Reimagine Work

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been regularly asked the question, “Why did you start Workbase and why in the height of a pandemic?”

I don’t think I will ever tire of answering this question, as it often leads to deeper conversations about work, a learning opportunity, or a launching pad for working together with others solving the same challenges we’re trying to solve.

Of course the short answer is that we believe that work needs to be reimagined, now more than ever. But let me share a bit more about what we mean.

I truly believe that work is not just a means to make a salary, but is an important part of God’s design for humanity. Through it, we steward this world with the skills and talents we have, while achieving for ourselves growth, fulfillment and purpose. (Personally, I’ve never met a deeply fulfilled person who wasn’t productive.)

Unfortunately, in the Philippines, work continues to be hard to come by—even for those who have skills, and degrees. In February of this year, there were about 12.1M Filipinos who were either unemployed or underemployed. And for many, there is no choice but to resort to either one of two things: A) Find/fight for the nearest available job, even if it pays lower than what they can do for the skills they have, or B) fly out of the country to be an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker), but often at great cost to the families they have to leave behind.

Yet across the globe there seems to be a different story: work opportunities are actually increasing, especially remote online work. The US alone logged $1.2T in freelancer earnings in 2020, growing with the number of remote job opportunities available for talents across the globe, accelerated by the pandemic that’s forced companies to get used to a remote workforce.

Work isn’t disappearing. It’s transforming.

This is good news for a country whose population largely speaks English, known for being hardworking, friendly, and able to command competitive rates.

Of course, this opportunity comes with its own potential for abuses, with challenges that need to be addressed if we’re to take advantage of it. These challenges are plenty, but our vision is a future of work that is freeing, not enslaving; helps people grow, not plateau; and allows them to be with their families, not separated from them. We’re starting in our own backyard with a dream to raise and empower a million OFWs—that is, Online Filipino Workers.

Difficult? Yes. Urgent? Absolutely. Impossible? No.

But what we’re most excited about is we’re not on this journey alone. Since starting, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Carla Mumar, who brought Climathon to the Philippines, and has helped us work with Canva Philippines to train talents, teachers, and students. There’s Kenneth Pinpin who’s been creating tech solutions that helped companies he’s worked with shift quickly to remote work last year. And then there’s the honor of working with Banjo Castillo, whose passion for solving emergent important issues has led to the forming of Archangel Advisory together with David Bonifacio and other partners. It’s a growing community of leaders, partners, and backers eager to truly help both talents and companies—or enablers as we like to call them at Workbase—in a scalable + sustainable way.

We have a long way to go, and what we are today may evolve into something very different in the future, just like the future of work itself. I am excited that we have a shot at actually shaping this future, reimagining work and redeeming it.

We’re growing our list of companies we’re working with. If you’d like to journey with us and reimagine work for your company, do send me a message at eric@workbase.ph.

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