The Future of Work: What Does the Shift to Freelancing for UK Businesses?
It used to be that many people dreamt of having the corner office in a Fortune-500 company, but not so much anymore. Now, more and more are dreaming of having a laptop, internet access and sitting peacefully at home (or on an exotic beach) to tick off their tasks and achieve their goals. Despite companies like InspireMe working to help businesses improve their workplace environments for employees, in the past few years the UK has witnessed a trend towards people seeking a more flexible way of working and to be their own boss rather than working for a set company. There are now over 2 million freelancers in the UK, and this figure is predicted to rise.
Why Are So Many Drawn To Freelancing and Remote Work?
There are many reasons why workers are attracted to a freelance style of working, and are increasingly seeking this kind of arrangement rather than full time or contract employment.
- Be Your Own Boss:
You are the decision maker: no one tells you what or how to do it, it is all up to you. This is obviously attractive to many people.
- End of Office Politics:
Any who’s worked in an office knows that office politics can drive you crazy, and take up a great deal of your time and energy. As a freelancer you aren’t part of a permanent team so you don’t get caught up in office politics.
- Manage your Time as You Need:
You may start at 8 am every morning, or maybe you feel most productive at 6 pm or even at 3 am. Whatever works best for you, you can choose the schedule you want to work and manage your time around personal commitments.
- Work from Anywhere:
You don’t need to be tied to an office desk or cubicle when freelancing. You can work wherever you want; at home, a coffee shop or in some cases even in exotic overseas locations.
- Choose the Projects You Want to Work On:
No one can force you to work on a project you’re not interested in. It is your decision to choose the projects you work on.
- Choose the Clients You Work With:
This is a major reason people choose to freelance, as you can choose the clients you work with and can choose those who are the best fit for you.
- Don’t Do Unpaid Overtime Again:
Unpaid overtime is all too common in modern UK workplaces, but it is not part of freelancing life. If you’re working, you’re earning. You charge clients for work, and you don’t work unless you’re getting paid.
- Earn More than You Did Before:
Freelancers get paid much higher rates compared to full or part time employment. Also, work related expenses may be reduced because working from home means lower transport and food costs, for example.
- Your Efforts Reward You:
The more you work, the more you get paid. So your hard work will always be rewarded.
- Do the Work You Love:
Being a freelancer allows many people to pursue their passions and do the work they love, rather than the work they are told to do.
How Is The Freelance Economy Affecting Business In The UK?
Nearly half of businesses say that freelancers are more productive than permanent full-time employees. Certainly, businesses are looking for more flexible workplace solutions: nearly two thirds (62%) of businesses plan to hire part-time staff over full-time once the UK leaves the EU.
As with much to do with UK workplaces at the moment, much of this will depend on Brexit and what the final deal looks like. Some commentators argue that in this time of uncertainty for businesses, freelance workers may provide a key part of the solution for UK businesses. Being able to maintain a highly flexible workforce through a mix of permanent employees and freelancers allows businesses to remain agile in periods of uncertainty, and this could help many UK businesses succeed in the long term.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Freelancing For UK businesses?
Using freelancers can have both advantages and disadvantages for businesses.
- Lower labour and operational costs.
- Using specialists for each task means you receive top quality work.
- Freedom and flexible working arrangements mean more productive workers who deliver better results.
- Lack of cohesion within and between teams.
- Confidentially may be compromised, especially if the outsourcing to companies outside of the UK with less stringent data protection laws.