Where once upon a time, it was seen as essential to travel to a working environment to liaise with employers or clients and store relevant information, technological advances have paved the way for seamless remote working conditions and the ability to handle many tasks from anywhere in the world.
The age of interconnectivity has already brought exponential changes to the jobs market over the past twenty years.
While the only way of gaining work was to contact employers and recruiters directly, specialist job websites enable us to showcase our portfolios with ease and put us in touch with carefully selected decision makers in relevant businesses.
Our brave new world of heightened autonomy has already worked wonders for freelancers, and in a future of further advancements in machine learning and remote task management, freelance work is set to dominate the jobs market.
Here is why freelancing belongs to the future.
Writing for the Silicon Republic, Cheryl Cran believes that the liberating qualities of the technology-age are a driving force in necessitating flexibility with work. While the post-war, post-industrial era focused on creating job stability, the modern age demands a much more flexible work-life balance, Cran reasons.
This theorization bodes well for freelancers. At the time of writing, it’s estimated that around 34% of the US workforce is remote workers – that figure is set to hit 43% by 2020. Moreover, according to Statista, the number of freelancers is expected to grow to over 90 million by 2028.
Image Source: Statista
Being a freelancer is simple, all a person needs is a set of specific skills and a simple website where potential customers can find and see the work.
The freedom of completing tasks on flexible terms is a critical appeal for the gig economy and has begun to draw nine to five workers bewildered at the pace of modern office-based life — and the expenses of the cities where they’re situated. Medium off-shoot The Startup has found that 50% of US jobs could be undertaken at home, and 80% of their workforce has expressed an interest in working remotely occasionally.
Despite this, only 7% of employers currently make this possible for their employees. Once business decision makers gain confidence in the framework enabling their staff to complete tasks remotely, it will undoubtedly open the door for a seismic shift towards freelance-based work.
Capitalizing on a shrinking planet.
The world has never been smaller than it is today until tomorrow comes along and makes the planet feel a little bit more local.
Globalization has played an invaluable role in the sharing of skills and practices, and now we’re beginning to see the real potential of sharing workloads across continents, too.
Today, if you need a 2,500 in-depth article about a niche aspect of your industry you only need to look online, and in a matter of clicks, you could be in touch with an individual in possession of all the required knowledge that’s willing to complete your piece. This sort of freelance taskforce wouldn’t have been available in the past, and as more talented individuals understand the benefits of the gig economy, the industry will expand.
Cheryl Cran has observed that 47% of millennials have undertaken freelance work in some form, either full-time or part-time – and given the freedom of the life and work balance that it enables, we can expect an ever-increasing pool of talent from around the world available upon request.
Blockchain’s helping hand.
With the capabilities of a blockchain infused ‘smart contract,’ freelancers and their employers can establish trust in a way that’s not previously been possible.
Through a blockchain smart contract, freelancers can set pre-determined benchmarks for their workload with each one linked to payment. Blockchain payments and other payment companies enable a freelance worker to work without worrying about receiving their money while the business will no longer need to concern themselves over quality control issues.
Smart contracts can also store an unchangeable record of a freelance worker’s job history without the need of relying on middleman services.
Better protection from exploitation.
Freelancers are at particular risk of exploitation from employers. In some cases, the scope of their work can be increased with no new pricing negotiations, they could be left waiting for weeks to be paid, and they typically don’t enjoy the same health or retirement benefits that in-house staff receives as standard. Moreover, online platforms usually take a big chunk of freelancer’s money (usually between 10%-30%), just because they happen to use that platform.
For instance, Vlad Dobrynin, CEO & Co-Founder of Humans.net, believes that the future of online freelancing should be “fee-free” with fewer boundaries. Moreover, “Users should profit from using a service if the service makes money through advertisements.
For example, Facebook makes more than $90 billion in revenue a year through advertising, but pays nothing to its users,” he explains.
Fortunately, as more people turn to this form of work, so too has the attention of regulatory bodies around the world. Writing for Forbes, Abdullahi Muhammed expects to see increased pressure in the coming years on local, state and national authorities to recognize the fledgling form of freelancing and provide better protection for their exceptional approaches in finding work.