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)

4 Things You Should Know About Building A Rural Business

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Most businesses have their office in an urban area because it’s well connected and you have easy access to resources. It also makes it easier for employees and clients to reach you. But if you run a rural business and most of your customers are in the local area, it may be more practical to have your office in a rural area. However, that does bring some challenges along with it and if you can’t overcome those hurdles, your business may suffer. If you are planning to open an office in a lucrative area, here are a few important things to remember.

Stay Connected 

Connectivity is one of the biggest challenges for businesses that operate in a rural area. In a big city, you have easy access to high speed internet, and it’s simple for customers to find you if they need to. You also have good transport links for sending goods etc. However, you may struggle in a rural area, so you need to take this into account when choosing the location. Low prices are one of the main attractions of a rural office, but the cheapest places are likely to be the most isolated. It is best to spend a bit more to find an office that is better connected. When viewing offices, make sure that you ask about things like cell signal and internet speeds, and check local public transport links as well. 

Check The Infrastructure

When you view office buildings, you need to check the infrastructure of the building. That includes things like internet connection and phone lines, but you also need to check things like plumbing. If you are in a particularly rural area, you may need to use the services of a company like Foothill Sanitary to manage your septic tanks. You may also need to power the building using fuel generators if it is not connected to the grid. It’s important that you consider the logistics and cost of these things before you make a decision about your office. 

Consider Using Remote Workers 

If your office is far away from the nearest large city, you may be limited by geography when you are trying to find new employees. But you can get around this if you take advantage of remote workers. There are a lot of benefits to remote work, and it opens up far more possibilities so you can hire the best possible people for the job, without being limited to candidates that are in the immediate local area. 

Build Relationships With The Community  

Rural communities are very close and a new business moving in may cause some tensions. That’s why it’s important that you build close relationships with the local community. Working with other local businesses and suppliers to give back to the local community is often the best financial move, and it will improve relationships. You should also focus on local charitable work to help cement your place in the community. 

Building a business in a rural area does have its challenges, but as long as you follow these simple rules, you can make it a success.

Working Remotely? Here’s How to Get to Know Your Clients

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If you are a Millennial, you might be enjoying the lifestyle of a remote freelancer, even run a company using workers from all over the world. Being an entrepreneur requires a clear direction and a plan. If you are clear about what you want to achieve, what you offer, and who your ideal clients are, you can develop your business into something big. Below you will find a few tips on how to get to know your ideal clients.

Market Research

The first thing you will have to do before you position your brand in the marketplace is your market research. Find out what people are looking for. If you work online most of the time, you can utilize social media research and join related groups to find out what the most painful problems of your audience are. The good news is that you don’t even have to invest in industry reports; most of the data you need is freely available.

Finding Your USP

If you are working remotely, you will need to find a way to create personal connections and communicate your unique selling proposition. One of the things you should do is compare your brand and offers with the competition, so you can identify what makes you stand out. Once you are clear about this, you can create a social media strategy or a sales funnel built around your USP.

Identifying Your Ideal Client

One of the most challenging tasks you will have to complete is identifying your ideal customers. When you start a business, you might think that you have to please everyone. This is not the case. You don’t have the budget for marketing trial and error, so it is best to focus on the people who are the most likely to buy from you.

Branding

When building a brand online, your main challenge will be to get people to stop and listen. There is simply too much white noise and distraction, so your brand has to be interesting, engaging, and unique. On social media, for example, your main job is to get people to stop scrolling past your posts. Consistency is also crucial, so your prospects can recognize your brand on every platform.

Asking Qualifying Questions

If you want to stop wasting time chasing after cold or dead leads, you have to find a way to get to know your customers. Asking qualifying questions before you arrange an interview or follow them up will save you a lot of time and resources. There are some great business intelligence software solutions out there designed for remote workers, like you. Click here to visit this website to find out more about the benefits of getting to know your customers and asking the right questions.

Remote workers and companies face a lot of challenges when it comes to branding and getting to know their ideal clients. To stand out from the crowd, you will need to have a clear direction and a strong USP.

Are You Prepared For The Price Of Health Care?

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Start-up costs are an unavoidable in any business. While some brag about businesses you can start with less than $1000, they’re usually pipe dreams. Building an empire doesn’t come cheap. And, you need to be willing to pay if you’re to see success. Hence why many entrepreneurs turn to business loans and life savings to see them through.

When it comes to ideas with high overheads, though, some are worse than others. It’s now possible to start an online business for little. While $1000 would be pushing it, you may find your overheads to start aren’t far out of that range. After all, with remote work and social media marketing, you can cut out plenty of costs here.

Equally, some fields face higher upfront costs. Physical retailers, for instance, can’t avoid steep expenses. Top of this list, though, is the business we’re going to look at here. When it comes to healthcare, starting up always means spending big. Hence why many entrepreneurs steer clear of this field. But, if you have your heart set on helping others, it is possible to make this work. All you need to do is know what expenses to expect before you start. Lucky for you , that’s what we’re going to look at here.

Your premises

While many companies can now work on a remote basis, the same isn’t true for most fields of healthcare. While some counselors do now operate online, any other field of healthcare require physical examination. There are online doctors, but they come under a lot of scrutiny. They also open themselves to lawsuits which could cost more than a physical premises. There’s just too much room for error when you don’t have a patient in front of you. From the moment you have your idea, then, you need money to either buy or rent premises for your services. And, you can bet they won’t be cheap.

Equipment

Most businesses could enjoy expensive equipment. Factory equipment can speed up production, as can the latest office tech. But, these are often goals to work towards. You, however, can’t get started until you have that equipment on board. Before opening, you’ll need to buy everything from emergency crash carts to examination tables. In that respect, healthcare has the highest overheads, especially in specialized surgeries. Even a typical small business loan probably won’t help. So, how are your savings looking?

A team

It’s also worth noting that you’ll need at least some semblance of a team. Entrepreneurs in other fields can operate solo for at least their first months. But, even those opting for a therapist career will need a receptionist to take bookings for them. In more generalized health care centers, you’ll need at least a few doctors to deal with demand. All before you’ve earnt a penny from your enterprise. You could say, then, that health care isn’t for the faint of heart. But, if you have the money to spend, it could see you earning in spades before you know.

How Remote Working Can Enhance Leadership

remote-workers

The fear of hiring remote workers is if left unsupervised people won’t finish their work. But at the heart of that argument is a lack of trust.

As a leader with your subordinate nearby, you still shouldn’t micromanage him/her. Often we don’t manage the way we would like to be managed.

Here is how remote workers can enhance your leadership.

As a manager, focus on the outcome, not the process. Translation: be concerned about people getting their work done, not how they complete it.

Working remotely relies on trust. Leaders trust their workers to get the work done and until they don’t, they’ve earned autonomy.

Remote working is teaching us that location shouldn’t determine practice. If we limit ourselves to talent nearby, we miss out on the global resources accessible by technology. In order to harness the best talent around, managing remote workers is a necessity.

The concept of working remotely isn’t a pipe dream for workers anymore. Once technology bridged the gap between locations, it opened the portal for virtual connections.

Leaders sometimes forget how it feels to be managed. The golden rule applies here: lead others the way you want to be led.

Today’s leader is a coach. You coach by leveraging individual strengths to help optimize the team. Motivating, guiding and supporting are the leadership skills needed to manage from afar. The beauty of managing remotely is that it is built on the foundation of trust.

Trust means respect and what makes us all feel “safe” at work. That’s what we all want from our leaders.

How Working Remotely Benefits Your Health

Remote-working

Employing remote workers increases the pool of talent for your company. Telecommuting, once thought of as a perk, now levels the playing field.

Theoretically it can pose challenges to management but if done right, supervision shouldn’t vary much. At the heart of managing remote workers is trust. It is literally impossible to micromanage remotely, yet there’s the temptation to in person.

There are several books and online articles that cover managing a remote staff, but few address the benefits health-wise. Here are three ways:

1. Lack of germs – Experiencing the flu can make you a germaphobe, but in a shared workspace it’s almost impossible to avoid the common cold. Working remotely means you’re communicating virtually, but working independently. Not only does the lack of commute save time, but eliminating travel and interaction equates to less trips to the doctor annually.

2. Increased efficiency – Meetings are a waste of time, especially when they’re run poorly. Two brains are better than one, but distractions decrease performance rapidly. No matter how social of a person you are, working alone produces a much higher rate (and usually with less mistakes). With less scheduled interactions, more quality work gets done.

3. Self-leadership – Strip management from the room and there’s a fear of completed tasks. But shouldn’t you be motivated to get stuff done without someone breathing down your neck? As an entrepreneur, the first thing to go is structure when free from the corporate world. Your responsibility is to create order or risk wasting time. A hard lesson to learn initially, self-accountability means you can be trusted.

More and more companies choose to hire remote workers meaning new leadership practices must be implemented. Quality of lifestyle is becoming the most important factor professionally. The more you are informed about the benefits of working remotely, the easier the transition will be to make. Your body, mind and emotions will thank you for it later.