Technology and globalization are affecting us more than we think they are, especially at work.
How we work, when we work and even whom we work with are changing. Below are 16 clues that prove that the future of our work world has been changing steadily and ways you can be ready for what’s next.
1. We are working from home more often.
Thanks to tools like Basecamp, Skype and GoToMeeting, more jobs than ever before can be done entirely from home. Add in company email and chat, and you might begin to wonder why you head in to the office at all. Remote working is not only an advantage for employees, especially those with kids, but also for employers. With fewer employees in the office, companies can save on facility costs and maintenance — you are, after all, usually using your own equipment.
If you can go a full day in the office without needing to collaborate with others in person, instead taking frequent meetings online, there’s probably someone somewhere doing your job from his or her home office.
2. Flextime is more common.
Nowadays, companies aren’t just invested in our professional lives. They understand that we have personal lives and responsibilities outside of the office. Flextime is becoming more common, which means that if employees need to come into work later, or work from home on Fridays, they can. Companies are recognizing that doing your work and completing tasks on time are more important than meeting your 8-hour mark each day.
3. People are ditching the 9-5 world to work online.
Entrepreneurship is on the rise and an option for almost anyone with an Internet connection. Whether your dream is to make money blogging or to monetize your skills through an online business, it’s becoming more common for people to ditch the cubicle and go it alone. Startups in particular are more remote than ever. We’re now encouraged to find our passions and make money doing what we enjoy, without the traditional work environment.
4. Coworking spaces are on the rise.
While working from home is becoming the norm, coworking spaces are also growing in popularity. More remote workers and entrepreneurs are looking for office spaces than ever before, and with good reason. As your business grows, the need for a conference room, reliable Internet and the “feel” of an office become extremely important to your productivity. Coworking spaces also give startups the opportunity to mingle, collaborate and share in the joys of work (minus the boss and office politics).
5. Labor resources like oDesk and Elance are gaining popularity.
Finding many different assignments to work on at one time, as freelancers usually do, is becoming a popular option for those who don’t want to be tied down to one company.
It’s also a great opportunity for companies to hire specialized freelancers for the short term, outside of the office. Those who are starting their own companies also use services like oDesk to hire employees. This is great news if you are looking to make extra money on the side or thinking about quitting your current job to pursue different projects on your own.
6. Video meetings are an everyday thing.
Using video conferencing to hold important office meetings is proof that the world is shrinking. Work is shifting and changing in order to accommodate a more global and flexible work force. Important meetings transcending borders are possible and will become more frequent, without the need to get on a plane.
7. Work goes home with you.
Because being connected to work is so easy through our smartphones and tablets, people are now almost expected to answer work emails while they’re home after dinner. Not the greatest news, but another clue into the future of work.
8. You can earn a degree without stepping into a classroom.
Online education is becoming so popular that we can now earn a degree in almost anything without setting foot into a classroom. Recorded and live lectures, classroom discussion boards and other e-learning tools are gaining speed.
This will change the future of work because education is becoming more accessible to more people, widening the skill sets of future job applicants. This also means that you can go back to school (or get more education) without quitting your day job.
9. In many industries, a college degree isn’t enough.
Earning an undergraduate degree alone isn’t cutting it anymore. Often, you need specialized education to stand out from other job candidates, like extra courses in graphic design or in industry-specific software. How are we getting this extra know-how? Online schools, of course!
10. New graduates are using their online experience to get ahead.
Ever notice how graduates are using their online experience to boost their chances of getting a job? Doing a few online side hustles while in college is an easy way to fill in the job history section of your resume — and get hands-on experience.
How’s this good for the future? New grads are no longer dependent on traditional job hunting methods (read: black holes where resumes go to die). Not only that, nine-to-fivers can also build skills in other areas without needing to quit their current job.
11. Social media is a job now.
Companies understand that social media is no longer just a leisure activity — marketing coordinators look to social media to boost sales and brand awareness. This means there’s a whole slew of new jobs out there for tech-savvy people, both in social media and marketing.
12. Social media is now part of the hiring process.
Companies are also using social media (and not just LinkedIn) to look at job applicants before hiring them. This means that social media users are more careful about what they post and share, no longer ignoring their privacy settings. Employees may also be expected or encouraged to use their personal social media pages to market their employer’s brand or product.
13. There are more “how to make money online” articles than we can read.
It’s common knowledge that people can make lots of money and be successful with online work. Google it. The number of legitimate results proves that the work landscape is shifting, and you can earn a stable income without setting foot into an office building.
14. Employees are not staying put.
Time magazine published an article that looked at the future of work, and the differences between Generation X and Generation Y. They found that Gen Y (those born from 1979 to 2000) are not following Gen X’s footsteps in the work world. Those from Gen Y are less likely to stay at a company for a long time, as success for Gen Y isn’t defined in the traditional sense: with rank or seniority. Rather, success has been and will continue to be defined as getting what matters to you personally — even if that means leaving one company after a few short years for another job somewhere else. YOLO, right?
15. Finding a permanent job is becoming more difficult.
If you do a job search, you’ll find that a lot of office jobs are temporary. Finding a stable and permanent position is not as easy as it used to be, as companies are relying on independent contractors and consultants (using services like oDesk or recruiting agencies) to outsource their work. This may be because the economy is still recovering from the recession, but it’s also about the bottom line: short-term employment is cheaper for companies. Perhaps this goes hand in hand with Generation Y’s disinterest in seniority?
16. A traditional job no longer equals job security.
While landing a job at a large conglomerate used to mean job security and prestige, this is no longer the case. There’s hardly a month that goes by without a large company laying off thousands of workers.
What can we learn from this? The dream of working in corporate positions for one big company forever is just that, a dream. Smaller companies and startups are increasingly popular, and they may offer more stability than larger, well-known corporations do. Also, freelancers are enjoying the freedom of working on their own. After all, working for yourself is often more reliable than working for someone else.
Take a step into a local coffee shop or count the coworking offices in your area. The work shift is happening all around you, right now, and it’s time to get with the program!