The pandemic was the touchpaper that sparked people everywhere to reassess their priorities. I believe this reassessment will continue, but I think that freelancing opens the door for these priorities to find greater balance. Freelancing has become a vocational choice, and an individual’s worth as a member of a team or an organisation is becoming more about the many and varied opportunities they have had during their career – something that freelancing enables in abundance – rather than long-standing tenure.
What is your opinion on the downsides of the freelance economy – how do you ensure proper working conditions and protection?
I believe this revolves around education and changing attitudes to the future of work. Over the years the perception of freelancing has changed dramatically. When I first started my career in the early nineties, engaging a freelancer might be seen as a last resort or the person you employed when other preferred options were unavailable. But these days freelancers have become an organisation’s first choice because of the breadth of experience and expertise they can bring to a particular project – i.e. from all the other engagements they’ve had.
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However, what has failed to occur is a truly bespoke approach to regulations and policy that both acknowledge and respond to a new work paradigm that is far outpacing any other labour market trend. So, I believe there is still some way to go in making sure that freelancers feel adequately protected in the labour market like their permanent employee counterparts.
How will it evolve?
My vision for the future of the workplace is that there are a greater number of people working in an agile setting and that those people can feel that the wider labour market, government policy, and economic infrastructure has adequately caught up with people’s desire for freedom and flexibility in how they choose to work and excel in their careers.