Whether it’s because jobs aren’t paying enough or there aren’t enough to go around, more and more people are working for themselves and abandoning the 9-5 to join the gig economy. The number of remote workers going freelance has exploded in recent years, even before the pandemic. The idea of the gig economy goes back to the introduction of temporary and seasonal workers, with the modern iteration taking it even further with subcontracting and jobs that only last a few hours.
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The Rise of the Gig Economy
While the gig economy isn’t anything new, it only became incredibly popular in recent years. The pandemic only made things more enticing as many started working from home or finding themselves stuck looking for work.
The modern gig economy as we know it goes back to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Many traditional businesses were hit hard by the crisis, forever changing the face of work. More people began freelancing and doing contract work to survive the crisis at a time it was almost impossible to get a “real” job.
The more people worked from home the more they realised they liked it. More people were already working from home before the pandemic. An estimated 55 million Americans, roughly a third of the workforce, were remote workers by 2017.
Why is the Gig Economy Booming?
There are two major reasons why people are shifting to the gig economy:
1. Changing Preferences
Most people don’t find the idea of the 9-5 workday as appealing as they used to, especially younger people. Traditional employment isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. More people want jobs that provide flexibility, letting them work to their own schedules. They don’t want to be stuck in an office for eight hours a day every day. This need is encouraging people to join the gig economy.
For many young people, their dream job is working on their computer while getting to travel the world. Some gig economy workers work for several companies at once. They work from coffee shops, from libraries, from the back of their RV, or anywhere else they care to do it. It’s easy to see the appeal.
2. The Internet
None of this would have been possible without the internet. Remote workers are all connected to the internet, which has changed how they live and work. It’s now possible to earn a living anywhere without having to report to a physical location like an office. This idea was unimaginable just 50 years ago. The internet means we aren’t tied to our offices – and we don’t have to be.
About a third of people currently working from home due to the pandemic have said they would consider leaving their job if they had to return to the office when it was safe. Those people could be on the verge of joining the gig economy.
Remote work has never been so accessible or so appealing. It’s no surprise business is booming for freelancers.