This is the November issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.
It’s hard to believe the extended “holiday season” is just about upon us. It’s been a tough year for just about everyone. However, we’re seeing some encouraging signs of a genuine recovery. Even though the official U.S. unemployment rate is now over 10%, the number of job openings is actually increasing—and one search firm executive reported recently that he’d seen someone turn down a $200,000 banking position (no, we don’t know which bank or if it’s still open, so please don’t call us!).
This month we continue our exploration of new kinds of workplaces. Our Feature Article focuses on the growing importance of the “Triple Bottom Line” as a way of scoring firms on their contributions to People, Profit, and Planet (social, financial, and environment). We believe that over time this new way of thinking about performance is going to lead to new corporate location strategies and a new generation of smaller, shared workplaces located much closer to where people live (yes, you’ve heard that from us before; and we’re going to keep on pushing the idea until it takes hold).
And our Compass article expresses our deep concern about how our technology-dependent economy may be dehumanizing work, exacerbating stress and health problems, and generally making life less, rather than more, pleasant. We know there are plenty of benefits from technology, and we can’t live without it—but it’s becoming harder and harder to live with it too.
Finally, we welcome guest columnist William Arnold. who penned our “Notes from the Field” article this month. Bill is a gerontologist who offers several important insights into the role that “seniors” will play in the future economy (we’d like to think “mature middle age” is a more appropriate label), as well as some direct advice to those of us who are at the upper end of the workforce demographic scale.
Charlie and Jim
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This is the third part of a six-part series on the emergence of Business Community CentersTM. This month we consider how to assess their value and impact. The triple bottom line measures not only financial performance, or profit, but also incorporates reliable measures of impacts on the environment (planet) and communities (people).
We’re not worried about whether the Internet will survive. No, the question is whether we, as human beings and workers, can survive what the Internet is doing to us. Of course, it’s also impossible to imagine the future of work without the Internet. But we are concerned about how we’re turning into a culture of “I want it right now!” It’s the 24x7x52 “always on” world we (all of us) seem to have created that worries the two of us.
For some time now we have been throwing out cautionary signals that in the United States there is an impending knowledge worker shortage within the next five to seven years. In spite of the current economy we believe that a shortage of 10 million knowledge workers is coming—and soon. Our guest columnist this month is an expert gerontologist who has a view that should be heard: a significant portion of that gap will be filled by seniors, but that age group has particular challenges and needs.
Brief announcements and notes about where Jim and Charlie have been, are, and will be, holding forth in public conversations and other activities.
As usual, your comments and reactions to any of these articles are more than welcome. Please send your thoughts to us at any time.
This issue of Future of Work Agenda was produced by Jim Ware and Charlie Grantham of the Work Design Collaborative, LLC. We encourage your comments, suggestions, and submission of materials for possible future publication.
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