Hi, this is what I posted on CoWorking News:
The book “The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Redesign Work to Become More Innovative in a Cloud Economy” by Andrew M. Jones is out now. Thanks to an advance copy provided by Genevieve DeGuzman of Night Owls Press, I am able to write a short review and put the book into perspective with regards to the most important trend I see in Coworking at the moment: Free Coworking
In his book, Andrew M. Jones looks at the past, present and future of work. Based on the framework of Nigel Nicholson of the London Business School in his book “Managing the Human Animal“, Jones postulates a Fifth Age of Work, following the four described by Nicholson. According to Jones the Fifth Age of Work is characterized largely by three factors:”…the technological underpinnings of the cloud, the growing cloud of talented, independent freelancers, and new ideas about working on the cloud…”.
The book is written as “a wake-up call” for managers of larger companies that are still holding on to a more traditional organizational model. Jones sees the move from a Fourth Age of Work to a Fifth Age of Work as a “design challenge”. He argues by focussing on three design elements (talent, workspace and licence) this workplace innovation is “doable”.
In his book Jones offers many examples of companies that have already embarked successfully on this journey, like 3M, W.L. Gore & Associates and Herman Miller.
By engaging in practices like: More creative licence, increasing choice and flexibility for employees, “Activity Based Work”, ROWE (Results Only Work Environment), “anytime, anywhere” work programs etc. Jones provides some evidence that companies cannot only save a lot of money in terms of real estate but also gain a more productive and engaged workforce.
Now many people might ask themselves what all this has got to do with coworking and free coworking in particular?
According to Jones:” On the freelancer side of the equation, we have seen the explosive growth in work movements such as coworking, Jelly meetings, and numerous dynamic startup scenes…”. Coworking for Jones is:”…in many ways….a living embodiment of these new Fifth Age values among workers: both the desire for autonomy, on the one hand, and the penchant for seeking out communities of like-minded people to work with, on the other.”
People, who read this blog regularly, know that I am a strong advocate and activist for free coworking. I was therefore very intrigued to read what Jones wrote about the Zappos work innovation that I mentioned in my article in May. Jones sees it as follows:”…at the extreme end of the Fifth Age corporate continuum sits Zappos, one of the first companies to experiment with large-scale corporate coworking.” He writes further:”Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has committed $350 million so far to the Downtown Project…and has advocated for a vision of transforming “downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world.”"Part of this vision includes coworking, and Zappos aspires to make downtown Las Vegas the “coworking capital of the world.”
In the Fifth Age of Work, Jones makes a strong case for corporate and sponsored coworking, both facets of what I see as free coworking. “Given that most members of coworking spaces are freelancers who are often seeking new projects, there is a natural and logical fit in pairing coworking spaces with companies.”….”While some coworking spaces already have relationships with local employers and firms,…most coworking spaces still remain a relatively untapped resource for creative talent for most big companies”.
While I think this is largely true there is another point that I believe should be stressed and developed in this context.
Coworking Spaces are what I would call “Centers of Development & Testing”. The term development in this context not only refers to the development of products, services and businesses, but also to the personal development of coworkers and their careers. By the same token, testing in this context refers to testing of products and services for example for other or larger companies as well as testing of personal business ideas and testing of personal career opportunities.
With the book “The Fifth Age of Work” Andrew M. Jones has written an invitation to bridge the gap between companies and individual freelancers in the time of the cloud. The “Fifth Age of Work” frees the worker from old and traditional modes of work. Now and with more companies joining, people receive a licence to work, where and when they work the best. This is where I see free coworking and I hope that the book by Andrew M. Jones will encourage more companies and coworkers to engage in all the different forms of free coworking.
Am Freitag, 18. Oktober 2013 11:15:57 UTC+2 schrieb Felix Schürholz:
please send a review copy to CoWorking News. We are happy to write a review.
Am Donnerstag, 17. Oktober 2013 07:01:05 UTC+2 schrieb cindi:
Hi and thanks…This looks like a must read. Please add me to the list for e book and if possible - I would love to get a paperback copy for our library! We’re located at: t.e.a.factoryco 580 willow st reading, pa 19602
On Monday, October 14, 2013, Genevieve DeGuzman wrote:
Austin-based professor, management consultant, and partner at Conjunctured Coworking Andrew M. Jones is coming out with a new book you might find interesting: The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Redesign Work to Become More Innovative in a Cloud Economy (Night Owls Press). Among other things, it breaks down the work trends in the freelance economy and the lessons learned from the coworking movement and shows business leaders and managers how to redesign their workplace. It’s a primer on the possibilities of corporate coworking as a path to innovation … and a lot more.
With this book, the hope is that we continue to spread the message about coworking and encourage deeper partnerships and collaborations between coworking spaces like yours and existing businesses out there.
We are pretty thrilled about it! Tony Bacigalupo of New Work City wrote a
wonderful Foreword for the book. And here’s what others have had to say:
“By weaving together the brightest threads of workplace theory, Andrew Jones has created a rich tapestry on the future of business creativity. Read The Fifth Age of Work and prosper.”
– Marty Neumeier, Director of Transformation at Liquid Agency and author of Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age, The Designful Company, Zag, and The Brand Gap
“The Fifth Age of Work explores how information and communication technology are affecting the ‘where,’ ‘how,’ and ‘when’ of
the workplace for millennials. How will a dispersed workforce be managed? What leadership will be needed? This is a must-read for understanding the future of the workplace.”
** – Cary L. Cooper, CBE, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University Management School, Chair of the Academy of Social Sciences, and co-author of
The High Engagement Work Culture: Balancing Me and We**
“The Fifth Age of Work could sit alongside Gary Hamel’s Future of Management
as essential reading for any business leader setting a course for the future. Andrew Jones brings together the various discussions on the seismic changes happening in the workplace in a practical, accessible, and insightful book.” – Justin Papps, Global Group Head of Communications at QBE Group
*** REVIEW/ADVANCE COPIES are available ***
you are all passionate advocates of coworking and manage or run spaces, we’d love to hear what you think about this book and its ideas. If you’re interested or know of colleagues who might find value in it, we would be happy to send you a free digital/e-book copy. Just e-mail me back to get on our list.
And, if you also have an in-house resource library of sorts and would be interested in adding The Fifth Age of Work to your collection, let me know. We do have a limited number of paperback copies we can send.
The Fifth Age of Work will be available at major online retailers in paperback and e-book formats in November 2013.
The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Redesign Work to Become More Innovative in a Cloud Economy** / By Andrew M. Jones, Ph.D.; Foreword by Tony Bacigalupo
Trade Paperback: ISBN 978-1-937-64509-0, 6X9 in / 194 pp
E-book: ISBN 978-1-937-64508-3, DRM-free
Pub Date: Forthcoming November 2013
Night Owls Press
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