The corporate structure was something that I struggled with. Working at a company that claimed to be an industry disruptor through innovation and creativity there were certain caveman era tendencies that made the workplace feel archaic. For example, having to show face for 8 hours; Mon -Fri regardless of if I was inspired or even had work to do. Of course this behavior is the antithesis of productivity; workers keep a seat warm to fill an 8 hour quota without doing work AND get paid for it, I couldn’t help but wonder “Why? Why did the structure have to be modeled this way”? Because it’s always been done that way and I suppose old habits die hard, especially for large organizations.
I am now an independent worker and LOVE it; love the flexibility and the option to schedule my work around my life instead of the other way around. I am a twenty-six year old independent worker but wait, I know what you’re thinking and no independent work isn’t just a Millennial thing. In fact, Baby Boomers account for 36% of the independent workforce, Gen X 25% and Gen Y 21%, and individuals ages 67+ make up 8%. All ages, skill sets, industries, genders, and experts are flocking towards the independent workforce. There are varying factors that drive people to independent work, Emergent Research Founder, Steve King, surveyed the independent worker’s motivations, showing that 25% percent of independent workers have the ability to do what they love, 13% enjoy the flexibility, 12% love being their own boss, 11% love having control over their schedule, 8% were able to increase their income by heading out on their own, and 6% were unable to find jobs at traditional workplaces.
The traditional workforce has it perks actually, I should say HAD it’s perks. Research shows that benefits, job security, and health care has dropped significantly and that employee dissatisfaction is at a record high, meaning the very perks that attract employees to traditional work are on a steady decline. These faults are making independent work a more viable and desirable option. As traditional workers are showing record dissatisfaction, 86% of independent workers say they are satisfied and 63% say they will continue being an independent worker. Seventeen million of these happy people make up the independent workforce and this number is expected to reach 23 million by the year 2017. You may be thinking, “this information is bias, I want to know what traditional workers have to say”! Even traditional workers speak to the growing trend and when they (along with unemployed individuals) were asked if they expected to become independent workers in the next 2 – 3 years, about 27-29 million said “yes” of which 10%-12% of them will take significant steps to become independent. Independent workers have their own set of challenges, in fact out of 17 million independent workers, 25% of them were unhappy with non-traditional work. However, this unhappiness correlates with low income and a lack of network. Coworking spaces likes, Hera Hub answer this complex set of challenges through creation and fostering of a strong network/community. Hera Hub not only creates a workspace for independent workers to focus but also a community to provide support, resources, and development.
The speed of the world and our varying industries are changing the landscape of the workforce. The job market being extremely competitive with limited opportunities are forcing people into the independent workforce, and as research proves, that might not be a bad thing.
Guest blog written by the fabulous, Skyler McCurine.
Additional Reading: After 7 Years, Coworking Movement Still Growing Rapidly