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The Online Work Revolution: How Businesses Are Reaping the Rewards

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Businesses searching for the best talent or the ability scale their operations need no longer be constrained by location, talent availability, or even the traditional 9 to 5 workday—if the work can be …

Businesses searching for the best talent or the ability scale their operations need no longer be constrained by location, talent availability, or even the traditional 9 to 5 workday—if the work can be done on a computer, you can quickly build a team and get the work done through an online workplace.

This white paper clarifies everything you need to know about the rise of online work, from its benefits to best practices and how to effectively incorporate it into your business.

The online work revolution white paper covers:
- An overview of the online work movement
- How businesses benefit from online work
- How to implement online work
- A snapshot of how businesses can best reap the rewards of online work
- Types of work best suited to online work

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  • 1. The Online Work Revolution And how businesses are reaping the rewards
  • 2. Executive Summary Online Work Outsourcing/ Offshoring Telecommuting 1985 1995 2005 2015 The Rise of Online Work The ability to easily hire and manage an Internet-based workforce has become an enterprise game . 2 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Table of Contents PART ONE What is online work? The evolution of the online workplace, reasons for its rapid adoption, and why its rise represents a revolution in the future of work. PART TWO How businesses benefit from online work extend capabilities, and increase productivity while reducing costs. PART THREE How to implement online work Best practices for transitioning to online work, including how to evaluate and implement the management model that works for your business. PART FOUR The takeaway A snapshot of how the enterprise sector has, and continues to, reap the APPENDIX Types of work best suited to online work A catalog of the types of work being done online, from writing and design to data services and software development. Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved. 3
  • 4. Part One: What is Online Work? talent anywhere in the world. Fixed-broadband sub-basket as % of GNI p.c Fixed-Broadband prices drop by 82% between 2008 and 2012 120 115.1 WORLD 164.6 DEVELOPING COUNTRIES 100 DEVELOPED COUNTRIES 85.1 80 59.4 60 59.7 40 40.3 41.8 30.1 28.5 20 2.5 2.0 1.7 2008 2009 2010 0 1.7 2011 21.5 1.7 2012 SOURCE: ITU World Telecommunications /CT Indicators database NOTE: Simple averages + preliminary results. Then and Now First there were telecommuting and temp agencies. Then came outsourcing and the growth of an online services sector. Now, widespread, global internet access has powered the next major development in the future of work— the rise of the online workplace. is a key factor in the growing viability of online work. Widespread access to a more robust Internet has fueled the expansion of both the amount and types of work being completed online. 4 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 5. But widespread access to a reliable and fast Internet connection is by no means the only driver of online work growth. A variety of factors have led to the rapid evolution and adoption of the virtual workplace: market. Online work is a lifeline for nascent startups, providing them with a chance to compete using a Even larger businesses are feeling the pinch of skills 1. A more highly educated global population scarcity. In fact, 66% of multinational companies say “talent shortages are likely to affect their bottom line in the next 5 years.” 2 By tapping into an online A company is still only as good as the quality of its workers—which is why the emergence of a more educated and highly skilled global workforce has been a vital component of the rise of online work. According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics data, degree graduates per year worldwide increased 25% between 2006 and 2009. Genesis Research Associates—95% of businesses that have hired online agreed that, in the future, getting hired will be “more dependent on having the right skills than on location.”1 2. An explosion of online collaboration tools 4. A shi towards specialized skills Relatively homogenized skill sets based around the industrial age manufacturing model have given way to the information age’s demand for highly specialized skills. This shift is clearly illustrated by a recent U.S. Census Bureau study which found that routine occupations (those characterized by following declined by 20% since 1975, while nonroutine same period of time. has made virtual collaboration easier than ever. These tools include Skype, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Github, to name just a few. The Rise of Nonroutine Occupations 3. A startup economy and the rise of the talent wars Startups have created 40 million American jobs in the last three decades. This explosion in top talent, often leaving innovators scrambling SPECIALIZED ROLES ARE ON THE RISE 60% 55% Nonroutine Occupations Routine Occupations 50% 45% 40% 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 to hire the skills they need to get their product to Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved. 5
  • 6. specialists to meet even the most obscure need. oDesk’s job post data for a single month, for oDesk Job Openings by Skill Required oDesk Job Openings by Skill Required SOURCE: oDesk database. All data represents skills listed in jobs posted during the month of May 2013, Size and color of each skill dot indicates the number of job openings that skill was listed in. 6 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 7. Work Being Done Today work verticals: SOFTWARE DEVELOPEMENT DATA SERVICES To rapidly prototype, address project backlogs, add to teams’ existing skills, etc. To research, collect, structure, and organize information CONTENT WRITING CONTENT MODERATION To create SEO copy, blog articles, product descriptions, FAQs, etc. To moderate content and online conversations LOCALIZATION & TRANSLATION CUSTOMER SUPPORT translate content To provide customers with 24/7 service their capabilities, see the Appendix on page 13. Looking Ahead The rising tide of the online work movement continues to swell, bolstered by the rapid adoption of both businesses and freelancers. workers.3 And the numbers support this prediction, with the online work market on track to reach $2 billion by 2014 after growing 67% in 2012.4 On oDesk alone, more than $1 billion worth of work has been accomplished since its inception in 2005. It has also been estimated that the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion by 2014—representing 37.2% of the total workforce—and the Millennial generation is leading the charge. Millennials are quick to embrace independent, and 62% saying they’ll quit within 2 years.5 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved. 7
  • 8. Part Two: How Businesses Benefit From Online Work Advantages of the Online Hiring Model Traditional Hiring Model Limitless Limited High Low Online Workplace Access to Talent Scalability Productivity Flexibility Cost Cost High Access unlimited talent In an online workplace, talent knows no boundaries. Businesses are no longer tied to a locally based workforce, but have access to the best people for the job...regardless of nationality or location. PHP programmer in Russia or the SEO expert in Norway, for example—can now be found, hired, and managed by companies located a world away. Real-World Implementation: A successful tech startup in Silicon Valley staffs onethird of its team across all areas of the business—from customer support and marketing to development and QA—with the best remote talent available abroad and in the US, leading to a lean and thriving business model fueled by a blended workforce. Scale quickly and responsively Because online work facilitates ongoing work companies are able to ramp up and down quickly to 8 Real-World Implementation: A major travel site engaged an on-demand team of subject matter experts, maintaining quality while scaling SEO content development up and down as demand and seasonality dictated. Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 9. Boost productivity into a 24/7 operation. When thoughtfully managed, working across time zones allows managers to assign work at night and wake up to a completed project. Real-World Implementation: AOL’s CTO doubled the development team’s productive work hours by enabling their engineers to hire freelancers so that work could continue after they left the office. Reduce overhead and costs There are very few facilities expenditures in an online workplace. No rent, no utilities, no operational costs outside of an Internet connection and, most likely, a proper coffee maker. Costs further decline when you consider access to regionally appropriate wages across the United States and elsewhere. Real-World Implementation: A leading search engine company overcame space limitations and rising wages in their metropolitan offshore location by hiring competitively priced online talent, allowing them to grow without the restrictions of local infrastructure. Focus on core competencies focus on the highly impactful work they were hired for Real-world Implementation: One of the world’s best-known personal computer brands worked with on-demand talent to turn its slides into beautiful presentations. Address backlogged projects Tapping freelance talent to address a backlog of internal tasks ensures that your core team can focus freelance team can take care of smaller tasks, like Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved. Real-World Implementation: A leading Silicon Valley technology firm has a distributed bench of software developers to prototype and test new products so its existing team can focus on customer-facing projects. 9
  • 10. Part Three: How to Implement Online Work following factors into consideration. 1. Choose the best management structure for your business Distributed Team 1:1 Management Managers hire, manage, and work directly with their own freelancer(s). This structure gives a single manager the ability to improve productivity and focus on core projects by off the clock. Centralized Team Management One manager—either on-site or online—guides an online team. Managed Services Hire a company to staff and manage your online team. In direct contrast to the traditional outsourcing model, which relies on an anonymous workforce with little workforce, while maintaining visibility into who is doing the work. Typically businesses will be provided with an experienced engagement manager to hire the team and manage operations. 2. Choose the right work structure for optimal efficiency 10 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 11. 3. Set your team up for success creating a successful online team: Hire the Right People Recruiting Services helps them quickly put the right team in place. Managers more actively involved in the hiring process will want to select applicants by reviewing their online Start with Short-Term Contracts will often mix and match their freelancers until they hit on the perfect arrangement of skills and work Actively Manage Your Online Team to success, including how and when work needs to be delivered. Once work is underway, adopt an active management style based on clear and consistent communication. all members share progress, identify issues, raise concerns, and answer outstanding questions. Keep Your Team Motivated Remember that your online workers are skilled professionals seeking to build their careers—give them a Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved. 11
  • 12. Part Four: The Takeaway • • Increased access to talent and hard-to-find skills • oDesk can help staff up your online workforce, building highly skilled teams that specialize in a wide array of functions including: Software development Localization and translation Writing and design Social and content moderation Customer and technical support Data services Explore our online work staffing solutions: odesk.com/info/enterprise Contact us: enterprise@odesk.com or 855.946.3375 About oDesk Enterprise Solutions by publications such as The Economist, Forbes, and Inc. magazine as a company that is “transforming the world of work,” more than 1 million businesses worldwide depend on oDesk and its 4.5+ million freelancers to get the job done. 12 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 13. Appendix Types of Work Best Suited to Online Work So ware development Types of work · · · · · Expertise: Eliminate engineering skills gaps · · · Writing and design and demand. Types of work · · · · · Scale: Ramp up or down as business dictates · · Expertise: Source subject matter experts with regional and industry experience · Quality control: Optimize cost and quality according to content needs Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved. 13
  • 14. Customer and technical support Types of work · · · · · Distributed Teams: Deliver support in local languages and time zones · · Time savings: Find and hire for the right skills in a matter of hours Localization and translation international markets. Types of work · Translation · Website localization · Localization development and engineers · · Cost: Geographically appropriate wages · Expertise: Hire for both subject matter and localization experts · 14 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 15. Social and content moderation Types of work · Social media content management · Message boards and forum moderation · Social channel monitoring · Video and image moderation · · Scale: Staff up quickly during seasonal volume peaks · · Localization: Deliver content in local languages and time zones Data services Types of work Data Sourcing Data Augmentation & Validation Data Management · Data collection · Data enrichment · Cleansing and updating · Lead list development · Survey creation & management · Directory services · Data mining · · Document management · Data conversion & extraction · · Catalog development Market research · · Scale: Staff up quickly during seasonal volume peaks · Local Expertise: Assemble teams with regional insights · Control: Pay by hour, per piece, or per project Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved. 15
  • 16. Sources for oDesk, Fall 2012 for oDesk, Fall 2012 5. “Millennials and the Future of Work 2013 Survey,” commissioned by Millennial branding 16 Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.
  • 17. odesk.com Copyright © 2014, oDesk Corp. All rights reserved.

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