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Where the Uber hits the road.

A look at Work 3.0, and other changing employment practices.

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Dr. Andrei Hagui, in a September 20, 2015 Harvard Business School publication, presented a paper, headlined “Work 3.0: Redefining Jobs and Companies in the Uber Age,” that asked if American businesses and lawmakers are stifling innovation across the digital economy by enforcing the conventional employment classification of independent contractor or employee. Hagui said the existing policies stifle innovation by “undercutting an era of new opportunity for American workers.”
He defined three realms of employment: Work 1.0 as conventional employment, the type, he said, where a worker is either self-employed or a company employee. Next, he said, is the Work 2.0 classification, that includes Work 1.0, but expands to “independent contractor,” because state and federal tax laws have accepted that job category as valid.
“Independent contractor” describes a part-time worker who, by contract, provides products or services and is not listed on the firm’s employment roster. Independent contractors usually charge more dollars per hour (or job), but do not receive company benefits.
Dr. Hagui said the key factor that distinguishes an employee from an independent contractor is the company’s control over where, when and how the workers work. He said many businesses hire ancillary workers under independent-contract agreements, but the laws are exact and strict.
The U.S. Dept. of Labor blog says whether a worker is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act is a legal question determined by the economic realities of the working relationship between the employer and the worker, not by job title or any agreement that the parties may make. It also said the goal of its economic realities test is to determine whether a worker is economically dependent on the employer (and is therefore an employee) or is really in business for him or herself (and is therefore an independent contractor). Read more at https://blog.dol.gov/2015/07/15/employee-or-independent-contractor/

Work 3.0
Hagui said Work 3.0, his new category, rises from such modern, web-based companies as Uber, HourlyNerd, Lyft, Upwork, Taskrabbit and others that, for a percent of the fee, connect independent contractors who provide agreed-upon services to a client. This neoteric practice has caused controversy in the workplace, government offices and civil courts, because, Dr. Hagui said, the courts cannot decide what to do with this category (Work 3.0), so they continue to debate where it should reside.
The Work 3.0 category could easily span all common work categories — blue collar, middle management and executive — because of the type of work accomplished. For example, a web-based, Work 3.0 enterprise could disperse lawn-mowing services or investment consultants for an island-home purchase.
Will Dr. Hagui’s efforts in defining a new working realm change the employment processes?
He said the web-based-service marketplace offers job opportunities for millions of people of all ages and talents. Even more, he said, the present day is most applicable to such work, because many Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.

HourlyNerd consultants
HourlyNerd’s (Boston) market spiel says it’s an online marketplace that allows MBA students from the top 20 U.S. business schools and select international schools to bid on consulting projects posted by prospective clients, mostly small-business owners. It provides more than “14,000 of the best experts for your specific needs” and says it cuts the overhead of consulting firms and offers the same quality talent at much lower prices.
Question: If its consultants are the crème-de-la-crème of business schools, why don’t they have day jobs?

Uber ride service
The Uber ride service is a classic Work 3.0 business. Uber Technologies Inc, (San Francisco), because it operates ride services sans required permits and licenses, is fraught with accusations and lawsuits, but its drivers may be subject to unrecognized risk that begins with liability insurance that the driver may or may not have. Uber says it insures drivers only when they’re carrying passengers. It doesn’t t cover the driver while he or she is going to, or coming from, an Uber gig.
Personal auto insurance doesn’t usually cover Uber-type activities. Further, it’s possible that a driver’s insurance company would cancel their personal auto policy — or skyrocket the rates — if it learned the vehicle owner is using their vehicle to transport commercial passengers.
Before becoming a client of such agencies, you should examine your risks. For example, if you become injured in an accident while riding in an Uber-contracted car, what is your recourse?

Uber, whose investors includes Goldman Sachs, filed this service description with the California Public Utilities Commission: “Uber operates no vehicles, and does not hold itself out or advertise itself as a transportation-service provider. In fact and law, Uber does not provide transportation services of any kind and does not own, lease or charter any vehicles for the transportation of passengers. On the contrary, Uber is a technology company that licenses the Uber App to transportation-service providers. The transportation service providers pay a fee to Uber to use its software technology; the passenger of the transportation-service provider pays the transportation-service provider for transportation services received.”
Not everyone agrees with this description and, you might note, Uber nowhere accepts responsibility as a rider service, although it does collect the fare. (All fare payments are handled automatically by the Uber service, via the passenger’s on-file credit card.)
Surely, the assignment of specific responsibilities is part of the common controversy, and any research into web-based, ride-sharing brings up a mish-mash of issues and options.
New York City requires Uber drivers to have a Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) license, which requires a defensive driving class and doctor’s exam; California is considering a commercial, license-plate requirement. Other regions and cities have also contested its methods and practices.
Amazon, also, is researching an Uber-type delivery service, which won’t make Fed-Ex or UPS happy.

Ask first
If you contract — interact — with any provided service, your first question should regard safety, which would include an evaluation of the person and any equipment you’re hiring for service. Another consideration is that person’s capacity to deliver satisfactory service. And, are your risks positively covered? A licensed taxi’s insurance coverage and safety rubrics are dictated by its relevant government agency. What exactly does Uber, “… a technology company that licenses the Uber App” — provide?
Also look at the skill set. Are all the nerds offered by Hourly Nerd from the top of their class? Finally, be sure to consider your legal recourse in regards to incompetence and liabilities when dealing with any independent contractor or web-distributed specialist.
If things go badly, they could simply climb into their Prius and drive away.

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SIDEBAR
Smart Inking: Turning to the Dark Side
Effective color management, proper profiles and less light ink makes a difference.

By Dean Derhak

Dean Derhak, an SAi product director with 19 years in RIP software, management, marketing, sales and engineering technologies, often visits signshops and large-format print businesses to learn how they increase their profits. This month, Dean explains how GCR settings in media-profiling software can cut your ink costs. Reach Dean at [email protected]

In ST’s October issue, under a “Smart Inking” headline, I provided some tips on how to increase digital-print profits through effective color management. Here, my smart-inking advice continues, because exploring different ways to produce grey or black tones can also reduce ink costs.
Most default-ICC media profiles liberally use CMY inks to print grey, black and shadows, but this practice consumes up to two-thirds more ink than is necessary. If your RIP software has an ICC profile-making module, you can control this ink usage.
Although the black generation process depends on the image type and media — for example, backlit signage requires significant ink – selecting a Gray Component Replacement (GCR) curve that replaces CMY ink with black ink will noticeably reduce your ink costs, with little impact on print quality, especially in dark areas. You’ll find this GCR curve setting in the ICC profile-making module of your RIP software, or in your stand-alone ICC profile-making software.
This option is worth investigating because it allows you to achieve good colors with less ink, and, even with some loss in detail, it can deliver richer blacks.
ICC profile making engines have a GCR setting called “Max K,” or “GCRMax,” that will reduce CMY ink for black and replace it with K ink for blacks. Selecting this setting may save another 20% of your per-job ink use. The main disadvantage of using this GCR method is close-up viewing may reveal small, black-ink dots in highlight and mid-tone areas. Sometimes called a “peppering effect,” this can only be seen when viewing close-up. However, for images to be viewed at a distance of more than 6 ft., a GCR setting of “Max K” will produce rich and neutral blacks.
If K ink in your ICC media profile’s GCR curve is over-used, darker colors could be blown out, which may reduce shadow detail. Choosing your GCR level settings depends on the media, so be prepared to experiment. Even so, a replacement curve of CMY with K is worth considering — it can dramatically reduce ink costs and keep your prints looking dark and with contrast.
If you don’t have the ICC, media-profiling module or stand-alone software that gives you this GCR control, your potential ink-cost savings may be worth the investment.
Also, be aware of the intended viewing distance because it indicates what you can get away with, while still keeping your customer happy.

END SIDEBAR

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