Freelance Economy Grows as Workers Seek Flexibility
Employees freelance for a variety of reasons, including the flexibility to make their own hours, make more money, and achieve a work-life balance.The freelance economy is growing rapidly, a trend with significant implications for the workplace, according to a study of 2,602 office workers in North America, which was conducted by the business-to-business division of Staples. The survey found nearly one in four employees freelance in some capacity, and overall, 12 percent of employees work as freelancers as their primary source of income--the same percentage perform freelance work in addition to their primary job. "The freelance economy can be beneficial for both temporary workers and businesses. Organizations get access to highly skilled talent who bring in a fresh perspective," Neil Ringel, executive vice president of Staples Advantage, told eWEEK. "To ensure the relationship is successful, businesses must be prepared to meet freelancers’ needs and expectations, including providing necessary technology and accommodating personal mobile devices. Businesses must have extra equipment available so freelancers can plug in and immediately get to work." He noted that IT departments should be prepared to accommodate freelancers’ personal mobile technology.
"With the rise of the freelance economy, employers have access to a large pool of talented people who can help with seasonal or temporary projects," Ringel said. "The freelance economy is changing the way businesses approach getting work done. Departments can determine if a special project would benefit from a fresh, outside perspective and can be completed by a freelancer, freeing up full-time employees to focus on other key projects."