We are beginning to see a cultural shift in the desire to move from “work-life balance” to “work-life integration.” This shift has been brought about by the Millennial generation and Gen Z, and has created a surge in freelancing and remote entrepreneurship.
Work-life integration is an approach that takes into account the flexibility of work hours and individual work freedom. UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business sums it up as, “an approach that creates more synergies between all areas that define life (work, home/family, community, personal well-being, and health). This approach is not done through hard boundaries between different areas of life, but instead emphasizes gentle pivots.
Some people feel boundless energy in the morning, while others are night owls. Freelancers are driven by choosing their own schedules. With the internet so ubiquitous, people can now choose when and where to work without fear of losing time to commuting to work.
This allows freelancers to plan ahead and take time off when they choose. Luckily, our mobile phones now help us organize our information better, letting us know what we have pending at all times.
According to a Freelancing in America Survey, what’s commonly found is the younger someone is, the more likely they are to desire being a freelancer. The numbers show that 29% of Baby Boomers are currently freelancing, 31% of Gen X, 40% of Millennials, and 53% of Gen Z.
The USA freelance market has grown from 3.6 million as of 2014 to a staggering 56 million in 2018. This means that as people move towards a primarily individual and independent work force, the tools and apps that exist today will need to adapt if they wish to remain relevant.
In the US alone, 47.5% of the workforce comes from small businesses and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs and small businesses often hire freelancers to help save on taxes. A freelancer often sends an invoice, records their earnings for taxes, and saves the business they pay one flat fee.
Also, by not paying employee benefits, like insurance or 401K, this helps small businesses stay alive. Finding ways to save on costs in the market also supports growth in the relationships between the two working players. This bond will only tighten when more applications consolidate functions supporting communication, payments, and cost-saving.
Another benefit to freelancers is that receiving payments is now easier than ever. Regardless of where a person lives, cryptocurrencies can transfer directly to that personal at a very small cost. The costs of converting it back into a local fiat currency is also reasonable. Companies like Kraken charge between 0% to 0.24%. Banks, on the other hand, charge upwards of several percent for cross-border transactions.
Another current trend is seen in messaging apps that provide payment options. Apps like Wechat allow you to pay users on the platform. Facebook, also recently entered the payments market by releasing Facebook Pay. However, these messaging apps still use banks for their cross-border payments, and banks often don’t consider user experience when developing applications.
Social media continues to take over as the default application experience for users. As such, adding payments options within these systems will drive a better working relationship between the users and the developers. Having these options with a well-designed layout could also save valuable time for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
The bond between freelancers and the entrepreneurs that hire them is only going to strengthen as these applications evolve. Soon, losing time shifting back and forth between applications will be a thing of the past! After all, as the old saying goes, “time is money.”