The Way We Work
August 2, 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 8/2/2013:

US News and World Report | Solving the Chicken-or-Egg Job Problem
Harvard economist Amanda Pallais looked to solve the chicken-or-egg job problem — the catch-22 situation where workers can’t get hired because they don’t have any prior work experience, but can’t get work experience without getting hired. Though this applies to both online and offline jobs, she decided to use oDesk for her research. She identified freelancers who were new to the oDesk platform and hired many of them for sizable, discrete projects, and then studied the impact this work experience had on their ability to get subsequent oDesk jobs. Her findings show that gaining experience and showcasing results leads to more opportunities and increased wages for all.

Business Insider | Why Results-Based Management Could Finally Close the Gender Gap
Workers should be evaluated only by the work they produce, argues Jody Thompson, creator of the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) program. Alexandra Modalek discusses ROWE and Jody’s belief that its features — such as telecommuting, flex-hour scheduling and compressed work weeks — will eradicate some gender biases in the workplace by allowing women to choose flexible work schedules without being stigmatized. According to Jody, the program is easy to implement because employers only need to define clear goals for productivity and can leave the rest up to the workers.

Harvard Business Review | Working from Home: A Work in Progress
Reviewing daily electronic diaries collected from employees of the HR department in a New York bank, Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer discovered a startling pattern. Workers reported overwhelmingly positive comments on the days they worked from home and, perhaps more importantly, believed that telecommuting enabled them to be more productive and engaged with their work. Because the participants in this study were doing work that did not require collaboration, it suggests working remotely improves morale, engagement and productivity for work of an inherently independent nature.

Deloitte | The Open Talent Economy
A new report from Deloitte reveals a considerable shift away from traditional 9-5 corporate jobs and towards an open talent economy. This new system is comprised of an increasing number of young, connected individuals who are building their careers on their own terms. In light of this new collaborative style of work, authors Jeff Schwartz, Andrew Liakopoulos and Lisa Barry explain that businesses need to redesign their staffing model to include a blend of full-time employees, contract and freelance talent, and increasingly, talent with no formal ties to a company at all.

Huffington Post | Effective Communication Tips: Transforming Your Remote Workforce into a Collaborative Unit
Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner founder, shares his advice on how business owners like himself can best leverage remote teams. Syed runs a business of 13 remote workers and has developed best practices for effective communication and work production. He recommends listening to your teams, sharpening your email skills, managing your own stress so it doesn’t negatively affect your communication, removing communication barriers and exciting your staff through planned non-work activities.

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 oDesk. In this role, Amy is focused on supporting and accelerating oDesk’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.