Non-Traditional Work Environments

The number of people that are working at non-traditional work sites such as a satellite or home office has been growing throughout the decade.

This shift in working style has led to more opportunities for people to create careers that fit lifestyle, preferences and at the same time meet organizational goals.

Elaine Brown, who works an office job, dreams of being able to do this with her craft booth which she recently sold because she couldn’t make any money off of it. She has an eye for interior design and decorating and is pursuing that interest on the side while maintaining her day job.

Still, she wistfully dreams of the day when she can leave the confines of the office behind.

Charlie Shipley, who works for a major radio broadcasting company, works from home in partnership with his wife making videos for promotional campaigns.

Things were humming along great – till they got their kitchen remodeled recently.

“I don’t have a kitchen right now,” he said, forlornly.

But that’s okay, he said, because he makes a lot of money, more than enough to support their two kids and pay for their elaborate house in Boston.

Cassie Long has been a medical transcriptionist for years and runs a successful business out of her home, working for four doctors, all out of state. She loves it but is always behind and never gets to take off.

“My friends think because I work from home they can drop by or call any time during the day and I can just stop what I’m doing,” she said. “They don’t understand that I’m on deadlines and this work has to get done by a certain time.”

Cassie’s enlisted her daughter to help once but that didn’t work out.

“You have to be very thorough with this work,” Cassie said. “You can’t be sloppy.”

Karen Forbis, formerly a United Cerebral Palsy counselor, struck out on her own last year and started her own consulting business from her home. It didn’t cause a financial hardship for her as it does some because she is married to an attorney.

Since the late 1980s companies have downsized, restructured, and laid off thousands of employees.

This trend toward non-standard work has led to a “free agent” like workforce where non-traditional jobs are as common as full-time employment in an office setting.

Valerie Armstrong left a company recently to go back to being her own boss with a consulting business, helping the disabled with life skills and coaching to be more independent.

“I just can’t work in an office. I seem to run into the same problems,” she said.

As the demands of work have shifted so too has the corporate world’s many organizations.

Some of the trends in workplace culture include providing communication tools to employees such as web cameras, mobile phones, and PDAs.

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