The Future of Work: Micro Jobs

This series profiles people whose ideas have the power to transform the workplace. Several are company leaders who have put their ideas into practice. Others are thought leaders influencing the way we work. Each new part will post on Tuesdays. Links to previous articles are at the end of this post. This series originally appeared on the OpenWork blog.

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One of the major economic changes of the last few years has been the emergence of the “gig economy,” the most extreme expression of which are services like TaskRabbit, where people hire themselves out to do simple tasks, one job at a time.

That’s an example of what author and work culture expert Rawn Shah described in a 2015 talk at TEDxBedminster as “the fragmentation of work,” which he believes is the future of personal productivity.

The future of office life, Shah says, is “micro-work,” with companies breaking jobs up into tiny component parts and engaging their employees through an online tasks marketplace similar to TaskRabbit. The most important ingredient?: “Teamwork and collaboration.”

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“Organizations need to give more flexibility or freedom to employees in their time and selection of work,” says Shah. “A manager still needs commitments from people to dedicate their time to projects, but should allow the possibility that the worker could be involved in other unrelated projects.” In this way, he says, “our potential becomes more about what a person can imagine and try to achieve.”

Other parts in this series:

OpenWork  is a new nonprofit inspiring  companies to continuously improve how, when, and where work is done for the mutual benefit of employees and employers.This article originally appeared on the OpenWork blog.