Fostering Smarter Job Creation Through Online Work: Insights from the World Bank ICT Days

March 14, 2013 by

At the recent World Bank ICT Days event in Washington D.C., global thought leaders gathered together and shared potential solutions to development challenges in World Bank member countries. Matt Cooper, oDesk VP of International and Enterprise, spoke about driving smarter job creation through online work, and presented the four criteria required to foster online work growth in developing countries. Read Full Article

Ditch the Desk: Why Some Work is Better Done Remote

March 8, 2013 by

In the wake of both Best Buy and Yahoo’s recent ban on working from home, the topic of flexible work has taken center stage—everyone has weighed in on whether flexible work policies are beneficial or unwise. But both sides are forgetting that this is not an either/or scenario. Instead, we should really be talking about how to make each worker most productive, whether they’re in a cubicle or a cafe. Unlocking high performance is not about picking the right dogmatic policies to implement; it’s about setting up teams to perform at their best. Read Full Article

Comedy in Business: What Improv Can Do For Your Team

March 5, 2013 by

A person’s ability to tap into their inner comedian on the spot is an indication that they might be a great fit — especially for your distributed team. Follow the example of TeamSnap, which uses improv in business: "Using improv techniques can make it much easier to face unexpected challenges, deal with surprises and work better with others,” said Andrew Berkowitz, TeamSnap's vice president of product management. Read Full Article

Flexible Work Can Revolutionize Your Company (If You Do it Right)

February 27, 2013 by

Flexible work can be a powerful thing. Here at oDesk, it's a critical part of our culture and organizational structure — our 120 on-premise employees are supported by 250 full-time-equivalent oDesk contractors working for us from around the world, and employees in our Silicon Valley offices can work from home (or wherever they like) every Tuesday. We find that these initiatives make us more productive, more efficient and even a bit more sane. But in the wake of Yahoo's recent memo revoking work-from-home privileges, there has been a flurry of debate about whether flexible work is a smart strategy or a foolish perk. oDesk VP of Marketing Jaleh Bisharat weighed in on the discussion in her article today for Huffington Post, noting that it may be time to rethink and articulate how we attract, empower and manage talent. Read Full Article

Freedom For Workers Means Productivity For Companies

February 26, 2013 by

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's recent decision to revoke Yahoo’s telecommuting privileges—banning working from home and requiring remote workers to relocate to a physical office—has been quite a controversial one. As we discuss every week on this blog, here at oDesk we believe that flexible work (including online work, remote work, telecommuting, distributed teams, etc.) is not only a win-win for both companies and workers, but it's increasingly becoming table stakes for businesses to be competitive in the future. Today on Forbes, oDesk CEO Gary Swart discusses just that. "The future of work is flexible, and policies like [Yahoo's] are essentially swimming against the tide, making it more difficult for them to compete for talent," he writes. Read Full Article

Getting an SBA Loan for Your Small Business: Part I

February 19, 2013 by

Growing a small business — even with the amazing tools available to the modern business owner — can be a challenge, and one of the biggest challenges is often finding the money to power that growth. As the owner of an oDesk-based business and someone who recently completed the process of applying for (and receiving) a Small Business Adminsistration (SBA)-backed loan, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned. Here are three steps to get you started in the SBA loan process. Read Full Article

Disruption Ahead: Reflections on DLD13

February 11, 2013 by

Recently I had the opportunity to present at DLD (Digital-Life-Design), Europe’s leading innovation conference. Held in Munich, this year’s conference theme was “Patterns that Connect.” Of course, the ultimate “connector” today is the Internet. It’s changing the way we access the services and products we want and need, by eliminating the friction of intermediaries. This new model, which we call “direct access," is revolutionizing both the consumer and enterprise world. At DLD, discussions of the ‘direct access’ model abounded. Read Full Article

The Doctor Is In — 8,000 Miles Away

February 5, 2013 by

In the African nation of Botswana, there is just one public oral surgeon available. For patients in rural areas, travel to the specialist’s office in the capital city of Gaborone is difficult, and follow-up visits are almost impossible. Forecasts indicate the number of physicians is declining; these types of shortages are only going to become more common, both in developing and developed countries. That’s why the fledgling field of remote healthcare — telemedicine — is poised to change everything. Read Full Article

The Talent War: Winning the Game by Changing the Rules

January 31, 2013 by

Americans are living two contradictory economic realities. The unemployment rate is at 7.8%, and people across the U.S. are still struggling to find work. But business owners and recruiters, especially in Silicon Valley, tell a different story—one of a vicious “War for Talent.” It is extremely difficult to recruit high-caliber talent, especially when heavyweights like Facebook and Google are competing for the same people. So what is a startup to do, faced with such stiff competition and limited resources? If you can’t win the game, change the rules. Read Full Article

Does Online Work Favor Experience? Mature Pros Take To Indie Lifestyle

January 28, 2013 by

"Not that many years ago, the idea of working online meant you had to be a young geek — I don't think that's true anymore" said Denise Loubert, a long-time corporate writer who has started four businesses during her career and now works online. More than 40 percent of independent workers are over the age of 50, and many are taking their careers online so they can pursue the work they love on a schedule that suits their lifestyle. Read Full Article

Disaster Proof: How Online Work Can Protect Your Business

January 21, 2013 by

Lost productivity is expensive, but having a plan to work remotely can minimize that loss. When Hurricane Sandy struck last fall, online work kept many businesses up and running; with minimal interruption, work moved off-site and just kept going. Here's some advice from business owners who made it happen on how to "disaster-proof" your business. Read Full Article

The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring Virtual Assistants (and How to Avoid Them)

January 17, 2013 by

The decision to hire a virtual assistant for the first time is a big one, and one that—done right—can dramatically improve your life. But working with a virtual assistant isn’t as simple as pressing an “easy button” and walking away. For many people, hiring, delegating, and managing are entirely new skill sets to learn and master. This article won’t turn you into a pro overnight, but will give you some insight into five very common mistakes people make when hiring virtual assistants, and how you can avoid them. Read Full Article

Competing in the ‘Social Era’ of Business: oDesk Catches Up With Nilofer Merchant

January 14, 2013 by

When we think about “social business,” a handful of buzzwords come to mind—from social media marketing and internal social channels to collaborative technology and even charitably focused “social enterprises.” But Nilofer Merchant has something different in mind, something that will have a much broader impact on the entire business landscape. Merchant, an author, speaker and corporate director, discusses the new age of “social business” in her latest book, “11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era,” which was recently named one of Fast Company’s 12 best business books of 2012. The Harvard Business Review digital book discusses how incorporating a social foundation into an organization’s very structure and design can give it an edge in the coming years, making it more innovative and agile. Read Full Article