According to the International Labor Organization the global working hours fell by 14% in the second quarter of 2020. This is the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs being lost. The worldwide Corona Virus pandemic has caused unprecedented financial losses to businesses and their employees worldwide. Employees were either transferred to working remotely at home or lost their jobs at a time when hiring was put on hold in most companies.
Many people had to become freelancers. According to PeoplePerHour the British technology platform for freelancers, which is one of the largest in the world, since the beginning of 2020, the number of service providers subscribed to their site has increased by 513% in Japan, by 329% in Spain and 300% in the UK.
In 2019 before the pandemic companies were already supporting the trend as remote work both traditional and freelance, became so popular that experts from the largest international freelance platform, Upwork, were predicting that in 2020, 56% of teams in the world will include remote workers. Upwork stated that both parties could see the benefits of remote work and self-employment.
At the time according to a McKinsey’s report titled “Independent Workers: Choice, Necessity, and the Giant Economy,” self-employed people are more satisfied with their jobs than traditional workers. They are more passionate about their tasks and at the same time enjoy the opportunity to work without a leader and control how much time they spend on work and rest. At the same time, on a less positive note, some of the self-employed worry that they are economically and socially more vulnerable than their office colleagues”
For companies and employees remote work significantly reduces costs in many ways, says the head of the fiscal policy of the Economic Expert Group Alexander Suslina. For example transportation costs are cut, either for the daily commute or for plane journies for meetings with global partners. Companies can avoid paying rent on large offices based in expensive central city locations.
Due to the pandemic freelancers are likely to be more in demand in the future than traditional workers concluded Upwork in its Spring 2020 Survey. Where they reported 52% of HR managers said remote work performance exceeded their expectations during the pandemic. With 62% saying that they will hire more remote workers than they previously had.
For companies the fact that the home workforce was more productive than when they were in the office meant they could turn that productive work into money. So if the companies did not increase their profits it at least helped them achieve expected profits.
Freelance working also means that the employee is only rewarded for work that has been done. Something that for medium or small businesses during the global crisis caused by the pandemic has meant vital savings can be made on the monthly wage bill a company faces.
McKinsey experts reported, in the article “Pandemic Proves – Talent Is Critical to Productivity,” that those employees who already worked from home find themselves in a more advantageous position compared to office workers. As freelancers recovered their income faster in the pandemic crisis, as during this time employers value their flexibility and temporary contracts.