Dynamic Employment

USA map of home working concentrations


What is Obama’s Achilles Heel in the current election? What is the one issue and statistic that Romney keeps returning to with the most effectiveness? Employment. It’s an equally big issue weighing over just about every world leader from Greece to Egypt. People want jobs. And young people – with energy, vigour and dreams – are disproportionately anxious for them.

Dynamic Work holds great promise as a tool for increasing employment. By allowing companies to make more productive use of workers, their ROI and business case justification becomes easier. By introducing greater flexibility in commercial terms, companies can take o more workers at less longer term risk.

These assertions were underscored by a recent statistics released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics. Kevin Green, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation commented

“More people in work than ever before and the lowest unemployment in over a year is another significant step on the road to recovery. The truly amazing thing is that during the past year of a technical recession, and in spite of austerity and public sector cuts, the UK has created half a million jobs. The job numbers are being driven by flexible working – the number of full time posts has grown but the increase in temps and part-time workers has been even greater. Too many people talk down the value of part-time work, but it’s here in black and white – over 80 per cent of part-time employees chose to work that way.

The counter claim to these promising numbers is that such ‘part time’ work is really offers less pay and less security. But, the higher pay and higher quality may come in the total ‘portfolio’ of employment rather than in a specific job. The bartending actor whose glass washing enables his dream pursuing.

A US Census Bureau report “Higher-income workers have more work-at-home flexibility” provided further evidence of standard of living quality for flexible workers in both monetary and non-monetary terms…

’Mixed’ workers who work both at home and in an office are generally affluent, with median household income of $96,300, according to census data. That compares with median household income of $74,000 for people who always work at home and $65,600 for people who always work onsite, the researchers reported. Nearly half of the people who worked at home exclusively were self-employed, but experts say there are other explanations for why those who work from home make less. Some employers are finding that especially among younger workers, the ability to work at home and forgo a gruelling commute is such a beneficial perk that they are willing to accept a lower starting salary in exchange for it.”

The morale of the story is that countries need ‘Dynamic’ leadership now more than ever before.

The Costs of Commuting

Commuting Modes in UK

The Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford has released a study on “The Costs of Transport on the Environment – The Role of Teleworking in Reducing Carbon Emissions” which looks comprehensively at empirical macro-economic data on workers and commuting. Its conclusions include…

· Empirical studies of teleworking show that it typically results in substantial reductions in car mileage for the day on which teleworking takes place.

· Teleworking can save energy at the worksite – providing working practices change accordingly.

· Teleworkers typically have longer than average commutes but this does not necessarily mean that teleworking encourages more remote living.

· Mobile working has fuelled a recent growth in teleworking.

· The majority of teleworkers are self-employed or unpaid.

· Teleworking has a wide range of benefits for employers, employees and communities. It has been linked with lower absenteeism, improved recruitment and retention, higher productivity, good work-life balance and good quality of life. Teleworkers tend to work longer hours than non-teleworkers, and identify this as one reason for their improved performance, but see reduced stress and better concentration as more important factors. Greater autonomy and flexibility in work planning and performance appears to be a key reason for improved work-life balance. Teleworking has also been linked to better health. There is evidence that teleworkers become more involved in their own communities and spend more on local services.

An example of the research cited is Microsoft’s own Tickbox.net survey (April 2007) on the benefits and profile of remote and flexible working. The study is really a comprehensive review of latest thinking and research in the UK which underscores the imperative and increasingly critical economic benefits to reforming the conventional modes of work and stripping out much of the synchronous commute to our knowledge worker factories.

Preserving the World’s Assets


A number of megatrends are all converging to drive this move out of concentrated workplaces towards more distributed work. All of these drivers are centred on preserving key and increasingly precious assets to the global economy.

Energy Assets: Peak Oil – Concern is growing to new levels about world oil supply. While eternal optimism abounds in the world’s ability to out innovate and out discover the depletion of existing sources, recent evidence is that the new finds are smaller and fewer, the existing supplies are less accessible and less productive (eg. more energy input is required extract and refine). The commodity of oil is not just a unique energy source in its combination of power and safe transportability, but it is also a critical substance in plastics, construction materials and range of everyday substances and its increasing scarcity represents a major pinch point to global economic health.

Ecology Assets: Climate Change – If the economic costs of oil-supply and demand don’t hit us in the wallet, then the environmental costs of greenhouse gas emissions will hit us there and elsewhere. Not much comment needed on the profile and intensity of this issue. But in terms of what we can do about it one of the most prominent sources of emissions is automobile commuting. 54% of US petroleum used is consumed by automobiles and in commuting to work, the average number of passengers-per-vehicle is 1.1.

Social Assets: Dual Income Social Pressures – One of the most significant contributors to post-war growth in the Western world has been new entrants to the labour force, especially women. While this infusion of economic muscle has been a boon to the second half of the twentieth century, the social consequences of this mass rise of two income families combined with longer and longer commuting to places of work (fewer people live and work in the same city or town), means less parental time to manage the household and intensifying demands to juggle work and home life responsibilities.

Intellectual Assets: Rise of Knowledge Work – Assuming we have enough power to continue running the machines we have invented and propagated to handle brute force and routine tasks, the value-add work that human beings do gravitates increasingly to creative pursuits employing intellectual capital. Increasingly people are recognizing the intellectual waste from sitting in a car and the upsides of each person finding places and environments most suited to their own individual inspiration (a library, a quiet den, a retreat, a café, etc.). MSNBC recently reported (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20829879) people lose on average 1 week per year ‘sitting in traffic…and it is getting worse’ costing the USA $78 billion.