Protecting Workers in a Highly Decentralized Workplace
Michelle Miller, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Coworker.org, thinks that in the not-so distant future, work could mean long periods of short-term employment and short periods of having a single job. By 2020, Miller says, 50 percent or more of workers will be freelancers. Coworker.org, which Miller describes as a digital platform for worker voices, facilitates networking and activism among workers at decentralized workplaces, from Starbucks baristas to Uber drivers.
“We don’t create space for people to assert their needs first, and then design around that,” Miller said, though she believes this could change in the next iteration of the economy. Miller believes that the shift in the nature of work has the potential to make the workforce more inclusive and better suited to the way workers live. Flexibility for workers is important, according to Miller, but only as long as the workers have the agency to choose this flexibility for themselves. Miller’s advice to city officials? Listen to workers in an unfiltered way.