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.