NEW YORK—In 2012, the market for online contingent work is set to double as more businesses across the globe hire and manage workers online for the first time. So says the Elance 2011 Online Employment Review.

Elance is offering up its take on trends that will shape the world of work in 2012. I’m sharing a couple below, along with my thoughts on how this impacts
virtual office users.

The rise of the global, virtual workplace. Elance predicts companies will increasingly tap into the online workforce across geographic boundaries to support key business initiatives. More professionals will build independent careers by working with multiple clients all over the world.

Further, online contractors will collaborate with each other remotely, across geographies and time zones. Technological advancements enabling better online collaboration, telepresence, skills assessment and identity verification, will make significant contributions to the new virtual workplace.

I wholeheartedly agree with this prediction. We’re already seeing it, so if anything it’s just going to escalate. And where there are virtual workplaces there are virtual offices. Virtual office technologies are part of the rise of the global virtual workplace as individuals work from home with virtual office technologies, live receptionists, virtual assistants and other aids.

Promising online careers for 2012. Online hiring for specialized skills will continue to expand in 2012. Promising online careers for 2012 include:

  • Software Developer

  • Visual Designer

  • User Experience Designer

  • Digital Marketer

  • Technical Writer

  • Web Researcher

  • Data Analyst

  • Content Moderator

  • Accountant

  • Distributed Workforce Manager


These are all jobs—among many others—that can be accomplished in a virtual office. Whether you are in Beijing or New York, you can set up a virtual office and do business with clients anywhere in the world. So, virtual office users, get ready for new opportunities in 2012!