Tuesday, September 1, 2020

About autonomy

We all need autonomy to some degree. Who doesn't occasionally email -- or text -- their spouse on the other side of the house?

A model for autonomy
In the workplace, autonomy models are now emerging. One, by Matt Mullenweg, is interesting.
Mullenweg's model envisions multiple levels, much like a maturity model:
  1. Level 0 is physical. Construction work, and the like. You can't remote it very well [but, stand by for more robotics in the construction industry]. At scale, construction doesn't lend itself to working alone; though working autonomously on a job site, remote from a boss, is typical.

  2. Level 1 is traditional co-located office work, but you have your own space. You can even work from home occasionally, and also work from the road -- when there was a "road". Thus, you can carve out whatever autonomy you need -- within reason.

  3. Level 2, according to our author, is more or less where many businesses are now: they've relocated the office work to remote locations, but otherwise all the processes and methodologies continue on as they were.

    Autonomy in the sense of working physically alone is maximum, but autonomy in terms of a reporting chain (to and from) is largely unchanged.

    Some productivity many suffer since home simply isn't the office, and some angst may increase as everyone worries about sustainability.

  4. Level 3 simply brings in tools fitted to remote working; processes and methodologies shift a bit to pick up the functionalities of these tools. There may be some change in the bureaucracy, but largely not.

  5. Level 4 puts the focus on throughput, not so much methods and processes. By Mullenweg's take, Level 4 requires a degree of trust in autonomous work that wasn't necessary when supervision and evaluation was a tighter and nearer thing.

  6. Level 5 is undefined: but, whatever it is, it's better in all regards. Work quality is maximum; work environment is the best it can be. Individual performance, overall well-being, and creativity are peaked.
Decamping to the farther land
With a dearth of tourists, some international locales are now offering special 12-month work visas for remote workers who want to decamp their home base. Actually, the nomad worker has been around a long time, jumping from one visa to another, but with the pandemic there are now new opportunities.

From the beach to the mountains to the cities in these not-in-the-USA locales, remote workers are setting up the ultimate autonomy. And, think of their autonomous identities: one for their client; one for their temporary host; and one for their native citizenship.  

Really! Is their situation simpler, or more complex!?

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