When COVID-19 began to strike the world in 2020, society was plunged into an unplanned experiment to “work from home”. As a result of this, organizations worldwide had to create new working norms—and in many workplaces, these changes are here to stay. It’s now common knowledge that flexible work is no longer a temporary pandemic response but now an enduring feature of the modern labor landscape.
The numbers in the US alone are interesting. According to research from McKinsey’s “American Opportunity Survey”, over 58% of Americans reported having the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week. 35% of respondents report having the option to work from home five days a week.
These numbers are especially notable because according to the survey data, respondents work in all kinds of jobs, in every part of the country and sector of the economy, including traditionally labeled “blue collar” jobs as well as “white collar” professions, even including some job types that you would expect to require on-site labor.
The miracle of technology has made all this possible. We are now in a digital age, one in which an entire virtual reality is not far off, from virtual K-12 schools to online real estate. Like that of life described in Ready Player One, we are likely to get closer and closer to such an existence in our own lifetimes. Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are rapidly evolving and predicted to significantly change life as we know it in the very near future.
It's therefore worth considering just how important our digital image has subsequently become. We have digital avatars and social media accounts that act often as highlighted summaries of our “real lives,” while the digitalization of our in-person life is not far separated from the natural world. Our profile pictures are often seen more frequently than our actual faces. If that digital view is what people are beginning to see more and more of, it follows that focusing on your online profile could significantly influence your personal audience to a far greater effect than the “in-person” version.
By increasing your online presence, you can reach potential customers, new friends, colleagues and contacts to expand your professional network. Having a professional online social media profile showcases your expertise and helps you build trust with your audience, both professional and personal.
Establishing your online identity may be the key to accelerating your business growth. Think of an industry leader in your business sector – it is almost guaranteed they will have a strong and active online presence on one or more social media platforms. They use that platform to further grow and develop their professional reputation, perhaps it’s time you also looked at catering to a wider audience to reap the benefits to your career in the long term.