Freelancing in the Light of Coronavirus: Why Now is the Time to Join the Gig Economy
As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, more and more global organizations are urging their employees to work from home. In fact, the global initiative to contain the spread of the virus has resulted in the greatest remote workforce experiment.
With schools being shut down and offices closing around the world, many contract workers are forced to stay at home with no income. This is especially difficult in countries and companies where paid sick days isn’t a given. For example, in the US, only 55% of workers are entitled to paid time off and some even fear calling in sick as they believe it could hurt their status within the company.
In Southeast Asia, calling in sick is typically frowned upon and many contract workers fear that taking time off could give their managers a bad impression of them. In Australia and Singapore, on the other hand, paid sick leave is pretty common. It will be interesting to see how these attitudes develop and evolve as the global coronavirus outbreak continues to spread and affect thousands.
Despite the global health crisis, the freelance economy is continuing to do well and with many companies becoming short-staffed, we can expect to see a significant growth in businesses relying on support from remote freelancers. As more contract workers are becoming “stranded”, side gigs have now become an option to earn some sort of pay. In light of this crisis, should you stay home and do absolutely nothing or make some extra income until the outbreak diminishes?
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the thriving freelance workforce…
Why Workers Should Jump on the Freelance Bandwagon
Now that many workers around the world are slowly adapting to staying at home, entering the freelance workforce can offer financial stability, flexible hours and even sanity. Freelancers have more freedom and control over their work environment, work hours, and clients and thanks to today’s digital world, gig economy workers can offer their services to anyone worldwide. Working from home is quickly becoming as productive, if not more productive as working in an office among colleagues.
While for most companies working remotely is not “business as usual”, organizations are slowly recognizing the ‘workplace’ not just as a physical building filled with employees, but rather a state of mind.
Thinking of going freelance? Here’s how you could benefit from shifting from contract work to remote work.
1. Increased Productivity
Even with the growing trend of co-working spaces around the world, most freelancers prefer to do a majority of their work from home, in fact – 83%! As the coronavirus spreads, we can expect that number to grow. At home, workers typically have less distractions and have complete control of their environment. Most remote workers know how to successfully adjust their home environment to suit their ideal working conditions.
A recent experiment conducted by Stanford Business showed that working from home led to a 13% performance increase, doubling of profit and higher work satisfaction.
2. More Opportunity to Earn More
Freelancing allows workers to be in control of their income by gaining access to even more clients beyond geographic borders. Freelancers can dip their toes into a pool of possibilities by working on a variety of projects from several industries and offer their services to clients worldwide who are seeking their specific skillset. Amid the current coronavirus outbreak, now, more than ever, is a good time to update your portfolio in order to market your skills and experience to as many companies as possible who are looking for extra help.
Therefore, going freelance will give you the chance to grow, to expand your horizons and gain more experience, resulting in an impressive portfolio and most likely more earnings.
3. Flexibility and Control of Your Own Schedule
Remote working offers the ability to create your own work schedule, whether you’re more of a morning person or a night owl. In addition, creating your own schedule can also allow you to be flexible when it comes to your living situation. Also, being in charge of your work schedule comes in handy when dealing with clients in different time zones.
Payoneer’s recent study of over 7,000 global freelancers found that those who work exclusively as freelancers earn more and are more satisfied compared to those who split their time working for a company. Higher satisfaction leads to a better work-life balance, meaning you spend more time doing the things you love.
4. Reduced Commute Time
Most freelancers never have to leave home in order to work, which is great for time management, personal health and the jam-packed roads out there – you could truly be helping to save the environment! With the transmission of coronavirus on everyone’s mind, freelancing limits your time on public transportation and enables you to work from home as many health officials have been strongly advising in the past weeks.
On average, Americans spend between $2,00 -$5,000 every year commuting to work. On the other hand, remote workers save more money by commuting less are more satisfied that travel for work is not necessary.
Choosing to become a freelancer means you experience less daily stress that comes with commuting long distances as the effects of a long commute can disrupt both the beginning and end of your workday.
Join These Global Freelance Marketplaces
Online freelance websites and marketplaces are changing the way we work and one of the best ways for freelancers to find work is through marketplaces. With a plethora of choices out there, these platforms can connect talented freelancers and those who are just getting started with their next client, anywhere in the world.
If you’ve just entered the freelance workforce, there are many marketplaces out there that focus specifically on certain fields. So, whether you’re a content writer or programmer, there’s a platform out there for every niche.
Here’s a list of the top 5 best online marketplaces that are changing the freelance landscape.
One of the most prominent freelance websites in the world, Upwork offers plenty of tools to kickstart your freelance journey and is also a popular choice for graphic designers, programmers and many other industries. The marketplace has over 12 million freelancers and 5 million clients listing about 3 million freelance jobs a year.
Create your profile today, wait for a client to hire you or you can proactively search the job boards for projects that match your skills.
Fiverr may just be the best freelancing website for beginners to start their career. If you didn’t already know, Fiverr works a bit differently. Freelancers post the services they can offer for $5 (hence where the name five-err comes from), but don’t worry, you can certainly charge more than $5. This website is a good space to showcase specific project skills such as designing a logo or coding an app. Oh, and it’s completely free to sign up!
PeoplePerHour offers all-around freelancers a marketplace with a wide range of categories such as web development, video, sales and marketing, translations and so much more. The platform focuses on connecting its customers with the right kind of people. In addition, this marketplace has a good reputation among businesses for delivering high quality work and an even greater reputation among freelancers for offering high-paying gigs.
Toptal is an exclusive network of top freelance designers, finance experts, software developers and more. The marketplace is known to pay really well, higher rates than other competitors. However, their screening process can be a bit intense with clients accepting the top 3% of developers – so it’s not as simple to get up and running on projects. On the other hand, the tough screening process shows how the marketplace only offers highly qualified talent to businesses.
This website connects all types of web and graphic designers with clients worldwide. Clients looking for top talent will provide design briefs for freelancers to work on and only once approved will the freelancer get paid for their work. The platform reviews your work and rates you as either an entry level, mid-level or top-level designer. Just like in a game, the higher your level, the more perks you’ll unlock.
Whether it’s designing logos or books, join 99design today if you have skills in any type of design work.
The coronavirus outbreak is forcing organizations to rethink how people work more than ever and work-from-home policies are becoming more of the norm. If anything, the current wave of remote work will shift from being forced to more desirable upon workers worldwide.
For freelancers worldwide, the current situation presents a golden opportunity to not only earn extra income but to create a sustainable way of living and expand their skillsets to new markets.