Gig work is booming, hybrid arrangements are all the rage, and companies are scrambling to attract workers.
By the time some businesses catch up with all these adjustments, they just might find that all the best talent has already been scooped up.
But over the course of the next few months, there will be a major opportunity for forward-thinking companies to adapt how they position the value of the workplace. Not just for full-time employees, but also for the increased number of freelance and contract workers who are looking for a nice change of pace from being stuck in a single work environment day in and day out.
Could adding flexible workspace be the key to keeping your gig workers satisfied and supercharging their performance in your office?
That just might be the answer, and we'll explain why. But let's start by covering some of the basics to lay the foundation for adding flexible workspace into your future plans.
Flexible workspace is space that can be adjusted to best suit the needs of the current user. Because it can be changed to accommodate different needs and fill a variety of requirements, flexible workspace is able to support a broad spectrum of employment categories and individual needs.
Virtual meetings and working from home have become the norm during the pandemic. But surveys show workers of all kinds — full-time employees, flex workers, freelancers, and contractors — still see the office's value.
So, if work is becoming less dependent on physical offices, does anyone even care about flexible workspace anymore?
Of course, they do. Although most people aren't interested in a scenario in which they spent the entire workweek in the office, they're looking forward to a mix of in-person and remote workdays and having a say in what that looks like. Without flexible workspace and self-service technology, traditional offices miss an opportunity to attract people back to the office and get people excited about collaborating in person.
Thanks to a mobile-first culture and continuous digital advancements, modern workers expect a certain level of efficiency and convenience these days. And employers have been slow to catch up. Late adopters may lose out on opportunities to work with talented freelancers and contractors who would rather offer their services to companies that have a more modern approach.
Many employers are catching on to the flexibility needs of today's workforce by offering all categories of workers more agency and control over where and how they work.
The gig economy is made up of "contingent workers", including freelancers, independent contractors, and consultants who are hired for temporary jobs and services. Typically, these non-permanent positions last until a project is completed or for a fixed period of time.
There are many advantages of outsourcing work to freelancers and independent workers. Here are a few reasons an organization may consider that option:
With the pandemic's impact on the economy, companies are looking to conserve capital. That means maximizing efficiency and lower operating costs. (By the way, this resource will show you how room scheduling software can impact your bottom line.)
And meanwhile, across all areas of business, leaders are being asked to do more with less. Often, it's more efficient to hire freelancers and contractors when there aren't enough resources and time to train existing employees. By outsourcing to independent workers, it frees up your internal staff to focus on the core aspects of your business — which can help drive success.
And the growth of the gig economy isn't only due to COVID-19, either. Estimates from before the pandemic show approximately 35% of the U.S. workforce was involved in the gig economy to some extent.
For most workers who fall into this category, gig work is performed in addition to their full-time positions. Typically, gig work earnings are used to supplement their income. Which is helpful, particularly in times as uncertain as these.
Not to mention, income statistics from daVinci Payments indicate gig wages and participation increased by 33% last year.
Don't expect the growth of the gig economy to slow down any time soon. In fact, it'll likely continue to grow as the future of work becomes increasingly flexible, human-focused, and adapts to new needs and expectations.
As they've wondered how to establish a work-life balance that's actually balanced, flexibility has become a driving motivation behind a shift in what's important. Globally, workers came to the conclusion that work needs a refresh, and so does the office.
After all, people feel much differently about what constitutes a great work environment. This means what worked for freelance and contract workers before the pandemic isn't necessarily going to match up with what they'll need from your workplace going forward.
One of the key outcomes of the pandemic is that people took this time to reflect on their priorities. They've been questioning the purpose of working in the office 9-5.
People are drawn to the idea of having a say in their environment, schedule, and working conditions. Perhaps that's because freelancers enjoy a more satisfying work-life balance. At least according to 70% of those surveyed, who cited a better work-life as the reason they got involved with gig working in the first place.
All that's to say: Modern workers find the non-traditional nature of gig work appealing because it affords them more independence, agency, and versatility. That's true today, and it'll continue to impact the workplace in the months and years to come.
Some workers don't have individual at-home workspace.
Consider the reality for many professionals in the gig marketplace today: They're spending more time working from home than ever before, but many don't live alone. In some cases, they have other household members or roommates who are also working from home.
And since 50% of freelancers belong to Generation Z, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it's no wonder that younger workers are yearning for a quiet space to get work done.
When there's not enough private space or a lack of privacy, it can be difficult to concentrate or engage. And if multiple people are working in the home at the same time, it might be too noisy for virtual meetings or phone calls with their clients.
But it's not just younger workers, some parents and caregivers could also benefit from the occasional trip to the office. That's supported by research from Pew Research Center in 2020, which found younger workers and working parents are struggling to stay productive and juggle competing responsibilities while working remotely.
Depending on the type of work they're doing, freelancers and independent contractors can benefit from office-based work. For example, time in the office is a great option when face time is needed.
Typically, freelance workers are hired for specific assignments or projects. Rather than an employee-employer relationship, the freelancer is providing a service for the company, their client. These workers are generally able to pick their working hours, location, and have control over how they get their work done, as long as deadlines get met.
Though freelancers often work remotely, they may need to schedule some time with your team. When facetime is needed, having a tool for finding and booking space makes it easier for freelancers to work together with members of your organization and then reserve an individual space when they need to focus.
For freelancers and independent contractors that need some time to learn the ropes or train on a particular job, it might be beneficial to allow them time in the office. Just keep in mind that flexible workspace will be needed so you can support all of the needs of these workers.
Workers' needs vary depending on the nature of the work being done. Flexible workspace makes sure that the time people spend in the office is used well because it's optimized to support a wide range of needs.
With flexible workspace, space can be shifted to accommodate meetings and individual work based on what's needed.
A lack of personal interaction and face-to-face collaboration can be isolating and in some cases, it slows down communication with flex workers. If you have to constantly chase someone down to get a response, it makes getting simple tasks more of a challenge.
In the office, people can ask a quick question, get the answers they need, and go along their way. But sometimes getting a response when communication is all online takes longer and can be a source of frustration.
When freelancers and contract workers come into the office, they don't want to feel like an outsider. By having a chance to speak face-to-face and interact one-on-one, it adds a sense of connection and comfortability that can help them perform their best.
You can use visitor management software to allow your freelancers and independent contractors a chance to use your flexible workspace. Here's how our visitor management system can help optimize the workday for your guests and streamline the visitor management process:
Today's global companies are refreshing their approach to outsourcing and contracting in a new economy. Explore more helpful guidance and learn about these changes in our recent webinar.