5 Traits Businesses Should Look for in Remote Employees

The value of remote employees has been widely recognized as of the global pandemic of 2020, and more businesses have embraced the idea. A post on How to Add Resume to LinkedIn, a lot of business right now are using the popular platform to hire remote team. However, what you may not know is that you need to look for different traits in remote or online workers. The fact that they are not working at your office changes a lot about how you interact with them, as well as what kind of person they need to be to succeed. Here are 5 traits you should look for when hiring remote workers:

1.    Feedback Receptive

Each worker you hire must improve the company’s efficiency. You will need to guide and train them so they become the best version of themselves for your business. Doing so will require regular feedback.

However, not all people are receptive to feedback. You do not get to see them in person or as easily, which means you cannot easily reinforce your lessons or feedback. All your remote workers must be quick to take to feedback and able to apply it without supervision if you want them to provide value to your company.

2.    Open to New Ideas and Training

Businesses by nature are meant to grow and change. Stagnant companies are essentially failing. To keep your company growing, you will not only need to expand, you will also need to train your employees to ensure that their skill sets are up-to-date and remain relevant to the needs of the business.

To that end, any remote worker you hire must be open minded and willing to expand their wealth of knowledge. The easier they are to train, the better they will be as remote employees.

3.    They Have Initiative

Remote workers will be left to their own devices most of the time. While some oversight exists, for the most part they are their own boss. You or your managers will not be present to direct their efforts. Thus, your remote employees must be independent and posses initiative.

4.    They Have a Good Personality

There are traits that a good hire has, according to Forbes. A trainable and feedback receptive person with a positive and likable attitude is far more valuable than a skilled worker who cannot get along with everyone. The company is more than one person.

5.    They are Great Communicators

Nuance is lost when communicating online or over text. Thus, it is important to only hire remote workers who not only communicate well, but do so in a timely fashion. They need to reply quickly to messages to ensure that company systems are not bogged down.

Hiring remote workers can give your company the edge, as it allows you to access talent that would otherwise be beyond your reach. However, you cannot just hire anyone. Hire the right people, and the effort will be worth it.

Renovating Your Office This Year

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Your office is often like a second home. After your house this is the place you spend the most time and it is a place you need to make your own for maximum comfort and productivity. 

Today we want to talk about your office and renovating it for the better this year. Make the most of the space you have and transform it into the perfect workplace for you and your employees. Use these ideas below to change and improve your office for the better in 2021.

Create a zen space 

We all know how important mental health is, and as an employer it is time for you to take control and take action for the health of yourself and your workers this year. One of the ways you can do this is convert a small spare room into a zen space which has calming colors on the walls, beanbags to sit in, and a TV and books for entertainment. You can hang a small sign on the door that indicates when the space is occupied and from this you’ll be able to allow your employees in here when work is becoming too much and they need some time to calm down. A room like this will make a massive difference to the mental health of your workers and will create a healthier working environment. 

Repaint the walls 

One of the easiest ways to transform your office in hours is to repaint the walls with bright and inviting colors. Enough of the boring greys and blues already! Consider instead adding bright and warm tones such as red or orange to the walls to brighten the space and make it more exciting for your employees. Bright colors help to stir alertness as well as motivation in your team and psychologically it will keep them on the ball and make them more productive. 

Invest in better chairs 

Chairs are an important part of your office and you need to invest in the best ones for your team. Make sure to invest in comfortable and supportive chairs for your employees and yourself to reduce to risk do back problems and sick leave in the office. 

Consider an outdoor area 

An outdoor area is a great idea for a commercial property because it will allow everyone to get away from the stake air of the office for a while and reset. You can use a commercial grade cement mixer from https://thompsonrock.com/ to lay a flat concrete surface and then add benches and chairs for people to sit at. A few choice plant pots here and there will also be great and it gives everyone a good space to reset and relax. 

Build a communal area 

A communal lunch area is a great idea and a cafe inspired look will be good for informal meeting with clients too. Consider building a communal cafe in your office and have coffee machines on hand for people to make their own drinks. You can even add plug sockets to allow people to work on their laptops in this area if they prefer this now and again. 

Renovating your office for success is a challenge but if you take some of these ideas to your project you could end up with a stunning workspace for everyone in your company.

Why You Should Renovate Your Office

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When you are in charge of your own office, you are also in charge of any changes that you want to make to the building. It may not have crossed your mind before, but when business is going well, a revamp will never hurt! You can impress clients and drum up a good amount of business when you invest in your business premises.

The benefits of a renovated office far outweigh the costs it will take to get it looking up to scratch. Not only that, but you can focus on running your company and know that you can feel pride in what you are showing off to your customers. Upgrading your office does more than you think to make your business look good, and bringing on office architects and builders like TPM Builders will help! So, why should you go ahead and go for it with your office renovation plans? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons below.

  • Boosting Your Image. Renovating the office is a big sign you are successful. You can afford to make changes purely to make your brand look good, and this will lead to you being able to impress your clients. Your image is what sells what you can do to your clients, but if it’s not up to scratch, people won’t pay attention to you. Once your renovation is completed, you can upgrade your brochures and document your renovation journey on your business social media. Clients and prospective clients will be happy to see what you have to offer.
  • Motivate Your Staff. No one likes to work in an ugly, dark space. When you renovate your office, you get to bring in more light and changing the decor can make it a more pleasant place to work. Staff morale goes up as a result, and it’s one of the most critical components in the success of your business. Your staff will want to come to work and they’ll feel more motivated to be in the office as a result, especially if your upgrades involve more perks for them!
  • Better Productivity. An office renovation improves the productivity of all those working in the office space. A business is only as good as those who show up and do the job, and if your staff feel comfortable in their environment, they’ll work better and be happier in their role.
  • Improved Value. One day, you may grow out of your office space and start looking to move. However, if you choose renovation instead, you can expand your office and do more about the value of the property itself. Any positive changes you make will add monetary value, and this will reflect if you ever put your office up for sale.
  • Future Preparation. You already have a business plan we hope, so knowing that you are future-proofing your business with a renovation is a smart idea. You can gain some extra space, and with your advanced planning, you can save money in the long run. Office renovation is a convenient option for upgrading your business, and when you choose to deal with one single contractor for it, you can drive your business to success.

Small Things To Consider When Working At Home

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When you work from home, it can often be difficult to work in the same way as you would in an office and it can take some time to get used to the format of your working day. With the pandemic that has swept the world in the last few months, it is no surprise that a lot of us have had to start getting used to working at home in the long term and this doesn’t look to change any time soon. 

If you will be working at home for a while due to lockdown or even if you have quit the rat race to work on your own projects – today we want to share some helpful advice to keep you working well at home and things you should consider doing. 

Keep water nearby 

It is all too easy to get caught up in your work for hours on end and forget to eat or drink anything. While this is not necessarily a bad thing with food; you need to keep yourself hydrated enough throughout the day in order to stay healthy at your desk and to focus when working. Keep a bottle of water next to you throughout the day that you can take a sip of while working and it will make a big difference to your concentration and your ability to be productive. 

Clean your work area 

It is important when trying to work at home productively to clean your workspace and keep it tidy. You need to ensure that you have a workspace that is fit for purpose and one which is free of clutter. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind – and when working from home it is so important for you to have a tidy space to work in. This also extends beyond your desk itself and if you are situated in your spare room make sure it is not completely covered in clutter and mess because this will draw focus away from your work throughout the day. 

Close the door 

When working at home it is all too easy to become distracted by pets, kids, and even household chores if things are within your eye line during the day. This is why it is a great idea for you to choose a room separate from the rest of the house and shut the door so you can focus on your work. When you go to ‘work’ in the morning treat it as if you are leaving home and shut the door to your home life. It will make working so much easier and will ensure you stay focused. 

Enjoy home comforts

Even if you are working all day it is still a good idea to bring some home comforts to your office space to make it more comfortable as well as personal. There are some brilliant ways to bring home comforts into the room such as hanging art on the wall as well as plants, candles, and perhaps a blanket for when the days are colder. Make sure you feel comfortable at home and this will help you work effectively. 

Consider licensing 

It is important if you are starting a business from home this year that you contact a law firm and get a license to work. You need to have a license in order to practice business in your home and this is something you need to do before you even start trading. Working from home is a great thing to do but it is crucial you are doing this legally because you can get into some trouble if you don’t. 

Create work-life balance 

When working from home it is all too easy to start earlier and finish later than you normally would and this can be dangerous for you if you do this every day. Be sure that you consider a work-life balance when working from home and set yourself a start and end time to your day and stick to it. Working from home can be exhausting and if you burn out you can suffer some serious mental issues as a result and it can even make you physically ill. 

Organize ahead of time 

If you struggle to get going in the morning when working at home it is a great idea for you to start making a to do list the night before your working days. It is a good idea for you to write a to do list at the end of the day ready for your work the next day because it will allow you to get going on your work as soon as you sit down in the morning rather than worrying about what to do.

Look After Yourself When Working From Home

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Working from home can be hard and cause stress in a place you don’t want to be stressed in. For a lot of people, work is left when they leave the office but now people are working at home, it can be tempting to work longer hours in order to get more done, but at the detriment of your own wellbeing. It is important that even when working at home, you try and have a good work life balance in order to not stress yourself and burn yourself out. Below are four ways to work at home efficiently.

Make A Room Your Work Room 

Depending on how big your property is, this may be easier for some people, more than others. When working at home, it is important to be able to differentiate what is your work room and what is your leisure room. If you can try and make a specific room the place you work. That way when you are done working, you can take yourself out of that room and reduce the stress that you may be experiencing at work. If you have to work in your living room, then try to pack everything away once you are done, instead of leaving it out for the next day. Yes this may seem like a bit more effort, but it will help you to stop thinking about work when you are then watching tv in the same room. 

Set Work Hours 

When working from home it is important you set certain hours for work and certain hours for relaxing, just like an office. If your office working hours are 9 to 5, then make sure you stick to those hours and don’t continue to work because you are at home. Of course, sometimes you have to work late to get an important task done, but it is also important that you have some time and relax. You may enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose your hours but as just mentioned make sure you stick to the hours you are contracted to. If it’s a 7 hour day, then make sure you do 7 hour whether that be 7am to 3pm, 8am to 4pm or the standard 9am to 5pm. 

Take a Lunch Break 

When you work in an office it’s important you take a lunch break and it’s still important you do when working from home. A lunch break helps give you an hour to wind down and refresh yourself. As you are working at home you can take it at whatever time suits (as long as you don’t have any meetings that it will clash with). Try to leave your property on your lunch break and go for a 30 minutes walk, maybe walk to your local park or just a lap around the block. Walking is not only good for your mental health but also your physical health. If your job allows you to be really flexible you could plan your lunch break around a certain activity you enjoy, like fishing – if you have a new rod like a Daiwa saltiga then this would be the perfect time to try it out. 

Set Boundaries 

Chances are it won’t just be you working from home. Due to the pandemic, a lot of households are working from home at the same time. With this, it is important you set boundaries between each other. This way you can all work and not get distracted and stressed that you haven’t done enough work that day. If you have children, rotate your time so that you both get to spend time with them and both get to work.

Staying Productive When Working From Home

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The way that many of us have been working has changed in recent months, with many people now working from home. It can be a dream for some to do this, without having to be a freelancer, but moving from an office environment with structure to then working from your own home can be a challenge in a number of ways. Learning how you can do your job from home is something that is important, as it will help your productivity and make sure that you carry on being effective in your job role. 

There can be a lot of distractions when working from your home, as well as less accountability, and less communication with your team than you could get if you were in the office. You can still be productive, though! No matter what location you are working from, here are some things that you can do to make sure that your remote working hours are effective and that you make the most of them.

Set yourself working hours

Working from home offers some great flexibility, which is helpful when you want to meet a friend for lunch, have a dentist appointment, or want to drop your child at nursery. However, where possible, it is important that you create a regular working schedule for yourself. As much as it is good to sleep in and not have to commute, you are going to be making things harder for yourself if you don’t work consistently. When you create some regular working hours for yourself, it means that you will be accountable to yourself, but also to co-workers who expect you to be available at certain times. It also helps with your productivity levels, meaning that you’re more likely to get your work done, and easier to resolve problems as communicating with others will be quicker and simpler if you stick to some regular working hours.

Create a positive working environment

When you start out working from home you might think just how great it will be to grab your laptop and get on with work from your bed or your couch. This can work sometimes, but done consistently, it can hinder your productivity in a big way. That is why one of the best things that you can do when working from home is to set up a working space that is going to help your productivity. Using the same space each day can help you to set in your mind that you’re ready to work, and prepares you for what is ahead. It could be that you have a spare room with a desk in, or it might be that you work from the kitchen table. Either way, keeping things consistent is a must. 

In order to make it easy for you to work, make sure that you have all that you need. For example, if you will need to print documents out, then make sure that you have a printer ready to go. Your internet connection needs to be good too, or it can make a variety of aspects of working from home difficult. So looking at getting a wireless network setup and design for your home can be a good idea. Give yourself the best chance of working well and being productive by making sure that your work setup is a productive one.

Tune into inspiration

One big advantage of working from home is that you don’t have co-workers talking to you that can lead to distraction. You could end up being more productive as you’re not speaking to colleagues about their weekend or about the things that they have been up to. If playing some loud music helps to get you pumped and motivated to work, then go ahead and do that. If you prefer some classical music or nature sounds, then you could play this in the background, or just open the window in the room to let in some of the outside sounds. If you are doing some tasks that don’t involve too much thinking, such as repetitive tasks, then you could even find listening to a podcast or an audiobook could help to keep you on track and keep you moving. You might prefer to work in silence. Just figure out how you like to work and then you can go from there,

It can take some trial and error to find what works for you when working from home, as well as what doesn’t work for you. As long as you have a focus on productivity, stick to routine, and plan out your days, then it will give you the best chance at it all running smoothly.

How To Prepare For A Work Day As A Remote Freelancer

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Working remotely as a freelancer is exciting but can be challenging. As you would have done from the office setting, it requires a commitment to time management without compromising productivity. A Stanford Graduate School of Business survey discovered that freelancing and working from home boosts performance by 13%. Due to COVID-19, this system of working has seen a sharp increase worldwide and looks like a prominent feature of the new normal. So, how can you prepare for your workday as a remote freelancer? Here are some tips to help you.

1. Prepare ahead of time

Before work begins, ensure everything you will need is prepared ahead of time. It is never a good idea to wait until the last minute to scramble for the things you require. By maximizing the free hours from the night before you start work, you gain more time to be productive the next day. Besides, it is an effective way to avoid rushing through with your work. Ensure you have sufficient internet data to last you through the month. Also ensure that the connection speed is optimal to maintain your productivity levels.

2. Pay attention to your to-do list

As a remote freelancer, you must set daily goals to enhance your value, use your time productively and deliver quality work. Creating a to-do list helps you accomplish your goals and gives you a sense of direction during the workday. Sometimes, you may want to multitask but without knowledge of which tasks have high priority over others. Writing a to-do-list provides a visual reminder of duties that need to be done urgently without slighting a client. 

Remember that the client is the reason you have an income at the end of the month. Therefore, you should never take them for granted. Write down your list immediately after checking your voicemails and emails. Through these emails, you can identify how your day will pan out. When done, tick all urgent tasks with a red marker and non-urgent ones with a green color. Use online apps such as Wunderlist, Toodledo, and Flow to help you track your daily progress.

3. Decide on your working hours

flexible work schedule as a remote freelancer may be a blessing or a burden, depending on how well you manage your time. Sometimes, in building a career through freelancing, many freelancers lose sight of setting restrictions on work hours. More often than not, working outside of an office setting tends to mix up a freelancer’s personal and professional hours. Therefore, before you begin your day, set out the number of hours you will be working and stick to it. Your schedule could start to control your life if you don’t. Depending on the requirements of your job, your working hours could be out of your control – particularly when working as part of a team. For example, if your work involves designing custom cable assemblies, your working hours may be determined by the wider team involved in prototyping, design verification, production and testing. The collective effort increases the likelihood of meeting client deadlines.

How you prepare for a workday will determine your overall productivity. Although remote freelancing offers flexibility, it also tests your self-discipline and dedication to clients’ satisfaction. Keep in mind that what works for another freelancer may not necessarily work out for you. Therefore, do what feels comfortable for you.

 

3 Reasons to Work and Travel

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Remote work has become more popular than ever in recent years. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was a 159% increase in remote work from 2005-2017. Now, in light of the pandemic, working from home has become the norm for thousands of people. 

Because of that, many people are starting to realize the benefits of remote work. It gives you more flexibility, and some studies have shown that people who work from home can actually be more productive than those who work in an office setting. 

One of the most beautiful things about remote work, however, is that it can be done from anywhere. So, if you’re “working from home”, why not make your home in different locations? Now is the perfect time to travel and see the world while staying on top of your job. 

Why should you travel and work at the same time?

  1. You Can Stay in One Place Longer

Most of the time, when people travel it’s because they’re taking a vacation or traveling on business. As a result, they don’t get to stay in that destination for very long. 

When you’re working remotely and travel somewhere, you can stay as long as you’d like. You can fully immerse yourself in a new culture, get to know the land, the community, etc. It’s a great way to truly experience the world without feeling rushed. 

  1. It’s Good for Your Mental Health

There are so many positive reasons to travel more. When you decide to get out of your comfort zone, you push your mind forward. You are showing yourself that you can do things you may not have thought possible. You’re recognizing your own strength and confidence, and that can be a huge boost to your self-esteem. 

Traveling also can help you to open up your mind and be more willing to try things. That will carry over into other aspects of your life, emboldening you in ways you may have never thought possible. 

  1. You Will Become More Independent

Whether you choose to travel by yourself or go with your family, getting rid of your creature comforts and the things you’re familiar with will force you to become independent quickly. You won’t have a large group of people to fall back on if you’re in a tight spot. Instead, traveling will force you to “figure things out” on your own. 

That might sound like a negative thing, at first. But, it helps to build resilience and mental toughness. Whether you’re traveling in the country in an RV and you suddenly need trailer repair services, or you’re overseas and find yourself running out of money, you will have to use your skills and resources to make things happen and to keep moving forward. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut by staying at home, or nothing seems to inspire you, traveling is the perfect way to combat that. 

So, if you have the ability to work remotely, why not take full advantage of it? There is no time like the present to travel the world and experience everything you’ve ever dreamed about.

How To Make Working From Home Easier

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Over the past year, thousands of people across the world have said goodbye to their morning commutes and began working from home. Whilst this has many benefits, from ensuring everyone stays safe, to saving you valuable money on gas and transport, it is no secret that working from home can also be incredibly difficult. With that in mind, here are some things you can do, as a business owner or manager, to make working from home easier for your employees.

Offer Support

When an employee feels valued or expected, they will naturally work harder, meaning a good boss-employee relationship is vital in the successful running of a company, particularly when you have to work from home. Therefore, it is important that you find different ways to offer your support to them during this time – whether this means calling them to check in on how they are doing or sending a personalized email to let them know you appreciate their work and asking if they need any additional help or support. 

Another way in which you can support your employees at this time is by supporting their professional development. Many employees feel as though working from home has put them at a standstill when they had hoped this year would bring them professional growth.  Whilst you may not be able to offer raises or promotions during this time, try and find new easy to invest in your employees’ development. One way in which you can do this is by offering online courses that allow them to develop necessary skills.

Make the most of tech

We live in a world that is almost entirely dependent upon technology, especially in light of recent events. As a result, you must keep your office tech up to date, to ensure the smooth running of your business. You need to ensure that the technology you sue means you can run your company in the same way you would in person, without a drop in the quality of services you offer. Thankfully, there is plenty of technology designed with efficiency in mind that allows for effortless communication and collaboration amongst colleagues, no matter where they are in the world. The 5th kind is a great example of this. The online software allows you to securely share important files and documents with colleagues, allowing for effective collaboration.

Host smart meetings

There is nothing worse than a meeting that could have been an email – whether you are using that time to work with colleagues or converse with potential clients. You need to be mindful of people’s time and ensure that you keep the meeting concise. However, for one reason or the other, online meetings tend to drift off track much quicker. As a result, you should strive to ensure your meetings are effective. One way you can do this is by preparing ahead of time. Before the meeting, make a list of the points you wish to cover and allocate a set amount of time to discuss each topic. Having a plan can stop you from delving off-topic, ensuring that meetings are productive.

6 Signs That the Future of Work Is Here Today

This article is originally posted on Gigster.com

“A great overview by Gigster CEO Chris Keene on how the gig economy is transforming work in the enterprise by making it more customer-centric and high performance. Don’t miss the stories of companies actually doing this.”  Dion Hintchcliffe, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

As software continues to eat the world, companies must find ways to build more innovative teams. For these companies, The Future of Work is here today. How companies reshape the way they engage digital talent will have a huge impact on their ability to innovate. Here are six ways digital leaders are creating The Future of Work now.

  1. Remote workers and work from home teams are the new normal

The best talent is not always located where you are. Even within a company, silos can prevent the right people from working on the most critical innovation projects. Making it possible for team members to work remotely is the only way to liberate talent across the company. This is also the only way to source critical skill gaps that are not available inside the company, like AI/ML engineers. Supporting distributed teams calls for adopting a common set of processes and collaboration tools, including Slack, Github and Jira.

  1. Hybrid teams beat monoculture teams

Innovation requires a diverse mix of talent. The most innovative teams blend in-house employees who have industry context with expert global talent who have advanced technical skills. This is the opposite of the traditional systems integration model that outsources innovation. Hybrid teams also have the value of helping companies build in-house skills by working side by side with expert freelance talent. 

  1. Elastic Staffing beats fixed staffing

Many companies adopt agile team processes but staff teams inefficiently — they follow a fixed staffing model that allocates each role as a full-time position for the duration of a project.  This is only half agile. Because it makes experimentation too expensive to try, and reduces employee mobility and satisfaction. Compare this to Elastic Staffing, which allocates resources based on the workload for each project phase. For example, developers can join a project after the detailed design is complete, and technical architects may only be needed part time. Elastic Staffing can reduce the total hours to deliver innovative products by over 50%. 

  1. Employees want to be treated more like freelancers

Top employees want the freedom and flexibility to choose how they work and what they work on. This doesn’t have to require radical organizational changes. For example, applying the Google 20% rule, where workers can choose their own projects 20% of the time, can boost morale and build skills. This lets more senior employees peer review deliverables from other projects to reduce risk. It also helps more junior employees grow by being exposed to new business and technology challenges.

  1. Freelancers want to be treated more like employees

Top freelancers want stability and work benefits without sacrificing their flexibility. Companies that learn how to work effectively with freelancers will have their pick of the best global talent. This includes setting up projects for success with distributed teams, incorporating advanced technologies, and providing predictability for freelancers that helps them  plan effectively. In California, laws like AB5 are beginning to mandate providing more benefits for freelance workers, and putting them more on par with the benefits that full-time employees receive.

  1. Automated team and talent assessments are here

Technology will ultimately reshape jobs, but today, technology is reshaping talent ratings. Every collaborative tool – from Slack, to Jira, to Github – has open APIs that can automatically collect data about the productivity and quality of work being produced by people and teams. Tools like Pinpoint can collect this data. Applying analytics to this data enables the creation of “karma scores” by person and by team, to provide objective and trusted evaluation of skills.

Examples of The Future of Work today

A global telco created hybrid teams that mix in-house staff with top global experts to accelerate their machine learning and predictive analytics initiatives. They manage these distributed teams following Silicon Valley best practices and have been able to deliver new applications that leverage AI up to twice as fast as traditional in-house development teams.

One of the world’s largest digital agencies created an entirely new digital transformation business unit using hybrid teams that blend employees and global freelance talent. This approach enabled them to onboard over 100 engineers in less than six months, with minimal recruiting costs.

Summary

The Future of Work describes a cultural shift that companies must adopt to grow their innovation capacity. The pace of those changes is accelerating as more companies adopt new work from home rules that support remote workers. Companies that embrace a Silicon Valley-style culture of innovation can become more customer-centered, more able to tap new talent pools, and to dramatically reduce risk.

Author Bio: Chris Keene

As CEO, Chris drives Gigster’s vision to de-risk digital innovation. Chris was previously VP Cloud for VMware, where he led the $400 million Pivotal spinout. Chris also founded and took public Persistence Software (NASDAQ:PRSW)