The workplace as we know it has changed quite a lot over the past couple of decades with the introduction of new technologies and more flexible working.
I left my last employed role 6 years ago when my maternity leave came to an end, I took the leap and became a freelancer. Gone was my usual 9-5 job, I could could work whenever I wanted and was now able to chose my own hours. I have never looked back since
It made life a lot easier and I could work around my family needs, personal obligations and not have to worry so much about relying on childcare, it made it more manageable. I wouldn’t have dreamt about having that kind of flexibility when I started my very first job all those years ago. If I want to sleep in until 10am (not that that would ever happen with children!) then I can, If I want to take an impromptu day off to visit the zoo or just relax, I can do.
As a freelancer I can work my most productive hours, I don’t have to fall into those regular business hours and that suits me perfectly whilst working around my family. I have control over my working environment and can determine my own working schedule.
On the days that I work, I don’t have to worry about that afternoon lull and don’t burn myself out as I can take breaks when they are needed, not when they are scheduled.
One of the main advantages of the evolving flexible working environment is the freedom that you have. The freedom to work anywhere you please, you can choose to work from the comfort of your own home, from a coffee shop or even whilst you are on your holidays in the Mediterranean. If you require more structure and need a routine, you can rent a desk in a serviced office on month by month basis.
Freelancing isn’t for everyone though and it isn’t entirely suitable for all types of job roles. You would be responsible for sourcing all your own clients and projects to make an income but you would also not have anyone to answer to other than yourself and your clients. That can be stressful enough on it’s own but on the positive side, you get to choose with whom you work with, you can pass on the opportunities that don’t work for you.
I have found that it can often be hard to distinguish between work and home, sometimes you might find yourself working longer hours and then there are times when you spend more time procrastinating. That’s one of the reasons why many freelancers choose to rent desks in modern serviced offices. I’ve rented a desk in a serviced office before, it was great to be amongst other freelancers and gave me other like minded people to speak with during my work day (there was also the added benefit of snacks and refreshments being available in the communal kitchen). Everything was included in one bill, I didn’t have to worry about anything like internet and electricity.
Flexible working doesn’t just apply to freelancers and the self employed, it’s now a common practice for some employers to allow employees to work from home on occasion or a few days a week. There are even roles that are predominantly work from home. With the introduction of new technologies it’s become possible for employees to do the same job from home as they would from the office. I have worked with companies before that did not have a centralised office, all employees were home-based and it worked perfectly for them with the use of cloud and web-based technologies. Even utilising services like Skype or LifeSize video conferencing software for meetings and keeping in touch. Employers have seen the benefits of allowing more flexible working, they have seen reduced rates of tardiness and absenteeism, and employees have been more willing to work outside of the extended hours of operation. Let’s face it, I think moral would definitely improve if we didn’t have to deal with rush hours every day.
It’s hard to imagine that 12 year ago, in my very first office based job that it would now be possible to do the exact same job from the comfort of my own home in my slippers. The workplace really has changed in such a short period of time, who knows what the workplace will be like in the next 10 years?