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Freelancing and Telecommuting: Two Modern Working Trends

In recent years, technological advances have penetrated various areas of running a company, leading them to implement different strategies and adaptation mechanisms.

Add changes in the mentalities of the younger generations, changed in part by technology, relationship dynamics between organizations and their employees have transformed in the last two decades.

In response to these changes, freelance and telecommuting (working for a company from home) working trends have emerged.

In this article, we look at freelancing and telecommuting and how this type of work may develop in the future, considering the possibilities and benefits that these working procedures provide.

Technological Advances and Millennials

In the modern world, technological advances change all social relationships, including relationships within companies, so new forms of work appear. Companies understand that other methods of getting results from people do not involve their presence in the workplace with a rigid schedule.

The generation of millennials has acquired new values in life and, with it, new work habits, where trends such as freelancing and teleworking provide another way of earning a living without the restrictions of a 9 to 5 job.

Benefits of Freelancing

It is essential to acknowledge the benefits of freelancing. One of them is the positive impact on the environment because we reduce fuel emissions by reducing the need to move.

Many companies worldwide understand that excellent results can be obtained by hiring freelancers or teleworkers for individual projects rather than in-house staff. Because the person who works does not have to be in the place of work, this results in lower expenses, an improved quality of life, a feeling of well-being, and in many cases, increased productivity.

The Freelance Concept

Freelancing is characterised by completing a job where the employee conducts his activity autonomously. That is, the freelancer offers their services to third parties who are called his clients.

We have the freedom to organise our schedules and charge what we deem fit for work done by volume or results.

Freelancers go hand in hand with the information age as we can offer our services to any person or company regardless of the country in which they are located.

Since ancient times, the word freelance was related to mercenaries who do not have a boss or specific commitment. They were simply

hired by someone to fulfil a job. Currently, the term is also used to describe self-employed people.

In recent years, freelancers have increased in large numbers and will continue to grow due to the need to be more autonomous and

independent in the workplace.

The Current Situation of Freelancing

Years ago, there were different conceptions of labour, often interpreted as torture, condemnation, or a curse. The medievalist Fossier affirms that in the Middle Ages, “Those who work

solely for the benefit of others are enslaved, low and despicable beings.” It should be noted the conception that work is an unwanted obligation continues to survive.

The challenge for each person is to find their value and a unique contribution that allows them to excel in their field of work.

As human beings, we have three basic psychological needs.

  • The need for autonomy is that which consists in being able to control and guide one’s actions. Autonomy implies choice, integration, and freedom.
  • The need for competence is the desire to have control or domain over the environment, overcome challenges, and function effectively within them.
  • The need to belong is to be connected, feel affection, and interact with other people.

Could You Freelance?

Freelancers can start working from any place. In-demand skills include designers, writers, translators, web developers, marketers, business consultants, illustrators, and personal trainers, among other professions and trades.

Freelancing allows you to meet your personal needs, manage your time, explore creative and intellectual resources, and conduct individual projects.

For freelancers, being a salaried employee is not essential. People who work as such prefer a more exciting life with challenges and don’t want to spend the day in an office. Our interests go beyond having a stable salary.

Working as a freelancer generates an internal motivation for a need of self-determination, competence, and belonging.

Beat Unemployment

It is important to recognise that unemployment is a long-standing social condition.

In addition, for some decades, a continuous process of worsening working conditions exists, such as outsourcing, subcontracting, and zero-hour contracts, among other phenomena, which results in a lack of job stability in the traditional working environment.

In this context, young people see independent work as a way of developing their professional knowledge. It must be understood that, just as we can turn to this form of employment for pleasure, the decision to freelance may be based on the impossibility of obtaining a steady job.

The Future Looks Bright For Freelancers

The freelancing trend will continue to grow due to the desire to be more autonomous and independent in our working lives.

Indeed, in 2014, an estimated seventeen million people in the world worked, offering their services via freelance work; By 2024, it is estimated that the number of freelance workers will increase by 40%.

A key factor for freelancers is the growth in Coworking shared workspaces. This trend goes hand in hand with freelancing since those who most inhabit these spaces are people with independent work but who they seek human contact to exchange ideas and promote collaboration.

Although the term freelance has historically been used to refer to mercenaries or the journalistic field, war journalists, and independent correspondents, today, many professionals are embarking on the journey of self-employment, or freelancing, while enjoying the company of others while doing so.

Concept Of Teleworking

Teleworking appears in the context of the era of globalization, driven by information and communication technologies (ICT). Its greatest strength has been consolidated with the Millennial generation. The Millennial generation became adults with the arrival of the new millennium, and technology quickly became part of their daily lives. The possibility of teleworking transformed traditional labour environments.

Workshifting or telecommuting is an attractive concept since it determines that we can work from anywhere although we work for a company. Currently, companies are implementing this modality for their long-term employees. That is, some employees now have the possibility of working independently outside an office, permanently, or for several days a week.

Perhaps one of the main reasons for the increase in demand for teleworking is it offers high productivity at low costs. According to 2016 research by Virgin Media Business, by the end of 2022, about 60% of those working for an organization will be teleworking. This figure is likely to have increased due to Covid-19, as lockdowns forced employees to from home, and as a result, companies realised they did not need their staff on site.

People can enjoy highly flexible schedules; business meetings can be done virtually, which reduces mobility and, with it carbon monoxide emissions.

The consulting company Great Place to Work collects the opinion of more than 23,000 employees of twenty-two companies about teleworking. Almost 50% of them conduct their remote work entirely outside the company. A recent study found that absenteeism decreased by 61% among these teleworkers, stress decreased by 63%, and productivity increased by 58%.

Although all evidence points to the saving of resources, companies that wish to venture into this contracting modality, must consider the following basic questions:

  • What is the role to be performed? What are the ideal professional profiles for said role?
  • What tools are necessary for the development of the activity?
  • What are the variables on the costs saved by implementing telecommuting?

Freelance and telecommuting work goes hand in hand with technology. As tech evolves, we will have more work tools facilitating these work modalities.

For further information on freelancing, I recommend the book: Survival Skills for Freelancers: Tried and Tested Tips to Help You Ace Self-Employment Without Burnout