Over the last decade, we have seen a rise in the number of people making their income partially or entirely online, and that trend is only expected to continue in the years to come. Whether it concerns side hustles, full-time jobs, or short-term contractors, the standard concept of work is becoming outdated, and it will be replaced by more people working when and where suits them best. This won’t be the case for every profession, but automation and communication technologies are making their mark, and more people need to take notice. Here are some current and future trends we think you should be aware of:
Easier Communication and Cheaper Technology
Rising smartphone adoption rates and the increased use of tools and apps to make office communication easier has been making sure that people are always in contact with the office, their clients, or their employers, for better or for worse. Projects are more easily managed from anywhere, and resources can be shared to an entire team in-real-time, not only reducing the need for team members to be in the same room but also emphasizing the need for better teamwork overall, which is helped along by the larger scale of many of today’s projects.
Furthermore, nearly all of the basic tools and software needed to perform specialized tasks can be licensed and run on a computer that an average worker can afford, with even complex tasks such as video editing only needing a specialized desktop that is still within the realm of possibility for many. Video editing alone is the easiest example of a task that can now be done at home, by a specialized freelancer, without issue.
The Home or Rented Office as a Main Office
Yet just because someone might work at home doesn’t mean that they won’t need a dedicated workspace, and most people quickly figure out that a couch or their bed won’t suffice for most tasks (or they don’t figure this out and don’t live up to their full potential). We may also see a rise in the use of (and development of) technology dedicated to making home offices more comfortable and effective, for example an increase in smarthome technology and voice recognition to free hands from mundane tasks.
At the same time, there are also many people who might not have the space at home to create a proper setup, which means they still might look outwards to find a spot for themselves. We anticipate that many people who make money from “home” might start using shared office spaces or coworking environments, partially for the reasons listed above and partially to gain the benefits of a more social environment, as working from home constantly can be a drain for many.
Access to Information and Opportunities
Before the modern internet, getting good work often revolved around networking, some ad placement, and references. It was also much more locally based, and employers would often have to put forth serious effort to attract outside talent. Now hiring someone is easier than ever. For smaller tasks, people from across the world can do a task extremely cheaply, and thousands of professionals can apply for an attractive position. However, this goes both ways, as people can find jobs listed from all across the country. Effectively, we have a severely less centralized job market, for better or worse, and this trend will only increase as more duties and tasks can be completed online.
Additionally, for people who don’t want to commit to full time work or are just looking for a bit of part-time work, there are now tons of different ways to make money online that don’t require too much commitment or allow for flexible hours, allowing people such as stay-at-home mothers and people with disabilities able to enter the workforce and earn money for their household. In short, if someone needs something done, they can likely find the right person, happy to help you right from their home.
A Focus on Specialization
Going on from the previous topic, employers will naturally want to work It is impossible to be the best in your field for every topic of knowledge and sub-specialization, and so the concept of the generalist is somewhat dying out, leading to either teams of specialists or freelancers who market themselves as a master of one or two things in order to perform at the top levels of their industry. Working from home might very well mean that people will be focused on a couple of tasks they’re very well trained in, either for a major employer or a series of clients.
It’s how the internet and the market will react to these trends that is the most interesting question in the coming years. Will more methods of filtering or algorithms be used to save time, or will there be more qualifying methods placed on the major freelancing websites or job boards? Will people associate more and effectively unionize online to prevent wage decline? The internet environment evolves rapidly, so a close eye will be needed.
It’s impossible to entirely predict the future, but all of us are perfectly capable of noticing major trends in both the market and the workplace, and everything mentioned above is well within the realm of likelihood. If possible, we recommend you consider your own career and work environment, and see what changes or preparations you might want to make. Even if you have no plans to work from home or make any changes, your employer might have different ideas and you’ll almost certainly be dealing with people who will (or already have) made the switch.