Co-working: A Liquid Example

When Forbes wrote the article, they asked a legitimate question: “Is it a fad or the future of business?”  Going on to explain the rising trend of co-working environments, Forbes also slipped in an interesting term that caught my eye – calling employees and workers “nomadic”.

“While people can no longer rely on their college degrees to manifest themselves into jobs, individuals have become more flexible and creative with their professions. They are starting businesses, creating jobs for themselves, and hustling for the next big opportunity.”

 

Co-working spaces are large office spaces filled with couches, desks, and all kinds of utilities liquid employees may need.  Paying a monthly membership fee, small businesses, members from large businesses, or individual entrepreneurs can access these spaces.  No set area is claimed.  No solid desk houses personal pictures.  Instead, individuals enter the office each day into a community of nomadic workers with no ties to traditional workplace standards, just the motivation to get the job done.  This trend has taken over America, but spaces are now starting to be widely available in Australia.

Deuze indirectly predicted this would happen in 2006, when writing about the emergence of liquid labor and “choosing a work-style”.  Through technology and the emergence of these co-working environments, individuals set their own hours, report to themselves, and indulge in the premise of flextime.  When all an individual needs is WiFi, it is easy to head into the “office” complete a couple calls and then stay in touch through their mobile phone.  Life is easier to manage, but the saturation of the workplace easily seeps in. 

Liquid labor also appears in the typical co-working space user.  Like stated by Forbes above, “individuals have become more flexible and creative with their professions…hustling for the next big opportunity”.  Much like Deuze’s observation that individuals are completing the task at hand, working on various sequential projects without ties to a specific person or company.  Jobs like this are typical to the technology and media industries, but what’s next?  Will doctors and lawyers someday freelance their services while traveling as they please?  What is the extent of liquid labor?  Only the future knows.

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2 comments

  1. Hello!
    I found the Forbes article a great way to discuss this week’s topic further. For the most part of the lecture I caught myself wondering if this idea of the information worker being a ‘fantasy’ for those who hate the thought of face to face physical labour. Lopez brings up a nice point however, that “coworking comes beyond benefits beyond just wifi and unlimited coffee”. New business connections have been formed from the genetics of this network society and social media exchanges are a great example of this. Even the more ‘primary’ industry (such as manufacturing and agriculture) has seen significant change in coworking that addresses the time-old issue of getting everything done physically at work before having to return home. It gives both a positive and anticipatory nature to the concept of the online worker – as a student you certainly look forward to being connected to work and doing so at your own leisure, but does this mean the separation between work time and play time blurs?
    This is a nice article for further thinking on that point:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2542963/Switch-mobile-9pm-Using-mobile-9pm-seriously-damage-work-day-researchers-find.html
    A great post to get me thinking about the coworking generation.
    Georgie
    oncewerewild.wordpress.com

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  2. Great post! To expand on your notion of co-working spaces and working from home… You could add to this, the fact that many businesses have an international element. We are literally working around the clock to keep in contact with people in different time-zones. An article written by Rayasam published on August 20 is titled “The secret to time shifting when your work is global” which talks about overcoming time barriers (seeing as space barriers are largely non-existent due to the net). These days, more people are working outside the regular daytime work day, integrating calls and emails from far flung colleagues and clients throughout the evening and early morning hours. This, time shifting is becoming more possible with liquid labour.

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