Remember the olden days, when you had to buy a paper and peruse the classified ads to find jobs in your area? Then you would have to type out your résumé (or fill out a paper application by hand) and call back day after day, hoping to go back in for an interview. These days both the processes and the jobs themselves have become somewhat more streamlined. The truth is that we are rapidly creating a virtual world that mimics the real one; and more and more of the workforce is turning to alternative jobs via computers and internet as a way to escape the nine-to-five. In fact, it could signal the swan song for the traditional corporate workplace.
Think about how many people in your office currently work from home part-time or even exclusively. Contractors and full-time employees alike are now able to skip gridlock and telecommute, replacing their long daily drive with an instantaneous internet connection. And there are benefits to both workers and businesses with this model. Employees get the obvious benefits of working from home while companies can save money by leasing smaller office spaces (along with lower attendant costs for utilities and related services, not to mention liability insurance). Those businesses that choose to operate on an entirely remote basis will save a ton over competitors. And of course, it’s also pretty good for the environment as such a move helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commuter vehicles.
But even those companies that wish to continue operating corporate headquarters and satellite offices out of brick-and-mortar locations may find the decision out of their hands. As workers get wise to this revolution in the job market, more and more are opting to take their schooling and experience into the internet arena by seeking the freedoms offered by freelance work – and there are a lot of opportunities out there for professionals savvy enough to spot them.Not only have freelance work sites flourished, offering connections for both businesses and contract workers, but the open marketplace means that professionals willing to hustle for work will find it in spades.
In short, the whole landscape of the working world is beginning to shift away from work done in offices. And while connectivity is an important factor, there is also a whole slate of technology that is making it easier than ever to work outside the office. With smaller, faster, and cheapertechnologies, workers can now use not only their home PC and laptop for work, but also mobile devices like tablets and smart phones, which seem to be getting more compact and powerful by the day. The virtual workforce is on the rise, and most people believe that it will only continue to grow.
Recent surveys in the UK show that the majority of employees currently working in offices feel that within the next ten years their work environment will become irrelevant. This may seem like a fairly short time frame for the dismantling of a system that has been growing for the last century, but soon it simply won’t make sense for businesses to go any other way. So if you’ve been looking forward to embracing the wacky culture you watch on The Office every week, you may just have to adjust your plans to work closer (much closer) to home.
Sarah Danielson writes for Midwest HR, a Chicago HR outsourcing company. Midwest HR offers innovative HR solutions to organizations that are focused on productivity, profitability, and growth.