Over the past decade, it’s become increasingly important for employees to have the ability to travel and be mobile for work purposes such as business meetings. Popular companies make this possible with cloud-based solutions such as resource scheduling, asset management, space utilization software, and business analytics.

Flexibility in the workplace allows cutting-edge companies to recruit, nurture and keep the best talent, boost employee productivity, and streamline a large number of operations. As a result, a company can achieve a noteworthy ROI on its people and technology.

An Emerging Workforce

It’s a quiet trend, often barely noticed, but it’s changing the world of work known for centuries. The idea of being rooted in one location for an allotted span of time is gradually becoming obsolete, replaced by this new model of work.

The trend includes working conditions almost impossible before the innovations of the telecommunication industry. People can work day or night on the same project based on their time zones.

They not only use technology like desktops or laptops from offices or homes, but also mobile devices like tablets and smartphones that allow them to move freely from one venue to the next.

A worker in Mumbai, India, can work for a software developer in Tucson, Arizona, without any trouble as long as their devices are synched up with the data necessary to complete the project.

Paperless work and networks are making offices an accessory, not a necessity. The future is moving ever closer to a networked world. Time and space are no longer constraints. Schedules, time zones, or countries are no longer boundaries to productive work.

A Growing Workforce

“The US mobile worker population,” according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), “will grow at a steady rate over the next five years, increasing from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million mobile workers in 2020. By the end of the forecast period, IDC expects mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters (72.3%) of the total U.S. workforce.”

A Diverse Workforce

International Data Corporation (IDC) does not define a mobile worker as just someone who works from a home instead of a business. Instead, it has identified three groups: the office-based mobile worker, the non-office based mobile worker, and the home based mobile worker.

An office based mobile worker is someone who works in an office most of the time, but may also work at home or in a third venue.

A non-office based mobile worker is a field worker like a salesperson visiting clients or a technician who travels from one corporate office to the next troubleshooting IT problems. They spend more time in other people’s offices than in their own office.

And a home-based mobile worker is a telecommuter, an employee who works from home for the most part but goes into the office for meetings or for team collaboration work.

An Unfettered Workforce

A cultural shift in the definition of work has liberated millions of Americans from the traditional office. They are no longer tied to a desk, but are free-range humans who may work in three or more different places on any given day. They may be driving home to work after a meeting at head office; they may be going to a client’s office to work; or they may be choosing their own favorite place to work, like a park, a beach, or a coffee shop.

Equipped with a laptop and a smartphone, they can access their corporate database from the cloud and work as productively as if they were in a cubicle.

Before the turn of the century, this expansion of the definition of work would have been unimaginable.

In the past, only a few professions could be considered a free range human. The salesperson, his or her car packed with brochures and work orders and hotel rooms used as temporary offices, may have been the prototype. Today, free range humans consist of knowledge a worker, which includes a vast range of different professions.

A Creative Workforce

It’s no secret that the most creative people in any workforce were also the most restless. They had a difficult time with the idea of a 9-5 schedule, chaffed under micromanagement, and would often play hooky by visiting coffee shops on their way back from an assignment to think through their epiphanies or slip out of the office for long walks to mull over their radical ideas when the boss was away.

The industrial age mentality did not suit these free spirits, who would often leave companies after enough duress and start their own successful businesses based on ideas that their previous bosses had been too impatient to hear out.

Now given the autonomy to pursue their ideas under a more liberal form of management that appreciates innovation as a business model, they are enjoying contributing to their companies instead of seeking to find a way to escape.

A New Model of Work

While work remains the same as the last century for millions of workers, a new trend of work is emerging right beside it. This emerging model of work demands mobility because it’s based on novel parameters like creativity, collaboration, travel, and diverse venues.