By late February 2020, as the implications of Covid-19 were becoming clear, Hiroki Hiramatsu, the head of global HR at Fujitsu, realized that the company was in for a shock.
For years, flexible work arrangements had been on the agenda at Fujitsu, but little had actually changed. Most managers in the Japan offices still prized face-to-face interaction and long office hours—and according to an internal survey conducted not long before, more than 74% of all employees considered the office to be the best place to work. But the pandemic, Hiramatsu foresaw, was about to turn everything upside down.
By the middle of March, the majority of Fujitsu’s Japan-based employees—some 80,000—were working from home. And it didn’t take long for them to appreciate the advantages of their new flexibility. By May, according to a follow-up survey, only 15% of Fujitsu employees considered the office to be the best place to work. Some 30% said the best place was their homes, and the remaining 55% favored a mix of home and office—a hybrid model.
As employees settled into their new routines, Hiramatsu recognized that something profound was happening. “We are not going back,” he told me this past September. “The two hours many people spend commuting is wasted—we can use that time for education, training, time with our family. We need many ideas about how to make remote work effective. We are embarking on a work-life shift.”
For 10 years, I’ve led the Future of Work Consortium, which has brought together more than 100 companies from across the world to research future trends, identify current good practice, and learn from emerging experiments. Since the pandemic I’ve focused our research on the extraordinary impact that Covid-19 is having on working arrangements. As part of that effort, I’ve talked extensively to executives, many of whom, like Hiramatsu, report that they’ve detected a silver lining in our collective struggle to adapt to the pandemic. These executives told me that given the astonishing speed with which companies have adopted the technology of virtual work, and the extent to which most employees don’t want to revert to past ways of working, they’re seeing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset work using a hybrid model—one that, if we can get it right, will allow us to make our work lives more purposeful, productive, agile, and flexible.
If leaders and managers want to make this transition successfully, however, they’ll need to do something they’re not accustomed to doing: design hybrid work arrangements with individual human concerns in mind, not just institutional ones.
Figuring out how to do this is far from straightforward. That’s because to design hybrid work properly, you have to think about it along two axes: place and time.
Place is the axis that’s getting the most attention at the moment. Like Fujitsu’s employees, millions of workers around the world this year have made a sudden shift from being place-constrained (working in the office) to being place-unconstrained (working anywhere). Perhaps less noticed is the shift many have also made along the time axis, from being time-constrained (working synchronously with others) to being time-unconstrained (working asynchronously whenever they choose).
To help managers conceptualize the two-dimensional nature of this problem, I’ve long used a simple 2×2 matrix that’s organized along those axes. Before Covid-19, most companies offered minimal flexibility along both dimensions. This put them in the lower-left quadrant, with employees working in the office during prescribed hours. Some firms had begun to venture into the lower-right quadrant, by allowing more-flexible hours; others were experimenting in the upper-left quadrant, by offering employees more flexibility in where they work, most often from home. Very few firms, however, were moving directly into the upper-right quadrant, which represents an anywhere, anytime model of working—the hybrid model.
But that’s changing. As we emerge from the pandemic, many companies have firmly set their sights on flexible working arrangements that can significantly boost productivity and employee satisfaction. Making that happen, I’ve learned in my research, will require that managers consider the challenge from four distinct perspectives: (1) jobs and tasks, (2) employee preferences, (3) projects and workflows, and (4) inclusion and fairness. Let’s look at each in turn.
When thinking about jobs and tasks, start by understanding the critical drivers of productivity—energy, focus, coordination, and cooperation—for each. Next, consider how those drivers will be affected by changes in working arrangements along the axes of time and place.
To illustrate, let’s consider a few kinds of jobs and tasks, their key drivers, and the time and place needs that each involves:
Strategic planner. A critical driver of productivity for this role is focus. Planners often need to work undisturbed for stretches of at least three hours in order to, for example, gather market information and develop business plans. The axis that best enables focus is time—specifically, asynchronous time. If planners are freed from the scheduled demands of others, place becomes less critical: They can perform their work either at home or in the office.Team manager. Here the critical driver of productivity is coordination. Managers need to regularly communicate in-the-moment feedback with team members. They need to engage in conversation and debate, share best practices, and mentor and coach those on their team. The axis most likely to encourage this aspect of productivity is once again time—but in this case, the time needs to be synchronous. If that can be arranged, then place again becomes less critical: Managers and employees can do their coordination tasks together in the office or from home, on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.Product innovator. For this role, the critical driver is cooperation. But now the important axis is place. Innovation is stimulated by face-to-face contact with colleagues, associates, and clients, who generate ideas in all sorts of ways: by brainstorming in small groups, bumping into one another in the hallways, striking up conversations between meetings, attending group sessions. This kind of cooperation is fostered most effectively in a shared location—an office or a creative hub where employees have the chance to get to know one another and socialize. To that end, cooperative tasks must be synchronous and conducted in a shared space. Looking to the future, we can expect that the development of more-sophisticated cooperative technologies will render shared physical space less of an issue.Marketing manager. Productivity in this role—indeed, in most roles—requires sustained energy. Both time and place can play a role here. As we’ve learned during the pandemic, many people find being at home energizing, because they are freed from the burden of long commutes, they can take time out during the day to exercise and walk, they can eat more healthily, and they can spend more time with their families.The challenge in designing hybrid work arrangements is not simply to optimize the benefits but also to minimize the downsides and understand the trade-offs. Working from home can boost energy, but it can also be isolating, in a way that hinders cooperation. Working on a synchronous schedule can improve coordination, but it can also introduce constant communications and interruptions that disrupt focus.
To combat these potential downsides, Hiramatsu and his team at Fujitsu have committed to creating an ecosystem of spaces that together make up what they call the borderless office. Depending on employees’ or teams’ specific drivers of productivity, these spaces can take several forms: hubs, which maximize cooperation; satellites, which facilitate coordination; and shared offices, which enable focus.
In his project Archisolation, artist, architect, and graphic designer Federico Babina explores the experience of quarantine and isolation and examines our relationship with technology, imagination, and play. Federico Babina
Fujitsu’s hubs are designed with cross-functional cooperation and serendipitous encounters in mind. Located in the major cities, they are comfortable and welcoming open-plan spaces, equipped with the advanced technologies necessary for brainstorming, team building, and the cocreation of new products. When Fujitsu employees want to work creatively with customers or partners, they invite them to a hub.
The company’s satellites are spaces designed to facilitate coordination within and between teams that are working on shared projects. They contain meeting spaces where teams can come together, both in person and virtually, supported by secure networks and advanced videoconferencing facilities. These opportunities for coordination, especially face-to-face, address some of the isolation and loneliness that employees may suffer when working from home. Shared offices, which make up most of Fujitsu’s ecosystem of spaces, are located all over Japan, often near or in urban or suburban train stations. They can be used as short stopovers when people are traveling to visit customers, or as alternatives to working at home. They are designed to function as quiet spaces that employees can easily get to, thus minimizing commuting time. The productivity aim here is focus. The shared offices are equipped with desks and internet connections, allowing employees to work independently and undisturbed or to attend online meetings or engage in online learning.
Our capacity to operate at peak productivity and performance varies dramatically according to our personal preferences. So in designing hybrid work, consider the preferences of your employees—and enable others to understand and accommodate those preferences.
Imagine, for example, two strategic planners who hold the same job at the same company, with focus as a critical driver of performance. One of them, Jorge, is 40. He and his family live some distance from his office, requiring him to commute an hour each day to and from work. He has a well-equipped home office, and his children are at school during the day—so, not surprisingly, Jorge feels he is most productive and focused when he can skip the commute and stay home alone to work. He prefers to go into the office only once or twice a week, to meet with his team.
Lillian’s situation is very different. She’s 28. She lives in the center of town and shares a small apartment with three other people. Because of her living situation, she can’t work for long stretches of time at home without being disturbed. To focus, she prefers to be in the office, which is not far from where she lives.
Jorge and Lillian differ in another way: tenure with the company. This, too, affects their preferences. Jorge has been with the firm for eight years and has established a strong network, so time in the office is less crucial for his learning or development. Lillian, on the other hand, is new to her role and is keen to be mentored and coached, activities that demand time with others in the office.
Companies on the hybrid journey are finding ways to take their employees’ perspective. Many, like one of the technology companies in the Future of Work Consortium, are providing managers with simple diagnostic survey tools to better understand their teams’ personal preferences, work contexts, and key tasks—tools that allow them to learn, for example, where their team members feel most energized, whether they have a well-functioning home office, and what their needs are for cooperation, coordination, and focus.
Equinor, a Norwegian energy company, has recently taken an ingenious approach to understanding its employees: It surveyed them about their preferences and developed nine composite “personas,” with guidelines for hybrid work arrangements tailored to each one. One of the personas is described like this: “Anna” is a sector manager in Oslo who has been with the company for 20 years. She has three teenagers at home and a 40-minute bicycle commute into the office. Before Covid-19, she worked every other week from home, primarily to focus. But with her teenagers now doing remote schooling in the house, she is often distracted when working from home. When the pandemic is at last behind us, and her kids are back at school, she hopes to spend two days a week at home, doing focused work, and three days in the office, collaborating with her team.
As managers seek to identify the hybrid arrangements that are best for their teams, they consider, for example, how they would respond to an “Anna”: How would her circumstances and preferences affect her capacity to collaborate with others? More broadly, managers consider the implications of coordinating a variety of personas across virtual teams. What are the risks to the safety, security, and effectiveness of operations? How will changes affect collaboration, leadership, and culture? What might the overall effects be when it comes to taxes, compliance, and external reputation?
To make hybrid a success, you have to consider how work gets done. An executive who manages Jorge and Lillian, the hypothetical strategic planners mentioned above, must not only consider their needs and preferences but also coordinate the work they do with that of the others on their team—and with other functions and consumers of their work. That kind of coordination was relatively straightforward when team members all worked in the same place at the same time. But in the era of hybrid work it has grown significantly more complex. I’ve observed executives tackling this in two ways.
One is to significantly boost the use of technology to coordinate activities as employees move to more-flexible work arrangements. Consider the case of Jonas, an Equinor employee. Jonas works as an inspection engineer in the Kollsnes plant, which processes gas from fields in the North Sea. After the pandemic hit, the plant’s managers made it possible for Jonas and his team to carry out some inspection tasks from home, by supplying them with state-of-the-art video and digital tools. These include, for example, robotic devices that move around the plant recording detailed in-the-moment visual data, which is then streamed back to all the team members for analysis. As a result of these changes, Jonas and his colleagues can now conduct very effective remote field-safety inspections.
Managers at Fujitsu, for their part, use a range of digital tools to categorize and visualize the types of work their teams are performing as they experiment with new arrangements on the axes of time and place. That, in turn, has enabled them to better assess individual and team workloads, analyze remote working conditions, and confirm work projections. Team leaders are also able to understand employee working patterns by studying detailed movement data and examining space utilization and floor density data. This allows Fujitsu managers to design the right arrangements for their workflows and projects.
When thinking about jobs and tasks, consider how key productivity drivers—energy, focus, coordination, and cooperation—will be affected by changes in working arrangements.
Other companies are using this moment as an opportunity to reimagine workflows. New hybrid arrangements should never replicate existing bad practices—as was the case when companies began automating work processes, decades ago. Instead of redesigning their workflows to take advantage of what the new technologies made possible, many companies simply layered them onto existing processes, inadvertently replicating their flaws, idiosyncrasies, and workarounds. It often was only years later, after many painful rounds of reengineering, that companies really began making the most of those new technologies.
Companies designing hybrid arrangements need to work hard to get workflows right the first time. Leaders at one of the retail banks in our Future of Work Consortium analyzed and reimagined workflows by asking three crucial questions:
Are any team tasks redundant? When executives at the bank asked themselves that question, they realized that in their new hybrid model they had retained too many traditional meetings. By eliminating some and making others (such as status updates) asynchronous, they boosted productivity.
Can any tasks be automated or reassigned to people outside the team? In many new hybrid arrangements, the bank executives realized, the simple answer was yes. Take the process for opening an account with a new high-net-worth customer. Before Covid-19, everybody assumed that this required face-to-face meetings and client signatures. But now, thanks to the redesigned process introduced during the pandemic, bank managers and customers alike recognize the ease and value of remote sign-up.
Can we reimagine a new purpose for our place of work? Here, too, the answer turned out to be yes. To make their hybrid model work successfully, the bank executives decided to reconfigure their existing office space in ways that would encourage cooperation and creativity, and they invested more in tools to enable people to work effectively and collaboratively at home.
As you develop new hybrid practices and processes, pay particular attention to questions of inclusion and fairness. This is vitally important. Research tells us that feelings of unfairness in the workplace can hurt productivity, increase burnout, reduce collaboration, and decrease retention.
In the past, when companies began experimenting with flexible approaches to work, they typically allowed individual managers to drive the process on an ad hoc basis. As a result, different departments and teams were afforded varying degrees of flexibility and freedom, which inevitably gave rise to accusations of unfairness. And many employees, of course, had time- and place-dependent jobs that made hybrid arrangements either impossible or far from optimal. They often felt treated unfairly.
Brit Insurance has done admirable work on inclusion and fairness. As the company’s CEO, Matthew Wilson, and its chief engagement officer, Lorraine Denny, began the design and implementation of new ways of working, early in 2020, they made a bold choice. Rather than involving “the usual suspects” in the design process, they randomly chose employees from offices in the United States, Bermuda, and London—amounting to 10% of the workforce, from receptionists to senior underwriters—to participate.
During the following six months, teams of six employees—each drawn from multiple divisions, levels, and generational cohorts—worked together virtually across Brit Insurance. They began with diagnostic tools that helped them profile and share their own working capabilities and preferences. Then they embarked on a series of learning modules designed to create deeper insights into how they could work together to better serve one another’s needs and those of the company as a whole. Finally, they engaged in a half-day virtual “hackathon,” during which they came up with ideas and pitched them to the CEO. The result was what they called the Brit Playbook, which described some of the new ways they would now all work together.
Selina Millstam, the vice president and head of talent management at Ericsson, a Swedish multinational, recently conducted a similarly inclusive effort. Every new work arrangement, she and the executive team decided, would have to be rooted in the company culture, important aspects of which were “a speak-up environment,” “empathy,” and “cooperation and collaboration.”
Hybrid arrangements should never replicate existing bad practices—as when firms began automating work processes, decades ago.
To ensure that this would be the case, Millstam and her team last year engaged employees in “jams” that were conducted virtually during a 72-hour period and supported by a team of facilitators, who subsequently analyzed the conversational threads. One of these jams, launched in late April 2020, played a crucial role in giving Ericsson employees a platform to talk about how hybrid ways of working during the pandemic might affect the company culture. More than 17,000 people from 132 countries participated in this virtual conversation. Participants made some 28,000 comments, addressing how working during the pandemic had created both challenges (such as lack of social contact) and benefits (such as increased productivity through reduced distraction).
This jam and others like it helped Ericsson’s senior leaders develop a more nuanced understanding of the issues and priorities they need to take into account as they design hybrid work arrangements. Change, they realized, is bound to create feelings of unfairness and inequity, and the best way to address that problem is to ensure that as many employees as possible are involved in the design process. They need to have their voices heard, to hear from others, and to know that the changes being made are not just the result of individual managers’ whims and sensibilities.
So how can you propel your firm toward an anywhere, anytime model? Start by identifying key jobs and tasks, determine what the drivers of productivity and performance are for each, and think about the arrangements that would serve them best. Engage employees in the process, using a combination of surveys, personas, and interviews to understand what they really want and need. This will differ significantly from company to company, so don’t take shortcuts. Think expansively and creatively, with an eye toward eliminating duplication and unproductive elements in your current work arrangements. Communicate broadly so that at every stage of your journey everybody understands how hybrid arrangements will enhance rather than deplete their productivity. Train leaders in the management of hybrid teams, and invest in the tools of coordination that will help your teams align their schedules.
Finally, ask yourself whether your new hybrid arrangements, whatever they are, accentuate your company’s values and support its culture. Carefully and thoughtfully take stock: In the changes you’ve made, have you created a foundation for the future that everybody in the company will find engaging, fair, inspiring, and meaningful?
Written by Lynda Gratton | Harvard Business Review
From journalism to IT to design, pretty much every industry requires work experience. But what's the secret to learning the trade and getting paid? Freelancing. Here's how to get started!
All too often, it takes tough, unpaid internships to get a foot in the door of your chosen industry.
But, thankfully, there's a better alternative. With a bit of determination, you can become a paid freelancer, providing articles, animations, apps, admin support or anything else to the world.
The benefits are aplenty. Not only will it be great experience for your CV but, with the right project, the pay can be pretty decent too. So, without further ado, here's our ultimate guide to becoming a freelancing success.
What are the pros and cons of freelancing?Let's face it: the idea of rocking out of bed, making a ridiculously quick commute to your laptop and beginning work sounds like bliss. But working from home isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds, and every advantage is tempered with drawbacks.
These are the best and worst parts of working as a freelancer:
Here are the pros of working as a freelancer:
Here are the cons of working as a freelancer:
To avoid getting cabin fever, and to stay focused, we recommend heading out to a coffee shop and making the most of any free WiFi you can find. Public libraries are also great places to work too.
Breaking up your tasks into bite-sized chunks and changing your workspace a couple of times a day will help you stay fresh and creative.
What roles can you do as a freelancer?
These are some of the best freelance roles for students:
If you're wondering how to start freelancing, writing and translation work is probably the most accessible type of work to start doing. If you're studying an essay-based degree and spend most of your days writing anyway, this choice is a no-brainer.
Freelance jobs in this field are hugely varied. You could be asked to write blog posts, whole eBooks (under the condition that someone else's name appears on the front), product descriptions for online stores, or even Facebook posts and tweets.
You could even try your hand at freelance journalism, writing pitches to magazines, newspapers and other publications.
Just be aware that some publishers (even big names) will try to take advantage of your student status and expect you to work for free. Always ask about their rates before agreeing to write for them.
Plus, if you're fluent in another language, translation work beckons. Some languages can earn you more than others – one language could earn you over £50,000!
You're a stickler for grammar, and love learning new, random things – such as whether it's normal to have a mole on your penis, or where the best place to buy a dishwasher is in Slough (both writing assignments we've seen before).
Design is a bit more of a challenging sector to join when you're starting out as a freelancer. Not only do you need to own some industry-standard software, but you need top skills and creativity to use it to its full potential and meet the demands of your clients.
You could be creating a logo for a new start-up company, animating videos, illustrating snazzy PowerPoint presentations, or even working on adverts that will appear in papers and magazines.
You've got a good eye for detail, a knack for computers and great design skills.
Programmers are the brains behind the websites and apps we all use every day. They're tasked with building software that is well-designed and easy to use for the typical customer, and often have to write lines and lines of code to make it happen.
As well as this, you might offer virtual IT support. Typical projects include helping websites with their search engine optimisation (SEO), which involves making them more visible in search engine results. Opportunities for analysing statistics and managing databases are common on freelance sites, too.
This industry has fierce competition. One of the most popular tasks is called transcription, and this involves listening to recordings of conversations and typing them out. You could even be a part-time remote personal assistant – wearing a hoodie and joggers rather than dressing to impress.
The roles and responsibilities of a good virtual assistant include answering phone calls from customers, planning the boss's schedule and booking their travel arrangements, or performing light research for their reference.
People think you're well organised. This means that you're always saddled with planning parties and school reunions. You've also got great attention to detail and top time-keeping skills.
It turns out you can freelance as pretty much anything (assuming you're good enough at whatever you're selling).
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Cupid, you could become someone's dating app coach.
Alternatively, why not become a pop culture coach and teach people about your favourite TV shows and films? The dream, we know
How much money can you make as a freelancer?
In the freelance world, there are two ways of getting paid – by the hour, or with a fixed fee for each project.
Unfortunately, when roles are remote, your competitors for the best jobs are often from around the world. And, if they live in a developing economy where it costs a lot less to live, it can be impossible to compete with their prices and still get the minimum wage.
To stand out from the crowd and earn the rate you deserve, you need to create a gripping application or pitch. If you possess rare or advanced skills, highlight them to potential clients and you may be able to command a higher rate as a result.
But, just make sure you have realistic expectations of the extra money you could earn (sadly, not many clients are willing to pay £500/hour). Start by having a browse of the existing jobs on major freelancing sites.
WARNING: In return for helping you find work, freelance companies take a cut of your earnings. Make sure you're aware of the commission you'll be paying, and add these charges on top of whatever you're quoting a client.
It's best to avoid working with clients who want to pay you outside of freelancing sites (unless you know them personally). It makes it easier for them to dash off into the sunset without settling the bill. You could even be banned from applying for new jobs by the freelancing site for trying to dodge their fees.
Best websites for getting freelance jobs.
Here are four of the best sites to find freelancing work:
Let's say you earn £800 in a month. From largest to smallest, here's how much each of the four featured freelance sites would see you take home after you've paid the site their fee:
* 10% fee based on fixed-price project
** Exchange rate of $500 to around £410 correct at the time of writing; fee based on earnings from a single client
Although PeoplePerHour.com would charge the lowest fees for these earnings, remember that they (like Upwork) calculate their fees in brackets like a tax system. So, it's worth considering how much you plan to work before choosing which site to find work on.
Please note that, while Fiverr's flat rate of 20% might seem like a real turn-off, the site has its own merits to potentially outweigh the fees. It's arguably the best place to go if you're selling a quirkier service, so the extra business it can bring in may be worth it.
5 top tips for writing a freelance profile
To get work, you'll need to make a stand-out profile and proposals (similar to job applications) for the opportunities you find on freelancing sites.
For the application, there will be several sections for you to fill in. Getting this right is crucial – especially if you're a professional writer – because, in many ways, this is the most important sample you'll ever provide to a prospective client.
These techniques can help you write the best possible freelance profile:
Also, we lied. There are actually six points to the perfect freelance profile.
The last one is to CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. Even the slightest typo undermines your credibility, especially if you're vying for writing and editing work. It may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't make the effort to thoroughly proofread their profile.
How to stand out as a freelancer
Now – you've got the profile, an idea of what you want to freelance in, and an expectation of how much money you want to earn. But how do you secure that elusive job offer?
These are the four best ways to win work as a freelancer:
Extra freelancing tips for beginners
Before taking on any commissions, take note of these extra freelancing tips:
Best payment methods for freelancersWhen you've completed your work (and given yourself a pat on the back) you'll want to withdraw your hard-earned cash. Most freelance sites give you a plethora of choices, but each offer pros and cons.
These are the most common payment methods to use when withdrawing freelance earnings:
One last thing: to get freelance work, make sure you look professional online.
Prices were correct at the time of writing.
Written by Jake Butler | Save the Student!
You don’t have to be a career expert, or even someone who checks Forbes on a monthly (or even yearly) basis to have a good sense of the biggest career trend since Covid-19 upended our lives.
You don’t have to be a career expert, or even someone who checks Forbes on a monthly (or even yearly) basis to have a good sense of the biggest career trend since Covid-19 upended our lives.
You guessed it: remote work. Remote work was already on the rise pre-pandemic as technology has evolved to allow many more jobs to be executed remotely.
Data from Statista shows that while just 17% of workers were remote before Covid-19, as of April 2021, 44% were working fully remote five days a week. Upwork predicts that while the number of remote workers may taper off from these historic highs, at least 22% will still be working fully remotely by 2025, which represents an 87% increase from pre-pandemic numbers.
If you’ve been hoping to pivot to a role that offers remote work possibilities, or you’re looking down the road and hoping to make a change in your career, now is an amazing time to explore your remote work options.
Not all industries are evolving in their capacity to offer remote work in the same ways. With this in mind, you may want to focus your search for remote work on opportunities in some of the top industries that offer the most remote potential.
Here are the top seven Industries with in demand jobs for remote workers.
You may have noticed cybersecurity has been front of mind in the world of business over the past few years. Cyber crime and cyber threats are on the rise, and recent events such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, which caused countless people on the East Coast to rush to the gas station before their gas tanks—and the gas supply—runs out for the weekend, have shown that cyber crime can have disastrous effects across industries.
In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic led to a 600% increase in cyber crime, and it makes sense given how many more people were working from home, on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
The rise of remote work resulting from pandemic lockdowns has also led to an increase in cybersecurity threats. A Deloitte study found more than 500,000 instances of data theft related to videoconferencing between February and May 2020.
A survey of IT professionals found that only 45% of respondents were confident that their company's IT budget could handle the increased cybersecurity threats resulting from remote work.
All of these factors mean that expertise in cybersecurity will continue to be sought after in many professions, and we are likely to see cybersecurity related jobs on the rise well into the future.
As remote work continues, we’re likely to see more remote jobs for IT and cybersecurity professionals as well.
According to a FlexJobs report on remote jobs with growth potential in 2021, marketing, especially digital marketing, is one of the top growing spaces for remote workers.
This should come as no surprise, as we’re all spending a lot more time online these days. Our screen time may be up because of remote meetings and working from home, but data shows we’re also looking at our phones more.
In 2019, the average American spent three hours per day on their phones. In 2020, that number increased to four hours per day. That’s 365 more phone-time hours per year, or equivalent to more than nine regular work weeks!
It’s no wonder the marketing and PR space is increasingly focused on digital marketing as a major strategy. This indicates that more digital marketing jobs will surface for remote workers.
Digital marketing was also listed as one of the top 15 jobs on the rise in 2021 based on LinkedIn data. If you have experience in this arena, or are looking to make a pivot, digital marketing is an excellent field to explore.
Another major effect of the pandemic was a bump in the already growing E-Commerce sector.
When many Americans were stuck at home, delivery from online retailers was their only means to access consumer goods. Others cancelled their vacations and spent much less money on dining, which left them with extra discretionary income. This came together to represent a 44% growth in E-Commerce sales in the U.S..
This massive increase in online spending, coupled with delayed delivery times, meant that the need for remote customer service representatives spiked.
A customer service job is a great place to start if you are looking for an entry-level remote job with the potential for growth into management roles. Especially in the startu-up space, customer service jobs can be a great stepping stone to higher paying positions.
Tutors and education professionals
The pandemic reframed not only how we think about remote options in the world of work, but also how we envision the possibilities of remote learning and education.
Hiring for jobs in the education sectors saw 20% growth between 2019 and 2020.
With the rise of homeschooling, schools exploring online models and the need for support as education professionals navigate the “new normal” of online education, there has been strong growth in many sectors of education careers.
Here are some of the in demand skills for professionals in the education space:
Tutoring can also be an excellent way to be a remote worker with an education focus. The online tutoring sector is expected to grow by $153 billion between 2021 and 2025, which certainly means more remote work opportunities for those interested in tutoring.
If you are interested in exploring online and remote learning education careers, check out FlexJobs list of the top 10 companies hiring for remote jobs in education.
Experts in workplace diversity
Amid all the myriad changes of 2020, we have seen an increased focus on addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. The protests of summer 2020 shined a bright light on the need to rectify institutional bias and discrimination within all spaces of our society, especially in the world of work.
As more and more companies hope to combat prejudice and address bias within their own organizations, there will be an ever-growing need for expert consultants with experience in issues related to DEI.
Data indicates that hiring for DEI roles has risen by 90% since 2019. It’s no wonder that consultant roles for those with expertise in DEI consistently topped lists of the most in demand remote jobs in 2021.
The 2021 Flexjobs report on top flexible careers in 2021 includes the nonprofit sector as one the fastest growing spaces for remote and flexible jobs.
Some of the most in demand roles and skills include:
I know a lot of people who have made the transition from corporate America to working in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector. I also know a lot more who have told me they have always wanted to make this move. If that sounds like you, maybe this year is your chance to make a difference by contributing in the non profit space.
Not sure where to start your search? Foundation List has created a very helpful list of 24 job boards with postings from the nonprofit sector.
Translation/bilingual job roles
One could argue that we are more globally connected than ever before. Amid unprecedented digital connectedness, the demand for bilingual and multilingual remote workers is greater than ever.
FlexJobs noted that job roles that require multilingual skills are among the fastest growing jobs in remote work.
Translator jobs are in especially high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also noted that jobs for interpreters and translators are expected to grow by 20% between 2019 and 2029.
It isn’t just translator jobs that will favor those who are bilingual. Language skills will be in high demand across many industries, including the medical sector, education and customer service, and the list goes on.
If you are bilingual, or multilingual, you may be able to parlay your language skills into one of many remote opportunities.
While we are beginning to see the return to the office, remote jobs and flexible jobs are definitely here to stay. It’s a very exciting time to be exploring the job market, as some of the limitations of geography and the need to work in person are becoming less and less important.
I predict that this will only open up more opportunities for job seekers to share their diverse perspectives and skills. If 2021 is your year to find the perfect remote job, I wish you all the best!
Written by Forbes
It’s 2028, and there are more freelancers than full-time employees. More than ever, businesses are taking advantage of the talents of freelancers, but there are dozens of online and offline tools manually fused together into the tools needed to hire and pay freelancers.
It's 2028, and there are more freelancers than full-time employees. More than ever, businesses are leveraging the talents of freelancers, but the tools needed to hire and pay freelancers include dozens of fragmented online and offline tools manually strung together.
Enter Archie, the company that's building the financial infrastructure for the freelance economy, starting with the problem of payments. It's banking on the future of work being dominated by freelancers and building products to help them thrive and be financially stable.
I interviewed co-founders Yunas Reguero and Cassandra Aaron to learn more about their inspiration and vision for Archie, how the Great Resignation has influenced the future of work, and the importance of having a diverse team.
Gary Drenik: Tell me a little bit about your founding story. How did the two of you come together to start Archie? Would love to hear more about your inspiration.
Yunas Reguero: Growing up in Puerto Rico where I experienced financial instability for most of my life, I knew early on that I wanted to increase access to financial services as my life’s work. Before Archie, I worked at Square and Meta in roles that helped small businesses grow their footprint. While at Square, my goal was to help every person who wanted to start a business be able to do so through mobile payments. At Meta, I helped businesses sell natively across Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger and Oculus and launched the first iteration of checkout on Facebook and Instagram. I was also best friends with Cassie, who had been deeply engrossed in the freelancer space for years. It was clear to me that leveraging technology could massively change the game for both businesses and consumers to access financial services in a way that had never been done before.
Cassandra Aaron: My journey starts from working as a freelance strategist in experiential marketing in Australia. It was the first time I navigated the challenges (and magic!) of being a business-of-one. Then I moved to New York and landed a job at Milk Studios working as a strategist in the agency department. After two years, I moved on to work with Archie’s founding partner Dylan Hattem at his creative agency, DS Projects. During my time there and at Milk, I hired thousands of freelancers to bring projects to life and experienced the operational pain points of doing so at scale. It was messy to say the least and I was constantly frustrated by the manual and fragmented processes.
From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to shape our brand and company values differently than traditional fintechs do. Fintech brands are historically unsexy and sterile — and we wanted to build a category-defining identity that can exist in a software-style space by making it inviting, joyful and celebratory. We took inspiration from D2C + CPG brands to make it fun, and then editorial and pop culture to make it edgy. We are building it as we learn, allowing the brand to morph in collaboration with our users. We named our company Archie after my grandfather, who was undoubtedly one of the most respected figures in my life. Equal to being sharp, fierce, and driven, he was uniquely approachable, honest, and navigated the world with integrity. We are building a company that represents his essence.
Drenik: In recent years, we have been seeing way more technology being created that help businesses manage their workforces. How is Archie different? For example, how is Archie different from payroll solutions like Bill.com or Deel?
Reguero: Our competitors are great for small businesses that hire full-time W2 workers or only solve for one aspect of the pipeline. Archie handles the end-to-end workflow for SMBs contracting freelancers.
Our seamless collaboration hub solves for every part of the freelance hiring process. Businesses can digitally collect the information they need from freelancers (contracts, NDAs, invoices, W-9s, etc.), keep track of project deliverables and time spent, pay freelancers with one click, and manage year-end tax filings. From onboarding and contracts to payroll and taxes, every step of the freelance hiring process is streamlined and can be accessed cross-functionally on Archie.
Drenik: Has the "Great Resignation" influenced the way businesses think about hiring freelancers? Are they more or less willing to hire freelancers?
Reguero: The way people work has changed dramatically in the past two years. Businesses are more willing to hire freelancers—in fact, almost half of U.S. businesses (that’s 16 million small businesses!) today leverage freelancers to support their mission, growth and revenue. Labor markets are being squeezed, and businesses need to hire more freelancers.
Aaron: Archie has hired over 30 freelancers in the past 10 months alone, allowing us to tap into flexible, specialized, and talented wizards. We see the demand growing as the appetite for remote work and work flexibility increases on the supply side.
Drenik: Is the freelance economy here to stay? Do you see a world where there are more independent workers than full-time employees?
Reguero: Yes, definitely. The pandemic greatly accelerated the trend. In the next 5+ years, freelancers will surpass 90 million to represent the majority of the US workforce. So yes, I do believe that independent workers will surpass full time employees. Workers have witnessed the benefits of flexibility (according to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics Survey, 50% of employees prefer to work from home), independence, diversified revenue streams, going after multiple passions and the empowering feeling that comes with owning your own freelancing business.
The same Prosper Insights & Analytics Survey showcases that Gen-Z and Millennials prefer working from home because it provides them with a better work/life balance, which is part of the reason why those segments are entering the freelance economy more than ever.
Drenik: How has the diversity of your team influenced your business decisions?
Reguero: As immigrant founders, we have experienced the world from a different vantage point and are keenly aware that the only way in which we can build an equitable future for everyone is by hiring a diverse team. For this reason, we have prioritized hiring people from around the world including Puerto Rico, Australia, South Africa, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Brazil, Nicaragua, and the US. This has been an incredible experience for us because from the get-go we need to learn each other’s styles, create an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive, and build a culture of feedback in order to best capitalize on our diverse perspectives.
Drenik: Lastly, what inspires you to wake up every morning?
Reguero: Having the opportunity to work on a problem I care about deeply with a team of inspiring people is extremely motivating for me. Having grown up the way I did, I’m passionate about working on solutions that give people access to financial freedom and equal opportunity. I want to build a world where anyone can work for themselves and thrive financially.
Aaron: I landed in New York in 2019 with a weird, hybrid South African-Australian accent, a lot of energy and absolutely zero clue about how this insane city would change my life. I get up every day with the same energy and excitement to work with our incredible team to untangle the freelance economy—the community that first took me in.
Drenik: Thank you, Yunas and Cassandra for sharing more about Archie's vision and diving into where the future of work is headed.
Written by Forbes
What Are the Advantages of Working Remotely? Working remotely has a number of advantages but is it right for you?
A great debate is raging in organizations over whether employees will return to their offices or continue to work remotely once COVID-19 is under control and most people are vaccinated.
Gartner’s recent survey finds that about 70% of employees wish to continue some form of remote work. Twitter and Facebook have already given their employees permission to work remotely on a permanent basis. On the other hand, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon calls remote work an “aberration,” urging employees to return to the office to collaborate on ideas.
My Harvard Business School colleague Tsedal Neeley has written a timely, well-researched book called Remote Work Revolution that demonstrates how to make remote work most effective, taking on issues like building trust, productivity, working in agile teams, and leading virtually. Neeley found from her research that “when people have the opportunity to work virtually and the flexibility to arrange job tasks, there is an increase in commitment to their companies and in performance, and a decreased likelihood for attrition.”
Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of remote work. Among the benefits:
Without the need for long commutes to work and travel to other cities and countries, people find that they have a lot more time for their work and their families. This “found time” can be used to get more work done or spend more time with family, exercising, or relaxing.
Many people—and their companies—were surprised to find they were more productive when working in remote settings. The absence of time wasted in commuting and travel is an obvious benefit, but they also found they were more focused when working without all the typical office distractions.
Remote workers find they can both attend scheduled meetings and preserve quiet time to get solo work completed, giving them more flexibility in their schedules. This has also contributed to increased attendance, since meetings do not have to work around travel plans and commuting schedules.
Although some people complain about the challenges of working with children in their homes, the reality is that most people are more easily able to balance their work and family requirements when they have the flexibility to work from home.
Remote work provides clear cost savings for both employers and employees. Employers have dramatically reduced the cost of business travel, while employees avoid commuting costs. Many companies like Target are shedding expensive downtown office space by shifting employees to the new concept of “hoteling,” in which employees do not have permanent offices and book an available open office.
While many companies have been moving away from hierarchical organizations, remote work further encourages horizontal interactions with increased equality. In a Zoom meeting, there is no privilege on seating order or physical presence, as everyone’s screen is the same size.
Yet for all these significant benefits, there are several negatives of remote work that both employees and their organizations are coping with.
There are obvious benefits to in-person communication. Neeley confronts this issue head-on with suggestions for establishing trust remotely. She explains, “Unlike in person, where the ideal time you spend with your coworkers inevitably leads to serendipitous discoveries about one another, in the remote format you have to make a point of sharing your personal side.”
How can organizations replace the collaboration that happens when people work together in the office? New tools, such virtual whiteboards, as well as new meeting formats, such as idea jams, can set the stage for recapturing creative collaboration.
Many leaders depend on the informal, spontaneous interactions that occur from “managing by wandering around.” Executives claim they learn more about what is going on through these impromptu interactions than they do in formal meetings, but such informal dealings are hard to replicate remotely.
There is nothing quite like meeting with your customers in their place of business, especially in retail settings, to build relationships and make use of all your senses. Even for remote employees, some in-person visits and meetings to build initial relationships can foster insight that can then be followed up with remote interactions.
Concerns over these negatives are stimulating organizations to create hybrid models. Yet designing a fully functioning hybrid model is complicated. Remote workers may perceive that there is an “in-crowd” (in-person) and that they are in the “out-crowd” (online). It can also create anxiety over fear of missing out. To these concerns, Neeley argues, “Let us never mistake physical proximity with psychological closeness. That’s a fallacy.”
The nature and needs of both employees and the business will shape upcoming decisions about remote work. I expect that various forms of hybrid environments—with some employees in the office and others operating remotely—will become the new norm. After a period of experimentation, companies will decide what format works best for their cultures and establish clear ground rules for their organizations.
CEOs who adapt rapidly by creating their ideal environment will build stronger companies and wind up with stronger, more committed talent.
Bill George is a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and former chair and CEO of Medtronic. He is the author of Discover Your True North.
Written by Fortune
Looking to build new skills? We've gathered the the best learning sites for taking online courses. Read more to start learning.
With the best online courses websites, you can excel at your career, expand your skillset, or even gain new hobbies and passions.
With so many online learning sites all across the web, you can learn just about anything these days, from anywhere — all without worrying about attending college or taking classes.
Online courses are aptly equipped with features like video streaming, notes, resources, discussion forums, notes, practice exercises, teaching assistance help, and other features that enhance your learning experience.
Platforms providing online courses have increased immensely in recent years, and you can possibly find hundreds of resources and courses on a single topic, and even more.
With this many options, it gets really hard to decide which online courses websites to choose and which platform will be best suited for you.
The different courses available online, within a single niche or skill, cater to different sets of purposes.
Some online learning sites are designed for professionally skilled people and teach updated skills for those further along in their careers.
Some online course websites cater to beginners looking to add new skills or jump into a new career.
Others still are just for those looking for the best online courses that will let them explore a hobby, like cooking or photography.
To help you make sense of it all, we’ve reviewed and ranked the best online courses websites on a variety of factors, including quality of their classes, value, instructor credentials, ease of use, and more.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.
Here are our picks for the best learning sites for taking online courses:
MasterClass offers courses taught by the world’s most recognizable celebrities in experts covering a wide range of topics from cooking, gardening, meditation to science & well-being.
MasterClass features instructors include huge names, such as Gordon Ramsay, Bill Clinton, Margaret Atwood, Samuel L Jackson, Natalie Portman, and Serena Williams, to name just a few. It’s this access to such reputable instructors that makes MasterClass one of the best online courses websites out there.
More than 100 courses are featured, covering everything from photography to business to acting.
These classes are taught in bite-sized learning lessons of premium quality, and you can stream Masterclass on your TV, phone, tablet, or computer.
Each class hosts video lectures, class workbook documents, interactive designed assignments, and community activities depending on the type of course.
Periodically, classwork, & assignments are directly submitted to the instructor for one-to-one learning evaluation and feedback.
MasterClass pricing includes an all-access pass starting at $180 per year or $15 per month for unlimited access to courses & content.
Skillshare, with its wide catalog, offers 35,000 plus learning videos which are spread across Create, Build and Thrive perspectives. This wide range of classes has made Skillshare one of the most popular websites for online learning
It is a great platform for creative people who are looking for a thriving environment to learn, enhance and beautify their artistic skills whether it is illustration, proofreading, photography, voice over training, instructional design, or web design.
Skillshare offers a one-month free trial, which is a great way to check out some classes and see if it’s a good choice.
Overall, it’s an attractive option for passionate learners of creative skills. See our Skillshare review for more details.
Skillshare pricing includes a one-month free trial where you can take unlimited classes. After that, you can pay $40/month or at a discounted annual rate of $17.99/mo ($216 for a once-a-year payment).
Written by eLearning World