3 Predictions About Flexible Work in 2017



This originally appeared on flexjobs by Brie Weiler Reynolds


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A number of surveys came out in 2016 that asked professionals to talk about what they think the future of work holds. We think their answers just might be predictive of what we’ll see in 2017 and the years to come.

1. The Future of Work Hours

Sixty-three percent of workers say they expect that the standard eight-hour workday will be obsolete. If you think about it, most people already don’t adhere to the standard nine-hour workday. With the widespread availability of high-speed Internet, people’s ability to work whenever and wherever has already moved well beyond the traditional nine-to-five office schedule.

In 2017, expect more news about professionals being overworked, but also more trials of alternatives to eight-hour workdays that support working fewer hours, such as Amazon’s 30-hour workweek and the six-hour workday in Sweden.

2. The Future of Remote Work

Eighty to 90 percent of working Americans would like to work remotely at least part-time. And 68 percent said they expect to work remotely instead of commute to an office every day.

In 2017, as more companies adopt remote work and more people share what it’s like to work remotely, we expect to see more people working this way. It’s especially interesting to see that a large majority of people expect to work remotely instead of commuting to an office every day. It may be that we are moving beyond the tipping point—where remote work is seen as a standard way of working rather than a perk.

3. The Future of Freelance Work

Among people who currently hold a “traditional” job, more than half think they’ll be out on their own within five years.

Over the past decade, the number of people doing freelance and contract work has risen by almost 10 million people, as reported by the New York Times. Of note:

  • Temporary and freelance jobs rose faster than overall employment, which means there was actually a decline in the number of workers with conventional jobs, from 2005 to 2015.
  • The percentage of workers in “alternative work arrangements” was 15.8 percent in the fall of 2015, up from 10.1 percent a decade earlier.
  • That rise is dramatically faster than the previous decade. From 1995 to 2005, the proportion had edged up only slightly, to 10.1 percent from 9.3 percent.

In 2017, expect to see even more people breaking out on their own into freelancing. This will probably be a combination of people who “moonlight” and do freelance work on the side, while still maintaining a traditional job, and those people who strike out as fully independent workers.

Image Credit: Skillcrush

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