
New partnerships and initiatives from Google, Starbucks and the mobile company Quip are shaking up how we work remotely. Starbucks has partnered with Google to bring high-speed WiFi to over 7,000 Starbucks locations, and is also exploring new Powermat wireless charging stations that would make it easier for customers to interact with each other and be productive all day. Meanwhile, Quip plans to further disrupt traditional working styles by making it easier to collaborate and work from any mobile devices. Dominic Basulto believes that these changes will likely accelerate the rise of the much-discussed virtual business — he writes, “you can take the long-term perspective of a futurist like Ray Kurzweil and see the ‘officeless office’ as the beginning of a new mobile era in which we are enabled to think more and learn more, doing jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.”

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.