It’s rather strange that in the interconnected, multicultural, permeable world in which we live most people have a job with a single company and most companies employ permanent staff.
Work is often undertaken in a single location, with a fixed team that is chosen by others. People earn a salary that changes only yearly and incrementally. It often only vaguely matches the contribution of that individual, if at all. Corporate ‘culture’ is mostly dictated, projects pre-determined, holidays limited to legal minimums and rules and regulations created to ensure managers can manage.
This is the modern slavery.
Employees work for a single company, with all of its quirks and features. People will spend years locked into offices, for the majority of their waking lives. There is too often a disconnect between someone’s desires and dreams, and what they are forced to accept.
Savvy investors would never invest all their savings in one stock and yet we do that with our working lives – investing in one job at a time.
People are either in, or they’re out. Employed or unemployed.
At least that’s how it’s been and is… mostly.
Owing to recession, technological advances and mobility, things are changing. A recent article stated that over 50% of the US workforce will be freelancing, temporary or contingent workers within 10 years.
We think that is really, really exciting.
However, the majority of people who want work ‘face-to-face’ or ‘in-person’ across the globe – on building sites, oil-rigs or on movie sets… from those working for the UN in refugee camps to those providing primary care. These platforms don’t cater for working in person.
Closer to home you’ll find drivers, caterers and healthcare workers working in part-time roles. Even in offices, there are graphic designers, architects, engineers, marketeers, project managers and many more who for a multitude of reasons don’t have ‘full-time’ jobs.
Huge swathes of the population in almost every country in the world remain unemployed against their wishes.
At 3Desk, we believe that the future of work will be freer and more flexible. People will be ‘agents’ rather than employees. We want people to have more choice. The unemployed should be able to find small pieces of work that means they can get back to work.
Imagine a liquid market for talent, in which someone knows their value. A market in which people choose who they work for, when they work and for how much.
Our dream is that in 20 years, the majority of the Harvard MBA graduation class will choose to freelance because of the advantages it brings – working with people they like, choosing their own projects, setting their own terms or choosing a 3-day week to spend time with their kids.
Sure, there are benefits to working full-time. A salary and the ‘safety net’ that a company provides Teamwork and collecting people together around a singular goal. We’re not extolling the removal of organizations, but instead making them more porous and flexible so they can achieve more.
Imagine employers being able to choose the talent they need as and when they need it. Instead of bringing in a big consulting firm to work on a problem, what if they were able to select the best 12 people in the market instead? Imagine paying solely for their skills, without having to cough up for the company’s marble atriums, secretaries and employment structures.
Imagine if the unemployed could find pieces of work in their neighbourhoods, to help bring in small pieces of income and charities could achieve more by bringing in experts who are able to set aside 20% of their working days for causes they believe in, regardless of the pay.
Although a long way off, that’s why we started 3Desk - because we believe that both employers and employees want more security AND more flexibility – and it is only possible by creating a liquid temporary marketplace, where people understand their true value, that they are able to work the way they want to, with the people they want to.
It’s early days, but in time we’d love to try to help people feel that freelancing had all of the benefits of a full-time job, with less of the negatives.
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car and the house you leave vacant each day so that you can afford to live in it” – Ellen Goodman