According to recent research, the number of United Kingdom employees now operating in freelance roles has nearly doubled since 2008. To put this into context, two million Brits are now in the freelance space, and the workforces of tech giants like Google and ASOS are now 50 percent freelancers. At last count, the freelance industry was worth a whopping £119 billion per year to the UK economy.
And while the increase in the number of UK freelancers is significant, it pales in comparison to what is brewing in the United States. Another recent piece of research has stated that by 2027, over half of workers will be operating on a freelance basis. If such statistics turn into a reality, then the traditional working environment could soon be changed forever.
Employees will no longer work normal business hours, and they will not be required to work out of the company office. They’ll work from wherever they are, whenever it is convenient for them. They will be accountable not simply for showing up to the office but instead for the work that they accomplish. As the way employees like to work continues to change, businesses must ensure they have the tools and technology at their disposal to make the most of this growing trend.
Enable Greater Productivity with Technology
For hundreds of years, businesses have relied on full-time salaried employees to get the job done, so this transition to hiring freelance workers is sure to be disruptive. There was a time when recruiting freelancers was seen as a hindrance to business activity; why hire someone who works remotely part-time when you can have someone in the office on a daily basis? Unfortunately, this mindset means that businesses miss out on a wealth of talent.
In today’s sophisticated landscape, there is no reason why businesses should not be willing to take the risk of hiring freelancers, simply because of the inability to engage and collaborate with them like you would with an office-based colleague. A host of tools now exist to enable collaboration and communication no matter the location, making it easier than ever to work with talented people all over the globe. For example:
- Platforms like Workplace by Facebook provide employees the ability to message colleagues in real time, build workgroups, share content, and host meetings, all in a user-friendly design.
- Instant messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams allow people to chat in real time, share ideas with entire groups, and easily send documents.
- Hubs such as OneDrive and Google Drive allow for live document collaboration, making it possible for multiple team members to write and edit spreadsheets and presentations at the same time.
- Video conferencing tools like BlueJeans Meetings turns any device into an enterprise-grade conferencing system with HD quality and clear audio, making it possible to speak face-to-face with the click of a button.
Become One Team Through Greater Collaboration
There is no denying that there are hundreds of tools available to bring employees closer together. Whether you want a messaging platform, a video conferencing tool, or an entire collaboration platform, there is a product available for you and your team. That said, implementing a wide variety of communications platforms can bring its own problems with regard to interoperability and integration capabilities.
In order to ensure that freelancers (and the full-time employees they are working with) experience a productive working environment, the tools should integrate seamlessly. Here at BlueJeans, we have partnered with Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Microsoft Teams and more to provide a meetings platform for the modern workplace—one that integrates with the tools people use every day. By integrating with these tools, employees can move from their chat platform to a video meeting with a simple command.
Easy collaboration amongst teams ensures that freelancers can quickly become an integral part of the business, leading to greater productivity across the organization. With video conferencing and other collaboration tools, freelancers and employees alike enjoy a better working environment, which maximizes the ROI of the freelancer-led model.