Friday, September 6, 2013

Work 2.0

The concept of 'work' and the way our workplaces function is a construct invented by males.  Women initially joined the workforce and started paid work as a result of most males leaving to go to war.  It was hoped that the women could 'fill in' until the men came back.  When the men came back, a slight concession was made for women to be able to enter paid work until they were married. It wasn't till 1950's and 60's that women were embarking on a career for themselves.

Jumping forward to present day 2013, there is a push to have greater representation of women in organisations; on board of directors, in senior management and in typically male dominated industries such as engineering and transport.  The diversity agenda (in Australia) is firmly being pushed.

Knowing that women have only been active in the labour force for over 50 years and that women still experience a 17.5% inequality of pay, can women really be given a fair go in an environment that has been typically male dominated and designed?

What if we turned things up-side-down? What would 'work' and our 'workplaces' look like if we could re-do it?  What if it were up to women to redesign the way work would work?

Over the last few weeks I've given this a bit of thought.  Here are some of my ideas.
  • Joint or job sharing CEOs (leading by example is the best way to make it seen as a norm)
  • Fully decked out HUB offices opening up across the city (instead of just in CBD, Sydney has a number of areas where these could open)
  • Flexible work arrangements for ALL employees  
  • Extend school hours till 4pm and provide less homework (the hour in school makes up for the hour doing homework but also provides parents more time at work)
  • Additional sick leave days provided to those over 50 (government funded)
  • Typically female dominated professions are paid much higher, entice more males into those industries
  • Weed out the idea of 'gender based professions' and what constitutes gender based activities. Young boys and girls should grow up equally wanting to be nurses, teachers, researchers as well as accountants and electricians.
  • Bonus not tied (or completely tied) to individual performance but to the organisations performance
  • Rewrite job descriptions - take out the fluff, make it easier to understand and also make it easier to work out; part time and job sharing programs
  • Having suits (and ties for men) as dress code
  • 24/7 access to offices/work spaces/Hubs
  • Superannuation paid for all types of leave (including; parental and long service)
  • 24/7 childcare facilities
  • Childcare facilities are available in proportion to where employees are located
  • Improved 2-way loyalty between employers and employees
  • Centralised services (I.E. procurement, admin, payroll, tax, professional development advisers) for small to medium sized businesses.  No one wants to mitigate red tape when they should be growing their business
  • Laptops not desktops, greater utilisation of software, social media, video conference and communication tools.
  • Proper job-for person program for skilled migrants/people on 457 visas.  No point in them coming here if there is no job directly available to them.
Will some of these become a reality with the implementation of the National Broadband Network? Through greater numbers of women on boards and government? Technology such as Google Glass going mainstream? Who know what will happen, but keep watching, it's going to be well beyond the offices and cubicles we know!