It’s long been assumed that if you have a job, then you must work in an office. With little thought to the needs of individual workers, many employers continue to simply offer the same old traditional, in-office schedules. But the truth is, a traditional office job just isn’t for everyone.
The data backs this up. Survey results from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics brings home the point that non-traditional work options are slowly but surely replacing the traditional 9-to-5 office job. In an Urban Institute story, self-employed independent contractors shed some light on why alternative work arrangements are actually the preferred way to work.
Case in point: a mere 20% of the self-employed independent contractors said that they worked this way because it was more financially fulfilling. It’s often assumed that freelancers choose this lifestyle as a last-resort option (meaning that they had to take the job in order to survive), or as a way to get their foot in the door at a company and hope to eventually become a full-time employee. But instead, the study found that independence and work flexibility were the major motivating factors for freelancers. The ability to be your own boss was the top answer (31%), followed by flexible scheduling (27%), and health limitations or disabilities (11%).
For those reasons, it makes sense that 80% of self-employed independent contractors actually wanted to work in this non-traditional employment arrangement. Those who wanted to work independently or needed flexibility in their scheduling were among the happiest in terms of how they worked. And their current employment arrangement was nothing new to them. In fact, according to the study, the self-employed independent contractors surveyed said that they had been working this way for 10 years, and it was estimated that they would be self-employed for at least another five years.
What’s important to note about the CPS data is that it focuses on workers’ primary positions, so the data might be a little hazy when it comes to those who take on gigs or use alternative employment as a means to supplement their income. But perhaps the biggest takeaway is that much of today’s workforce is willing to forego the previously thought of cushy comforts of traditional full-time work (i.e., benefits, steady stream of income, etc.) and opting instead to find alternative forms of employment that enhance their ability to find work flexibility.
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