Luis Suarez is a Chief Emergineer and People Enabler at IBM. A well seasoned Social / Open Business evangelist and 2.0 practitioner with over 15 years of experience on knowledge management, collaboration, learning, online communities and social networking for business. Also being a seasoned global nomad, we asked Luis about his opinion on the new way of work.
The mobile work force is probably what is going to become the future of the corporate world. You call them nomads, other people call them trust agents, intrapreneurs, outrageous, hippies – I’ve been called this at some point in time as well.
It kind of highlights how the concept of work is no longer a physical space, it’s more a mental state. Work becomes a behavior as opposed to a place. This means that anywhere in the world can become your corporate workspace, it just depends on whether you have a stable Wi-Fi connection. For the rest, you don’t even need your real office, you can just go with your mobile devices, your tablet, laptop, smart phone: this is the reality of where we’re heading. It’s interesting because it’s also going to shape how the corporate world works in terms of corporate culture.
I believe that corporate culture is going to disappear altogether. Its going to have that nomad/trust agent flavor to it all to an extent where you will just be freelancing for work, get it done and move on.
So your environment becomes your lifestyle and that’s what your work is going to be like as well, so to speak.
What’s interesting is, that when you ask people about this phenomenon, there are two sides: the corporations and big businesses will tell you that it’s a way to become more agile, more lenient, in the sense that they will get rid of having to look after employees, having to pay social security, pensions and what have you and they will be able to just focus more on their work. However, if you go and then talk to the knowledge workers themselves, you then have more people like me who feel that this is the best, greatest opportunity they’ve ever had in their lifetime and for other people this means they’re scared s****less because they think “O God, I’m not going to have my steady job, my social security, I’m no longer going to have insurance, a pension etc.” I then tell them no, you’re going to have it; it’s just that you’re going to have to look after it yourself.
If you then take a look at everything else, you get rid of the corporate politics, you will no longer have to go into an office, you will be your own office. So the amount of autonomy, freedom, independence you have is going to be outnumbering any other con that you have. Now obviously it’s going to require you to become a lot more responsible in terms of being accountable for your work, looking after your own insurance and pension schemes or whatever you might have. But mostly contrary of what a lot of people might think, you are going to earn a lot more money than you are now. The reason for that is that it will all pretty much depend on how good you are in your skills, so that’s the thing what most people are afraid of. Most people are becoming like androids, they just basically do repetitive work; nobody is asking them to think or do things different because then they would freak out. From my point of view, anything that’s got to do with giving me more autonomy, freedom and more concession power within my own constraints.
Check out Luis’s blog for more insights: http://www.elsua.net/