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Ever consider to start up as a freelancer?

 – well, you are not the first, actually, 35% of the U.S. workforce are now freelancers and organisations need to rise to the challenges it brings.

It’s written in the stars, the future is not to own anything, we have seen it with cars, music, television etc. and apparently, it is also coming to organisations who are owning/employing less of its workforce in the future.

On that note, we see the rising of Gig-/on-demand-/freelance economy all terms of the same tendency more and more people working independently (either by choice or necessity).

Fact: Gig Economy

A gig economy is one where workers are looking for short-term temporary work as independent contractors rather than take on full-time work.
Frederik Lysgaard Vind, Henley MBA, The future of work

Freelancer by choice or necessity

We might not feel the development just as much in the Nordics as they do in other parts of the world, but just to give you a feeling of the development takes a grasp of this:

A recent released large-scale U.S. study showed that Freelance Economy Grew to 55 Million Americans in 2016, equal to 35% of Total U.S. Workforce. Further with the signs that Trump is showing it seems that the life as a freelancer will be even simpler in the U.S. in the future.

(Study on the freelance economy in the U.S.)

McKinsey Global Institute surveyed +8,000 respondents across Europe and the U.S.. The respondents were asked about salary, professional satisfaction and aspirations for work in the future.

Frederik Lysgaard Vind, Henley MBA, Independent workers

(McKinsey Global Institute)

Whether it is by choice or necessity all new freelancers that I have talked have some of the same feelings and thoughts, which also appears in this interview with a freelancer in the Guardian.

What strikes me is that it is some of the same thoughts that you hear from prisoners after being released – freedom is not always an easy thing to handle.

(Freelancers on the stress of self-employment)

World Economic Forum (WEF) has this issued as the third biggest risk in 2017

WEF recently released their Global Risk report where they identify the 5 primary risk factors. Surprisingly “Managing Technological Disruption” came in third due to the impact that it will have on the labour market. It mentions that almost 50% of jobs at risk, the nature of jobs are being changed.

I agree to that the changes are real, and that the opportunity new technologies are offering enables better opportunities for Freelancers f.ex. mobility, match making platforms, communication etc. I do not agree that we can as simple as WEF put it as a risk, I of cause colored by having actively chosen to be a freelancer and experience some of the many opportunities that it brings.

Frederik Lysgaard Vind, Henley MBA, Gig Economy

Twitter: Link til Laila Pawlaks tweet

Simone de Beauvoir wrote in Art, Science, Freedom, Busyness and Happiness is our Moral Obligation that

it must not be forgotten that there is a concrete bond between freedom and existence”

(Happiness is Our Moral Obligation)

 

Technology is the enabler of Gig economy

One of the biggest hurdles when starting as a freelancer are that you not only has to be great at what you do, you also need to be a great salesman, do admin work and all the other stuff that comes along with running a business.

Technology is a great enabler on this matter. For one thing, new intuitive ERP systems have been developed like Dinero.dk and billy.dk but also because new platforms are arising that are connecting freelancers to assignments and here be driving sales. A couple of the ones who have already made a footprint in the market are Fiverr.com and Upwork.com, and there are many more on the way.

Just last week Worksome.dks beta version was launched in Denmark, which is kind of a matchmaking site for freelancer and companies, where you can post a project, find a freelancer and pay the freelancer for the assignment through the site, a solution that I predict will have a great future.

Pressure on perception of work and organisational structures

The transformation will change how we perceive work and profession on an individual level as well as how organisations perceive their internal structures. Some obvious changes are that if more people are joining the gig economy, and organisations wants top talents, they need to work out ways to work more effectively with freelancers.

A natural cause is, therefore, the raising demands for a professional HR function as people will be hired and let go more rapidly, onboarding need to be taken seriously and to be handle faster, as well as new strategies for engagement and performance management, and training will need to be developed.

To follow up on this we also see employees shifting or being let go more often, the days where you ticked in at 8 in the morning and out 65 years old are over. People are no longer married to the organisation or the organisation’s values and culture but more to their field of work and their own personal beliefs and values.

Fact: Organisation

Organisations at the words meaning, coming from organ…an entity comprising multiple people, such as an institution or an association, that has a collective goal and is linked to an external environment…The word is derived from the Greek word organon, which means “organ” (Wikipedia). The definition mentions nothing about the ownership or contractual relation, the only thing is a collective goal linked to an external environment. But the social constructions that most organisations is driven by today is quite far from able to conduct with the rising Gig economy.

Transformation to Gig economy

A bit back the only one who looked for “gigs” where musicians, and for the rest of us it was all about finding a real job with a stable salary with great holiday schemes and a great work-life balance.

Lately, it has become popular to be entrepreneurial and do a startup and taking the risk, thriving for bigger things and revolutionising the world, and work-life balance has become a theory of the past, we now want to be flexible. Now we see Gig-economy rising where we choose life’ working gigs valuing freedom, creativity and innovation among other.

How organisations can prepare for the Gig economy

I recently came across an interesting framework for linking people and business at a Henley MBA course on managing people. Overall there were listed three frameworks:

  • ‘best practice’
  • ‘best fit’
  • ‘resource-based’

What got my attention was the resource-based approach, which gives a great perspective on how to prepare your organisation for the future of work, and how to build a more freelance-friendly organisation.

(Resource-based)

It builds on an inside-out perspective, giving the methods to assess your organisation on uniqueness and value creation and thereby enabling you to look strategic on where it would be sound to hire your own people (if possible) and where to contract with freelancers and partners, illustrated in the following two-by-two:

The resource based approach, Frederik Lysgaard Vind, Henley MBA

In The “resource based” approach competitive advantage is underpinned by the resources and activities (core competencies) of specific organisations.

A quick judgement by looking at the two-by-two would be to say, that it is important to hire in the people that are unique and ad proper value to your organisation.

I recommend: That you as an individual give reel thoughts to whether you thrive as an employee or would gain more value from being independent, my experience is that step in or out of an organisation are not as big in real life as It feels in thought.

If you realise that you belong as an employee I suggest that you take an active part in raising the organisation so that you don’t miss out on the opportunities that the Gig economy brings.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, share or comment on my personal stories.

 Stay tuned for my next blog post, which I expect will be on engagement, performance and training.

Further readings:

By: Frederik Lysgaard Vind

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