There’s been a 115% increase in telecommuting over the last 10 years, and 43% of the U.S. workforce currently performs remote work to some degree.
So what’s the forecast for 2018? What does it all mean for current and aspiring freelancers and flex workers?
We turned to FlexJobs‘s Senior Career Specialist Brie Reynolds for insights on the year ahead.
Expect More Remote Work Opportunities
On the jobs front, Reynolds foresees more opportunities for remote work, as companies continue to reap the benefits of WFH staffers. “Remote work is quickly turning from a perk to a business strategy. More people are working remotely than ever before,” she tells Levo. Offering remote work options is an essential retention tool, especially for millennial employees. A recent FlexJobs survey found that companies with more flexible work environments had significantly higher retention rates, particularly among millennials.
“When people are given more control over their lives — over when, where, and how they work — they’re much more likely to be satisfied and happy at their current workplace,” Reynolds explains.
Redefining Remote Workers
With seniors working at higher numbers than we’ve seen in the last 55 years, Reynolds predicts this group will continue to grow in the remote sector throughout 2018, as older generations are more likely to fend off retirement if they can find jobs that are flexible or remote.
Medical and Computer-Related Jobs FTW
Reynolds also expects that medical and computer-related industries will see a good number of remote and flexible job postings. This mirrors the overall job market.
The Side Hustle Will Take Center Stage
Reynolds says we will see major growth in the combination of remote jobs and the gig economy. “We’ve seen a big interest from professionals interested in finding jobs they can do on the side, from home. Whether they’re already working a more traditional part-time or full-time job, people are very interested in finding a professional-level side job they can do remotely. More people than ever before are taking on freelance work, either part-time in addition to their regular jobs, or full-time as their sole source of income.”
Technology has, of course, contributed to the uprising of independent consultants and freelancers as well as the disappearance of job security. “Professionals today feel that they need to take more control over their careers and have not only a regular job, but potentially two, three, or more side gigs to form their own job security.”
Communicators, Time Management Experts, and Techies
Despite the expected growth in remote work overall, some professions will be more fertile this coming year than others.
Reynolds breaks out the most coveted skills that lend themselves to profitable remote work or launching successful side hustles.
- Digital Communication skills: verbal and written
- Time-management, task management, focus
- Proactive questions, not afraid to speak up
- Comfort with technology, troubleshooting
- Growth mindset (embracing change and learning)
- Familiarity with remote communication tools like video conferencing, file sharing, and virtual office environments
We’re not done with our 2018 forecast. Check out this year’s trends for office workers here.
For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.