Mobility is a polysemic notion. We here only allude to geographical mobility, understood as physical movement in a professional setting. It may refer to working in a different space than the usual one, as well as to professional trips (whether these are systematic or not). Add to that daily commuting between home and the workplace, which, according to the […]
The growth of shared, flexible urban workspaces for startups and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is now a striking, and very visible feature of British cities. Over the past decade or so, startups and small firms in retail, manufacturing, arts, the cultural industries and the digital economy have been making creative use and re-use of urban spaces – through […]
In 1770 Wolfgang von Kempelen presented a sort of robot called the Turk (hidden inside there was, in reality, a person operating it) that could beat humans at playing chess. The robot toured Europe, eliciting contrasting reactions about the future robotisation. The first digital labour market for the trading of micro-tasks was tellingly named Amazon Mechanical Turk and presented […]
The trend has a catchy name, melding the vibe of edgy jazz clubs with the tech savvy of the smartphone era: the gig economy. And it’s catching on, especially among Millennials; a Brookings study found that the number of Americans, many of them young, employed as freelancers, contract workers and in other nontraditional work jumped 60 per cent between […]
Two years ago, our already fully remote team of then 50 people decided to close down our only remaining tie to the traditional workforce, a small office in San Francisco. Here’s why we decided to be a remote company in the first place, how it’s going for us, and what’s next for a company with no office.
First, let’s look […]
The world of work is being transformed, driven by rapid developments in technology, globalisation, and demographic change. Now, the concept of ‘employment’ itself seems to be increasingly past its sell-by date. A proliferation of new, online platforms has made access to paid work easier and more efficient than ever before by instantaneously connecting people who have work they need […]
Collaborative movements and communities—co-workers, makers, hackers, and fabbers— stir tremendous controversy because they expose all the paradoxes and contradictions of the ongoing transformations of work practices and capitalism. Work is being redefined by the growing number of entrepreneurs and freelancers while organisations are being transformed by a new work ethos. The ‘do-ocracy’ is establishing itself as the favoured organisational […]
It is scary fun to think that the robot buddy who is making life a bit easier and products a bit cheaper will next week steal your job, that the bot that reads your laptop cookies will destroy your freedom of choice, or that super-intelligent algorithms mean that we will all end up working for machines. I propose, rather, […]
Central to the election of President Trump, the populist support of Brexit, and the distrust of so many institutions at the heart of the modern world, are concerns about the future of work; Who or what has taken my job? what are the jobs of the future? How do I – or my kids – get them? Where are […]
Anybody relying for their information on the current headlines would find it hard to make sense of what is happening in the labour market. On the one hand, the news media are awash with apocalyptic forecasts, often backed up by studies from reputable organisations such as the US National Bureau of Economic Research , the Oxford Martin School or […]
How to shape the future of work
In November 2016, the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, headed by social democrat Andrea Nahles, published the white paper “Work 4.0”. It’s the result of an 18-month dialogue process mapping out the challenges for the world of labour and injecting policy proposals in the political debate. The dialogue involved a wide […]
Most debates about work today focus on the joint evolution of entrepreneurs versus employees. Some academics believe we are moving towards an entrepreneurial society. Others focus on the increasing precariousness of work, but clearly qualify the thesis of a move towards an entrepreneurial society. In the context of this short reflexion, we simply want to question the categories themselves.
Robot by geralt, Pixabay, under a CC0 licence
The debate is quite old. Machines, and then robots, have always brought fears and fantasies about unemployment and the brutal disappearance of skills and meaning.
With the rise of the so-called industry 4.0, fear is back. I believe that more than ever, it is a justified fear. Technology has never been more likely […]
North Charleston 4th of July Festival, by North Charleston, under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 licence
The impact of the internet on recorded music is well-known, as are its effects on elements of live music such as ticketing and broadcasting of performances. But here I will write about something that has been less well-documented: the way new web platforms affect the labour market for […]
The Refusal of Work: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work. David Frayne. Zed Books. 2015.
Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams. Verso. 2015.
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There is today a preoccupation with the idea of ‘the end of work’: whether in chronicling the decline of permanent careers in the age […]
The “gig” economy is here. Companies like Freelancer.com and Upwork connect millions of freelancers with employers for on-demand work. According to a national survey conducted by research firm Edelman Berland in partnership with Upwork, 34 million people in the U.S. — approximately one in three workers — now work as freelancers. Those freelancers work as software developers, graphical designers, […]
Service Automation: Robots and the Future of Work. Leslie P. Willcocks and Mary C. Lacity. Steve Brookes Publishing. 2016.
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Booming headlines such as ‘Half of All British Jobs Could Be Replaced By Robots!’ and accompanying shelf-metres of popsci may be giving the particularly forward-looking a few sleepless nights. Yet these works rarely spur us to imagine the nitty-gritty […]