Is the Future of Work Freelance?
Author Jessica Swanepoel  | 

A lot of people in the workforce complain about not getting to work on projects they want, not having support from management, not getting paid enough, or feeling undervalued in their organisation. Freelancing can offer a solution to these issues and take control of your career.

A 2022 report by Konnect Insights [1] claims that freelancing is the newest trend among Gen Z, ‘’Gen Z is the first generation to come of age in a world where freelance work is a viable option. According to data from UpWork, a freelancing website, over 50% of Gen Z members have freelanced in some form, compared to 36% of millennials and just 11% of Baby Boomers.’’ In a Forbes report [2] data suggest that 6 in 10 workers will be independent or will have worked independently at some point in their professional careers by 2027.

Businesses can prepare for this by reviewing and updating their company culture, values, processes, and contracts to reflect this shift. Becoming aware of the advantages of flexible working can make for a more agile business and an understanding that potential employees respond better to company values, rather than culture can change your approach for the better and garner more success.

Entering the age where remote work is the ‘new norm’ we have seen the scale of disruption to how businesses work and operate. However, increasingly people are realising that they can’t be fully remote because relationships need to be built face in order to feel connected and supported. This has pushed HR to invest more time and effort into new hires during the onboarding process, but they often fail to build the same meaningful relationship with their freelancers. Many businesses are quick to judge the effectiveness of freelancers due to their failure to onboard them sufficiently, which often leads to them leaving their contract early, producing unsatisfactory work, or refusing to extend the contract to work on other projects.

If companies invest more time and effort and follow the same processes they do with new full-time hires, they can build stronger relationships with their freelancers, leading to better results. In a 2005 study by Professor Patricia Sias, [3] it was found that ‘’Employees who are satisfied with the overall quality of their workplace relationships are likely to be more attached to the organisation.’’ Neglecting freelancers is a vital flaw we are seeing in the workplace, as freelance work continues to rise, so will your business’s need for them. This of course goes both ways, as when a freelancer feels more connected to your business the more invested, they will be to deliver high-quality work and continue to work on more projects.

In a study by the Harvard Business Review [4], they found when asking freelancers what they want from their clients that 96% said ‘value my work’, 89% said ‘allow me to have control over my schedule’, and 88% said ‘allow me control over my work’. ‘’Treat me as part of the team came in fourth. While freelancers value their autonomy, they are still looking for support services and administrative help. Instead of treating your freelancers as outsiders, embrace them into your business so that they can bring the much-needed talent you needed in the first place.


Freelancing – The Newest Trend Among Gen-Z. ( [1]

The Future Of Work Is Independent: Six Ways Today’s Businesses Can Prepare ( [2]

Sias.P. (2005). Workplace relationship quality and employee information experiences. ‘Communication Studies’. 56,375-395. [3]

Your Company Needs Independent Workers ( [4]