The freelance economy is growing rapidly, a trend with significant implications for the workplace. Nearly one in four employees freelance in some capacity, according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a recent study of office workers in the U.S. conducted by the business-to-business division of Staples.
Overall, twelve percent of employees work as freelancers as their primary source of income, and the same percentage freelance in addition to their primary job.
“For businesses, augmenting staff with temporary, contract workers is not new,” said Neil Ringel, executive vice president, Staples Advantage. “While the organized online marketplace makes it easier to tap into a pool of skilled workers, businesses need to pay attention to the needs and expectations of freelancers and independent contractors as they can be quite different.”
Benefits for Freelancers and Businesses
Employees freelance for a variety of reasons, including the flexibility to make their own hours (37 percent), make more money (39 percent), and achieve a work-life balance (32 percent). Businesses also benefit from this arrangement by getting access to highly skilled workers they need for special projects.
“The freelance economy is a win-win for people who have a desire to work on their own time and companies who want to streamline in-house operations,” said Pat Griffin, Enterprise Account Executive at HourlyNerd, a company that connects businesses who need help with a project, with an expert who can do the job.
Considerations for Businesses Hiring Freelancers
Freelance workers need temporary access to IT services and equipment, designated desks/workspaces, open communication with coworkers, and necessary supplies for projects. Additionally, businesses should take the following points into consideration:
“With smart, collaborative technology becoming more mainstream, the freelance economy enables businesses to redefine their workplace strategy making the physical workspace more effective by establishing efficient team structures and collaboration models,” Griffin added.
Also read: Prediction: The Workforce in 2020
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