Why Are So Many People Leaving the Traditional Workplace?

Hailey Davis
Jul 13

Millions of Americans are quitting their nine to five and are choosing to do something less traditional to make an income. Whether it be starting their own business, entering the gig economy, or becoming a virtual assistant, the workplace is changing rapidly. In order to stay afloat, businesses need to adapt to these changes. But, why are so many people leaving the traditional workplace?

What is the Gig Economy?

The gig economy is the portion of the workforce in which people are contractors or freelancers. It’s centered around “gigs,” or projects, rather than solely working for one organization. Many projects are temporary unless the hirer chooses to work with the contractor long-term. However, the freelancer or contractor is still in charge of their schedule and chooses when to take on new projects or contracts.

As of 2020, the gig economy represented 35% of the American workforce. According to an article by Forbes, this figure is expected to rise to over 50% by 2023. This points to the conclusion that many Americans are leaving the traditional workplace in order to enter the gig economy.

The Benefits of Leaving Traditional Jobs Behind

Many employers have been left wondering why they are losing valuable talent to the gig economy. After all, isn’t the stability of a salary-paid position and health insurance desirable to the workforce? The truth is, the benefits of the gig economy are far greater than those of the traditional workforce.

More Flexibility of When to Work

With today’s digital advancements, the nine-to-five concept seems dated and inconvenient. Besides having an organized block of time to work at the same time as your team, there really is no reason for it anymore. However, with team communication tools like Slack or Google Hangouts, it’s much easier to communicate with team members from anywhere, including your phone. Today, WiFi is the only thing teams need to successfully communicate with each other – not being together in the same building for most of the day.

The ability to choose when to work can give the contractor time to focus on what’s important. This could be their kids, parents, or even when they feel most productive. They can also choose which days to work if a traditional Monday through Friday schedule isn’t best for them. This is something that traditional employers simply can’t compete with.

More Flexibility of Where to Work

In addition to choosing when to work, a great benefit of leaving the traditional workplace is choosing where to work. In the traditional workplace, employees typically need to be in the office building. Whereas with being a freelancer or a virtual assistant, people can work from anywhere they have WiFi. Whether they're at home on the couch or if they’re in Bora Bora on vacation, they get to choose where they complete their tasks.

For many freelancers, the ability to travel the world while also making a steady income seals the deal on the gig economy. More and more people are starting to realize that working nine to five for 40 years, then finally having the freedom to travel in retirement isn’t worth it. They would rather travel now and work as they do so.

Higher Compensation

There is a belief that because employers don’t have to pay for the benefits, taxes, and a salary for a full-time employee, they typically pay contractors more. According to a survey from Freelancermap, this is absolutely correct! 61% of freelancers in the survey believed that they were paid more than a full-time employee in the same field. To support this claim, an article by CNBC reports that the average freelancer makes more than 70% of all workers in the United States.

Earning more per hour may result in the ability to work less for some freelancers. If they are comfortable earning a certain amount per month and want to focus on other priorities, a freelancing career can enable that. Whereas with the traditional workplace, you are required to work in the office five days per week for eight hours per day, even if you aren’t busy.

So, What’s the Reason?

The main reason for the upwards trend of leaving the traditional workplace is because of the flexibility the gig economy offers. With more time, freedom, and earnings, the freelancer or contractor has far more freedom than they would in the traditional workplace. For employers, it’s a great idea to start adopting more flexibility in your workplace in order to keep your top talent and compete with the benefits of the gig economy.

If you would like to enter the gig economy and leave the traditional workplace behind, Assistantly can help! Contact us to become one of our virtual assistants or social media managers.

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