Trends for 2019: Marketers re-imagine the future of work

From side-hustles to ‘squiggly careers’, marketers are embracing the opportunities of flexible working as they pursue multiple projects in a bid to turbocharge their professional development.


The appetite for flexible working in undeniable. Marketing Week’s upcoming Career and Salary Survey 2019 will reveal that flexible working is very important or important to 90.1% marketers, according to a sample of 4,400 people working across the industry.

The number of marketers who consider flexible working very important has risen from 47.2% at the start of 2018 to 53.3% in the latest survey. Furthermore, Marketing Week’s exclusive research reveals that adoption of flexible working among marketers is also on the rise, up from 34.2% to 37.7%.

Flexible working concepts will continue to infiltrate mainstream workplace culture in 2019. High-profile brands such as WeWork are changing the way people go to work with their blend of co-working and flexible office space.

Poised to become the world’s second most valuable startup after Uber, WeWork now spans 287 locations worldwide. The company’s customer base has shifted from entrepreneurs and startups to large organisations, with the likes of HSBC, Samsung and Microsoft all taking space in its locations.

Now the property startup is branching out with Powered By We, a service that designs, constructs and operates flexible office concepts for its corporate clients, and has even opened a school at its New York HQ teaching farming and agriculture as part of the curriculum.

While flexible working is undoubtedly on the radar for marketers across many disciplines, the nature of what ‘flexibility’ actual means and how it can be deeply embedded within corporate culture will need to be addressed in 2019.

Particularly as startups continue to grow by offering staff unlimited holidays and flexible hours, and agencies like The Mix pioneer a four-day week, the old-school 9-to-5 day will increasingly seem obsolete.

Marketing Week columnist and flexible working advocate, Helen Tupper, launched The New Work Network in 2018 to help break down the barriers that still exist around flexible working. She argues that organisations will need to take a more individualistic approach to the shape of work or risk losing creativity, higher staff attrition and lower productivity.

As expectations change and employees become more empowered, ignoring the possibilities flexible working provides will not be possible in 2019 and marketers will be the ones leading the charge towards reframing what workplace culture looks like.

To read more of Marketing Week’s trends for 2019, sponsored by Salesforce, head here.