How we're designing the future of work for top tech talent

“Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Warren Buffet

Distributed is building the future of work. We do this by connecting and enabling a global workforce of technical delivery professionals, all working remotely.

The nature of work is moving on from the post-industrial age. So-called 'Knowledge Workers' are increasingly working remotely, and according to a recent Gallop survey, are loving it. Hardly surprising, tech workers have the highest churn rate in any sector. The competitive market for talent and the fact that many tech skills are transferable project-to-project fulfils our very human desire for variety.

This begs the questions; can one enjoy the perks of being a freelancer (freedom to work remotely, variety in projects, good pay) and the perks of full-time employment (reliable pay, benefits, sense of tribe)?

As Head of Design at Distributed, part of my responsibility is to ask these questions, validate them through customer insights and business strategy, and help others imagine these futures with me. 

Here I want to take you on a brief tour of the platform we’re building in 2021. We believe the future of work is a modular, outcome-based on-demand expert workforce and here is what we are looking to develop to bring that about.

I hope that your feedback will help us to refine and improve our vision to be the most valuable to the most people.

Grow your skills and improve your earnings

Imagine you're a Software Developer, let's call you Leoni. With a couple of years of experience, You're looking for work that allows you to do what you're good at for projects that align with your values - work remotely with other people mainly from your part of the world, be paid reliably, and you'd really like to continue growing your skills and learning new ones. You've recently joined Distributed. 

This is your dashboard:

We want you to feel like you're making progress with your career by visually reminding you. 

You've already achieved 'Rank 3' with your time at Distributed, you're almost halfway to 'Rank 4' [left side]. This is primarily calculated based on time worked, quality of code, peer and customer feedback. As you might expect, the higher rank you earn, the more earning and teaching potential you have.

Because our goal is to be more than just a place to facilitate work, we give you tips on how you can 'Increase your earnings', [left] making yourself more valuable not only to your Distributed teammates but to the market. Including advice on how to rank up quicker, highest-paying skillsets you can learn, and ancillary services on financial advice. More on the other links listed on the left, below.

In the middle of the screen, you can see a list of your top-most sought after skillsets, both hard skills (Computer Science) and soft skills (languages). You can also see your own personal preferences for work. On the lower right you can track your ranking on coding language hard skills. Top right is where work happens, more on that below.

Meet your project team, onboard easily and see exactly how much you’ll earn

Once assigned to a project that matches her interests and preferences, Leoni can see high-level information about the project including the team she'll be working with, the client, start time, and how much she can earn for this project.

Manage all tasks, commits and work chat in one screen

Upon accepting the project, and part-way through the project, Leoni can see a high-level command view of the project as it happens. Including her specific tasks, where her other teammates are, ability to chat and problem-solve together, and an indication of that previously elusive progress made.

Gain total control over your payments, projects you work on and see how well you perform

Transparent and fast payment along with feedback to learn and grow quickly.

Claim your perks just like a full-time team member

Full-time employees usually enjoy perks from their companies, something that freelancers have missed out on for too long. Distributed allows you to enjoy the benefits of a freelance life but with the perks of full-time employment, including pensions, wellbeing, personal development plans.

Learn on the job with the Distributed Apprenticeship Scheme

Many of our existing Elastic Team members are already learning new development skills in their spare time. They have expressed a desire to work on projects that would allow them to gain experience and improve.

For instance, Leoni wants to strengthen her DevOps skills, and up until now, she's been reading or watching DevOps tutorials. Still, she can't get onto DevOps projects due to lack of demonstrable experience. But with Distributed's Apprenticeship Scheme, she has the opportunity to join a DevOps project as an 'apprentice' where she can work alongside a senior DevOps engineer who can help mentor her.

This allows her to get reps in at DevOps and learn from experienced professionals on-the-job. We’re bringing this ancient method of master-apprentice to the digital realm. We aim to help Elastic Team members to grow significantly more along the path of their interests than any other talent platform. 

See how you’re skills are progressing in real-time

By integrating with ancillary services, we can visualise your progress in soft and hard skills. A big part of mastery is knowing that you're improving. Finally, Distributed helps you realise that improvement.

Build a network of local and global developers, just like you

Distributed is quickly becoming the fastest-growing community of techies in the world. Here [left] you can see a list of all global Elastic Team members. You can see how they rank and if they live nearby to grow your network with other local members.

Top right shows links to screencasts that other Elastic Team tech professionals might be hosting. You can think of this as like Twitch for Developers. Imagine joining Zoe Hill's 'DevOps Project', and you'd see a live screen share of her working code, her talking through her process as she goes on webcam, and a live chat feature for Q&A.

Bottom right is 'Events' we put on for our Elastic Team to help give a sense of community.

Any other reasons needed to join the future of work?

I'd like to caveat that this is intended to be a North Star vision of the future. We're relatively far off of it, but we aspire to get there in some form by 2022. Tell us what we've missed. Is there anything else we could be focusing on?

If you’re a top developer and feel like you could help us build the future of work then please join us.

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Written and designed by

Fred Seale

Head of Design

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Fred is a creative type who’s curiosity drives him to help improve business and customer experiences. Having led some of Europes fastest-growing startups through design, he now heads up design at Distributed, where he’s helping to create the future of work.

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