If you've been following the work environment quietly, you may have noticed that “business as usual” has become unusual. These changes have been in all areas of business including employee and client meetings, marketing and sales of products and services, as well as the hiring of personnel.
There are several obvious reasons for the changes we're experiencing, thely the aftershocks of the maturing internet, social media's rising influence, and the acknowledgment of the death of the “job for life” promise that past generations built their careers upon.
When you add our current experience of the slow-growth job market brought to us by the 2008 recession, and the unhappiness and restlessness of the majority of the work, it's easy to see why we're going through the dramatic changes in the workplace. While the fundamental shift that's occurring in our business world is unsettling, it's also fascinating to be in the middle of something that will be written about in detail in future history books.
There are three trends that are becoming prominent that I believe are permanently reshaping how business is conducted. It's the visionary employer and the malleable employee that will find themselves in a much better position to survive and prosper in the aftermath of the revolution with nothing more than a few bumps and bruises. Those that resist the changes and try to reserve the status quo will find themselves pummeled by their competitors when it comes to business growth and future employment. If you're one of those seriously considering a career change, you'll set yourself up for greater success by focusing your efforts to take advantage of the changes we're experiencing.
The three business changing trends are:
1. The Rise of the Independent Worker
2. The Disappearing Office and Cubicle
3. The Common “Overnight Sensation”
The Rise of the Independent Worker – Many firms have used temporary employees to get through their periods of increased workloads, or for special projects. These temps have ranged from office workers and retail sales staff to engineers, IT specialists, and marketing representatives.
I believe that this growing segment of the employment market will boom sooner rather than later. Recent studies have indicated the number of independent workers in the United States to be from a minimum of 16 million people, up to 42 million people, or 12% – 33% of the work; working as free agent employees in a wide variety of specialties. These studies predict that 50% of employees in 2020 will be independent contractors.
While contractors may charge a higher fee for their expertise on a given project than an employee's salary, their knowledge and their ability to get a project done without the extended learning curve will make contractors an attractive alternative for many businesses. The company also saves money when it comes to the benefits a full time employee may require for their time and effort over the long haul.
This will be a great development for the seasoned employee looking to spend more time on personal interests, and desiring the ability to pick and choose the types of jobs on which they'd prefer to work.
The Disappearing Office and Cubicle – This trend actually began in the late 1980's when companies allowed employee's home computers access to their data via connection to the company's server. As time progressed, many companies found that several types of employees could work from remote locations without the need to travel to the office for many of their assignments. They also found that many of these tethered employees also put in more time working outside the traditional business hours.
So, while office buildings will not disappear (because a bit of face-to-face time is also good for one's career), there will be few workers checking in and working from the company's physical location. As you may have guessed, this will also affect the local traffic patterns by decreasing the number of commuters during the rush hours, and what's considered “business hours”. It will also influence the type of cars an employee buys the next time they're ready to do so, and the size of home they'll purchase since they'll need a home office. Employees will be able to adjust their work schedules to match their individual needs for personal time with family and friends.
The Common “Overnight Sensation” – The world will see a number of small companies become “overnight sensations”; becoming multi-million dollar companies in months rather than years. This will be due in large part to the relative ease of becoming well known over the internet. This does not include the types of companies prevalent during the dot-com boom days of the 1990's when investors shoveled money at businesses simply because they planned to have a product on the web.
The new sensations will fill specific areas that have a known, loyal following. They will be in social media with its constantly changing landscape; workplace related by providing the means to tie all employees and newly contracted workers to the host company, or entertainment sites that will give the hard working masses new ways to relax wherever they wish. They will develop ways to meet our energy needs with home grown solutions and keep our toys running for much longer periods of time.
These new companies will understand that no one succeeds without help along the way. They'll build partnerships that are mutually beneficial to the people involved. They'll understand that knowing themselves, and having a clear vision for their companies, will help them to find the ideal people that will make their road to success much easier. They'll take advantage of the migrating workforce and contract those with specific knowledge and skills at levels never seen before.
While a few may become the next Microsoft, Google, or Apple, most will disappear almost as quickly as they appeared because of rapidly advancing technologies, along with the evolving consumer desires. This will open the door to the next wave of sensations while the months-old guard fades away.
As with any article dealing with future trends, world events can make the most well thought out, forward thinking list obsolete. However, I believe that these three revolutionary trends will have the biggest impact on our lives, no matter where we live, or what field we work in. They have firm foundations and will flourish as our economy begins to roll again.
If you're ready to be the flexible, fast moving business owner or employee, I believe you're in the right place at the right time. Vive la Revolution!