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Prepare to 'monetize' your skill set

Posting in Technology
Can a company succeed with an entirely virtual workforce? Yes, and there are advantages for both employers and employees in doing so, says one CEO.

Tim Houlne, CEO of Working Solutions, a call-center provider, says his company employs 5,000 agents across the country, all of whom work from home. In a recent interview on Yahoo!, Houlne says more employees and organizations alike are embracing the coming wave of independent, virtual workforces.

Houlne, who also wrote a book on the topic titled The New World of Work: From the Cube to the Cloud, sees three trends shaping the workplace:
  • Work is being fractionalized. "Companies increasingly split projects among employees, allowing one to pick up where another left off."
  • Careers are being virtualized. "A decent computer setup and a broadband connection are all many workers need to get the job done, allowing more people to work from home and more companies to shave the costs of maintaining an office."
  • Talent is globalized. "An employer can leverage this, and find educated individuals with specific skills and domain knowledge that can really enhance the business."
The trend is a positive one for workers, he explains. "You can monetize your skill set now in a virtual environment."  He adds that there has been significant growth in the independent contractor workforce, either by personal choice or by necessity, "since the jobs aren't there."

In Houlne's view, technology isn't taking jobs away, but, rather, elevating workers into higher-level roles. In his call-center business, "you see automation stripping off simplistic transactions," he explains. "That leaves you with a more complex transaction that requires a dynamic thinking experienced professional. Agents or people that have that knowledge aren’t going away."

(Photo: HubSpot.)


— By on March 6, 2014, 7:17 PM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure