Open Thread: What Can Corporations Learn From Web Workers?


I believe there are valuable lessons that corporations can take from web workers to help their employees adapt in the future. After all, many of our struggles will be experienced by corporations and their employees over the next few years as more of them adopt flexible working practices.

My latest post over on GigaOM Pro, “Making Coworking Corporate-scale,” (subscription required) is an exploration of how the coworking model could be adapted by corporations for use down the road — though shared coworking campuses — and the benefits it could provide. I also identify some of the aspects of coworking that can be applied today.

For a lone freelancer, coworking provides many benefits: an office-like location away from the home, networking opportunities and more. For corporations, a coworking model could provide increased flexibility, an enhanced spirit of innovation and collaboration, and lower real estate costs and facilities management overhead.

And coworking’s not the only thing from the current web working world that could be adapted for corporations. I envisage common web worker time management and  productivity tricks like Getting Things Done (GTD) and the Pomodoro Technique, for example, working just as well in larger organizations. There’s also the range of technology and web apps that we use — particularly for remote collaboration — that could prove useful if adapted to work on a corporate scale.

WWD readers are at the cutting edge of web working. What else can corporations learn from your experiences?



Give up a component of my competive advantage????

If they can’t figure out that their facilities are a huge expense, good. This means that comparatively, I will be more agile and lower cost than they are.

Michael Funk

Simon, what great timing! An article written by my business partner, Andrew Jones, published last week in Strategy+Business makes the same point; obviously, we couldn’t agree more. The emergence of coworking is a glimpse into the future of work. We believe the sooner companies adopt the ethos and environment of some of these freelance innovators the better they will be able to attract and retain the kind of employees that understand the power of open, collaborative work.

FYI, the title of the S+B piece is “The Promise of the Cloud Workplace.”

Comments are closed.