Empowering the Freelance Economy

Fiverr report could backfire on freelancers

Freelancers differ according to their contracts, worker status and personal work-life objectives.
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New research carried out by freelance jobs platform Fiverr could backfire on freelancers as its report indicates that work can be carried out in less time and office-based work is preferred

Almost 70% of UK workers say they could complete the same amount of work in 4 days rather than five, according to a Fiverr survey. While this stat would be ideal for salaried employees who could get the same pay regardless of days worked, those freelancers hired on a day or hourly rate would be out of pocket in such a scenario. That would especially be the case if they are juggling more than one assignment for different clients.

Freelancer surveys must paint a more accurate picture

The Fiverr survey included 2,008 UK workers and freelancers which paints a skewed perspective given salaried workers have benefits such as sick and holiday pay and pension contributions. Independent freelancers do not have these luxuries and as such The Freelance Informer suggests non-umbrella freelancers should have their wishes about workforce policies surveyed independently. Inside IR35 contractors working through umbrella companies should also be surveyed independently as they have different working statuses, payment and fee arrangements.

For example, the report reveals that from Gen Z (ages 16 – 26) to The Silent Generation (78 and older), most respondents agreed that they could complete the same amount of work in 4 days as they can in 5 days. These figures are highest among Millennials (ages 27 – 42) with 80% reportedly ‘strongly agreeing’ with this statement. What percentage of these respondents were independent freelancers? Contractors that are inside IR35 and get paid through an umbrella company?

Nearly 46% of UK workers surveyed feel offices or co-working spaces are their optimal work environment rather than working from home (21%). When breaking this down across generations, Gen X prefers the office more than any other generation (32%).

Freelancers work from home for many reasons

For those who think working ‘remotely at home’ is their optimal work environment, they feel they save time and money by not having to commute to work (66%).

Other studies have found work from work-from-home workers, especially freelancers, cut harmful emissions by more than 50%.

  • Employees who travel to the office will spend twice as much compared to their work-from-home counterparts.
  • Working from home added an average cost of £417.06 per year to energy bills, whereas the average cost of commuting was double that at £795.72 annually.

There’s also the need for a more formal wardrobe, often costing more than casual home wear. Higher childcare costs might be incurred to cover commute time. Furthermore, being physically at the office increases the likelihood of eating out – a costlier alternative to home-cooked meals. 

Llewellyn Kinch, CEO of MakeMyHouseGreen commented, “Employees who can work remotely are better off than those working in offices. However, at-home workers with renewable energy sources like solar at home stand to benefit even more, as they can offset the increased daytime energy expenses.”

Factoring in all these costs, it’s evident that office work can cost a freelancer more than double compared to remote work. There is also the loss of time due to the office commute.

Hiring companies must not treat all freelancers the same

Hiring companies should therefore keep these matters in mind when formulating the ideal candidate for the job and not lump all workers into the same boat. If the work can be carried out remotely and it means highly skilled talent is secured, then that should be factored in.

Bukki Adedapo, Head of Fiverr UK comments: “Whilst businesses are striving to get back to normality following the Covid-19 pandemic, they must recognise that flexibility remains crucial for a high-performing workforce. As Gen Z’s are expected to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, teams are becoming more diverse and as a result, businesses are finding that their workforce have far different and competing workstyle preferences.

“To truly embrace these differences, businesses need to offer flexibility in where, when and how people can work. By doing this, business leaders will see a much happier and ultimately far more productive workforce.”

Age matters

In the UK, all generations surveyed crave regularly working in person with colleagues, apart from the Baby Boom Generation (ages 59 – 77) who are most likely to want to work alone (11%). Globally, 46% of workers prefer to have no more than one meeting a day.

Overall, UK workers polled prefer in-person meetings rather than virtual meetings (44%) but there are vast differences between generations. For example, Gen X (20%) and above would prefer to not spend time on virtual meetings compared to Gen Z (7%) who are more open to virtual meetings.

Gen Z (33%) are much less likely than other generations (Gen X and above: 50%) to prefer in-person meetings. The survey revealed that 40% of Gen Z prefer to communicate via messaging platforms like texting or Slack v. all other generations (Millennials: 33%, Gen X: 25%, Baby Boom: 23%, Silent Generation: 11%).

Please share your views on this topic on social media or in the comments; just be sure to indicate which freelancer category you fall into.

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