When you think of a business professional, you might imagine a well-dressed person working out of an office between the hours of 9 and 5. For decades, this has been the standard. In the last few years, however, this concept of a business professional has changed dramatically. These days, a business professional is as likely to be a well-dressed full-time employee of a large company as a freelancer dressed in their pajamas working from a home office.
A Changing Landscape
In 1995, 93% of the workforce was comprised of full and part-time employees managed by a human resources department, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When people think about business professionals, many still think of them as belonging to this model of the workforce. However, as the freelance economy started to emerge in the last few years, this model began to change. It is currently estimated that there are 53 million freelance workers, which makes up 33% of the U.S. workforce. That number is expected to rise to 50% by 2020. This change is already having a profound impact on the modern business professional.
The Modern Concept
In the last few years, as Millennials have been graduating from college, there has been much discussion about how their values will shape the future of the workforce. Millennials tend to be tech-friendly and socially engaged, elements which have certainly contributed to the changing landscape of the professional world. Millennials have expressed an aversion to rigid work schedules which has driven businesses to offer more flexibility. Now that millennials have become business professionals, the effect of their values on the professional landscape and on the very idea of what a business professional looks like have become apparent.
It is no longer always necessary for business professionals to spend time and money dressing professionally and commuting to an office located in an urban environment. In large parts due to improved technology and the changes that business are making to the structures of their workforces, many professionals can save time and money by working remotely. In fact, about 50% of the U.S. workforce has a job that is compatible with remote work. As a result of these perks, more and more businesses are seeing the value of adopting this model for at least some of their employees.
Many of these changes are beneficial for business professionals and the companies they work for. As previously mentioned, there is a reduced need for professionals to commute which saves them time, money, and is more environmentally friendly. In effect, the time and money saved from not commuting amounts to a higher disposable income for employees that work remotely. Additionally, businesses are finding that they do not require large, expensive centralized office spaces in urban environments the way they used to.
Businesses can save lots of money using virtual offices or coworking spaces, which modern business professionals have already been gravitating to because of their inherent compatibility with the habits of remote workers. For example, virtual offices offer many of the benefits of a centralized location by providing a professional address and phone number, dedicated assistant, and use of a meeting room. Similarly, when working in a coworking space, business professionals can come and go as they please. They can benefit from the coworking environment as needed, which allows for more freedom and productivity.
Changes in technology and the economy combined with the entrance of the first socially-engaged and thoroughly tech-savvy generation into the workforce have significantly redefined the modern concept of a business professional.