Work 2.0: Nowhere to Hide

Preface

We’re living through a dramatic revolution. Ten years ago, there was no such thing as Facebook. Ten years before that, we didn’t have Amazon or the Web. New technologies have opened up new opportunities. They bring with them an ever more complex reality. Growing complexity is a process caused by globalisation, technology and progress–a broader set of activities, more departments in companies, more workers, more processes to service,all of these provoke a continuous rise in the number of functioning procedures, new policies and rules. They bring about the phenomenon of extreme worker specialisation (also known as hyperspecialisation). This calls for a different approach to management and work. For some time now we’ve observed a greater focus on flexibility, mobility, and the ability of quick adaptation of workers. The world of work is in evolution.

You have to know that globalisation cannot be stopped. After work we sit down with our computers and look for products on the internet without considering location. We like to shop cheaply. But we don’t always like to manufacture cheaply. In such a situation government budgets and our pockets can’t possibly be balanced. This is the problem the West is currently facing. People still want to buy things, but they’re often out of work and consequently lack the money to do so. This is a significant fact, as today we don’t compare our production or industrial capabilities with a neighbouring country as before, but with a manufacturer from China, Taiwan, Indonesia or India. We see the inhabitants of these countries on TV and still can’t believethat they’re so close… right next to us, thanks to technology.

When we look at the business realities of the 21st century such as a decentralised workforce and companies which leverage both networks and communities, we see opportunities for a more rapid pace of innovation, more efficiency in production and a truly global market for products. A special part of making this happen has been the rise of Web 2.0,which has provided millions of people all over the world with the ability of to influence thoughts and behaviour on a global scale. It might not be an exaggeration to state that one person could bring about a revolution. We can now attract people who think alike andbuild support for our ideas and actions. We have the ability to gather as never before to brainstorm, voice our opinions and think about solutions. We can interact with people thousands of miles away as if they were in the other room. Our voice can be heard regardless of location and context, and this is what makes social media a truly powerful phenomenon.

But technology is a double-edged sword, as it has the ability to both liberate and enslave. Technology is changing the nature of work, enriching us, and as companies redefine how and where different tasks are carried out, they require new skills and new employer-employee relationships. However, jobs for workers others than the global hyper-skilled or hyper-connected elite are disappearing—this transformation is leaving many people without a job for good. Globalisation continues to suppress the future income of thosewho still haven’t started working. World 2.0 is approaching, while in countries which were formerly considered rich, people are losing jobs due to automation or the shift to low-cost locations. The result of this globalisation is that there is a huge surplus of labour supply–a vast army of people who are out of work, with little money or prospects. The majority, in terms of job security and availability has suffered badly. The stats you can find in this book clearly show a huge amount of wealth flowing up to the top 1% and the bottom 80% falling behind dramatically, a drop in employment, and youth fresh out of school with no job prospects because they don’t know how to navigate this new world which has its own brand new set of rules. The global youth is becoming unemployed and discouraged.

Work will ultimately return. But it won’t be the same kind of work as before. China is under immense pressure, and cash is flowing out of all emerging markets, Europe is experiencing huge tensions, so noone isreally surprised that global growth is sluggish at best. However, a small group of insightful economic thinkers suggest that our current situation isn’t temporary, but the start of a completely new cycle of slower growth. Their reasoning is as follows:our work will be done by computer programmes, apps basically, while we need to learn how to use them, how to change the way we build relationships, and how to engage in online communities. No one is going to pay you a salary just for showing up at work. Employers will have new expectations for their workers, thus creating a more flexible, more freelance, more collaborative and far less secure world of work. It will be run by people with new values, driven by the coming of Work 2.0.

The old employment system of secure, lifelong jobs with predictable advancement and stable pay is dead. It’s time for Work 2.0. There is nowhere to hide. Resistance is futile and eventually all of us will be assimilated.

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