On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy
The Happy Workplace: Reflection on a Presentation about Zappos’ Company Culture
Lim also presented this music video that Zappos’ employees participated in. It shows just how much they encourage fun and silliness there.
It’s refreshing to see organization leaders try something different to make the work environment more palatable to its employees. If I were to ask myself if I’d be a great fit for Zappos however, I’d say, “Probably not!” I’m very introverted and very much a “lone wolf.” I have much lower need for affiliation than these folks and a much higher need for personal space. I value solitary work and the peace and quiet I need to get it done. (Yes, it’s very challenging to be this way in a world that tends to expect women to be sociable, agreeable, and group-oriented. And, by the way, this post titled “Leave Loners Alone” by psychotherapist Wayne C. Allen explains variation in need for external stimulation beautifully.) My point is that it’s very hard to come up with a work arrangement that pleases everyone.
This brings me to an observation I’ve made with regard to some disagreement I’ve witnessed between telework critics and telework advocates. I don’t expect the emergence of a cyber-utopia and recognize that a work anywhere-anytime system will present some problems just as every other work system had. We can go on and on ad nauseam about the many problems and difficulties presented during our hunting and gathering days, farming during the Agrarian Age, or working in centralized locations during the Industrial Age. I see growing indication of the Industrial work system becoming unsustainable and recognize an Information Age work system as being the better deal. I haven’t found any great videos that depict the worst rush hour traffic jams (because does anyone really want to take the time to record one?). However, this last video has made its way around. It shows how having everyone use the same routes to go to the same cities to work the same shifts goes against the notion of productivity, especially in an increasingly 24/7 business environment, due to the wasted time and stress that crowding creates. Furthermore, whether by rail or on the freeway, this is occurring in many major cities in the world.