Has the Workplace Failed Us?

A new generation is demanding work that makes them feel more alive, rather than battered. The kind of work we do fails to respond to the kind of human beings we have become. Stirring stuff from Oxford historian and philosopher Theodore Zeldin. How can companies respond?

Today more self-employed (– higher in the US, Britain and other wealthy countries) is just one small sign of work being turned upside down. After huge masses of people left the fields and allowed themselves to be locked up in factories or offices all day, we are just emerging from centuries of poverty. We still do anything to earn a regular income, but we want to escape!

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Zeldin is trying out new kinds of interactions with big organisations like BMW, McDonalds and at Davos. He is inviting firms in each sector to pioneer new practices that would be attractive to the next generation, to set up small scale experiments side by side with their normal activities: “we cannot invent solutions out of our heads; we have to try things out”.

What new kinds of interactions might your company want to entertain with workers and with customers?