More Employees Working Remotely
There is continuing debate about who is going to create the new jobs needed to get our economy back on track.
Will it be small businesses? How about big businesses?
Toss such traditional thinking out the window, because a new survey by online employment platform oDesk found that new jobs are already being generated by remote hiring.
It's all part of a distributed work force model in which the workplace itself has become virtual, reflecting a shift toward a truly borderless economy. Essentially, work happens regardless of location.
"We are seeing a new employment reality," oDesk CEO Gary Swart says. "Location is less crucial to thriving employers and workers than it used to be. There has been a substantial shift in the entire employment model."
According to oDesk's survey, 28 percent of employers indicated the primary reason for building a distributed team is to access talent that is hard to find locally. In addition, 21 percent of employers told oDesk that the ability to hire an online work force enabled them to scale up or down quickly.
As a result, these savvy entrepreneurs are able to respond to the real-time needs of their businesses in a more nimble fashion.
Distributed teams may be geographically remote, but the survey found that workers and employers consider themselves connected and engaged. Fifty-five percent of employers assign "core" or "critical" work to remote contractors, while 87 percent of contractors feel that they are an integral part of their employers' staff.
Ease of communication is one factor helping distributed teams succeed. More than three-fourths of employers communicate with their remote workers several times a week, the majority by email and Skype.
Contractors are also evolving into entrepreneurs and starting their own small businesses. As a result, individuals are increasingly thinking of themselves not strictly as employers or workers, but as both.
In fact, 77 percent of contractors currently consider online work as their own businesses. The majority are also reporting a higher hourly rate and are predicting higher income for 2011 than in 2010.
The survey shows that the traditional 9-to-5 employment model has nothing to with the businesses and contractors who are thriving under the distributed work force model.
Businesses that are building distributed teams, and the employees who are engaging in online work relationships, are succeeding in ways that are drastically different from the generations of workers and entrepreneurs before them, the survey concluded.
Half of employers surveyed said using online hiring to outsource has helped them grow revenues, size or scope of service. And 17 percent said their businesses have grown by 50 percent in the past year.
The recent oDesk Online Work Survey drew 16,065 responses from employers and contractors worldwide.
I used this model to a certain extent when I published Sandhills Business Times because it was a 10-county regional business newspaper. I had columnists in almost every county whose work appeared in the newspaper on a rotational basis. We use to email to communicate.
You may be able to tweak the model in similar fashion to help grow your business.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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