The Way We Work

oDesk’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and managing teams, freelancing, and the future of work.

Week of 4/28/2014:

Wired | How Airbnb and Lyft Finally Got Americans to Trust Each Other

The sharing economy has grown from a fringe movement into a legitimate economic force — and it’s built on a system of trust that may not have been possible even five years ago.

“This is not just an economic breakthrough. It is a cultural one, enabled by a sophisticated series of mechanisms, algorithms, and finely calibrated systems of rewards and punishments,” wrote Wired executive editor Jason Tanz. Are we truly ready for such a high level of trust? Tanz delves into that question with a look at the carrots and sticks this emerging model relies on.

The Guardian | How to lead a workforce that works from home

Leading a team that isn’t right in front of you takes a different approach. What can help make such a remote relationship ultimately successful? As Guy Clapperton found out, social networks — any network, not just Facebook or Twitter — play an important role, as does a management approach that allows autonomy and aims to put “the right tasks in the hands of the right people.”

The Guardian | Successful remote collaboration: tips from those in the know

Communication technology is the tool that helps remote teams collaborate around the world. But what are the IT considerations that bring long-distance teams together? Alison Coleman turned to several executives for their essential apps and recommendations.

Forbes | No Managers? No Hierarchy? No Way!

Have organizations like Zappos and Southwest Airlines really “flattened” their organizational structures? Forbes contributor Steve Denning says “No.” It’s not a shift of responsibility, he argues, but a change in attitude. “A manager after all is simply someone who is responsible for getting things done,” he wrote.

Denning says the modern system relies “more on… accountability to someone who knows something rather than to someone simply because they occupy a position, regardless of competence.” Moving to this system requires not just a different approach to management, he explains, but a different way to talk about change.

TechCrunch | Silicon Valley Is The Stingiest Place For Equity Grants, But Remote Work Pays Off If You Can Find It

Companies in major innovation hubs like Boston, New York, and Silicon Valley may not always be open to remote workers, but job hunters looking outside those centers may find a better payoff. Looking through job listings on startup platform AngelList, TechCrunch contributor Danny Crichton noted that, while salaries in the Valley might be higher, equity packages were notably smaller.

“Perhaps startups outside of the Valley have a harder time getting access to talent, and thus are willing to increase the incentives,” he suggested. He also found that, while a majority of startups in those hubs do hire remote workers, companies based elsewhere are more open to non-local applications.

What news items caught your attention this past week? Share them in the comments section below.

Amy Sept

Managing Editor

As the managing editor of the Upwork blog, Amy Sept works with regular and guest writers to share information that helps freelancers and businesses navigate the future of work. She owns Nimbyist Communications and helps non-profits, startups, and small business owners get their content marketing on track.