Not your grandpa’s office: Americans are telecommuting and using their smartphones more in their jobs

evolution american workplace workforce screen shot 2015 06 20 at 3 49 48 pm
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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 3.49.48 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 3.49.57 PM

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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Longing for an old-school phone? You'll flip out for the best flip phones

Welcome back to the 1990s and early 2000s. There seems to be a mini flip phone craze going on. Smartphones are great, but who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned, pocket-size flip phone? Here are the five of the best you can buy today.
Mobile

The OnePlus 7 Pro Almond is so good-looking, you'll want to snack on it

The OnePlus 7 Pro is here, and it's a monster of a phone with a stunning redesign, a pop-up selfie camera, powerful flagship specs, and a price that's hundreds of dollars less than the competition.
Movies & TV

Prime-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite TV series currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Cars

Honda extends the warranty of select CR-Vs, Civics after finding problem

Consumer Reports said some Honda CR-Vs and Civics sold in the U.S. have an engine problem which lets gasoline seep into the oil system. Honda extended the powertrain warranty of over a million cars to reassure owners.
Mobile

New Yorkers can soon pay for Subway tickets with phones, Fitbits, and more

In New York City? The MTA is finally bringing tap and pay systems to public transit, so you'll be able to use contactless payment options. The new system is called OMNY, and it will eventually replace the MetroCard.
Cars

VW may shift $56 billon in battery spending from Samsung over concerns

Volkswagen may shift some of its electric-car battery business away from Samsung over concerns that a deal with the Korean firm will unravel. Volkswagen plans to spend $56 billion on batteries to power a growing lineup of electric cars.
Small Business

Apple’s new website defends App Store from charge of monopolistic practices

Apple has published a new website about the App Store and App Store practices, in an attempt to demonstrate that the App Store does not operate as a monopoly. The website highlights that Apple allows apps from competitors, like Google.
Mobile

Sprint's 5G network goes live in Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, and Atlanta

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a rollout this year, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

These business machines can rival any consumer laptop in style and function

These laptops have the reliability, performance, and battery life you need whether you're at your desk or flying across the country for a meeting, letting you to revel in a function-first approach.
Mobile

Sorry fans, Blackberry Messenger for Android and iOS died May 31

The BlackBerry Messenger app, better known as BBM, for Android and iOS is shutting down, nearly six years after it launched. The consumer version of the messaging service will stop operating on May 31
Mobile

Mastercard’s Digital Wellness program uses A.I. to make online paying safer

MasterCard announced its Digital Wellness program with the goal of using artificial intelligence to make paying for things online a little easier. The new system makes use of "billions" of data points to authenticate users.
Mobile

Facebook bans its bloatware from any future Huawei phones

The U.S. Commerce Department has added Huawei to its "Entity List." Google, Intel, and ARM are all confirmed or rumored to be ceasing business with the company, which may have disastrous effects on Huawei.
Features

From GoPro to Lenovo, Trump tariffs would have raised prices on tech from Mexico

While the Trump Administration's efforts to place tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. have obvious consequences for American businesses and consumers, Trump's Mexico tariffs might have a much more immediate and significant effect.