Freelance — Fractured systems

Remote Workforce

As we all know, partial employment is growing across the world, this results in problems for both, governments in terms of their employment calculation, as well as for the people employed in such arrangements. One of the key issues encountered, is the concept of a fractured market for communication and interaction systems. Let’s look at the interaction (or lack thereof) between productivity tools and marketplaces.


Productivity

In recent years, a number of companies have tried to provide tools for the accurate management of time and effort by professionals, but none have been able to break ground and become the go-to tool for freelance or wage-workers. The reason for this is that the tools that are required for such a worker are multi-fold, and severely decrease in added value if they are provided in an isolated manner. Even more, these solutions went through no UX evolution. Most of the time-tracking apps are still available in the same grid/table manner, with redesigned elements.

Based on the review of the current selection of companies providing time-tracking tools, the tools themselves were mainly created to accommodate not the modern worker, but to serve the purposes of time-based service companies (e.g. design and PR agencies) and are, in the majority of cases, targeted to only that specific category of users. It is important to point out that, the environment of a typical worker has significantly changed, more tools and gadgets surround the people, distraction became a normal phenomenon with each and everybody has to conquer. The first solution to this would be to design a software which is seamlessly integrated in the environment and does not require any type if additional input, so progress can be made, and productivity can be achieved.

Job & Talent Markets

The typical Job Market is still powered by a system of the web 2.0 generation, which is nothing else than a structured listing of job offers in conventional corporate structures. The options that fully support the contractual or temporary worker are rare, not to mention niche . The majority of such platforms are based around the concept that the situation is either a temporary or a side activity, and their functionalities and systems are not tailored to support the modern freelance or contingent worker. The overall goal of such platforms is usually centred around driving the user from his current position to a position of a full-time employee.

By focusing on the gradually changing landscape of modern employment, we can observe the increase of more and more professionals going away from classic employers into contractual and freelance work. This trend is especially noticeable in first-world countries and countries with a large proportion of services in the economy. Self-employment, contractual work — provides workers and professionals with the opportunity to define their own work schedules and, in the case of developed economies, provides added flexibility for leisure activities, added monetary reward at the expense of a relatively small amount of stability.

Finally, there is no good way to quantify people’s ability to work, neither on quality or efficiency.

The very important point on the validation of people’s professional skills is still unresolved, questionable models regarding conventional educational institutions and the absence of proof of knowledge in combination with diplomas, is moving lots of employers towards broad acceptance of workers with no higher education. Finally, there is no good way to quantify people’s ability to work, neither on quality or efficiency. Productivity levels vary from individual to individual, and until now, there is really no way out. More so, with the inability to validate the user profile, these platforms either undermine the trust in themselves and their users, or implement complicated ways for professional certifications and validations more akin to background checks, a concept alien for a large portion of contingent workers

Recently, there have also been freelance-targeted social networks, for job search and recruitment of professionals, but they, as the large job-search network of before, offer no real-time and real-life opportunities to validate the potential candidate for an employer, save for a hand-picked and curated portfolio of the user himself which, again, is not a validation on its’ own and does not offer the potential employer a true overview of the user’s capabilities, forcing both parties to spend time on test projects, additional interviews, and micro-tasks.

None of the reviewed platforms support the emerging trend and need of freelancers and contingent workers to utilise their own personal networks in a full manner, and help potential employers optimise their expenses and time by offering full stack project teams to tackle larger projects, this is only achieved from the employer’s side and requires dedicated employees to manage such task forces and/or employment of outsourcing companies and agencies, therefore the payment of a premium on top of the provided services which usually far exceeds the expenses on actual project and product management.

The only institution efficiently providing an actual working environment is a registered company, with opportunities and interaction with other individuals, hierarchies and escalation management. Fractured solutions as they are now existing on the market do not cover such a broad solution. If people search for jobs, and find them in real life, they actually stay at the same office and execute their responsibilities in this environment, they should also be able to execute their job on a platform which enables them to find a job, and still stay open for any type of offers, which is meeting their criteria. Providing them with more flexibility and opportunities, as well as added fulfilment of their own personal dreams within our increasingly connected world.

Collaboration & Task management tools

Collaboration tools for communications between different work parties, enable new functionalities regarding efficient information exchange. At their core, the majority of such systems are based around a chat interface,, example: Slack.

On-demand task management systems usually are based in the cloud and provide access to invited team members for team-based task management, allocation, resource administration as well as often analytics and predictions based on existing management models and methodologies.

In the end, as sufficient these systems are, they lack key functions for cross-user-interaction, limiting their capability to provide in-depth analytics, efficiency calculation and predictions as well as connecting actual tasks with the people available and already spent on them or any budgeting or finance considerations.

We also see that all existing collaboration tools do not provide any type of live-support, through enhancement of workflows or productivity. Simply because they:

1. Do not store or track this data
2. Do not communicate the organisation’s need in it

Where we see that a need in covering the work process as a whole is more than just another feature, but a sophisticated part of a working suite.


Summary

In summary, based on all the data provided, freelancers and contingent workers are overburdened by both cost and tasks, that require them to constantly duplicate the work that they have already performed. We will see, in future chapters, how this will negatively impact their performance and leads to a lot of lost time, as well as decreased productivity on a day to day basis.

One of the reasons we made Caesium the only Freelance Marketplace that can solve all experienced questions.