Once a rarity in traditional workplaces, the benefit of flexible work is no longer an exception to the rule—regardless of industry or position. The advantages of more accommodating work environments are readily available to employees, but flexible work symbiotically offers plenty of benefits to employers as well—chiefly, the ability to rely upon freelancers and remote teams to accomplish tasks.
But what caused the switch to flexible work and dependence on freelance help? In order to project the future of flexible work, it’s essential to understand how this trend developed. Below, we’ve shared some of the key contributions that aided the dawn of the flexible work era.
Growth of the side-gig economy
It’s true that plenty of individuals rely on freelancing to make 100% of their income, but there are also many who use freelancing as a means to supplement their full-time positions. More than one-third of the workforce in the United States contributes to an already flourishing side-gig economy, and companies of all sizes are tapping into this workforce to get their work done faster.
Side gigs are primarily considered a method for sustaining a living, but they’re also a particularly engaging work model for freelancers with an entrepreneurial spirit. They can be an effective way to get started on personal projects while still having the cushion of a full-time salary.
Hiring gig workers help small businesses
Especially small businesses and startups, employing these freelancers is a great strategy to quickly establish an experienced, qualified workforce. Side-giggers are used to juggling a handful of projects for multiple clients at once, which means they can accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently. They’re also a great service for companies who need immediate help when managing a higher influx of customers or during periods of significant business growth.
It’s possible that no change has had more impact to flexible work options than the emerging business technology that makes it possible. Because the internet makes it simple to find freelance opportunities, an entire business ecosystem based on self-employed help has developed. But the dependence on the internet to conduct business doesn’t stop there—online communication tools, for example, have enabled freelancers and remote teams to easily communicate with their on-site associates.
As opposed to communication tools of the past, many new pieces of technology have fully migrated to the internet in order to share information between devices. Voice over IP, often shortened to VoIP, is one example of communication tech that has replaced outdated hardware and cabling for a faster, internet-based alternative. VoIP allows freelancers to send and receive business calls through their computers, which means that they can make calls wherever they decide to set up their virtual workspace. This piece of technology and others like it have helped businesses rely less on tools hosted in the office, which has helped shape a flex-based work environment.
Project Management Software
Similarly, internet-hosted project management (PM) software is another freelancer-friendly solution for organizations who struggle to effectively communicate on project tasks and statuses among team members. Freelancers can utilize PM tools to share their calendars with their team members, instantly update assigned tasks for everyone to view and track the amount of time spent on each project, which is immensely helpful when creating invoices.
How can Project Management software help freelancers?
Aside from benefits that directly affect freelance workflows, this software can also help you:
- Manage the scope of your projects
- Better allocate resources for a leaner business model
- Set expectations for the time it takes to accomplish each goal
- Share project files in one organized, easy-to-access location
Greater demand for flexible work benefits
Since flexible work is only projected to grow in the upcoming years, it’s a trend that no business can afford to ignore. Flexible work and remote work benefits are a conversation that every HR department should be having in order to ensure that their company is using the best resources and talent available for each project. And since 69% of millennials in the workforce would compromise on other benefits in order to have the ability to flex work, organizations in every industry need to find ways to offer flexible workspaces in order to continue attracting new talent.
So how does this migration to work flexibility affect freelancers outside of any business entity? If employers already offer flexible work to their employees, they’re already open to the idea of using off-site resources to help their business succeed. Thanks to workplace trends and the technology available today, freelancers have become another essential component of the flexible work ecosystem.
As a digital writer in for online business communities, Teresa Reddmont is passionate about sharing her insights on the future of business, especially for freelancers, entrepreneurs and startups.