The workplace is evolving. You might say it’s going “free range.” Traditional 9-to-5 cubicle jobs that require workers to report to an office every day are giving way to virtual jobs that can be performed by any worker with a laptop computer anywhere in the world. As reported by The Daily Beast, an Ernst & Young survey of 12,000 professional and white-collar workers found that about 50% expect contract workers to outnumber full-time employees. That 40% of those surveyed expect businesses to stop offering traditional full-time employment with benefits was even more indicative of the push toward a virtual workplace.

Moving jobs into the virtual workplace offers unique benefits for both employers and workers.

  • For employers, the virtual workplace offers a broader employee resource base and allows work to be accomplished more efficiently and at less cost — but only if workers have the appropriate skills.
  • For workers, going “free-range” offers tremendous flexibility and the ability to direct your career. But working without the safety net of full-time employment also means that workers must develop new skills.

Working in the cloud requires a different skill set than working face-to-face. If you’re planning to enter the virtual workforce, you will need the following skills to succeed:

  • Communication. In the virtual workplace, nearly all communication and collaboration on work projects takes place digitally. To succeed, you must be an effective communicator, adept at email and social media, as well as digital conferencing and telecommunications.
  • Self-direction. With no manager onsite to provide direction, virtual workers must be able to work independently. They must be able to motivate themselves to stay on-task so that projects are completed by their deadlines.
  • Organization. Developing systems that promote successful self-management is critical to success in the virtual workplace. Virtual workers frequently work for more than one client and must be able to organize their workload to meet the needs — and deadlines — of all their clients.

If you’re ready to become a “free range” worker, turn to The Zoondy Daily for more tips and information about working in the virtual workplace.