Getting ready for the gig economy

Around the globe, freelancing is becoming more prevalent with each passing year. This work style offers individuals great professional opportunities, as well as enhancing the businesses that utilise their skills.

In the United States, one in three Americans are now working as a freelancer. Parallels exist for Australians, as well as within every major business market throughout the world. These numbers present clarity that the contingent workforce is here to stay. Further, the entire workplace is permanently shifting and will never be as it was in the past.

A more global view of this shift, now called the ‘gig economy’, is even more intriguing. International borders and citizenship no longer inhibit employment of a global workforce. People from any nation can work for countries on the other side of the planet, just as they would for a company in their own neighbourhood.

As the gig economy takes over, here are five rules for hiring managers to consider:

Location does not matter
No longer is a successful workplace confining or structured. People work both from an office and at home, as well as everywhere in between. Employees are more empowered in decision making, students are professionals and vice versa, and a vacation does not have to disrupt business.

The workplace is increasingly democratic.
Individuals are becoming more empowered within their own careers. Employees have the ability to directly influence their own work-life balance and how much work they accomplish, as much as when that work is done.

Traditional job security does not exist anymore
A steady paycheck, benefits and insurance were once considered the ultimate job security. Now, job security is found through options, supplemental income and multiple clients.

The time is now
Within the next half decade, almost half of the population will be part of the independent contractor movement. Getting on board as early as possible is key to being ahead of the game when the rest join in.

Government must shift its thinking and policies
With more and more people becoming contingent workers, fewer are protected under employment law. Governments must recognise the shift and start reforming policies to suit changes.

 

With all of these changes coming, there are several things we can expect to happen as the gig economy evolves. We’ve outlined some of these predictions are below:

Millennials will seek enrichment and career satisfaction, not stability
The emerging workforce seeks well-rounded lifestyle, not being strapped to a desk. They want to blur lines between professional gain and personal enrichment through unique career pathways.

Entrepreneurs are also seeking less to be a billionaire and striving more to be independently secure and happy. Their business ventures echo this, with new start-ups being solo-operated entities, not multinational enterprises.

Technology will fuel independent contractor success
Tools like Trello, Dropbox and WeTransfer allow for file management. Google Docs and Salesforce provide collaboration. Paymate allows cross-border payment processing with low fees. More and more, such technologies are forming pathways for freelancers to emerge successfully.

Freelancer contracting platforms will evolve into more inclusive environments
Platforms like those where independent contractors now post profiles and bid on work orders, such as Airtasker and Textbroker will evolve to include training, education, payouts and other support aspects.

 

Ultimately, it is up to each individual business entity to prepare itself for the emerging gig oriented economy. Adapting to such major shifts in thinking and organisational style is never easy. But with changes of similar magnitude in the past, the business world has only become more intelligent and advanced, just as the workforce of tomorrow will emerge more fulfilled and capable, within the continent workforce landscape.

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