It’s no surprise that we’re pretty enthusiastic about the future of the gig economy over here. Honestly, we feel it’s changing business for the better. Plus, it’s offering everyone involved more opportunities to find work that suits their talents. But, we also understand that not everyone might’ve received the memo that the times are changing; understandably so, many people are reticent to leave their cushy (but stable) jobs in order to try to find greener freelancing pastures. To help put things into perspective, we’ll let you in the main benefits of the gig economy for workers.
And really, the gig economy revolution is not something that’s far off into the future; it’s an ongoing, current process that’s only picking up speed. In fact, at the time of writing, gig workers—freelancers and part-timers—make up over half of the US workforce. By 2030, estimates say that they might go up to as far as 80%!
Another sobering statistic? The entire gig workforce earned a combined $1.7 trillion in 2020, an increase from the $1.2 trillion in pre-pandemic 2019. If anything, it seems that COVID-19 has sped up the adoption of remote work and freelancing. And, it seems we’re probably never going back to the way things were.
Since at Bunny Studio we know a thing or three about building remotely, we thought we’d give it our best shot at letting you know what’s up. Whether you’re looking to hire, or looking to make your mark in this rapidly emerging market, we’re here for you.
The Gig Economy
Before we get into the benefits of the gig economy for workers, we thought we’d recap a bit. After all, it’s not like everyone’s well-versed in all of this newfangled, internet-economy terminology. Things may seem a little confusing at first, but that’s what we’re here for! Let’s dive right into it.
The gig economy is all about an emerging new way to relate to work, both for workers and potential employers. It’s a decentralized way of doing business, with flexible schedules, a reliance on freelancers vs the typical 9-5 arrangements, and a focus on informal, or shorter-term contracts and job agreements. Therefore, the main characteristic of this type of work is that it’s performed on a short-term, per-job—or rather, per-GIG—basis.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that all of the jobs in the gig economy are super short-term, or easy. In essence, any job that an employee can do, a gig worker can do just as well, and with the same productivity and efficiency. But, more often than not gig jobs operate on shorter contracts, or with the expectation that each worker will be paid per completed task, rather than on an ongoing basis. Also, workers are not bound by employer/employee rules and can work for multiple clients, as long as there are no conflicts of interest. Of course, more on that below.
Legal and Government Definitions
Things can also get a bit confusing with all of the legalese that crops up around these things. In our article about “Gig Worker Basics,” we elaborate:
Indeed, gig workers or independent contractors fall under their own classification by governments. In contrast to full-time employees, they don’t have access to benefits like paid vacation time, health and retirement plans, or having their taxes deducted automatically. Whereas employees have to fill out W-2 to have their taxes deducted, a gig worker has to fill a 1099 form every year to pay their own taxes. “Full-time freelancers,” or “permalance” workers, may have to fill out a W-9 form.
Does this mean the typical gig worker is not under contract? Quite the contrary, in fact; most gig workers are working either under short or long-term contracts. But, these contracts generally specify that there is no employer-employee relationship. Thus, gig workers don’t receive the typical benefits associated with long-term employment, and both sides can terminate the professional relationship at any time.
Now, if you’re thinking about the benefits of the gig economy for workers, this may be starting to look grim. And yes, especially if you’re used to paid vacation time and other forms of compensation, this can look like a downgrade. But bear with us, because things are going to get much better, especially if you hate non-flexible work hours and lengthy commutes. We just thought we’d get the “bad” out the way and get on with the good, of which there’s plenty.
Benefits of the Gig Economy for Workers
Flexibility is Queen
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been stuck in traffic while listening to the radio on what seems like an endless loop. And yup, not everyone is lucky enough to live close enough to their place of work that commuting becomes a non-issue. In our minds, one of the main benefits of the gig economy for workers is for them to be able to play the game of work according to their rules.
What does this mean, in short? First, it means that they can engage with as much work, or as little as they deem fit (as long as the numbers add up). Second, that they can do work for as many clients as they need. Third, and last, gig workers can set their own schedules and approach work in a way that makes sense to them.
Truly, while this is not a cure-all, it’s definitely a big quality-of-life improvement. Therefore, it’s no surprise that more and more people are migrating to the gig economy. With the pandemic, it’s telling that even more gig workers who also had full-time employments left their jobs to freelance 24/7. We live in a brave new world, and millennials especially want to do things their way, and their way alone.
You could consider this an addition to the previous point. Companies are finding that it’s easier, cheaper, and even more effective to work with remote teams. Moreover, many of these teams employ or are made up entirely of, gig economy workers. You could say that one of the main benefits of the gig economy for workers lies precisely here.
Clearly, workers used to be limited by the gigs that were available in their location. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, and now they have access to a globalized market. In truth, this is a boon both for employers and workers, as they can both access the very best available, and not just what’s close by. And, this is something good especially for workers in developing nations; what was once gated off is freely available to anyone with the time, skills, and inclination to pursue it.
Furthermore, working remotely saves time, effort, and money for everyone involved. This leads us neatly to our following point.
Improved Work/Life Balance and Better Productivity
Overwhelmingly, people who work in remote, distributed teams, and are part of the gig economy enjoy a much-improved work/life balance. Added to this, they become even more productive than they typically are while sitting in an office. This happens mainly because they are able to do more work in less time — effectively, they’re making smarter, better use of their time. After, they can spend the rest of their time doing what they want. And, even more so, they can spend it doing it wherever they want, due to the perks of working remotely. It doesn’t matter whether you’re living on a quaint mountain farm or in the middle of a city, as long as you’ve got reliable Wi-Fi.
Not Stuck with Just One Employer
Gig workers like to keep their options open. And truly, one of the benefits of the gig economy for workers is to have a tremendous selection of clients to work with. Don’t like one? Then there’s no obligation to keep working for them forever. Have a really good main client but want to supplement your income? No problem at all!
In fact, the gig economy encourages a variety of work with multiple clients. As a result, it’s no surprise that gig workers have a greater chance to polish their skills and increase their abilities; sticking with one type of job is all well and good, but nothing brings out potential like variety. Moreover, having a variety of clients increases possible revenue streams by… well, as much as the gig worker is willing to work.
While it’s true that being a gig worker is riskier than traditional employment, that’s not the end of the discussion. In fact, many gig workers, millennials especially, would beg to disagree with that established notion. According to GoRemotely, over 50% of gig workers felt more financially secure in 2019
Financial security is one of the deciding factors in many scenarios. Gig economy statistics show that over half of the freelancers feel more secure in their finances than they would if they were doing more traditional jobs.
This could be because they can choose between work projects and determine their own rates.
If anything, with the post-pandemic boom, this number could be trending way, way upward.
A Bright Future
The gig economy will continue to create plenty of exciting opportunities for companies and workers alike. At Bunny Studio, we’ll continue sharing our enthusiasm, and continue making the benefits of the gig economy for workers even clearer. It’s our hope that, in the near future, everyone will be able to experience the pleasures of flexible, remote work, the ability to work at their own pace and enjoy a much better work/life balance.
Meanwhile, we hope that you will continue to count on us for the best in freelance creative solutions. Hit us up if you need anything, and be prepared to be wowed by fast, high-quality results like no other!