Working freelance offers flexibility, letting employees work for themselves rather than a company. This much-desired sense of autonomy and flexibility has led to an increase in freelance work over the years. A recent survey found that respondents estimate 20% of their organization’s work, on average, is being done by freelancers. However, the report indicates that most businesses do not have a strategic approach to using freelance talent.
For businesses, working with freelancers provides benefits like reducing the need for office space and an ability to bring in new skills relatively quickly. While more and more businesses are using freelance workers, companies must have a strategy to integrate freelancers within their existing workforce to keep up with constant innovations and stay relevant in the future.
One way businesses can do this and keep freelancers motivated and satisfied is by being aware of freelance workers’ changing needs and demands. In this post, we’ll share some of the freelance trends to watch out for in 2024:
Emphasis on well-being
One key shift in businesses across various industries is emphasizing the workforce’s well-being. Employers should be aware of the unique wellness challenges that freelancers and gig workers face and come up with solutions, even when those team members are working remotely. This includes tailored wellness programs for freelancers and benefits like health savings accounts and telehealth services. Employers also shouldn’t overlook other aspects of physical health, like eye care. Data from the International Labor Organization and IAPB reveal that an estimated 3.5 million eye injuries occur annually in the workplace.
Investing in providing vision care like routine eye checkups and eyeglasses can help provide visual clarity and protect freelancers’ eye health in the long term. Many top eyewear brands offer lens upgrades for blue light filters, which can help prevent eye strain and digital fatigue. By encouraging freelancers to care for their health, businesses and employees will benefit.
Technology for freelancers
Another key freelance trend is the rise of technology, especially for freelance worker management. As mentioned above, freelancers are more than likely working remotely for your business, but there are more advanced technologies catered to making their jobs easier, more accurate, or more efficient. Businesses should recognize that freelancers seek technology to help them succeed at their jobs, be paid on time, and feel connected to their companies.
By utilizing a freelancer management and payment platform, freelancers have a way to easily see and respond to work assignments, upload important sales metrics for retail businesses, and access branded and training materials. Companies and freelancers can also keep track of timely payments from both ends, automate invoicing, and facilitate secure transactions. This boosts transparency and trust between freelancers and their clients, which also helps them feel more connected to a company and stay motivated in their work.
Importance of soft skills
Finally, with all the talk of technologies and digital tools, it’s essential not to overlook soft skills. As businesses and freelancers face continuous digital innovations like AI and machine learning, soft, human-centric skills will become a key factor in helping them stand out in an increasingly saturated market. Having and honing one’s soft skills makes them more valuable to a business regardless of role and fosters productive interdependency among colleagues in a time when separate, remote work is more and more popular.
Today, some key soft skills that help give freelancers an edge on the market include emotional intelligence, communication skills, teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and leadership. Of course, these are only parts of the puzzle, but the message centers on cultivating deep employee connectedness. This helps everyone make better decisions that benefit the business and its workforce.
Contributed by: Sophie Elise
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