The idea of living & working from the same location is not new and actually can be traced back to the beginnings of mankind and land ownership. What was the family farm if not a live/work arrangement? Since 1909 our nation’s leaders have worked from the Oval Office inside the White House, which is also their home. And of course, most people are familiar with the apartment above the family shop or the artist’s studio in the barn.
The tradition of Live/Work space is once again a growing trend. In 2000, the U.S. census found nearly 4.2 million people ages 16 or older worked at home most days during the week, up from 3.4 million in 1990. That 23.5% increase over 10 years, almost double the growth rate of the overall work force. The Census Bureau’s 2003 estimate raised the number of home-based workers to 4.5 million — an increase of slightly more than 7% in only three years. The more recent American Housing Survey said that 5.75 million people were spending forty hours or more working from home.
The more recent American Housing Survey said that 5.75 million people were spending forty hours or more working from home.
We are now in our third Great Reset moving from the Information Age into the Digital Age driven by a more entrepreneurial, creative based economy.
Richard Florida, author of “Rise of the Creative Class”, writes in his more recent book, “The Great Reset” of the three periods in our history during which our economy has “reset”. Each of these periods was preceded by a catastrophic economic shift and each was followed by a mass migration of the population.
The first reset and subsequent migration actually began in Britain in the 1760’s and spread across the ocean to the US. Known as the Industrial Revolution (1760-1830) this shift was preceded by the massive gap between rich and poor. During this period people moved from the family farm into the cities to work in factories; this migration, just after the turn of the century, separated the workplace (the family farm) from the home. Workers no longer tilled the soil to grow food but rather punched time clocks at factories across the country.
The second rest/migration cycle occurred early/mid-19th century, preceded by the Great Depression and WWII as we moved from the Industrial Age into the Information Age. During this time, families moved from the inner cities to the suburbs. Soldiers returning from war, married, had families, went to work and drove an economic boom that fueled the expansion of suburban neighborhoods centered around the automobile. Offices became the workplace of choice in America. Manufacturing began moving overseas to less expensive labor forces.
According to Florida, (I believe he is correct); we are now in our third Great Reset moving from the Information Age into the Digital Age driven by a more entrepreneurial, creative based economy. Each of us in our own way is only too familiar with the economic catastrophe of our recent past and what is now commonly referred to as the Great Recession. The migration accompanying this Digital Age shift is bringing people from the suburbs back into city centers and reconnecting work with home. The stable, sequential career paths of a few decades ago are less common, unemployment is up, corporate loyalty to employees is non-existent and starting your own business is cheaper than ever. The car-oriented culture is slowly subsiding. America is changing how we work. If expanded entrepreneurship and artistry are the future of America isn’t time to rethink how work and live?