INT: ANDY’S OFFICE- EVENING
In the heart of New York City, inside a modern corporate office.
In the break room, Andy is still working at 7:30 pm. Television news can be heard in the background. Ambulances sirens moved closer, his colleague turned the television volume up.
“ …we are enforcing lockdown for an indefinite period” declared the president.
Hastily picked up the phone, laptop and his beloved succulents and left the building.
Most of us left our workspace like this. One fine day, we had to leave and not come back. In an attempt to stop the transmission of COVID-19, around half of the world’s population is on lockdown; self-quarantining or self-isolating. During this current challenging circumstance arising out of this global crisis, we identified that the conventional ways of work are kaput and not feasible.
How are companies adapting to the new work style?
Companies across the world have started moving workers to remote work setups. For most of us, long-term remote work is a new experience. Most of us aren’t trained to operate in such an unprecedented time nor a master at virtual meetings. To cope up with this new work style, we, netizens turned to Google. According to Google’s survey in India, one out of two consumers is interested in personalised information from brands like “how to work from home”. While we slowly learn and adapt to these new settings, we cannot ignore the bleak aftermath of Corona outbreak lockdown on our work.
This pandemic has triggered untypical shocks in the global economy resulting in massive job losses and pay cuts. The US unemployment rate is projected to an average of 15% during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020, in Canada the unemployment rate rose to 13% in April from 5.2% on March, in Japan, it was 2.5% in March, and in the UK it was 4% as per the latest data. While other countries also follow equivalent trends, the global employment outlook is not too positive. As per ILO’s recent study, globally, over 436 million enterprises are facing high risks of operational challenges that could potentially lead to further layoffs. This is a crucial period for businesses around the world. Many businesses are floundering, many are flourishing, and others are doing relatively well. For those who still have a job are currently undergoing a major transition in the way they work.
A transition to ‘New Work’
As we are transmuting to a new mode of living and working, we could see the boundaries between work and life thinning out. Given the current pandemic discourse and social distancing norms, remote working has become a pragmatic mode of work. Proponents of Dr Frithjof Bergmann’s New Work concept are embracing this transition.
Here are a few ways in which Covid-19 pandemic lockdown is accelerating the pace of change to a New Work culture.
When the lockdown was enforced, many of the businesses skipped a beat, worrying about making requisite technology infrastructure available for the employees to telecommute. It was imperative for those businesses to quickly adapt to ensure business continuity and productivity. As per the recent market intelligence, during the second half of March 2020 itself, video conferencing tools were downloaded a record 62 million times. The current workforce is relying on virtual collaboration tools to ensure productivity; making social isolation not too isolating.
Innovation and Digitization
A question that is often asked is ‘how will the workspaces look like post-lockdown?’.
Remote working is here to stay; offices too- in some way. Global real estate company Cushman & Wakefield’s innovative conceptual idea of 6 feet office has already become a functional way of re-designing the workspaces to make it more effective and safe for returning employees.
At the end of the last decade, with Industry 4.0, we have paved the way for exponential technologies. Industry 4.0 and COVID-19 pandemic has become an impetus for change, creating more than enough space for disruptive technologies. Facebook’s experimental mixed-reality workspace and Codec Avatars concept (life-like virtual avatars of employees) to improve social interaction experience are a few of such technologies.
Over the last few years, digitization has been the core transformation enabler of organizational processes. The rapid pivot to a remote workstyle has pushed organizations to source and hire talents virtually, train and onboard employees online and evaluate performance digitally. Digitization in workspace not only opens up the possibility of communication with one another but also, it the best possible way for organizations to go paperless and sustainable.
Equality and Inclusion
No doubt that the pandemic is upending the current workplace culture. This change has a notable impact on women, as they are more likely to adjust their career for family. According to the recent FlexJobs survey, 31% of women who took a break from their career, told that their job was too inflexible to remain in the workforce. A more flexible/work-from-home work culture could provide better equity at home as both men and women could share responsibilities and support each other.
The new work style is an exponent of new leadership. A leadership that is democratic- that is built on trust, patience, and support. Deploying all these innovative tools and practices will not make the transition meaningful. The senior management should willingly trust their employees, handover responsibility and encourage an autonomous way of working. Creating a meaningful and inclusive work environment would require everyone in the hierarchy to listen to each other, embrace differences, and show empathy.
What is the future?
Amidst this massive disruption, we are still entertaining the thought of a work culture that is uplifting, meaningful and backed by Industry 4.0 aspirations. It is evident that the future of work is flexible, project-based, digitally enhanced, trust-worthy, and environmentally sustainable. What we need now is a platform that is readily available for everyone to achieve that.
Dear readers, I came bearing good news. Such a platform is already here. Introducing New Work City:). New Work City is a decentralised network for everyone to collaborate on projects. It enables you to meet like-minded creatives, get involved and collaborate within your team, and communities around the world. This smart collaboration platform is powered by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT/Blockchain) and Artificial Intelligence (ML). It is completely free of cost so that you could easily adapt to the new work culture.
Like YouTube democratized content creation and TikTok- self-expression, New Work City intends to democratize work.
While you find more about us at newworkcity.io, stay at least 6 feet away from each other.
The alarm beeped high.
His watch reminded him to ‘wake up’.
‘Alexa’, play ‘Morning motivation’” he yelled.
Dressed-up and locked home with his fingerprint.
The self-driving car took him to his office.
It was another Monday.
Many of us could relate to this. Our daily lives including our work have been significantly altered by the application of the latest technologies including Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, predictive analytics, etc. The culmination of such changes is often referred to as the outcome of the disruptive nature of Industry 4.0 or the fourth Industrial Revolution. As we see a slow transformation in the way we interact, these disruptive forces are changing the way we work as well. From hiring to termination, we reinvented new ways to streamline processes. Workspaces are becoming more virtual, geographically agnostic, and work became more flexible.
Where is ‘Work’ Today?
In this constant tech-enabled evolution of work, contingent workers are often mistreated, abused and often suffer from frauds. On the other side, the employer often struggles with contract breaches, lack of guarantee of the delivery, and mainly, spends an extensive amount of time and resources to plan and process legal contracts.
According to ILO’s World Employment Social Outlook Report 2019, over 3.3million employed globally in 2018 experienced a lack of material well-being, economic security, equal opportunities or scope for human development. That means the majority of the workforce being employed faces multiple difficulties to be a part of the system. In 2018 itself, there were over 140 million people who were classified as “potential labour force” in a world constantly struggling with an increasing skill shortage. This imbalance is exactly why we need a total revamp of the system.
As the number of people unemployed is projected to increase by 1 million per year, we can’t be oblivious of the issues faced by the employed people around the world. There is no consensus about the number of hours one is expected to work, where to work or when to work. Over 94% of the working community works more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey. Since the employers bear a huge cost to hire someone, they expect us to be the nine-to-fivers. We can’t blame them, this process came into existence as the bleak aftermath of the big recession. Fewer workers, more hours with the fixed cost of employment not just jeopardise our social lives — our mental and physical health is at risk too.
Current ‘Work’ and Productivity
Remember when in 2019, Microsoft Japan closed its offices every Friday in August and found that employee productivity increased by almost 40% compared with August 2018. Additionally, this mere reduction of one day also helped to conserve electricity and office resources, while declining the employee stress levels up to 7%. It is well known to us that reducing the standard working schedule could bring a range of economic, social and environmental benefits too.
What we are looking at, is a booming generation of millennial, Gen Z and Gen Alpha workers, who expect more meaningful and autonomy from work. They expect smart, intuitive and powerful technologies to back their work while demanding high regards to security and privacy. But can we make it possible?
What is New Work?
What we have seen is a need for a structural change in the field of work. A work format that enables a culture that strengthens human values.
The concept of “New Work” was developed by philosopher and social catalyst Frithjof Bergmann in the 70s as an alternative working model to capitalism. According to him the purpose of New Work is to ‘Reduce the oppressive, dementing power of work- to use machines to do the work that is boring and repetitive. Then enable humans to do the creative, imaginative, uplifting work.’
This approach focuses on freedom, community and independence. A way to do more meaningful work that we truly believe in.
What is New Work City?
We have designed a smart collaboration platform powered by blockchain technology and AI to metamorphose the current ‘work’. New Work City is one of a kind global community of creators, a group of NGOs, and companies. We built the most decentralised network for people to collaborate on projects seamlessly. Since New Work City’s backbone is embedded with the modern distributed ledger technology and AI, our platform is transparent and trustworthy.
How will New Work City bring change?
While we are breaking bigger projects into doable tasks and assigning them to highly skilled people around the world. We are enabling an environment in which each one of us can potentially earn based on our skills, whether it is small or big. From photography to voice-over you name it, we have got you covered. In much of the popular culture, we have learnt the capabilities and potential of emerging technologies. Here, we are leveraging this learning to implement and offer a secure and unique platform. We are not only becoming an enabler but also a catalyst and a link to establish a New Work mission.
Through New Work City, we are building and developing a novel work format that focuses on the below-mentioned aspects:
Social Learning: Interact, discuss, collaborate and acquire new skills while completing challenging tasks
Flexibility:Sign up for the work fitting your schedule and get easily adapt to a new work culture that allows you to work at any time and from anywhere
Shared purpose: Become a part of a project or a cause you believe; help them succeed, and become a part of the team
Remote working: Balance life and work, or merge them through the new digital workplace platform
While we build our community, we cannot stress more, how we intend to commit to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals No.8 agenda to attain the target of “full and productive employment and decent work for all and equal pay for equal value by 2030”. Through our platform, we ensure that everyone, regardless of their gender, race, nationality and physical abilities will receive equal opportunity without any discrimination.
We don’t intend to ‘robotize’ the current work; but, re-innovate it to make it more humane. We aim for you to have a better social, physical and mental health without compromising your work.
Work has been democratized many times over. We believe this might very well be the last time. To us, the future is now, and we want you to be a part of it.
Connect with us at email@example.com