The Way We Work

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

The Way We Work

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

The Way We Work

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

All Things oDesk

You Can Always Get What You Want: oDesk, Uber & Etsy Discuss On-Demand Access

February 14, 2013 by

We all know the Internet is driving disruption in just about every industry, but one of the biggest trends is the shift towards on-demand access, changing how we access what we want. The first generation of online marketplaces (like Amazon) brought fast, direct access to all types of consumer goods, including books, appliances, and electronics. But these early marketplaces mostly address mass-market, physical goods. Could this model apply to services as well? Last week, thought leaders from oDesk, Uber and Etsy gathered in Sydney, Australia, to discuss how their businesses are stripping away friction and providing consumers with direct access to what they want: staffing, transportation, and craftsmanship, respectively. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

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 Way We Work

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

The Way We Work

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

The Way We Work

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

All Things oDesk

Thanks for a Great Year!

January 1, 2013 by

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for choosing oDesk this year. I am proud to be part of such an engaged, hardworking and innovative community of clients and contractors. By making oDesk your work home, you have continued to make it the largest and fastest-growing online workplace in the world. Thank you. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

2013: The Year of the Specialized, the Customized and the Analyzed

December 20, 2012 by

Advances in Internet technology have changed the way we work, with serious implications for how we structure companies and teams, how we think about our careers, and how we communicate with our fellow team members. From telecommuting and online work to distributed teams and even entirely virtual companies, the way the world works now is light years away from the business landscape just 20 years ago. As technology continues to advance rapidly, what does that mean for the way we will work in 2013? Or even 2020? oDesk CEO Gary Swart shared his vision for the future of work in an article today for VentureBeat, outlining 4 major trends that will shape the world of work in 2013. All of them lead to the conclusion that 2013 will be the year of the specialized, the customized and the analyzed. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

A Voyage into International Event Planning

November 26, 2012 by

Planning an international event is certainly not easy — at least, that’s what I thought as I planned two large events in Bangladesh and the Philippines for oDesk this year. I had never been to Bangladesh or the Philippines, nor do I have relatives there. Plus, in addition to planning the events from 7,000 miles away, I was working with a rather conservative budget. At first this project seemed extremely daunting and nerve-wracking, particularly when one event was estimated to have 1,000 attendees! But with a little prep and on-the-ground support, I’m happy to say that these events were a success. We had excellent feedback from our members and we learned a lot about contractors, their countries and ourselves in the process. As a result, I wanted to share my experiences to help future event planners. I won’t sugarcoat it, it does involve a lot of work. But with the tips laid out here, I hope you can benefit from my experience. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Future Workforce: Technology Fueling a Revolution in Job Creation

November 20, 2012 by

Our friends over at Singularity University recently published a fascinating article in The Washington Post about the impact of technology on the future workforce. It features an email exchange with Vivek Wadhwa, Singularity’s Vice President of Innovation and Research, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, in which they discuss whether the rapid advancement of technology will have a net positive or negative impact on employment in the future. They both make intriguing points, but one that I feel strongly about falls on Kurzweil’s side of the argument—which is that Internet technology is creating a revolution in employment, one that’s for the better. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

“Less-Owning Startups” and the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

October 16, 2012 by

What do you get when you combine a high rate of entrepreneurship with a new mentality regarding ownership? You get today’s millennial generation—and that confluence has significant implications for the economy and the future of entrepreneurship, according to oDesk CEO Gary Swart. In his recent article for Forbes, Gary discusses how millennials' high entrepreneurship rate, as well as their tendency to prefer "access to ownership" instead of ownership itself, will change the way startups are structured in the future. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Hosts Panel on “Talent Wars” Moderated by TechCrunch

October 15, 2012 by

Last week, oDesk held a panel in San Francisco on “Talent Wars: How Startups are Fighting Back,” discussing the critical role of talent to growing startups as well as the approaches startups are taking to build successful teams. TechCrunch reporter Colleen Taylor moderated the panel featuring Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk; Kevin Harvey, General Partner at Benchmark Capital; Rob LaFave, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodzie; and Sandra Miller, Managing Director of New Venture Development at Singularity University. The panel confirmed that many businesses are finding it extremely difficult to access the right people, and that the problem is especially acute for startups — which are in dire need of talent in order to grow, but do not have the resources to compete with large companies. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Love the Way You Work, and Be a Parent Too

August 16, 2012 by

The decisions I made about my career and life were never easy, and choosing when to 'lean in' versus when to focus more on family was deeply personal. But I've also watched other women grapple with similar questions, and for those who chose to pursue a career in addition to raising a family, I've seen many navigate it brilliantly, while others struggled. What made the difference? Over the years, I've picked up some strategies, many from successful bosses and other working moms. Here are my favorites. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Online Sourcing Enhances Staffing

July 24, 2012 by

Matt Cooper, oDesk's VP of Marketplace Operations, is now a guest columnist for Staffing Industry Analysts' new blog, The Staffing Stream. Matt's first post, Online Sourcing Enhances Staffing, discusses the relationship between online work and traditional local staffing, as well as what the future of work will look like. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Reflections on the Pursuit to 'Have it All'

July 18, 2012 by

I was one of the countless women who inhaled Anne-Marie Slaughter’s now-viral article in The Atlantic, titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” My first reaction was this: “It is not a coincidence that my first full-time job in 11 years is at oDesk.” My story goes back to the year 2000 when I thought I had it all. Except that apparently I didn’t. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Disintermediating a Labor Channel: Does it Make Sense?

July 16, 2012 by

A common aspiration of many startups is to be able to build their own labor force and channel. Through Facebook, through cell phone, through ads, everyone wants to have direct control of the labor. But the parallel with building your own data centers vs getting computing resources from the cloud is direct and should be evident. Allocating resources to handle overhead tasks is taking away resources from the main goal: Building a better product! Read Full Article

The Way We Work

This Week’s Perspectives on the Future of Work: Week of June 18, 2012

June 22, 2012 by

oDesk’s weekly column brings you the latest news on labor markets, innovation, and online work. Week of 6/18/2012: The End of a Job as We Know It Written by Josh Bersin, CEO of Bersin & Associates, “The End Of A Job as We Know It” details the radical reimagining of hiring and managing practices that is taking place in many modern corporations. In this article for the Enterprise Collaborative project, Bersin remarks on the recruiting difficulties experienced by HR executives, and discusses how the world is shifting towards an agile employment model in which companies look for specific skill sets and experience to fill project- and task-based “roles” instead of “jobs.” How to Make Contingent Workers Feel Like Family The rise of freelance professionals has fundamentally changed the structure of modern businesses, bringing new challenges to HR departments and management teams in the process. GigaOM author Jessica Stillman offers four tips to help integrate contractors into your company culture and maximize their productivity. Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity A recent study led by Ravi Mehta found that a moderate level of ambient noise can help “trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas,” as summarized in this article for The Atlantic. He suggests that to overcome creative challenges, the coffee shop will outperform the library—which also may help to explain the rapid growth of the coworking trend. Whatdo you think? Do you thrive in a crowded coffee house or do you prefer the serenity of your home? The Key Ingredients of a Successful Team Thriving teams aren’t built merely by … Read Full Article