The rise of the freelancers: It works for Employee and Employer
The Rise of the Freelancer
... It works! For both Employer and Employee.
The Coronavirus has exposed how outdated many workplace strategies are within organisations. Many companies will suddenly realise that they are far behind in the changing dynamics of employment. We’re witnessing a massive shift from traditional work and full-time employment to freelancing, working part-time, and independent contracting. This on-demand work, instant gig economy is moving more and more towards independent professionals that are using mobile and technology to create ecosystems of work they enjoy. If companies want to survive they will need to be able to tap into this new thinking and form a new mix of permanent and freelance talent. An optimal dynamic talent strategy comprising of permanent and freelance staff to drive agile performance. Likewise SMEs will need to rise out the ashes post COVID-19 and be able to tap into high professionals without paying exorbitant professional services costs. The rise of the freelance or gig economy will actually benefit both employee and employer. How so?
Good for the Freelancer:
The global virus crisis might allow many employees a brief glimpse into how work life can be changed for the better, especially if one considers the reduction in the hours that are lost to long work commutes. Historically, management assumed profits could only be created in this physical work space. Nowadays, technology allows for the professional to work from home, a coffee shop or a park and still deliver exceptional results on their projects and assignments. Meaningful collaboration will increase between workers and this in turn will result in a dramatic improvement in employer/employee relationships, particularly in favour of the freelancer worker.
There is a new mentality that exists that speaks to the notion of ‘it is not where you work but rather what are you working on’! This lends itself to an exciting new world order where professional working individuals realise that anyone can ‘work the way you want to live’. The career holy grail of ‘work /life integration’ has been elusive for many because of a legacy world order for the way we worked. In the old world, hours spent at work in the physical work space, was a measure of one’s dedication and commitment to the task or company, regardless of the efficiency of the time used and the productivity of the employee for the extra hours spent at work.
The notion of job security and full time employment being a safe haven will be eradicated from memory to become a myth of the past. Professionals will take control of their own freelancing careers, that now offer multiple lanes, multiple options for growth and experiences where one can flow into and out of really significant and meaningful work. Robotic Automation will be doing the mundane tasks.
Freelance careers talk to the evolution of the employee, one where freelancers are looking to work anytime, work anywhere and not focusing on climbing one corporate ladder, but rather multiple ladders adding to a diverse skill set. They will be output focused, not input focused where they collaborate across all levels using adaptive and agile problem solving techniques. This is the future of work and in fact freelancers are said to be happier, healthier and feel more secure managing their own freelance career.
Small teams of specialists from far reaching locations like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Accra, Luanda, Lagos, London, San Francisco and Brussels will tackle projects. Their strength will lie in collaborating with each other to solve real problems in businesses.
Good for the Employer:
The organisational perspective will change. In addition to the many advantages for employees, remote working and freelancing will also create enormous benefits for organisations and companies. Companies will save extraordinary amounts of money by not having to employ individuals permanently. Already it can be seen that the average time an employee spends at a company is approximately two and a half years and this is continuing to decline. [i] Why spend so much money on recruitment, on boarding and training development costs. Companies will also not have the luxury of hiring up on permanent staff.
There will also be no need for the ‘war on talent’ as companies can now tap into an entire new pool of highly skilled professionals who will freelance for them, but who will not necessarily want to work for that company permanently. Simply put, companies can switch ‘expertise on’ and ‘expertise off’ as and when they want. This will most certainly reduce the pressure on the balance sheet. As there will be lower recruitment costs, less time and money spent on ‘in house’ training and other benefits that are often afforded full time employees. Companies will also not need as much ‘desk space’ and there will be a reduction in the need for expensive offices.
Collaboration and freelance technology platforms like Project Kooda [ii] will be the new normal, facilitating a marketplace of highly skilled top talent and matching them with projects, opportunities and companies that see the benefits of the ‘roll on roll off’ model. Using smart AI [iii] companies and freelancers will benefit from the efficiencies of hiring specialists at a fraction of the cost and risk.
There is no doubt the continued expansion of the freelance workforce is evident across a range of industries, and growth will continue more so during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic upturn.
[i] https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-average-time-people-spend-in-a-job-these-days [ii] Project Kooda is smart AI enabled platform linking high professional freelancers to the organisations who need them [iii] AI Definition: Powered by Oxford Dictionaries. The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.