More than a quarter of the global workforce does some freelance work— from writers and designers to coaches and delivery drivers. Though the majority of freelancers are based in Europe (35%) and Asia (28%), the gig economy has an exciting and attractive future in the U.S. as well.
People enter the Goldman Sachs headquarters building in New York, U.S.,
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
After two years, giddy executives appear on the brink of welcoming their workforces back to the office, whether their employees are ready or not.
“I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to being together again,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told his employees in a memo last week, outlining his company’s April 11 hybrid back-to-work plan.
So many bosses have repeated the same arguments against remote work so many times, most workers could recite them during a desk nap: People are less productive at home. Offices are necessary to maintain company culture. Chance encounters at the water cooler breed innovation.
Airbnb is going all in on the “live anywhere, work anywhere” philosophy that much of the business world has been forced to adopt, committing to full-time remote work for most employees as well as a handful of perks, like 90 days of international work/travel. It’s a strong, simple policy that so few large companies have had the guts to match.
How we work has changed and the idea that a workplace must be contained in an office building has yielded to the notion that work is a mindset, not tied to any one location. The latest research tells us that people’s priorities for living and working are different, and flexible working is more important than being in a centralized location.
Research by the University of Hertfordshire, BritainThinks and the TUC has found that the number of people working in the ‘gig’ economy has nearly tripled over the last five years, reaching 4.4 million across England and Wales.
The unemployment rate dropped below 4 percent this spring, a rate not seen since the year 2000. That gives workers something they haven’t had in quite a while: options.
While the great recession of 2007–2010 tethered employees to specific jobs, industries, and employers, today’s expanding economy affords those employees the power to choose exactly where they want to live and work. The most innovative companies have discovered that location data can be a critical asset in attracting and retaining top talent.
From Parks and Recreation to Mad Men and of course, The Office, it’s no coincidence that some of the most iconic pieces of pop culture are presented in workplaces. Offices are central to not just our jobs but also to our relationships and aspirations. However, there’s no doubt the pandemic has transformed companies’ and their employees’ relationship to offices for the years and decades to come.