Various recent links of interest to remote workers. This week: virtual scrum meetings, the office of the future, group health plans for freelancers, and much more.
Mediating a virtual daily Scrum meeting using Yammer: I don’t agree with the assumption here that remote meetings are always inferior to collocated. But this is a great step-by-step guide to using a “virtual presence” tool to run a daily standup.
Cast a Wide Net: Recent guest-poster and friend of the site Evan Light writes on the We Are Titans blog about why using a remote team gives you access to the widest pool of talent. Disclaimer: I subcontract for We Are Titans.
“Ok”, the manager may say, “but couldn’t they be getting their work done and then goofing off the rest of the time?”
My response: “This is a problem how?” If you are paying for value added, and you have verified that your team is adding the desired value, then this is what I describe as a WIN-WIN!
What we advocate is moving from in-house or telecommuting (where you’re still an employee performing a job for one employer) to outsourcing the specific tasks to talented, efficient, professional virtual contract workers. One of the benefits to the employer (or client for contract work) is that you no longer rely on a single resource to perform a multitude of tasks, but instead have a team of focussed, independent business owners taking care of essential support services ranging from administration to CFO requirements. And, this team is available to you on a flexible, as and when needed basis that can adapt to your changing needs.
The recession just may have moved teleworking from being a cushy perk to becoming a business necessity
The Sandra Bullock Trade: I include this article just for one line, drawn to my attention by Adam Bair in the comments:
The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting.
When you need to have a meeting, have a meeting. When you need to collaborate, collaborate. The rest of the time, do the work, wherever you like.
Get more done with a work buddy: just because you’re working solo doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some of the benefits of a distributed team.
For the past month, I’ve been working with a “work buddy”. She helps me stay on track with my projects, keeps me focused when I’m not feeling motivated, and gives me professional advice.
oDesk now offering group health plan to all US freelancers: this is potentially game-changing. One of the scariest things about my own switch to independent work was the frankly horrible independent health plan market. Having group coverage available to any freelancer, contractor, or entrepreneur could help a lot of people be more comfortable making the switch to freelancing, and, thus, to remote work.
Title photo by Max Klingensmith