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As the digital economy grows, home becomes the workplace of the future

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Rachel Rhodes

This Labor Day, more workers than ever are reaching for the American dream through flexible jobs made possible by technology. The digital economy powered by independent workers is growing rapidly, while the economy that enabled the secure corporate job is fading. Online labor platforms have improved access to temporary employment, and have made it possible for millions of gig workers to achieve a flexible, autonomous lifestyle.

Louis Hyman

Louis Hyman

Professor of Labor Relations, Law and History, Director of NYC Institute for Workplace Studies

Louis Hyman, professor of history and labor at Cornell University, a gig economy expert and author of “TEMP: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary,” says that work is evolving from a corporate model to an alternative, more flexible model offering opportunity through the digital marketplace

Hyman says:

“While the flexible workforce and the flexible firm brought insecurity in the last forty years, we can turn them around now and make them work for us. Technology will make it possible, but what will make it happen is collective will to finally achieve the real American dream.

“In the years to come, there will be remarkable opportunities for people to create and produce in satisfying and profitable new ways. The digital economy will decouple manufacturing from the factory, and services from the office.

“Every small producer will be able to reach the global market. We can return to the home workshop. Scholars and activists are concerned about this rise in flexible work, but instead of fighting flexibility, we need to understand how to use it to empower workers to take advantage of this revolution before it is too late. Technology creates new possibilities.”

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