For the generation before us, a career was a roadmap of stable jobs on a payroll and in many cases, the fewer the better. Yet today, a growing number of us are acting as networked individuals controlling our own portfolio of jobs. It is an ongoing change that is being driven by technology and has unlocked a new age of entrepreneurship.
Just last week, data was released that shows that 35 per cent of today’s total workforce being comprised of non-employee workers including temps, freelancers and independent contractors. This is a growing market and the significance of our growing reliance on these individual workers and micro-businesses is yet to be seen.
It is a revolution that has given birth to new business models, like the sharing economy and organisations such as Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo which employ more freelancers than they do full-time staff. 2015 was the year we saw this evolution really begin to take shape but what does this mean for the future?
The new company model
As these changes take place, it is becoming increasingly obvious that both organisations and individuals are going to need to adapt to new ways of managing this new way of working.
Large organisations aren’t going anywhere, but the way they do business is changing entirely - from increased reliance on remote workers and independent contractors, to the use of online services like AppearHere, which offers event space for corporates at the click of a button, or apps like Breather which allows professionals to rent a meeting room whenever they want.
In particular, those companies trying to manage the growth in contractors and outside service providers will start to waste thousands of hours and lose huge amounts of information as it becomes clear that the current combination of tools available are not fit for purpose. What’s more, internal management structures will have to change. Instead of HR departments engaging the workforce, this will be done through everything from social media, bespoke professional networks for every company, and marketplaces.
This will see a move towards integrated tools that can meet these challenges. Tools such as Lystable, which offers businesses a way to manage their contingent-workforce, or Slack, the communication app, allow these organisations to streamline collaboration with people and services inside the business and out.
You, yourself as an individual brand
It has never been easier to start your business and operate as an independent agent, dipping in and out of project based work for a number of clients. This means, as Naval Ravikant and Tim Ferris said in a recent podcast, the future of the work "is headed towards individual brands, you yourself are an individual brand."
For every one of us, the fact that companies are increasingly relying on outsourced work means our personal brand has never been more important. I suspect that in 2016, we will reach a point at which CVs become increasingly irrelevant. Social networks, content-rich personal profiles and authenticated recommendations from previous employers will all be available online and the one page resume will start to become obsolete.
As more and more full time workers start to move to independent contractors, they too will look to a number of tools and platforms aimed at helping them find work and manage not only their professional identity online, but their business too.
Fluidity of the workplace
These trends towards fluid working are already in motion, but it is in the next 12 months that we will begin to put the structure in place that allows them to develop in way that will really change the way we work in the future. This will unlock more potential economically, for individuals and businesses, than ever before.
Whilst scaremongers are concerned about robots taking our jobs, the rest of us should be considering what these developments mean for us as individuals, and whether the steady jobs we have at the moment will still be relevant in 2017.