We live in an exciting time, to say the least. With self-driving cars beginning to rove the streets of American cities, supercomputers outperforming top contestants on Jeopardy and drones delivering goods right to our doorstep, it’s become crystal clear technology is moving faster than ever before and re-sculpting the world around us — and the way we work is no exception.

How we work, where we work, and even why we work is changing by the day, and it’s up to us to adapt or risk falling behind. The gig economy is in full swing. Freelance work is projected to make up 43% of the US workforce by 2020. According to CareerBuilder, from 2016 to 2017 alone, the US saw a 47% increase in the number of entrepreneurs who claimed they would be hiring freelancers during the calendar year.

Remote work is also becoming more common than ever. Employers are becoming open to the idea of remote work, with 43% of American workers doing at least some of their work remotely in 2016, according to a Gallup poll.

Undoubtedly, a lot is changing in terms of the idea of work, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

The Future of Work

So what exactly will the future of work entail? Well, to start, the future of work will include a lot more coworking spaces, home offices, and work-from-home days. The future of work will welcome and encourage more programs like Remote Year, where patrons travel the world as a collective while working from cafes and hotel rooms. The future of work will see a rise in the number of digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.

Most importantly though, the future of work will be driven by what makes us, as workers, the happiest. Maybe it’s working from home in your Ninja Turtles pajama pants. Perhaps it’s being surrounded by other like-minded entrepreneurs in a coworking space, or maybe even being your own boss as a self-employed graphic designer.

No matter who you are, as long as you’re open to adapting and are able to embrace change, the future of work is for you.

What’s Causing This?

A number of factors are helping to shift the way we work. Here are a few of them:

The Rise of the Freelance Economy

As mentioned, the freelance economy is growing. There are many reasons for this. One is companies have been forced to become more agile and lean within the ever-changing marketplace we live in, making it less than optimal to hire full-time employees. Another reason is the rise of startups and entrepreneurship at large. With more companies being launched than in previous decades, work needs to get done fast and oftentimes on a budget.

As a result of increased demand for freelance work, there are also platforms like Upwork and Fiverr which have taken off and enabled many to make a full-time income with their skills as well as streamlined the entire process of finding, hiring and paying freelancers, making it easier than ever before to make money as a freelance worker.

A Remote-Friendly World

In 2016, 43% of American workers did at least some of their work remotely, up from 39% in 2012. During the same time frame, the number of full-time remote workers also rose from 15% to 20%.

It’s evident that companies are becoming more receptive to remote work. One reason is the advent of technology to facilitate working from home. Today, it’s often quicker to send a Slack message than it is to get up from your desk and walk across the office, so remote work is beginning to make more sense than ever. Research is also showing that remote work is making employees feel happier, more appreciated, and productive.

The Proliferation of Coworking Spaces

Whether you’re a remote worker or a solopreneur, working from home definitely isn’t for everyone, especially if you have kids or pets to worry about. Coffee shops aren’t always ideal either, as anyone who’s ever had to fight for an electrical outlet can agree on.

Because of this and all the factors listed in this article, it’s no wonder why coworking spaces are seeing an average annual growth rate of 23%, with projections expected to rise to 3.8 million coworkers and 26,000 spaces by 2020. 

Benefits of Coworking Spaces

Considering signing up for a membership at a coworking space? There are a lot of benefits to becoming a member at one. Here are just a few of those benefits:

Collaborating and networking with other entrepreneurs.

One of the biggest perks of joining a coworking space is the proximity to countless movers and shakers across various industries. This can make coworking spaces a “referral heaven” for your business if you take the time to build relationships with the people around you. Additionally, productivity is contagious, and being surrounded by so many other ambitious individuals is like having a gym partner to keep you accountable.

Being smart about your budget.

Whether you’re a startup founder with investors watching your burn rate like its Game 7 of the World Series or a solopreneur squeezing the value out of every penny, being smart about where you spend your money as a business is crucial to success. For many, it just doesn’t make much sense to blow $4,000 per month on a rundown office space. A coworking space provides members with an affordable, always-on option to come and go on their own schedule.

A physical space just works.

There are many upsides to having a physical office space versus a home office or virtual office. One is it provides you with a professional environment to bring clients in for meetings, brainstorming sessions and more. Another is a lesser known fact: many universities won’t accept internships from companies with home offices or virtual offices. Thus, if you have a home office but are in need of additional help from quality interns, you may not be eligible to get that top talent.

Working on your own schedule.

Most coworking spaces are open 24/7. Whether you’re a weekend warrior startup founder still working a 9–5 job to pay the bills, a freelancer who works evenings, or just someone who enjoys sleeping in, a coworking space will be able to accommodate your schedule.

The future of work is one that’s both exciting and a little scary. Nonetheless, by becoming aware of the changes happening right now and the changes coming in the future, you’ll be better equipped to effectively navigate the landscape like a pro.

About Toolbox LA

We’re developing a rich community of startup founders, freelancers, and entrepreneurs within the largest innovation hub in southern California. By connecting our members with all the resources they need, from mentorship to 3D printers to cold brew coffee, we bring the best amenities to some of the best and brightest founders LA has to offer. Book a tour to learn more today.


Also published on Medium.