The past twelve months have been transformative in many ways, with the pressures of the pandemic seeing us adapt our lifestyles in just about every way to keep our heads above the water, and all types of businesses forced to follow suit. Shining a spotlight on the true lack of job security your average Brit gets to enjoy and catalysing a dramatic shift that has thrust us harder and faster into the digital age than could have previously been conceived, there are few elements of life that haven’t been impacted. And with people across the country losing out on the glittering careers they’ve worked hard to build up thanks to widespread job losses, for some, it has signalled the beginning of a whole new era in their professional lives.
From starting new businesses to embarking upon a more nomadic lifestyle, the pandemic, it seems, has been a catalyst for some dramatic shifts in the way we work – and things might never be quite the same again.
Starting a business during one of the UK’s worst economic recessions might seem crazy, but many young entrepreneurs and seasoned pros alike have been doing just that. No longer willing to rely on employers to keep them afloat and having become hyper-aware of the instability that comes with doing so, the idea of generating multiple streams of income of our own has become a more attractive prospect than ever, and many now view it as essential to both long term security and happiness.
According to data released by Ebay, there was a 256 per cent increase in the number of registrations for new start-ups on its platform during the first lockdown alone, and that number has continued to grow. There have already been many success stories to have come out of the pandemic, too, with those courageous enough to invest their money in their ideas at such a precarious time now reaping the benefits. The pandemic, it seems, has inspired a new wave of entrepreneurial innovation, and one that could be set to punctuate life as we know it from here on out.
A focus on freedom
With much of the country forced to work from home over the past year, the lack of perceived job security isn’t the only thing to have come under the spotlight. The situation has also highlighted the fact that in this day and age, businesses can function effectively without a centrally-based workforce – something that until now, many employers were reluctant to accept.
As employers slowly begin to open their minds to the idea of it becoming a more permanent solution to improving work / life balance amongst staff and boosting both happiness and productivity, individuals have instead opened their eyes to the alternatives – realising that remote work from anywhere is no longer the dream it once was, and is now more possible than ever.
There has been a huge increase in the number of people considering themselves to be ‘digital nomads’ since May 2020, and despite ongoing travel restrictions, many have secured themselves remote work with global companies or set up on their own in a bid to make more time to see the world and to focus on their own personal needs.
While not everyone is willing to take the leap and start their own business at such a time, the one thing that 2021’s entrepreneurs and aspiring remote employees have in mind is their desire for freedom, and to escape the monotony of the 9-5 life to optimise their personal time instead. During lockdown, we’ve all had more free time on our hands than ever, and for many that has meant the opportunity to learn new skills, take up unexpected hobbies and invest more time into self care. As a result, we’re putting more emphasis on the importance of our personal time than ever before, and many are no longer willing to settle for trading their time for money and giving up their dreams and passions as a result.
A dramatic shift
Whichever way you look at it, it’s clear to see that the way we work – or are willing to work – is undergoing a dramatic shift that has never been seen before. Gone are the days when a cookie cutter working life was the only option, and so too are the days where endless qualifications were the only way into a dream job. Today’s employers are putting a greater emphasis on life experience than ever before, allowing just about anyone with the drive and ambition to earn big bucks from jobs that don’t need degrees. Even better, they can often do so from the beach, beside the swimming pool or from the comfort of their luxury holiday home, logging off straight afterwards to enjoy a slice of the good life.
Could 2021 be the year that we finally achieve the perfect balance – and all whilst making our biggest professional dreams come true? It certainly seems like it could be the case, and whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, the future is starting to look exciting.