Note: This week we begin a four-part series on the dramatic changes in the workplace and how freelance and remote have altered the way we work.
Freelance, contract and remote are the new frontiers of the workplace
From the Seasonedpros.ca Insights Lab
- Workplace changes accelerated by pandemic restrictions
- Remote takes centre stage
- The where, the when, the how much of work now under the microscope
- The rise of freelance
- Labour shortages driving demand for freelance
- Contract workforce set to grow
Workplace culture began to change before the pandemic thanks to technologies which allowed people to work away from the office.
These changes picked up speed during the height of lockdowns when everyone – who could – went home to work, and remote went mainstream.
Now we are emerging from a life of restrictions, there is a return to the office in some companies but many workplace changes have stuck.
The changes are seismic. The workplace is a different place than it was ten – or even five – years ago.
Remote goes mainstream
A major driver in workplace changes is the widespread adoption of video technology. This enabled employees to work anywhere – even in a different country – if they were willing to adjust to time zones.
For employees, remote work also reduced the time and cost of travel to and from the office. It gave workers more autonomy over their work day and work styles.
This raised the expectations of workers and created a new vision of workplace culture.
The rise of freelance
At the same time video conferencing was changing the workplace, many employees were leaving the workplace after long careers as permanent employees.
Many wanted to keep working but with more independence and control over how many hours they worked, where they worked and what kind of work they wanted to do.
Now they wanted to be their own boss and take summers off if they could afford to.
These employees possessed valuable experience and in-demand skills. They discovered that they could earn more as freelancers on the open market.
Senior executives, leaders and subject matter experts moved out of the C-suite and transitioned to consultancy.
Labour shortages driving freelance trend
Meanwhile, employers were facing this Great Resignation and the exit of long-term employees looking for more independence.
Companies were facing talent gaps which were impacting their ability to keep projects on track and fuel growth and innovation.
Freelance and contract workers offered another source of talent which was in short supply. These workers reduced the costs of full-time hires and mitigated risk for companies on a budget or facing economic uncertainty.
Remote work also allowed companies to manage real estate overheads by reducing the requirement for expensive rents in downtown office towers.
Some companies opened smaller satellite workspaces located away from the more expensive office towers in city centres.
Contract workforce set to grow
By some accounts, freelance workers make up 20 percent of the workforce in OECD countries. And those numbers are forecast to increase in the next years as more permanent employees leave the workplace.
Meanwhile, experience and skills remain in demand.
Increasingly companies are replacing full-time workers with contract employees to fill talent gaps.
Some startup entrepreneurs and smaller businesses gave up office space altogether and are going full remote to save on costs and to incentivize talent.
They outsource in-demand using talent agencies with databases and platforms that supply freelance workers with fractional, interim and part-time contracts.
Next week will look at what a freelance life looks like for workers and employers
SeasonedPros.ca is an on-demand business talent source. Clients with an immediate need for experienced talent trust us to source professionals for project, interim and part-time roles. Each professional in our national database has 20 + years of business experience. We provide our clients 2-4 four vetted professionals in 10 business days or less.