Since one year my life is split between city and mountains. Me and my wife love the city because of its vibe and the infinite possibilities it provides. It’s never boring because it continuously changes, new restaurants, concepts, events, etc. Most of our friends and family live there. But mainly we live there because our jobs are there.
The other half of our life takes place in a small village in the Swiss alps. The village is mainly a holiday destination and it provides some basic infrastructure. There are a couple of hotels and restaurants, a little supermarket, a clothes shop and little more, but that’s enough for us to spend our half week up there as we appreciate the simple life and the beauty of the nature.
But as time goes by, more and more businesses are closing down. The post office is closing soon, a sports shop is closing, a stationary store has closed. Also farming and cheese production, two of the main industries of the village, have to be supported with subsidies as they are not profitable anymore. This closing of businesses means a vicious circle for the inhabitants: the fewer jobs are available the more young people are forced to leave and go work in the cities which leads to closing of more businesses and results in lack of infrastructure even for those staying and last but not least also for the tourists. And eventually this lets villages like ours die.
On the other hand the world is changing and we are facing a new industrial revolution. Many are worried that the one we are going through this time will eliminate a lot of jobs as Artificial Intelligence and robots might replace many of the tasks done by humans. But the truth is, that no industrial revolution has ever reduced employment, it actually transformed it. People were no longer shaping a raw piece of metal by hand to produce a mechanical piece, instead people were controlling the machine that were creating that mechanical piece. The skills shifted but no job has been lost. I’m pretty sure that the same will happen this time.
But with the upcoming industrial revolution many tasks will be done without having to be in a specific location. Already today many jobs can be done by simply having an internet connection. Meetings are done via web, social interaction is done via web. Every part of our life is done over the internet. It will never replace the personal contact, but as a matter of fact, the internet is already embedded into all aspects of our lives and we cannot deny it.
But traditional employers still like to see their employees physically in their offices. People from the older generation still perceive home office as something fishy, they believe that home office is kind of a day off. And that plays a role in todays way of working. Some companies allow home office, but not too often as the perception from others might not be best. Companies like Yahoo pulled their employees physically back into their offices. Also employees that work focussed and more efficiently in home office might not do it too often because it might raise questions amongst their office buddies.
On top of all this, there is the challenge of having three generations with different mindsets in the current workforce. New generations, mainly “millennials” and “Gen Z”, see the professional world a bit differently that what the older ones did and have different needs. My wife is an HR marketing specialist and she tells me that young people are not dreaming about sitting in the same company for 40 years. But what do companies actively do, knowing about this? Why does giving more freedom to employees still seems such a big act in times where your line manager or team might sit on the other side of the world. Where is the point of having to commute to an office everyday under these circumstances?
So what does our mountain village have to do with all this? I believe there is a very strong link with, potentially, a very positive outcome.
With the current availability of internet almost everywhere, many of our jobs can be done from anywhere, also from a little village on the mountains. There is no reason to sit on the same chair in the same city office day in day out. And somehow this also fits in with the expectations of the new generations that also seem to strive for authenticity and having and impact more than prestige and wealth.
Projects like Adel, that bring together decentralized organizations and blockchain technology on a strong legal foundation are the solution to the riddle.
It is ideas like Adel that will one day allow people to experience different tasks in different projects, still keeping focus on their main expertise and providing the tools to allow cooperation on a global scale. It already happens today in our organizations, but Adel was born with that idea. With its wide scope of projects, people might be fully occupied investing their knowledge and time on different incubated ideas and really make an impact. This will allow people to learn and share and will allow people to work from wherever they like. And maybe one day villages like ours will have co-working hubs, like it is already happening here (website in german), where people with different skills and from different projects can sit together and still have the social life those 20th century offices we are used to give us. And you can create those co-working spaces in beautiful places like my mountain village and the consequence is, that also the local businesses will benefit by having more clientele.
It’s maybe a dream, but I believe that it can very easily become reality with projects like Adel and other decentralized organizations.