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 6/9/2014:

HBR | The Innovation Strategy Big Companies Should Pursue

Larger companies seem to have left innovation to more agile startups, says Tony Davila, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Prominent thinkers previously believed it would be larger organizations — with access to more and better resources — who would be the innovative ones. Davila says he thinks that could still be the case.

However, he argues, to be better innovators big companies need to have the right processes in place. This starts “with a different approach to motivation,” he explains, which needs to be rooted in the organization’s vision, not getting ahead or earning rewards.

Entrepreneur | The Art of Keeping Your Team Focused on the Same Goal

With FIFA World Cup kicking off this week, a very transparent example of good (and bad) teamwork is about to take the global stage.

Entrepreneur Alastair Mitchell points out that it’s not just the players who need to stick together; a lot of work happens behind the scenes, with widely distributed teams of people, just to keep the event running smoothly — on the ground and through coverage of the event.

From heading towards the same goal to making sure your team members have the right tools, Mitchell says there’s a lot remote teams can learn just by watching this event unfold.

Mashable | 7 Tips for Surviving The Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur

As a 9-to-5 employee, the idea of starting your own business can sound awesome in theory: you would be the boss and would make all of the final decisions, from setting the schedule to creating the product roadmap and hiring a team.

However, the reality of starting a business requires that entrepreneurs develop and rely on a different set of skills in order to be successful.

Entrepreneur Nellie Akalp offers seven tips for those making the transition from a corporate position to the role of a startup founder. She recommends that entrepreneurs

  • shift away from demanding absolute perfection on every project,
  • develop an understanding that 9-to-5 is no longer a “full” day, and
  • learn to appreciate working on all facets of the business, from product to marketing to human resources.

Business 2 Community | Starting Your Own Business: 10 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

The entrepreneurial journey appeals to more and more individuals: according to a survey by CreativeLive, nearly half of currently employed Millennials “are not happy with their job and would love to get out of corporate America.”

Entrepreneur and writer Shannon Dauphin Lee shares her ten tips for starting a business, beginning with the age-old advice of developing a well-thought-out business plan. While leaning on your professional network is important, she also reminds up-and-coming entrepreneurs to take the time to learn about and obtain any necessary permits or licenses before opening for business.

Forbes | Want To Grow Your Small Business? Send Your Workers Home

One way to achieve business success, whether you’re a small business owner or a corporate CEO, is to embrace flexible work programs that allow your team to work from home.

Lisa Wirthman reports that yearly cost savings — roughly $11,000 per employee combined with $1,800 for unused “sick days” — add up to significant cost savings. Plus, she notes, employee satisfaction will likely increase with their productivity.

Beyond the business benefits, Wirthman also points out the potential environmental advantages: reduced carbon emissions and decreased public road usage over the longer term.

What news caught your attention this week? Tell us about it in the comments 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.