1. Hey Jon,
    I think that 4 out of 5 of the “best” talent may be working flexibly in the next 5 years, but I am very skeptical that it would be 4 out of 5 employees in general. There are several reasons: 1. Lack of trust by management/owners – even at the office many owners don’t trust that their employees are working, or at least working to potential. 2. Many employees don’t work to potential and are not trustworthy to be in an unstructured environment. Turnover would skyrocket when they didn’t meet objectives. 3. Change takes longer than 5 years on such a grand scale.

    Small business owners still make up a large part of the workforce, and may have not even moved toward using the technology that make this type of work possible. (again I didn’t see a qualifier of business types in the article) As much as I agree with the concept, and have this type of work personally, I see it taking more that 5 years. Don’t you?

    We can dream though!

    • Sue,
      Good points! Maybe the participants in the study have more faith in the speed at which technology will evolve that can replace the structure and accountability of a physical office with a manager who is physically present.

      Are you familiar with this new buzz-worthy concept of the “game layer?” Take a look at this TED presentation: The idea is that we are all connected enough now and the technology is in place that we can begin to influence behavior through the ‘social layer.’ For example, Foursquare gives me badges and points based on the local businesses I visit and the reviews I post about them and tweet them to my friends. Imagine if a company could present workers with ‘challenges’ to complete to unlock new rewards, track their physical location via GPS – basically replace the structure and accountability of a physical office with virtual technology.

      Your familiar with Farmville on Facebook? If 70 million people (yep, more people play this game *daily* than use Twitter) – if they all stop what they are doing to go water make believe crops just to earn points, progress to new levels, and open new status rewards, imagine how much influence an employer could exert if you had to click certain buttons, or complete certain kinds of tasks in order to unlock pay bonuses, earn coffee breaks, or win other perks based on gaining a higher status?

      Who knows what 5 years will really bring, but I sure have fun thinking about the possibilities!

  2. I am doing it right now! I have been working from home, either on contract or for myself, for 10 years. In 2016, I hope to be doing it more lucratively.

    A good friend also now has the most flexible job he’s ever had. He’s a contractor right now, but they’re going to hire him. He can set his own hours as long as the work gets done, and in some cases he can and has worked from home. Because his entire family is at home, though, he prefers going to the office. It’s perfect for him, because he can work according to his circadian rhythms, working when he’s at his best, instead of when he’s on the downswing. His normal sleep schedule his entire life has been 2 a.m. to 9 a.m., which means that if he has to be at work at 8 a.m., even if he has gotten enough sleep, he’s really in the middle of his sleep cycle at the start of the normal workday. At his current job, he normally goes in at either 10 or 11 a.m., meaning that he’s much better rested and alert, and can be more creative and productive. He leaves at 7 or 8 p.m. He’s lucky that he only answers to the top people, who really don’t care about the time clock as long as his stuff is done and done well. If most bosses were focused on this, people would be a lot more productive.

    • Tracy,
      Thanks for the comment!

      Wouldn’t it be great if more people could honor whatever schedule allows them to be at their best when it matters most! (Well Starbucks might not like it so much!) I wonder if it would improve my customer service experience when I go to the DMV or try to call the IRS if they were all choosing their own schedules?

  3. Good post, reminded me of an article (and cool infographic) I stumbled on about the mobile future of work. Yes, our wireless tools will enable more flexible working, but there’s a huge downside, as well.

    It’s here:

    The way I see it (now that I’m approaching the other side of “retirement”), if I’m going to be using mobile phones to check email on vacations and holidays, it better be my own business!

    • Mark,
      Thanks, I love infographics! Usually they are created by someone with an agenda, but they are still interesting starting points for research and conversation. Here is another one related to our topic: I found this through the #workshifting hashtag in twitter. It is probably a bit of an oversimplification of the topic. [workshifting = happy!] But, there are some good leads to interesting studies and some provocative stats. Overall, it makes a good point: the best workers are much more likely to want the flexibility. And because other talented people like you might start to think you have the right idea – and figure that they should just work for themselves!

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