Telecommuting USA: Stuck on the threshold of change | The Stack

Information and communications technologies have swept across the globe and their economic impact affects every community throughout the United States. Not only has this revolution accelerated the growth in the information economy but it has also facilitated the rapid transfer of American jobs to other countries. As America struggles to find its policy footings regarding these swiftly advancing services and technologies, fundamental changes to social and economic structures are well underway. While classical views on the future of metropolitan communities, regional economic development and sustainability planning approaches provide strong emphasis (if not sole) on the transportation and mass transit infrastructure or focus on increasing densities, they exclude any mention of information and communications infrastructure as a tool for planning 21st century communities.

Source: Telecommuting USA: Stuck on the threshold of change | The Stack

As I argue in my book Last Rush Hour: The Decentralization of Knowledge Work in the Twenty-First Century, in this article Michael Shear also portrays the rapid development and proliferation of information and communications technology as a hugely disruptive socio-economic force. It’s obsoleting the twentieth century, Industrial Age pattern where people live in one community and commute to another to work. Now they can work in their communities, either at home or in local shared office space that Shear terms “distributed workplaces.”


A Toxic Work World – The New York Times

Still another woman wrote to me about her aspiration to an executive-level position and the predicament of doing so with a 2-year-old at home: “The dilemma is in no way the result of having a toddler: After all, executive men seem to enjoy increased promotions with every additional offspring. It is the way work continues to be circumscribed as something that happens ‘in an office,’ and/or ‘between 8–6’ that causes such conflict. I haven’t yet been presented with a shred of reasonable justification for insisting my job requires me to be sitting in this fixed, 15 sq foot room, 20 miles from my home.”

Source: A Toxic Work World – The New York Times

So writes Anne-Marie Slaughter of the outdated notion that knowledge work requires a separate, time-defined space in a centralized commuter office (CCO). Her correspondent is right: there really isn’t a logical rationale. It’s Industrial Age custom and practice and no longer necessary and appropriate in the 21st century when the information and communications technology tools knowledge workers need to do their work are widely accessible outside of CCOs. These tools disintermediate the time and distance constraints that place an unneeded and heavy burden on individuals and families.

Zappos is Leading the Way for Bossless Companies – The Atlantic

A radical experiment at Zappos may herald the emergence of a new, more democratic kind of organization.

Source: Zappos is Leading the Way for Bossless Companies – The Atlantic

This article posits that the proliferation of information and communications technology (ICT) is driving decision-making to lower levels of the traditional hierarchical organization, making its top-down, command and control management structure based on all information flowing upward less necessary.