According to a “Future Workforce Report” from Upwork, 59% of US companies are now using flexible workforces to some degree, comprising remote workers and freelancers. What will the next 12 months bring for the gig economy and freelancing?
Here are five likely trends:
The changing concept of free enterprise
Traditionally, entrepreneurs have been those individuals who have started a business, grown, employed staff and followed the process of a standard business model. Entrepreneurship is now taking on a very different additional meaning. An increasing number of Millennials and Gen Zs are becoming so-called solopreneurs – taking their skills and selling them on the market to a variety of buyers. Working independently, or collaborating with a few others to offer a variety of skill sets to established businesses.
Technology favours the gig economy
Improvements in communication between giggers and their contracted clients now allow for face-to-face communication and digital meetings. Streamlining the communication process means that freelancers no longer have to use “old fashioned” processes such as email to get things done. Giggers can work faster, and clients can respond faster, allowing for the more rapid deployment of products and services. Freelancers who have sought-after skills will be able to name their price.
Collaborative work spaces
Gig workers are not introverts, holed up in their homes, isolated from social contact. Most are outgoing, extroverted and assertive individuals who go after gigs, market themselves and actively engage with their clients. Gig workers are independent, but they also desire collaboration and social opportunities at work. Collaborative work spaces fill that need.
Legislation to protect gig workers
As the gig economy has evolved, giggers have typically been left to their own resources when clients fail to live up to their end of the bargain – usually in terms of payment. They must either hire a lawyer to enforce a contract agreement, which many struggle to afford, or put up with the loss of income. In 2017, a new law in New York went into effect, laying out requirements for contract agreements between freelancers and their clients. It provides a course of legal action for gig workers whose clients renege on contracts. Other jurisdictions are expected to follow suit.
Freelancers will move towards business registration
Most freelancers begin as self-employed. But there are some major benefits of incorporating themselves as a business, and gig workers are beginning to understand those benefits. Business registration also allows many deductions from income that can generate huge savings.
Parts of this article were first published on Forbes.com