As I look around the changing workplace the more I see evidence that we are moving away from the large monolithic organisation of the industrial age to one which is dominated by freelancers – people who work for themselves.
A couple of things have caught my attention recently:
- IBM in Germany has recently decided to radically change towards using “flexible external workers”.
- A recent survey of the freelance industry been undertaken with some very interesting results (infographic below) including the statistic that 90% of freelancers are happier than they we before going solo.
Is this change a good thing or a bad thing? Like all change, it depends a lot on your perspective. For many people I think that the large organisation is a constraint that they would do better without. I wonder, though, about people with disabilities or other constraints on their work, how are they going to compete? What about people who have just left education and still have a lot to learn?
As I consider these questions I see a future that’s not dissimilar to the one that craftsmen of old used to operate with the guilds. My reasoning on this isn’t that well formed yet other than to say that we can learn a lot from history.