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The Future of Work is Community

Dexter Ligot-Gordon
ODF11, YC W13, 2x Founder

The Great Resignation has forced us to reflect on the way we work, what we truly value, and what we hope to contribute to the world.

This is what we envision at Swarm: a future of work anchored on giving people a deeper sense of community.

Existing freelance platforms try to address the Great Resignation by enabling every professional to become fully independent.

The essence of the Great Resignation, however, is not about people quitting their jobs to become fully independent—it’s about people realizing they can choose work that empowers them to learn, feel valued for what they can contribute, and to achieve a sense of purpose and belongingness.

1. People want to belong in and feel valued by a community.

A McKinsey study showed that roughly 19 million US workers quit their jobs with the following reasons:

  • not feeling valued by their organization (54%)
  • not feeling valued by their manager (52%)
  • not feeling a sense of belonging at work (51%)

These relational issues were of highest importance to employees, whereas employers believed that the biggest factors toward resignations were issues related to competitiveness such as compensation or pro-active poaching by other companies (De Smet, Dowling, Mugayar-Baldocchi and Schaninger, 2022).

If freelance platforms intend to offer a different and better way of working, then there is a fundamental need to rethink the competitive aspect of getting freelance jobs.

The bottomline: all freelance platforms are marketplaces and do not “breed loyalty” (Johnston, 2018).

Consequently, it’s very difficult to find community among other jobseekers who are bidding on the same job.

Freelance platforms that will prevail solve the supply problem in the long run, not the demand problem (Younger, 2022).

Feeling valued and a sense of belongingness can be made possible by creating a community where members learn from and create opportunity for each other.

2. People want work that fits into their life, not the other way around.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the way in which jobs get done, it has also allowed people to take a step back and reassess their values and priorities, placing an importance on spending time with loved ones and realigning their work with their passions (Mellon, 2022).

With everything going on in the world, people are opting for a level of flexibility at work.

Flexibility allows people to find a cadence in which they feel most productive and deliver their best work and make time for their priorities outside of work.

To choose how they work and what they are working on—these are now essential components of productivity and self-management.

This calls for a switch to evaluating productivity by outcomes, rather than time spent. Asynchronous work is becoming increasingly important as a mode of working, and our workflows need to adopt new tools that enable distributed collaboration and communication.

3. People are making purpose a top priority for where they choose to work.

COVID-19 made nearly two-thirds of US-based employees surveyed reflect on their life purpose, and half of them affirmed that they are reconsidering what they do for work because of the pandemic (Dhingra, Samo, Schaninger and Schrimper, 2022).

When asked if they were living their purpose in their day-to-day work, a “purpose gap” became clear:

  • 85% of executives and upper management affirmed an alignment with their purpose and work; but
  • 85% of frontline managers and frontline employees are neutral or disagree that they can live their purpose in their day-to-day work

The study showed that an alignment of purpose and work becomes visible when employees report better outcomes at work and in life than their less-satisfied peers.

While purpose is personal and subjective, it is crucial to make it an essential foundation for attracting and developing talent.

Swarm is building the workplace of the future where professionals can find peers with resonant values and priorities, discover meaningful projects that align with each other’s purpose, and is centered on a community where one lifts as they climb.

Dexter Ligot-Gordon
ODF11, YC W13, 2x Founder
Many platforms believe that the key to addressing the Great Resignation is helping professionals to become independent. I believe the solution is creating a deeper sense of community. This is our vision at Swarm.

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