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The Future of Freelance

Today, more and more individuals and companies are embracing freelancing as a viable option for work. Whether you want to take more control of your professional life or integrate freelancers into your company’s workforce, it’s becoming more than just a trend.

With over a third of the U.S. workforce already freelancing, this group will only continue to grow. With this in mind, what can freelancers and companies expect in the future?

On Demand Labor
With a larger pool of freelancers to choose from, companies (both large and small) will choose specialists for specific tasks and projects when they are needed. Flexibility will allow these companies to operate leaner, no matter the size of the organization. This will undoubtedly look much more attractive than investing time and money into vetting potential hires to bring aboard full-time.

No More 9–5
It’s no secret that successful freelancers are able to customize their own day-to-day schedule. With the acceptance of freelance culture comes the acceptance of a more fluid workday. Since companies will continue to embrace freelance talent, they will also inevitably embrace flexibility in both work hours and where the work takes place. Customers and clients are also accepting freelance collaboration, which means they will keep flexibility in mind when vetting potential companies.

Distributed Workforce
Thanks to technological development and this surge in freelancing, companies will no longer remain static within four walls. They will have to invest in internal processes and systems that cater to collaborating with people from across time zones. Along with this internal investment, companies will have to become more creative and empathetic when considering incentives and benefits. Remote working will become a standard and success will be tracked based on progress made versus hours clocked.

More Diverse Teams
With this distributed workforce will also come more diversity within teams. Since companies won’t be limited to potential employees in their geographic location, they will be able to tap into freelancers from all over the world. These freelancers will come from different backgrounds and cultures and will bring their unique experience and perspective when solving the problems of their companies and clients.

The Fall of Agencies
This may seem a bit extreme, but the brick-and-mortar agency will eventually become an idea of the past. With the rise and sustaining of freelance culture comes freelance collaboration. Freelance designers will partner with freelance developers, and they will both collaborate with freelance writers and photographers. Eventually, this fluid network of freelancers will steal agency market share because they will offer the same quality of service for a fraction of the cost (no expenses tied to a physical overhead).

College Evolved
Since the purpose of college has always been to prepare students for the “real world,” they will ultimately have to adapt their curricula to address entering the freelance workforce. Instead of teaching skills that embrace entry level, full-time positions, colleges and universities will emphasize entrepreneurial concepts like positioning your skill set and interdisciplinary collaboration with other freelancers. The standard 4-year commitment will also be replaced with a more customized format, depending on the desired skills. Finally, instead of declaring a static major, students will utilize technology in order to connect with mentors who will help create a flexible curriculum that evolves with them.

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