Reversing work

What if your job was outside organisations and your work was inside? It is an increasing prospect in our networked world as organisations look to become more agile and responsive. At the same time, people are looking for more satisfying and purposeful work.

I was reading in Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser about ‘reverse commuting’ where people live in cities for the amenities and commute out to go to work. Having done the same some years ago living in the Sydney CBD, it can be a great option. The lifestyle suited me and it cut down on traffic jams to always go against the traffic.

What if we reversed the logic of work?

We are used to job and work being synonymous. They need not be. Treating them as the same closes off options for other more amenable models of work

Many traditional organisations have problems with their amenities. Poor people management practices, command and control cultures, meaningless effort and bureaucratic process with a focus on preserving the status quo can create an uncomfortable environment for employees. In such an organisation, there are few amenities for people with talent, creativity and a focus on leading change. Ideally we would fix these issues, but organisations with the worst issues often lack the collective will. Many people work in large organisation for the scale of impact that they hope to have and the security of income. Both benefits are threatened by these challenges of traditional organisations.

Competitive pressures and rapidly changing markets mean organisations already need to look outwards for more and new talent. Fluctuating demands mean organisations need workforces to flex too. Attracting this talent will require organisations to offer new more flexible work options and more porous connections to the outside world.

In an increasingly networked world of talent, more people are looking to build portfolio careers inside and outside organisations but still dealing with the capabilities and challenges that matter to them and that they specialise in. These careers still offer the choice to go back and work inside organisations but this time helping with the worker’s choice of projects, challenges and change.

Like reverse commuters, amenity and convenience will drive new and different choices as people and organisations reverse work recognising that the job need not be where the work occurs. Inside or outside of organisations and formal jobs, talented people know their power in a networked world and can afford to increasingly realise their purpose and potential as they choose.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s