Healing The Work Environment – Part II: The Concept of Work 2.0

8 min read
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Life implies change… From the beginning of this universe, without change, nothing around us would have existed!

The creation of planets, the appearance of life forms, the evolution of everything… implies change… and especially interaction. With the lack of synergy everything would have stayed the same, and if we understand this concept, we can deduct that change, interaction, synergy is constantly needed if we want to evolve, regardless of what are we’re referring to – an individual, a group of people, a race, our concepts and so on…

Before going any further…

…as promised in part I, here are some opinions from MoniTeam (get it? Monitive Team… Moni+Team… Ha! Funny… Uhm, never mind…). The full interview can be viewed here.

Question: Can you characterize the online work environment in a few words?

Luci: The ideal online work environment should reflect an ideal real-life work environment. First, I’d go for security. If an office should have space, and no one constantly looking over your shoulder, so should the online work environment be. Then, I’d go for simplicity. There’s no use and especially no time to dig through files and folders. Everything should be nicely organized. And third, we’re humans, working together. The online work environment should be able to support feelings, fun and laughter.

Marcy: The current online work environment it’s like a vampire. It will consume you, just ’til your last drop. Due to it, many opportunities roused during the last decade, but it should be handled with care. And to summarize it… I think it’s full of people “running around” yelling all the time “This is Sparta!” without understanding that to be king first you must be a minion.

Alina: Remember those 80s-90s movies with Wall Street brokers sitting in tens of offices giving calls at the same time. Well, for the online, you only switch to computers and laptops, make everybody shut up, and it’s the same thing. The only difference now is that you have more technology and you can work a lot faster. It’s a great opportunity that any business should take advantage of.

Read the full interview. They’re a wild bunch!

Work 2.0

When it comes to the ways in which we interact one with another, no one can argue that communication is one of the real main assets: how do we connect with others, how can we inform others about our opinions, how can we have a better understanding about what others are broadcasting.

But will communication suffice or are there other aspects that must be taken into consideration? How about soft skills (in order to be perceived as a valuable person), or abilities to fuse with a team accordingly to its operating requirements ? Even more important – understanding just a specific field of work it’s enough (the one in which an individual is highly active and prepared for), or nowadays should we possess more and more knowledge from related fields?

The work environment has evolved tremendously from 20-30 years ago. It still continues to exist in its traditional form, but it’s losing more ground when faced with the new way in which people are doing business, are working and collaborating.

Internet has shaped the very core of our perceptions when referring to the surrounding world, and from its early appearance until the moment when it began to slowly change the way people collaborate, not much time passed. Presently, we’re faced with a big challenge… that of adapting to the new form of the work environment: 2.0.

People are depending on the Internet for doing business, for trading and for purchasing products or for contracting services. The word “freelancer” is on everyone’s lips (and fingertips).

So what’s up with that ? Well, in large terms, you can think about the freelancer as being for Work 2.0, what the employee is to the traditional work environment. Of course, there are traditional freelancers, who can be contracted offline – for example a home decorator, without being the employee of a decorating agency – but I’m referring to the online freelancers. Because Work 2.0 it’s all about the Internet.

From my own point of view, the “work life form” called employee won’t ever disappear, and it won’t get devoured by the bigger beast which is the freelancer. Online business owners will hire freelancers and offer them similar benefits as in the traditional work environment, and then the freelancers will become part employees – a hybrid “work life form”.

For the sake of making this article very clear, let’s sync everybody to make sure it’s understood to what I’m referring when using this work-titles.

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Freelancer

Is self-employed and it’s not committed to his/her employer, to a long-term contract. You can think about the freelancer as being a mercenary, going where the money or the real challenges are. Or if you want a different comparison, the freelancer is a solo-singer, not being part of any band.

Employee

Is part of an employer’s staff. He or she is committed, very often, to a long-term contract. An employee must always find the balance between personal goals and the ones of its employer. He or she must be a great team player, being part of a collective, and must comply with specific rules. A different comparison here is to think about the employee as being just one member of an orchestra.

So, no matter, if we’re talking about freelancers or employees, as long as they’re working remotely both are part of the Work 2.0 environment.

The future is here

Many professionals are predicting that in the near future we’ll enter a new era of work. Well… I’m here to say that they’ve got it wrong. Yes, this new form of work – 2.0 – it’s a real thing, but their predictions are not so on the spot – it’s here already, we’re living in it, we’re breathing its air, we’re getting drawn into it and those who’ll adapt will survive.

Why is this such a big deal, you ask?

The blunt truth is that consumerism mutated just like a virus, it can be found on the Internet, and it’s not about only buying stuff anymore. Now, people infected with it, instead of just hunting for perks and wins, are craving to become the creators, the providers. And with the Internet, so many talents and resources can be accessed remotely. So freaking many people want to turn into entrepreneurs overnight! Personally, I’m not much of a fan of these superficial wannabe entrepreneurs (swaneurs, as I like to call them), but what can I do?… They’re here to stay for a while.

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Still don’t get it? Come on, stay with me!

Some will adapt and some will become dinosaurs, and eventually will get extinct. The swaneurs are ruthless life forms, who don’t listen to reason and don’t follow any rules, except those issued by their kind.

Their workers will only be remunerated for success – this means more work, less pay. It doesn’t matter how much work has been done, in terms of hours, instead the deliverability of a product or a service is the real trigger of a payment to occur.

Some swaneurs will oblige their workers to carry the cost of needed equipment, and the benefits offered by a company to its employees in the traditional work environment, in 2.0 must be supported by the individual workers.

The future employees and freelancers need to stay ahead in this Work 2.0 environment. They should always be two, three… ten steps ahead of the swaneurs, so when a mutual agreement will be made (some sort of a contract), the game is going to be played based on their terms, and not on those of the swaneurs.

Wait, I’m not done!

Read again the above piece. Change swaneurs with entrepreneurs, and workers with sworkers. Yes, it goes both ways. There are also many superficial workers coming our way. They’re lazy, cry out for payments all the time and have an attitude. There’s no pretty side. But there’s a solution: improve yourself, emit high standards, choose your collaborators carefully, reward your collaborators’ dedication, skills, and their quality of provided work.

Why is it important to “acclimatize” ourselves with the new work environment?

The answers to this question can be highlighted through other questions – Is it important to stay relevant on the job market ? Is it important to flow with the stream or against the stream? Is it important to be part of the process through which the work environment is getting improved? And this questions shouldn’t be answered only by individuals, but even by companies and governments.

If the market is changing and those who previously participated to its existence won’t adapt, then they won’t be relevant to the demand anymore, by not being able to provide the needed service or product.

Change is good, don’t be afraid to adopt it!

Interesting read?

About Ciprian Irimies

Ciprian is an UX Ninja, but what really makes him stand out of a crowd is the desire to venture into the unknown, to boldly face new challenges and the lack of hair on his head.