The Future of Work in Brooklyn

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a half-day summit on the future of work in Brooklyn. Of course, the future of work in Brooklyn goes beyond Brooklyn, but during that morning at Brooklyn Law School the conversation was kept local.

Here are some highlights:

  • There are four pillars that make up the future of work -  Independence, Millennials, Lifestyle, and Mobile.
  • "The crazier the idea, the bigger probability of your success. These are the successful entrepreneurs of tomorrow," said Carol Scissura, Esq, and president & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
  • "The industrialized way we work is in question," said Alex Abelin, co-founder of Liquid Talent. 
  • 53 million Americans identify as freelancers. That's approximately 34 percent of the total workforce and that number is slated to increase 50 percent by 2020.
  • 91 percent of Millennials expect to stay in a job less than 3 years. 54 percent of American Millennials either want to start a business or have already started one.
  • "Digital nomads are starting to take over. Wifi zones are popping up all over the city. Internet penetration is shaping the way we work."
  • We spend 23 days a year looking at our mobile device. That's 3.9 years of our life!
  • Flexibility is the best perk. "I will check my email while I'm out with my friends, but you need to let me do what I need to do during the day," said Isaac Oates, founder & CEO of Justworks.
  • "In an environment where you are selling intellectual property, your culture is what you have," said Chris Sojka, co-founder & creative director, Madwell. "I don't like traditional advertising because teams are built around a client. We are looking for someone who wants to be part of an ecosystem."
  •  On the freelance economy - "The support system has not caught up to the opportunities compared to the protection for w2s," said Caitlin Pearce, director of member engagement at the Freelancers Union.
  • 70 percent of Freelancers Union members have dealt with nonpayment," Pearce said. "The underlying issue is that there is a power imbalance. There needs to be a safety net that extends to independent workers."
  • "Companies that embrace and encourage employees, those companies will thrive. When you encourage their will to be entrepreneurial, that energy will come back," Chad Sanders, director of new products, Dev Bootcamp.
  • Soft skills are so overlooked," Sanders said. " Your clients are all around you. You are giving an exchange of value with people all around you every day."
  • On work life balance: "Think about how much pressure we put on yourselves to produce without really thinking about what we're producing," said Katie Hunt-Morr, CEO of Neutralized. "We have to work very hard to find a sense of self outside of our jobs."