by Mike Masnick

Distributed, Dynamic Workforces Through Homeshoring?

from the the-new-workforce dept

While most of the attention paid to people who work at home focuses on telecommuting options, there is a growing trend of being able to use temporary or part-time workers out of their homes as well -- and some are apparently looking at it as an alternative to offshoring. Lots of folks are familiar with things like JetBlue's customer service staff all working out of their homes, but a startup is trying to organize plenty of other jobs in the same manner, allowing programmers, designers and writers to work part-time from their homes on an as-necessary basis. In some ways, this is just an update on various freelance/contractor job boards -- but the idea is that the companies using this type of work outsource more of the management of the system to this particular startup, which does background checks on the various workers and even digitally looks over their shoulder on occassion to make sure they're really working (which, obviously, some may find invasive). Still, it does seem like a more interesting way to enable people to work on their own time from home than options like having people stare at security camera output all day. Either way, it is enabling new ways of working, often for groups of people who might otherwise find it more difficult to make a living.

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  • identicon
    nonuser, 2 May 2006 @ 5:12pm

    who cares about hour police

    as long as the person is reasonably available when contacted through IM or other means, and maintains good output. If they figure out that nobody's in before 9 AM and use that time to work out, more power as long as they're productive the rest of the day. One drawback with telecommuting at a large distance - large enough so that you typically never meet the employee, except through video - is that you have to worry about provenance of their work. Are they lifting source code or graphics off the 'net, perhaps even subcontracting the work themselves to offshore workers? Of course this is a risk even with a regular employee, but at least they have to look you in the eye on a regular basis and answer questions in person.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Don Gray, 2 May 2006 @ 9:14pm

      Re: who cares about hour police

      We were talking about this exact thing at work the other day.

      What prevents someone whom is a "remote" employee from outsourcing their work. Personal outsourcing.

      Basically shift the outsourcing risk to individual employees that the corp can just fire if things don't go right.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous of Course, 2 May 2006 @ 5:22pm

    In Japan (and probably in other countries too)
    homeshoring is more popular than it is in the US.
    A guy can buy amachine tool and turn out widgets
    in his garage for a big corporation and they're OK
    with that. In the US the lack of an edifice often
    scares corporations off of potential suppliers of
    reliable, high-quality work at a fair price.
    I hope this will change someday. Farming out
    work to individuals with low ovehead and few
    customers is good business... it's just a
    different way of doing things so it's scary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paradigm Shifty, 2 May 2006 @ 7:12pm

    Shifting Paradigms

    It may well be that corporations will find this somewhat scary. By all means, the interview process should still be in person. It gives everyone a chance to look at each other in the eye. And perhaps periodic meetings at corporate HQs would be in order as well.

    I think that what will tip the scales is the housing market in combination with the rising price of gas. If you can't afford to live near where you work, and you can't afford to drive from where you live to where you work, something is going to have to give. If the local work force included all the skill sets needed, then employers wouldn't be casting their nets as wide as they often do. So I don't think it's a question of if they will, but when will they wake up and smell the gas fumes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    rijit, 2 May 2006 @ 9:58pm

    Working from home...

    I work from home and it has it's own pitfalls such as slacking because of family time. After all, the family knows your home, so why not get you to run errands, etc. I get the work done, usually to the detriment of my sleep time, but working from home is not for everyone it takes alot of will power to keep churning through the repetitive parts of the job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    elaine, 2 May 2006 @ 10:01pm

    I think that working productively is much better as compared to having an 8-hours per day work that does not produce any auality work. This is a new kind of approach when it comes to working and gives advantage to the worker because it enables them to be creative and innovative at the same time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wilks, 3 May 2006 @ 1:46am

    An Unstoppable Force - Improving the short life

    The art of working from home will be unstoppable. Life's getting shorter, especially in developed countries like Singapore.

    For many of us living THE greedy life, this IS going to sky-rocket the level of happiness. At least, having the time to be happy. Apart from the typical work-life preachings, how about siesta or even a delicious lunchtime quickie? Now you're hungry. (FYI, for very obvious reasons, like Japan, our population growth is down. Very down. Pun unintended)

    Not without its fair share of challenges but advantages are indeed compelling. It is achievable. Creativity is required. FYI, nothing is impossible for the truly innovative. 1 widely-publicized example, Gene O'Kelly, ex-CEO of KPMG. He left aged 53. It's a high price to pay. How do you value success? Glamour's an epidemic here. Are you ready for discounts?

    Those who treasure their short lives will want their time back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mohamed ElZahaby, 7 Aug 2006 @ 8:16pm

    HomeShoring and FreeLancing

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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