Reimagining the Workplace means Reimagining the Work

One-third of the US Workforce is Freelance

Read that stat again.

At PeopleResults, we’ve been working with companies to reimagine their workplaces following COVID-induced flexibility. Clients are looking to balance the tangible– real estate and space utilization, and the intangible– culture and cohesion in a distributed environment. But we’ve also been advising that trying to fit yesterday’s workforce into a reimagined workplace is a misuse of time and resources.

The Gig Economy as Good News

Many organizations fear the explosion of the gig economy because they feel it limits continuity and potentially, performance. The concern may be valid, but let’s consider that the gig economy is born out of innovation instead of necessity. Many assume that people “resort” to the gig economy to piece together a living. But let’s consider another perspective. What if the workforce is solving for autonomy, mastery, and purpose on their own– optimizing the mix of economic and personal satisfaction that they might not find in a single full-time role? If that’s the case, that’s an immense burden off of executives, managers, and HR in trying to curate an employee experience that is all things to all people.

Matching the Work to the Worker

Resources are better spent adapting the work to the new workforce than looking for the unicorn of workers fitting your full-time profile. Reimagine the work by asking:

  1. How can we rethink our organization to leverage contract workers?
  2. What work components can be carved out for just-in-time fulfillment?
  3. What additional expertise can we bring through freelancers instead of developing in-house?
  4. How can we offer more flexibility in our work, workplace, and working modes so that employees can find that optimal mix of personal satisfaction inside and outside the company?

Adapting the Culture

It may seem counter-intuitive to think about creating a shared culture among semi-loosely affiliated contributors, but the common denominator becomes the shared goal, and the table stakes are the expertise that each brings. The focus is now on mission-critical work instead of protecting institutionalized territory.

This model is clearly how people want to engage with their work. A move to a more transient workforce can yield lower costs, bring new ideas/challenges to conventional thinking, raise engagement, and result in a more agile skillset. And those are stats we can all get behind.

 

 

 

Barbara Milhizer