Not so long ago, staying at home meant taking a day off from work, relaxing, and, quite literally, disconnecting from the trials and tribulations of the office. But in our increasingly digitized day and age, work-life balance is becoming harder and harder to maintain as the line between the home and the home office is blurred. According to a new set of findings released by Workspot exclusively to Digital Trends, the evolution of the American workplace and workforce shows a growing number of U.S. workers working remotely and using their smartphones or other wireless devices to remain connected to their jobs at all times.
First, there’s the movement away from going to the office to do work. According to Workspot’s sources, 84 percent of Americans telecommute more than once a month, and nearly one in four do so on a weekly basis. In fact, so prevalent is this trend that over 40 percent of companies have adopted telecommuting policies to better accommodate employees who prefer to complete their tasks from the comfort of their own home. And while sitting in bed while sending work emails may seem like a great idea every once in awhile, some companies may inadvertently weaken their collaborative culture when no one ever sees his or her colleagues.
Still, freelancers, most of whom are telecommuters, are a huge part of the American workforce, contributing more than $715 billion to the American economy. And given that some 53 million Americans consider themselves freelancers, this means that about a third of the workforce is working on their own schedule.
There’s also been a distinct shift in the working population, with around 10,000 baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) retiring every single day. And while millenials (those born in the last 20 years of the 20th century) comprise 32 percent of the workforce today, by 2030, it is estimated that three out of every four American workers will have been born between 1980 and 2000. And with this generation being one that grew up practically attached to technology, the implications for how this will affect the workplace are potentially huge.
Finally, there’s the increased reliance on mobile technology — namely cellphones — in the workplace, with 90 percent of Americans using their personal smartphones for work. It seems difficult to imagine a business that could complete day-to-day operations sans Internet, and according to Workspot, 45 percent of businesses say that wireless is “essential” to their everyday functions. Moreover, 64 percent of companies say that “providing more mobility support for employees” is a huge priority, which sounds a lot like ensuring that their employees are reachable 24/7. And given that about a third of millenials say they use at least three devices at work (a tablet, a computer, and a smartphone), it seems that this mobility is already built into many a company’s DNA.
This isn’t your grandmother’s workplace, kids. And in another few decades, it may not be ours either.