Work From Home Newsletter: Edition 9

Coworking spaces reduce social isolation

In the latest work-from-home news is the growth of coworking as an alternative to the isolation and loneliness of working from home. AI still in the news, as is the conversation around reskilling employees in India and abroad and the growth of the gig economy spawns new platforms.


Many professionals have said goodbye to the traditional 9-5 job and are becoming freelancers to be able to work when and where they want. Many people even find the gig lifestyle preferable to a more traditional career path.

Successful freelancers know how to take inventory of their skills, determine which ones have the highest market demand, and put them to use in a way that they can monetize.

With India becoming the third largest start-up hub in the world and the second largest freelancer workforce in the world, there is a potential demand for more than 3.5 to 4 million seats in the coworking space, states a 2017 study titled, ‘Future of Work – The Coworking Revolution’. Studies predict that by 2020, coworking spaces will overtake the traditional office format in India.

Mobile technology and remote working can actually be the driver behind people’s creativity, productivity and efficiency – all of which are critical for business success. While it’s difficult to quantify how large the gig economy is (jobs like Uber drivers and contract workers where you set your own schedule), it’s clear that the gig economy is here to stay.

But the growth of the gig economy is a mixed blessing for workers. For some, it offers a welcome opportunity to work part-time or supplement their paycheck with an occasional side hustle.

Tip: Taking on a side gig can be a good way to test out second-act interests, learn valuable skills and develop new income streams. To get a feel of what’s available, take a look at, an excellent site that reviews and rates 250 online gig platforms.

In the next decade or so, workers who perform repeatable tasks and statistical analyses, such as warehouse packagers and data scientists, will be replaced by machines. A wave of machines that can make decisions, like driverless cars, will replace gig economy workers the decade after that.

Changes in the first two stages of automation, happening now and in the next 10 years, will impact women more than men, PwC concluded. On average across 30 countries, 11% of the female labour force is at risk of losing jobs to automation, while only 9% of the male labour force is at risk.

The gig economy has shaken up expectations about what being an employee or an independent contractor means. Unionization rates continue to decline, but organizers have looked for alternative ways to engage workers.

With the rise of the gig economy and the changing nature of the employer-employee relationship, a new social contract is necessary to support workers in this new reality.

Benefits should be portable so workers can easily move from job to job without losing health insurance and other benefits now tied to a specific employer. Post-secondary education needs to be more affordable.

Lifelong learning is the new buzz phrase when it comes to discussions of work. Transforming this from rhetoric to reality will require fundamental changes in educational institutions and teaching methods.

It starts with the children in schools today who will likely be most affected by the AI revolution in the coming decades. Even after people are in the workforce, learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge will continue throughout their careers.

As robots, automation and artificial intelligence perform more tasks and there is a massive disruption of jobs, experts say a wider array of education and skills-building programs will be created to meet new demands.

There are two uncertainties: Will well-prepared workers be able to keep up in the race with AI tools? And will market capitalism survive?

AI may not leave you unemployed, just reskilled. WEF’s report, Towards a Reskilling Revolution: Industry-Led Action for the Future of Work, includes a cost-benefit analysis. It calculates that by investing $4.7 billion, the U.S. private sector could reskill 25 per cent of all workers in disrupted jobs with a positive cost-benefit balance.

Transitioning to a remote workforce, whether fully or partially distributed, gives you access to a larger pool of talent and has been linked to increased productivity and improved employee satisfaction.

Savvy workplaces such as Zapier and others are already managing remote teams successfully by making their operations and culture more friendly to the future of work. Leading a productive (and happy) distributed team may seem challenging, but these five principles will help foster a resilient company culture to help you along the way.

Do Indian policymakers recognise the contributions of home-based workers even within the informal economy? Many would agree that the answer is ‘no’.

The bias that fails to accept the fact that a productive economic job can be performed from home comes from a patriarchal value system that has always attached an economic value to spaces where men work.

It thus reinforces the idea that work is something that is performed outside the home – in an office, factory, shop, etc. Any work that is performed at home, then, cannot be valued as a ‘worthy’ work.

Unless conscious efforts are made to redefine work, and it is seen through the lens of labour and not place of work or wages offered, it will be difficult to bring about a change in recognising home-based workers as part of the workforce.

According to Indian Skill Report 2018, around 48 per cent of engineers are unemployed. A study by employability assessment company, Aspiring Minds, says 95 per cent of engineers in the country were not fit for development jobs (published by Wheebox).

The reason behind this is that often, new engineers lack the advanced programming skills needed for jobs today. More often, engineers with the right skill sets work jobs that require much less skill.

Delhi-based educational startup Pesto is helping accelerate India’s software engineering talent through its 12-week Bootcamp. Working as a career accelerator, Pesto runs a 12-week Bootcamp where they train software engineers with minimum two-years of experience in soft-skills, by connecting them to mentors in the US.

As the gig economy becomes mainstream, the future of work will be all about enabling talent from anywhere to contribute. Pesto is helping the young talent from Tier III towns and remote areas to get a platform where their skills and competencies can be polished so as to make them compete with the best software engineers from not only top/Tier I colleges in India but from anywhere in the world.

Freelancing, telecommuting, and job-hopping are on the rise, and with these big shifts in work arrangements, we’re seeing an increase in loneliness. Could coworking be part of the cure?

As research begins to show that shared workspaces can play a role in building social connections and reducing isolation, corporations are increasingly coming around to the view that coworking is a mental wellness issue, says Steve King, a partner at small-business research consultancy Emergent Research.

Coworking spaces reduce social isolation and loneliness, according to a survey by  Emergent Research and the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC), with 87% of respondents reporting that they meet other members for social reasons. Another 83% report being less lonely and 89% report being happier since joining a coworking space.


Here are the latest articles in our work from home library:

How to start a stitching and embroidery business from home in India

If you love creating impressive embroidery patterns, this article will show you step-by-step how to start an embroidery business from home in India.

Home office ergonomics: Home office furniture to help you do your best work

Working from home? Designing an ergonomic home office is a must. Follow our home office ergonomics guide to buy ergonomic home office furniture.

7 lesser known career tools for job seekers and women going places

Give your career a boost with this list of the best career tools for job seekers. Use them to increase your chance of finding the job of your dreams.

7 reasons why online courses are the future of education

The future of education lies in embracing online learning and online courses. Here are seven reasons why online education is the future of education.

Top online MBA courses from online business schools in India and abroad

Want to upgrade your business skills without taking a break? Check out these online MBA courses from top business schools in India and abroad.

My interview on freelance digital marketing jobs

In this video, Sangeeta Kumar of Diginekt interviews me about freelance digital marketing jobs and working from home in India.

10 (more) proven small business ideas for Indian women

Need small scale business ideas for housewives? Adding to our many lists of small business ideas, here are 10 more small business ideas for Indian women.

10 of the best online tutoring sites to find online tutoring jobs

Here are the top 10 online tutoring sites that represent the best tutoring companies, with tips on what makes them so popular for tutoring jobs online.

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Work From Home Newsletter: Edition 9