Globally, the growth of freelancers has been noted as the most dynamic employee-related trend. United States alone saw a rough increase of 1 million freelancers within the last year. This concept of a ‘free agent nation’, popularised over a decade ago by Daniel Pink, has made its way into India and is significantly influencing its current workspace scenario.
There are several reasons why individuals are increasingly opting for freelance work over seeking a full-time job. Flexible hours and a work-life balance are major drivers. Further, it is a relief from corporate life - with its internal meetings and corporate politics.
But there are a few important things that have steadily boosted this trend across the world.
1. Platforms to connect freelancers with projects
One of the biggest impediments faced by freelancers is maintaining a constant stream of incoming projects. In a recently conducted American study, nearly 35% of the respondents reported securing enough work as their biggest daily obstacle.
It is here that technology has played a phenomenal role in the form of online platforms. They connect freelancers with prospective clients and have been instrumental in tackling this challenge. Across the globe, there exist portals that let businesses compare freelancers’ profile and connect with those who meet their requirements. A greater advantage of this set-up is the ability to collaborate with individuals around the globe, allowing them to utilise every opportunity.
Technology has facilitated freelancing like none other. While online platforms connect them to online freelance projects, devices and apps allow individuals to work from any part of the world. They no longer require facilities provided in offices to conduct business. Today, they hold in their hands communication capacities previously unthinkable for entire organisations.
In what Pink calls ‘the Marxist revenge’, individuals now hold in their hands their own means of production. These recent developments in technology have made freelancing seamless.
3. Emergence of ‘new’ segments
While professions within the creative and designing sphere have been traditionally associated with freelancing, there has emerged a recent trend towards freelancing even amongst attorneys, CMOs and the like.
These positions are conventionally full-time jobs which are now slowing stepping into the freelancing sphere. As the segments within continue to diversify, freelancing is experiencing a major upward trend. It is not unusual now to find online projects in business development, financial services, customer services, HR management services and other non IT or creative and designing domains.
4. Co-working Spaces
With major cities across the globe seeing a rise in co-working spaces, freelancers are now receiving support and resources. Isolation is not uncommon for an independent worker and thus, these spaces play a vital role in building a sense of community.
Further, they provide a near perfect ambience. Social Offline (Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi), for example, has grown into a widely popular co-working space, attracting individuals from all spheres.
This support can often be the much needed encouragement independent workers need.
Freelancing is a trend that will continue to rise, given the facilities available, benefits reaped and the working generation to follow. The millennium generation is less likely to tie themselves down to one organisation. They believe in navigating their own careers, taking opportunities most suited and beneficial for them. Freelancing provides the independence and liberty they seek.
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