As technology continues its worldwide takeover, the stereotypical working environment is fast becoming a thing of the past.
The ‘safe’ 9-to-5 shirt-and-tie role that was once so desirable is losing its hold, with the public choosing to go it alone in a bid to improve their work-life balance. More than one-third of the U.S workforce have already converted to freelance jobs, and as roles continue to adapt to the current environment and technological advances, that number is expected to rise.
Becoming a freelancer brings many advantages. None more so than the opportunity to work remotely. A recent salary survey by tech recruiters Anderson Frank revealed that over a third of respondents were looking for a new job in a bid to avoid the office.
Eighty percent of contractors confessed that they worked entirely remotely, while only 16 percent of full-time respondents revealed that they didn’t have to enter the office environment.
David Nimmo, a senior software engineer at Click Travel, believes both he and his employers benefit from remote working. “I’m not distracted by typical office distractions,” he says. “I never get to work soaking wet after being caught in the rain, I never get home feeling drained from a long commute, and I’m sleeping much better so I’m generally just in a really positive frame of mind.”
Missing out on the dreaded commute by working remotely also saves you valuable time throughout your working week. The average time for the daily commute is 25 minutes in the United States.
When choosing to go freelance, a lot of people do so in order to work flexible hours. With the average working week increasing by seven hours, the perk of choosing when you work appeals to many. Millennials currently make up one-in-three of the workforce and nearly half of them admit to choosing flexibility over money when they look for a new role.
Flexibility allows you to work around your existing commitments, meaning that often unnecessary stress is avoided. The importance of the work-life balance is noticeable more than ever. and by flexi-time being available, morale is said to increase. Global pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly conducted a survey on their workforce and found that employees with the most flexibility and control over their hours reported more job satisfaction.
Bristol-Myers Squibb also found that employees who were on flexi-time contracts were less likely to suffer from stress and burnout compared to those without flexibility.
Being a freelancer can mean being your own boss. In turn, that means you can often choose exactly when you work.
Along with flexible hours, if you’re not set to set shifts, you can plan your work exactly how you want it. Fancy a holiday? No problem! You are in charge of your workload so you don’t have to go through a company’s HR department to see if you’re allowed time off.
Freelance journalist Shane Donaghey took advantage of this benefit. “I’ve always wanted to do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain,” he says. “I took a month off from my day-to-day tasks and completed it before time ran away from me.
“Being freelance means I can tell any employers when I’m not available, meaning if anything crops up I won’t miss out due to work commitments. I tend to give any employers access to my Google Calendar so they can see my availability. Being able to have this option means my work-life balance has significantly improved.”
Creating a schedule isn’t just important for potential clients. Many new freelancers fail to set up a robust plan, leaving more chance of procrastination. Having a set plan makes it easier to get in the zone when required and also allows makes it easier to disengage when you aren’t required to be working.
The sky’s quite literally the limit if you’re a freelancer. You can take on as many side projects as is realistically viable. This way, you can work with several employers at the same time and increase your cash income.The joy of being your own boss is you get to keep all the profit. Gone are the days when you work for a flat rate. Now, you’re in control.
Often, freelance work provides you with a healthier pay cheque. Since you’re able to command an hourly rate rather than a set wage, it means you’ll get paid what you are entitled to. Many roles with an annual salary expect you to work the overtime without the added monetary incentive.
The joys of taking on such roles means you can even be a freelance worker while still holding down a full-time job. By undergoing tasks outside of your shifts, you are able to earn extra income. Quite often this is the way full-time freelancers start off. According to an independent study commissioned by Freelancers Union and Upwork, three in four non-freelancers would be open to doing additional work outside their primary jobs to earn more money if it was available.
It can be quite daunting at the start to leave a regular and stable income and, because of this, many decide to keep their original employers until they have built up several strong relationships with clients.
When the world of freelancing is discussed, people often jump to the conclusion that there isn’t enough work. This isn’t the case. The Freelancers Union ‘53 Million’ Report shows that more freelancers experienced an increase in projects in the past year than those who recorded a drop in work. Seventy-three percent of freelancers also agreed that technology has made it easier for them to find work.
With new positions being created continuously around the globe, there’s a wealth of opportunity for freelancers to take advantage of as businesses are beginning to wean themselves away from the salaried positions.
Working freelance gives you the opportunity to work on multiple projects and increase your experience across a range of areas. With more exposure to many issues, processes and management styles, you’ll learn how to deal with different situations.
When you work with one company, you become accustomed to their way of working. By working as a freelancer you open yourself up to a wider audience, but must still successfully deal with their ways of working.
By doing this it proves you can adapt to a situation. You can take these skills into your everyday life, too. By dealing with different professionals, communication skills will improve, giving you more confidence outside of the working environment.
Suits the Business
It’s not just staff that can benefit from going freelance. A lot of companies are advertising their roles in this way too. By doing this, they are finding that there is a wider pool of talent available to them. Also, for smaller businesses, this is avoiding high overheads. By hiring a freelance worker instead of a full-time employee, a company only has to pay for the job as and when it is required. Even though a freelancer’s wage is generally higher than that of a full-time employee, a company can expect to save 20-30% as a result of not having to pay for benefits.
If the idea of saving money wasn’t enough to entice a company to employ staff this way, they can also expect to hire more efficient workers. This is because you can work with specific experts to best suit your demands, therefore they can get straight on with the job at hand. Bringing with them the skills that are required means that a contractor doesn’t need specialist training in order to complete the role.
You might be required to outline and define your expectations a bit more clearer than to someone residing beside you in the office, but once this has been done you can leave them to their own devices. This would enable you to focus solely on your own projects while the freelancer completes the job at hand.
Becoming a freelancer can obviously be a risk, but it is the benefits that are attached with the title that has made it so appealing. With risk can come reward. The professional freedom that is on offer and the chance to build a reputation and reach your professional goals makes freelancing such an enticing opportunity for so many.