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The Future of Work Looks Bright: 4 Trends to Cheer About [Infographic]

By Ken Chen

future-of-work-headerBy now, you’ve probably heard this term before — the Future of Work. Depending on your current job situation, it might sound ominous and threatening… or exciting and liberating. But what is the Future of Work, exactly? Here are four simple ways to look at it.

It’s More Flexible.

future of work-flexible

One measure of flexibility is working remotely. An American Community Survey estimates telecommuting has risen 79% between 2005 to 2012 and accounts for 3.2 million workers.

And, after nearly three decades of decline for Stay-at-Home Moms, there was a rise from 23% to 29% from 1992 to 2012, much of this fueled by working from home. Companies are also becoming less rigid with flexible vacation days, and there are more alternative healthcare options.

It’s More Freelance.

future of work-freelanceWe know that one third of the work force is already freelance. According to Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research, a firm that studies the independent workforce, we are experiencing the perfect storm: the rise of mobile communications technology, a rise in freelancer marketplaces like Elance, a shift in corporations moving to contingent workforces that are more agile and can ramp up and down more efficiently, and retired Baby Boomers looking for careers after retirement. They estimate that the freelance workforce will increase by 6% annually for the next five years!

It’s More Collaborative.

future of work-collaborativeWe know anecdotally that the workplace is becoming more collaborative. In Silicon Valley, the era of the brilliant individual developers is shifting to pair programming. And, I’ve never in my life heard the word “transparent” used so much. It’s become a core value for most progressive companies.

Just look at how offices are being physically constructed to have fewer offices and cubicles. You can see the trend shifting away from siloed, hierarchical work models to more collaborative ones. A Workplace Trends study done by Herman Miller, the famous chair manufacturer, found that facility managers estimate that in an eight year period, the ratio of individual spaces to group spaces has shifted from 60/40 to 44/56.

It’s Run by More Women.

future of work-womenThis is a slower growth curve, and we are still a long way away from gender equality in the work place. A study conducted by WDR based on International Labor Organization in 2010, showed that since 1980, the female participation rate at each level of income has increased sharply over time. And, more women are engaged in economic activity outside the home more than ever.

Although the majority of leaders are still men, in an overall leadership effectiveness study by leadership consultancy Zenger Folkman, women are rated higher in 12 of the 16 competencies that go into outstanding leadership.

The Future Is Bright.

We love seeing these four trends taking shape. As the freelance market grows, so do our opportunities (check). Most of us entered the world of freelance work to get more work flexibility and better collaboration (check and check). And, it just so happens that over 80% of our consultants are women (check). We must say… these Future of Work attributes sure do look a lot like what EM Marketing is today.

Do you like how the Future of Work looks? Please share the full infographic below!


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About Ken Chen

Ken Chen is San Francisco-based online marketing consultant and owner of EM Marketing. EM Marketing specializes in marketing strategy, product launches, customer acquisition, and mobile & social marketing.

4 thoughts on “The Future of Work Looks Bright: 4 Trends to Cheer About [Infographic]”

  1. Excellent article and awesome infographic! I work with people from dozens of different countries, and collaboration is one of the most essential skills for getting results in the global business world.

  2. Fantastic article Ken! Really enjoyed reading it! The infographics are AMAZING. Will definitely be sharing this with my clients!

  3. Looks like women are more effective than men by the stats (not surprising!), but are there actually more women? I feel like I read lots of articles that still suggest not near enough women vs. men. And my experience suggests there are not as many as expected, especially in the startup world, nor finance, and probably other areas. Has the # or % at least risen lately? Wonder if the effectiveness stats changed over time for males and/or females?

    Good related article yesterday in TechCrunch by friend who has a company in the talent space (he was part of our team who launched, too) –

    Good to keep these things and diversity in mind, so thanks for sharing!

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