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.
I hope this will help to promote the book!!!
This is what I wrote on my blog: 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
Am Donnerstag, 7. November 2013 20:15:44 UTC+1 schrieb Genevieve DeGuzman:
** It’s finally out! Thrilled to report that The Fifth Age of Work has been released. You can grab a copy at most online retailers, including Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. From now through next year, w**e’ll be working to get the word out about the need for more partnerships between the two worlds of work. For those who received advance copies last month, I hope it’s been a great read so far… And if you asked about print copies for your space’s library, we have that noted. Thanks so much to all who have reached out to show their interest and support.**
Inspired by the coworking movement and design thinking, business professor and management consultant Andrew M. Jones began examining the way corporate business leaders could learn from these emerging work trends. His new book-- The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Redesign Work to Become More Innovative in a Cloud Economy (November 2013 / Night Owls Press)-- not only addresses the many challenges the new workforce and the “human cloud” pose, but also offers management techniques to help business leaders evolve with the changing times, harness the energy and potential of the next generation, and ultimately thrive in tomorrow’s economy.
In The Fifth Age of Work, Jones focuses on three basic principles of workplace innovation, exploring the best ways to implement change on each level:
- New Talent: Instead of hiring MBA graduates from traditional business schools, learn to attract and recruit new types of talent with diverse perspectives.
- Rethink Workspace: Giving more thought to physical spaces and environments can have a major impact on corporate community, inspiring creativity and enhancing collaboration.
- Work. Wherever…Whenever: As technology allows more and more flexibility, adopt workplace policies that mirror that freedom, allowing workers to work when and where they work best.
In less than a decade, millennials will outnumber baby boomers in the workforce, and tomorrow’s most dynamic companies will look quite different than today’s conventional corporations. The Fifth Age of Work shows business leaders, managers, and even employees how to tap into the up-and-coming work culture to help build more innovative, sustainable businesses for the future.
The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Redesign Work to Become More Innovative in a Cloud Economy
By Andrew M. Jones, Ph.D.
Night Owls Press | November 2013 | 194 pages
Trade Paper | ISBN: 978-1-937-64509-0
Ebook | ISBN: 978-1-937-64508-3
More info and sample preview at Night Owls Press
Available at online retailers including Amazon, iTunes Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo
Media inquiries: Natalie Nicolson, Publicist, natalie[at]nightowlspress[dot]com