By: Connor Gillivan
2019 work trends are far-flung from what they were even 10 years ago. When the Internet was born, things started changing faster and faster. Many technologies were excitedly developed around it as companies scrambled to do the “in thing” – get online.
Today, companies are using the latest online technologies to work smarter – and so is the global workforce.
It used to be that companies – employers – led the way. Now, the average Joe is taking the reins. This is a huge part of what makes 2019 work trends so different. The working population has more power over where they work and what they do. They no longer need to battle their neighbors for choice positions -- work that isn’t even what they would actually choose at all, given another option.
This is not to say that companies are on the losing end. They have a lot to gain as well from 2019 work trends, like tapping into a global talent pool without taking on any extra expense to hire the world’s finest. But there’s a lot of adjusting to be done for companies that have been built on the more traditional models.
So here is all you need to know about 2019 work trends and how companies are adjusting to take the greatest advantage of what the future of work has to offer.
Remote Freelancing is the Future of Work
The term online freelancer was scarcely heard just 10 short years ago, and still mostly frowned upon even 5 years ago. Now, remote freelancing is becoming synonymous with financial freedom rather than a fancy way of saying “out of work bum.” An online freelancer is now a legitimate entrepreneur, not the shady scammers they were thought to be for a long time.
Kudos to the trendsetters who plowed their way through skepticism to dig a nice trench for all who followed. As they fought tooth and nail to make a good name for online freelancing, they also made remote work not just an alternative to the old 9-5 at the office. They quashed the narrow-minded impression that working from home is for people who can’t get to and stay in an office every day. They made freelance work cool. They showed the working world how liberating freelancing can be.
And they showed companies how it’s actually the best of the best who can truly freelance.
Hiring freelancers is the way to go to grow a company in this age.
The Millennial Workforce
As one generation makes way for another, change always follows. The gap between the Baby Boomers and Generation X is tiny, however, compared to the notable differences between these pre-tech generations and the Millennials.
Change happened so fast starting in the late 90’s – when the Internet was born – that they even had to allow for a microgeneration in between Gen X and the Millennials. Xennials, born at the cusp of this revolution, just didn’t fit in either the Gen X or the Millennial mold.
Companies still operating on traditional models have a lot of catching up to do.
They can’t expect the youth to just follow their lead like previous generations did. It’s not going to happen. The Millennials dominate the workforce today, which means that their preferences rule.
Companies have to adapt or suffer the opportunity cost of losing the interest of an entire generation.
And we can expect even more movement away from traditionalist thinking as the Centennials begin to enter the workforce as well.
So what do Millennials want?
Career freelancing is a choice, and not an easy one to make. But it’s so attractive to so many people – particularly millennials – that it has become more popular than office work.
Millennials prefer freelance work. It embodies everything that they want in life.
They want to enjoy work, not be tied to it like a 200-pound stone. They want the freedom to not work when they know they’re not going to be productive. And they want the freedom to not necessarily break existing boundaries in the strictest sense, but to create their own boundaries and break those as they transcend their own limitations.
Companies have to adjust their mindset to accommodate Millennial thinking.
A job is not the be all and end all of life like it was perceived to be a couple of generations ago. Work isn’t even the means to an end that the Gen Xers were considered so radical for believing. It can be said that work does not even exist anymore. Millennials want to spend their time and talent on what they love. It’s about creating the life that they want. And for most, an office plays no part in this grand plan.
Companies are moving away from hiring people who look good on paper because they worked hard to graduate cum laude from a prestigious university or to hold the same job for 10 years. A good hire is not working hard to achieve. It’s both working hard and achieving as a natural consequence of attaining the freedom they’re aiming for. It may sound strange, but that’s the shift that’s already taken place.
The Rise of Freelance Talent and Hiring
As more and more people choose to be their own bosses, companies must also make a choice – adjust to the future of work or be left behind. If they choose the latter, they will be left with what remains of the viable workforce that isn’t moving with 2019 work trends. Here are a few numbers to blow your mind:
Not even the US government is sure how many people freelance, but the Freelancing in America 2018 report tells us that there were 47.6 million people in the US alone working as independent contractors that year. And 61% of the US workforce (97.6 million people) chose to freelance in 2018 over taking office jobs, 42% of them because freelancing is their best option.
The 2016 RAND data study shows that 94% of new work opportunities between 2005 to 2015 were non-traditional office-based work.
The Global Workplace Analytics statistics on telecommuting show 40% more companies offering flexible work options in 2018 than in the previous 5 years. GWA also says that “Organizations that continue to use 19th Century workplace designs and 20th Century workplace practices to do 21st Century work will not survive.”
Embracing remote work is more profitable.
The 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study says that 86% of independent contractors prefer freelance over other work options mostly because they get flexible hours, can choose what work to do, are in control of their futures, and earn more.
Only 30% of the 104 million people traditionally employed in the US are engaged at work according to a 2017 Gallup poll. The same percentage also say that work-life balance is difficult in the traditional work setting, and 51% are actively seeking change.
And the numbers supporting the freelance lifestyle are getting significantly bigger every year.
Even a cursory Google search will show you statistics that prove that the gig economy is not a passing fad. For instance, 9.1 million people in the US are called “diversified workers” (a.k.a. moonlighters, temps and freelance business owners). A solid 34% of the US workforce falls into the third category, doing gig work full time.
Freelancing is freedom. Freelancers have the flexibility to build the life of their dreams. Freelancers choose to turn down job security and stable compensation because there’s more to be had. That’s the essence of 2019 work trends.
And freelancing is a respectable pursuit with its prerequisite of much higher levels of passion, dedication and skill than traditional employment.
Companies that can wrap their minds and policies around 2019 work trends can take advantage of hiring these highly motivated rock stars of the global workforce.
Online freelancing is a notable trend that is here to stay as more and more people choose independent contract work over steady employment. It’s no longer about supplementing income or just because some people hate waking up early. It’s not about proving oneself by plugging away at a desk without complaint and doing it in a suit to boot.
It’s because in 2019, alternative work is the smart choice.
So for companies, that means the smart choice is hiring freelancers.
Being open to hiring freelancers means opening the door to a global pool of experienced talent. The world lives online now, and that’s where you’re going to find the best of the best.
Connor Gillivan, the co-founder and CMO of FreeeUp.com. He has built two companies to over $10 million in yearly sales within the eCommerce industry and is a leading voice for entrepreneurship and digital marketing. Connor's writing is regularly featured in publications such as Business2Community, and he shares his insights through business podcasts like Conscious Millionaire. He is the author of Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies. Connor lives in Denver, CO.