How do you make traditional work better for freelancers? Freelancers have traditional jobs too and what they want to get from them is predictable income flow and the flexibility to continue their freelance work.
More than one in five freelancers are also employed at established companies and for most, their traditional job is their primary source of income, according to recent research by FlexJobs.
Freelancers and others working in the gig economy are looking for flexibility from potential employers. Striking the right balance between structured work and flexible work arrangements is important for employers who want to stay competitive because unemployment continues to hover at a historic low.
Research by Edelman Intelligence found some form of formal employment is necessary for most freelancers because, in most cities, the average freelancing rate falls well below the compensation needed to afford an apartment independently, and in some cases, even with a roommate.
If freelancing isn’t enough to cover basic housing costs, why are more than 57 million Americans still doing it? More than 90 percent of FlexJobs’ survey respondents said the freelancing lifestyle is important to them because of benefits like a flexible schedule, work-life balance, no commuting, self-development and the freedom to choose where they work. Over 60 percent of freelancers said it had a positive impact on their overall quality of life. Freelancing helped them become healthier, less stressed and they’re either less financially stressed or feel no difference from when they worked in a traditional job.
The two biggest challenges for freelancers are finding clients and having predictable income flow. They also struggled with handling the business aspects of freelancing (taxes, insurance, etc.), getting payment from clients and dealing with the perceptions of freelancers.
Employers likely already have at least one freelancer in the office, though they might not know who it is, because nearly 35 percent of GenXers and Baby Boomers and over 20 percent of Millennials are in the freelance workforce. And most of them aren’t entry-level employees either, more than half of freelancers described themselves at the intermediate or management levels of their careers.
Traditional jobs help freelancers gain predictable income flow but complicate their work-life balance. A normal job could limit the scope of projects they can take on, their availability to meet deadlines and limit timeframes they can meet with potential clients. Finding additional flexibility for freelancers who need it can build company loyalty and boost job satisfaction. Most freelancers are going to need a traditional job to afford housing costs, so why not employ them, give them the flexibility they need and benefit from their tenacious skill set?