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The Era of the Free Range Worker
By Tim Houlne and Terri Maxwell

Today's workers are increasingly loyal to the skills they can monetize, not the companies they work for. They believe they cannot trust a single company to ensure their professional future. Instead, they trust themselves, their skills and believe in working on their own terms.

Workers are free to create their own professional future - free from corporate standards, free from company schedules, free from specific job descriptions. In fact, this revolutionary change has created the new currency for virtual professionals - freedom.

It's a New World

This fundamental shift, which we call the New World of Work, changes the way people work in such a disruptive manner that it will alter the way businesses actually operate. The New World of Work is based on three key trends that have transformed the way work is done today:

• Work has been fractionalized.
• Careers have been virtualized.
• Talent has been globalized.

Each of these trends works together to create a new environment that promotes workers monetizing their skills through fractionalized work. From an organizational perspective, the talent pool runs deep. Now finding the best talent happens through global channels rather than interviews of people in your own backyard.

Why Did This Shift Happen?

A recent survey conducted by Yahoo! Finance and Parade Magazine yielded that 60% of Americans would rewrite their careers. And more than 35% would fire their bosses. These findings corroborate the desire for a next-generation workforce that chooses the task/work product, sets the compensation based on a skills-based market system, and essentially works independently wherever they have Internet access.

With the four walls that kept workers captive now gone, executives can look forward to new borderless business models powered by technological advances. To prepare to take advantage of this New World of Work and capitalize on the global talent pool of "free range workers," companies will want to consider the following:

1. Developing platforms for virtual work - tracking the work will be significantly more important since tracking the person will be a thing of the past.
2. Creating new internal positions - project management will encompass global talent and virtualized work product. In addition to technology, people who are comfortable engaging in this new environment will become valuable assets to an organization.
3. Reconsidering how work is done today - build a new system that fractionalizes work based on talents of workers and organizational needs. This new assembly line increases access to global talent and improves productivity of organizations.

Those companies that pioneer new ways of empowering virtual workers will win, while professionals who find their passions and market them in the New World of Work will ultimately rule. To take full advantage of the fractionalization of work, be prepared to try new ways of working.

The Virtual Worker is in Charge

The online virtual-work market reached more than $1 billion in 2012 alone, and it's predicted that a massive one-third of the global workforce could be hired online by 2020.

Do you know that there are more contract jobs available to you on Elance.com and oDesk.com than there are physical project management jobs available on recruiting job boards across the U.S.? According to an online employment report on Elance.com, the company posted 197,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2012.
The expansive growth of virtual work platforms like oDesk and Elance prove the system is working and in full swing. Coupled with the consistent challenge organizations have in finding the right skilled labor pool, the virtual workers (or virtualpreneurs™ as we call them) are free to set their own professional parameters.

In the New World of Work, there are no limitations to what, how or where work can be performed. This new world has spawned an entirely new way of organizing work and is responsible for innovative business models and career opportunities, all with one thing in common—NO BOUNDARIES.

The era of the free range worker has arrived. For those who value freedom and flexibility, the system is ripe with opportunity. As entrepreneurs continue to build new businesses, the growth will be rapidly propelled forward with these new virtualpreneurs by their side. It's time for the New World of Work!

About the Authors:
With more than fifty years of combined leadership experience, Tim Houlne and Terri Maxwell have been at the forefront of a transformation reshaping everything we know about careers and talent strategies. Tim Houlne is a visionary whose longstanding, futuristic predictions about the virtual workforce are now a reality. He recognizes and understands market trends, and uses that unique knowledge to transform industries across the business landscape. His understanding of the virtual workplace is unparalleled, and his drive to uncover new concepts is matched only by his passion for growing profitable businesses. Tim holds the position of CEO at Working Solutions, a premier virtual agent and technology solutions provider in Dallas, Texas.

Terri Maxwell provides game-changing insights to transform businesses, people, and industries. She is a powerful, passionate leader known for simplifying formulas for success and igniting potential. In a career spanning more than 20 years, Terri has put her talents to work for large and small companies, and is a well-known consultant to businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to accelerate growth. She has built numerous successful companies, and created an impressive and well-known business incubator, Succeed on Purpose Inc. in Irving, Texas.

The New World of Work: From the Cube to the Cloud
Inspire On Purpose Publishing
Available at Amazon and major online retailers

 

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