As the pandemic has subsided, many of us are feeling a sense of relief. But with it comes confusion about how to best proceed: what’s an appropriate way for someone going back to work after being out so long?
We have seen that many companies are trying new ways of managing their employees and deciding whether or not they want them onsite during certain times every day–or just having everyone communicate remotely via video chat software such as Zoom. Not surprisingly, our default setting has shifted. Earlier, we needed a good reason for taking a day off, but tables have turned, and now employees expect someone else to explain why they can’t stay at home instead – even though many are already working remotely regularly.
While it’s obvious that the office/home hybrid is here to stay, questions still need answering in both the short-term and medium-term, like who decides how much work should be done at home? What are some implications if someone opts not to come into office spaces on a regular basis (and why would they)?
Why Look At The Freelancers?
The traditional office-bound lifestyle is fast disappearing, and freelancers are on the rise. These professionals often work in an environment with little or no interruptions – they can be found at their desks as well: lawyers, IT developers, project managers, etcetera all fall into this category!
There have been dramatic changes in the way people view freelance work. In fact, it is now recognized as a legitimate option among professionals and clients who want to switch from 9-to-5 jobs or not having any form of employment at all!
And that makes them experts on remote working, and their experience can be used to design a perfect hybrid environment for employees, both working from home and office. Let’s look at some of the findings that you can use for the progress of your business.
Freelancer Workers Have High Levels Of Satisfaction With Their Work.
While many consultants are happy with their work, it is not uncommon for them to have a greater impact when they’re self-employed. A recent survey of independent consultants found that 78% were either extremely or somewhat satisfied. Much of this satisfaction comes from a sense of having a greater impact with clients – 92% say they are giving better value for money for clients, and two-thirds say their proposals are more likely to be implemented now compared to when they were employed.
Freelance workers have greater control over what they do as they only sign up for the task where they have experience and personal motivation to do a great job. But this higher level of decision-making also spills over into how freelancers spend their day, with some wanting mentorship or training roles while others just want full rein on one specific type of task (i.e., designing cars). The freedom to choose is enough reason alone why so many people love being self-employed!
Are there any downsides to being an independent consultant?
The lack of financial security is an obvious concern for many consultants. However, this group also tends to be more satisfied with their job than those who are employed because they rank flexibility and personal achievement highly on a list that doesn’t have much room left over after considering these two major factors- which may explain why so few respondents want jobs where there’s no chance at changing careers or gaining recognition within the company itself (versus just being recognized externally).
Implications for the new hybrid workplace
So what does this mean for an employer? The first point is to embrace these alternative types of contractual arrangements. We expect that many more workers will be endeavoring flexible working arrangements, and such a shift can also be profitable for employers who want to reduce their fixed cost base.
Does it create difficulties to have people in different types of contractual relationships working together? It depends on the approach you take. In a survey, when spoken to a respondent, it was noted despite the fact that his project team was spread across three continents and included salaried employees, contractors, and consultants. However, they performed extremely well as a unit and successfully achieved the desired goal without meeting face-to-face. It requires an open mindset.
The second point. Many studies have been conducted over the last 18 months, looking at the productivity and motivation of employees in lockdown. They showed unsurprisingly that people like being given higher levels of discretion when it comes to their working hours; they are mostly more productive too! As such, you should seek creative ways on how to give your staff some freedom with what days/times work best for them so as not only does this benefit those who choose this type of arrangement but also helps increase company morale overall through increased choice.
As we advance, it’s important to clarify expectations on both sides of the aisle. As our survey indicated, freelancers explicitly make choices about control and flexibility over their careers as they go into more hybrid work arrangements while employed workers need to be prepared for similar sorts of choice if one chooses remote working options; this includes managing physical location (home or office) with regards financial security and status/recognition within an organization.
In our view, the comparison with freelance workers can be a valuable framing device to paint a picture of what arrangements people have in their jobs. You may well open up some possibilities for those working from home and shift your expectations accordingly on both sides!
Freelancers are often underrepresented in the workforce, but their experiences can help employers understand how to make sure they’re treated fairly. Freelancing gives many people an opportunity for greater job flexibility and creative independence than other types of employment offer – this is why insight into these issues should be helpful!