I love reading about trends and the latest buzz, and what catches my interest a lot these days is all things work-related, and how the workforce is evolving. Todays’ search term for “the future of work” produces a startling 897,000,000 Google results, so it’s obviously one hot topic.
I’ve been reflecting more than usual lately on how work is changing at such a rapid rate, in my own life and with those around me. Whether it’s inter-generational dynamics from baby-boomers to millennials, an unpredictable economy, or keeping up with the exponential rate of technology such as 3-D printing or robots replacing employees; the consensus is we live in interesting times when it comes to how we work.
The Trend of Telecommuting
A recent article on the Huffington Post and other Canadian media outlets, shines a light on the rise of corporations employing staff that telecommute from all over the country, in order to cut down on costs. We can expect this trend to continue from both perspectives of employer, and employee (or contractor): the company saves money, and the employee or contractor has the freedom of living where they want.
As Canadian cities become increasingly expensive to live in with the skyrocketing housing prices, not to mention long commutes, living in the country with affordable housing and working from home is taking on a new appeal to many. The current buzz here in Canada is that although the good paying jobs are in the larger cities, atrocious housing prices (whether renting or owning) are becoming out of reach, and forcing hard working people to leave in search of a more affordable way to live.
As I watch family members and friends get laid off from comfortable corporate jobs to find themselves unemployed in middle age, it’s not surprising to see some of them turn towards contract work, freelancing and telecommuting.
The Nimble Workforce
Corporations with telecommuting employees are catching on to what’s already been evolving for over a decade in the freelance world. Self-employed freelance contractors have been setting the trend to meet the demand of assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses who themselves work from home. In fact, all the clients and colleagues I currently work with as virtual assistant work from their home offices.
It seems “freelancing” has never been more appealing, and studies reveal the concept comes quite naturally to the nimble, younger generation who’ve grown up with the internet and face-paced changes. Companies with bureaucratic, corporate structures are challenged to attract millennials to come and work for them, as studies show those people thrive in entrepreneurial environments with more freedom and less control.
With online learning now at our fingertips, entrepreneurship increasingly on the rise, and technology connecting us on a level playing field no matter where you live, flexible work is the natural result and becoming the norm.
What other changes might we see in the workforce in the next 10 years?