The term ‘workspace’ has undergone several generational shifts as people are beginning to adapt to different work environments. Last year, it was recorded that more than half of employees have flexible working arrangements in their current role. The change from a permanent office set up to making independent workplace plans has brought doubt since COVID as to whether offices are truly necessary in a modern working world. 

Workplaces have begun to have a less conventional setting as more employees are beginning to see the benefits of having flexibility in their schedules, and hybrid working has increased as an option. A survey conducted by Travelperk showed that 40% of companies now offer hybrid to employees, showcasing the shift into a new norm for today’s working conditions. But it was those who’ve always hot desked that have shed light on the benefits of alternative workspaces. 

Freelancers have become one of the most popular demonstrators of modern-day working. Although money motivation is still a prominent factor, the concept of having freedom while making a living has broken through to be more desirable to many. 

The Rise of Freelancers

With over 2 million freelancers in the UK, the rise in demand for freelance workers is growing, with more industries becoming in need of this new type of employee. Certain freelancers are becoming more in demand than others.

 A study conducted by Moneysupermarket broke down the top list of sectors for freelancing, with the top 3 being: 

  1. Business Support (22%)
  2. Design (20%) 
  3. Writing and Translation (17%)

Shifting from more creative sectors into business support shows that there’s been an increase in the way freelancers are viewed as valuable by other areas. Over 70% of white-collar workers are now working remotely in some capacity, showing that although freelancing has become more popular in creative fields, it’s widespread in more corporate settings.  

One significant turning point for freelancers becoming the prime example of successful hybrid working, was the introduction to ‘work-from-home’ policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.  After the initial lockdown in the UK, nearly half of the employed population was reported to be working from home, a major increase from the approximately 5% recorded in 2019. 

Customer Experience and Remote Working

Freelancers often have an array of experience which means that they can help to make solutions that resonate better with a bigger customer base. This results in products that not only meet but exceed customer expectations and can meet the needs of more customers. 

How Gig CX Has Been Affected

But the benefits of remote working don’t stop there. The demand for Gig customer experience (Gig CX) has grown enormously with the normalisation of remote working. The opportunities that have been opened to ‘gig workers’ means CX can be sourced without any geographical limits. With business owners describing it as ‘the third wave’ for CX and theorising “working from home will merge with a gig approach using Gig CX platforms”, companies are beginning to see this as a new beginning for customer experience. 

Remote working hasn’t just affected office layouts across the world, but the way customers are now managed. Due to the new realm of opportunities, businesses now have access to in online talent pools for jobs. They can find new innovative ways of helping customers while meeting expectations of their employees.  The ripple effect of diverse collaboration is evident in the development of products and services. The UKCSI released data on the customer satisfaction level in July 2021. It exceeded those of 2020 and pointed to the fact that satisfaction with complaint handling had reached its all-time high. 

Employee Experience in the Deskless Era

When the concept of working from home either full or part-time was introduced, it was a novelty for many who were used to the same work setting for as long as their career started. Now, deskless workers make up 80% of the global workforce. The newfound benefits of remote working, much like freelancers have, have been widely welcomed. 

In February 2022, a significant majority (78%) of people who engaged in remote work acknowledged that it contributed to an enhanced work-life balance. Additionally, half of them found that tasks were completed more efficiently (52%). Because of the time saved on aspects like commuting, many found themselves having extra time to delegate, whether it’s for themselves or work related. Thus, this has always been why freelancers have been able to successfully create their own portfolio while keeping their life in balance too. 

Out of the freelancers surveyed, 50% stated that, due to personal circumstances, they were unable to work for a conventional employer. However, freelancing provides them with the flexibility they require. Other answers showed that it allowed them to be better caregivers to their family and allowed them to prioritise their physical and mental health. 

Predictions for Deskless Working in 2024

It’s evident that the adoption of deskless working has become incredibly successful. Those who wish to break their work routine and develop another that’s more individualistic are advocating for it to stay for 2024. Despite this, there’s been a decrease in the amount of people working from home full time. 

Only 10% of hybrid workers want to return to a fully remote work layout, which was mandatory during the pandemic. But this doesn’t mean that there is immense desire to return to in-office working indefinitely. It’s been predicted by others that workers will continue to value lifestyle enhancements over pay increases and are still becoming more motivated by freedom than money. This means that despite most employers offering hybrid working method, this percentage is only going to increase and become the standard offering for any job role. 

It’s also been predicted that the number of freelancers is set to reach a record high. The proliferation of gig marketplaces will allow more freelancers to find specialised platforms that cater to their specific skills, ultimately boosting their client base. A growing number of gig workers are actively seeking efficient business management solutions. It’s predicted there’ll be an increase in ongoing innovation in tools and platforms dedicated to streamlining the administrative facets of freelancing. These advancements aim to empower freelancers to concentrate on their primary work, ultimately boosting productivity and job satisfaction.

Final thoughts

The introduction to deskless working from freelancers has revolutionised the way we succeed in our careers. Hybrid and remote working, although not adopted by everyone, has allowed for tremendous improvements in sectors across the world. With more employees being able to prioritise their time on their lifestyle, they’re able to maintain a healthy work balance. Freelancing has been one of the most influential aspects of modern working and is predicted to continue to do so. 

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