Millions of us access and carry out work online, with 53 million freelancers in the
USA alone. This presents many people with opportunities for flexibility,
independence and creative freedom. However, it can be insecure and lack some of
the benefits of being employed by a company, like having access to a union and a
Jobs accessed online are often won through competitions, where work is done with no guarantee of pay. An employer can get hundreds of people to do a job for him, and only pay the person whose work he likes the best. As well as this, workers are competing globally for jobs, not in their local community or even country. Because this global network of workers is so geographically dispersed, it’s hard for workers to get together and look after each other’s interests.
In this challenging situation, how can we become a more resilient workforce and look out for each other in a global community? How can we achieve solidarity in the face of competition?
To explore this, we ran a competition asking digital workers around the world to submit a photograph of themselves at work. We received over 200 submissions and exhibited a selection of them at the Web We Want Festival. The public voted for the submissions they found most interesting, compelling, or moving. The winner of a $500 prize was Tricia Schroeder, Canada. (Main picture)