What a year it’s been for working independently! We’ve always believed that the revolution will come and it looks like it is now well and truly here.
Whether you’ve already gone freelance or you are poised ready to go, here is our guide to the fundamental shifts that are taking place. We’ll look at the impact of the economy and technology and of course we’ll be focussing on how freelancing and independent working is catching hold.
1. It’s normal to work from home.
Despite Marissa Meyer calling back Yahoo’s home workers, it appears that many companies are now, at last, starting to see the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely.
To be honest, employees no longer see this as a perk, but to be expected, and as the more fundamental relationship between companies and their employees shifts further away from the command and control culture of the past, we’ll see even more of that.
2. The Millennials are coming (again).
And they won’t be taking any of that ridiculous workplace culture stuff. They are used to being self sufficient in most things, from their IT set up to their self-development. In fact, they make great freeagents, because they are already carving their own futures. All that’s held them back is their perceived lack of experience.
This year, we’ll start to see the impact of the millennials on the culture, processes and hierarchies of companies and organisations as the war for talent 2.0 starts to take hold.
3. Bring your own mind
Stowe Boyd (writing in Gigaom) is responsible for this great new term. ‘Bring your own mind’ is the natural evolution from the ‘Bring your own device’ trend (when you bring your own laptops, smartphones and other devices with you to work. He believes that as devices become more capable, a new generation of apps and services will finally convince company IT departments and CIO’s that it’s better all round if we can work with our own devices.
He says that we have ‘become so dependent on the companion tools we use that leaving them at home would be something like a lobotomy’. Sound familiar?
He goes as far as drawing the conclusion that ‘BYOD should really be considered a shift of the boundary where the company’s control over the way we work — which equates to the way we think — is receding’. Think about the logical extension of this. This opens the door further for independents to work seamlessly with organisations, as it breaks down more of those artificial boundaries around the workplace.
4. More people will hate their job
A recent survey by MSW and Dale Carnegie Training showed that nearly three quarters of employees in the US didn’t enjoy their jobs. That matters because it’s going to get harder to find talented people. Those talented individuals are increasingly going freelance as they work out it’s no longer worth putting up with the office politics and lack of security when their skills are valued by clients who will pay for them.
5. Innovation is everywhere
Companies are emerging from the downturn desperate to make up for lost time. There is a real hunger for innovation, and that’s bounty time for freelancers who bring in new ideas and ways of working to challenge the company norms.
6. Freelancing is the career of choice
If the experts are right, 40% of the US workforce will be working for themselves in 2020. Many will have chosen this state of independence. We are finally starting to see a shift in the way people view and talk about freelancing, away from being a negative to a career and lifestyle that many aspire to.
7. Full time recruitment has slowed but freelance jobs are on the rise
Careerbuilders’ annual survey of the jobs market shows that companies are starting to rely more on temporary and contract staff – aka freelancers.
It’s a trend that has been growing post-recession. This allows companies to have flexibility in their workforce, so that as market demands change, they can dial up or dial down staffing as needed. Forty-two percent of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2014, up from 40 percent last year.
8. My Quantified Workself.
No trends list would be complete with looking at the Quantified Self. This is all about companion devices like your smartphone and the growing number of ‘tracking’ apps that measure all sorts of things about you. Sounds weird? Well, not necessarily. If you want to track your physical fitness, you might already have a Nike Fuel band, or something similar that keeps track on your heartbeat.
Soon, we’ll be able to track our levels of interaction, productivity and creativity. Not to mention how much we are procrastinating… Actually, isn’t this just the job for those of who simply aren’t getting out of our home offices enough?
So, everything seems to align to make 2014 a great year to be working for yourself, with some of those barriers tumbling down. Watch this space, and be part of the revolution!