According to a study conducted by Intuit, by the year 2020, more than 40 percent of the American workforce will be freelancers, contractors or temporary workers. On the other hand, a study from Rutgers says that roughly one in four people currently working in a freelance capacity wants to be an employee but can’t find work. So which one is it? Well, maybe it’s a bit of both. The business world today is offering opportunities for both freelancers and employees. In deciding which one is right for you, here are some of the advantages to consider:
- Receive a steady paycheck. Let’s face it, this is probably the first one that comes to mind. And it probably doesn’t need much explanation. Employees can manage their finances differently because they receive a regular paycheck.
- Get benefits including health care. Most companies offer benefits and perks to attract and retain employees. These can range from free food to auto allowances.
- Work a regular schedule. If you want a predictable schedule, being an employee can provide it. That’s not to say the schedule will never change. But it does have a predictability to it and that can be beneficial in situations like picking kids up from school or taking care of a parent.
- Have co-workers. Many freelancers will tell you not having a colleague or someone to bounce ideas off of is a downside of working on your own. Being an employee means you’re part of a team and there are benefits to a collaborative work environment.
- Get professional development. Organizations can often make regular investments in employee training and development. Employees are able to build their knowledge and skills.
- Are given rewards and recognition. Employees receive verbal feedback from customers, co-workers and even their boss. It’s also possible to get pay increases, promotions and awards that recognize excellent performance.
- Have flexibility. The number one advantage of working on your own is making your own schedule. Don’t like to get up early for work? No problem. Schedule work in the evening.
- Are their own boss. Freelancers make decisions about their work environment. In many cases, they make ALL of the decisions and that can be very appealing. (Side note: It can also be a downside …)
- Pick their own customers. Employees sometimes complain that they aren’t always working on projects that excite them. Freelancers can work with the people they like and on the projects they like. This often makes the work much more enjoyable.
- Can be more productive. Depending upon where you choose to work, your commute can be reduced to a few steps, saving time in traffic. That extra time can be spent working. Freelancers can spend less of their day doing unproductive stuff.
- Don’t have the drama factor. Speaking of unproductive stuff, I hate to say it, but with co-workers can come office politics and annoying habits. While some of that still exists with freelance assignments, it’s minimal compared to everyday office life.
- Can wear whatever they want. Yes, freelancers work in yoga pants, pajamas, whatever they feel like. It can save you big dollars in your clothing and dry cleaning budget.
As you can see there are tangible advantages to both being an employee or a freelancer. Yes, it’s true that an advantage to one person might be a disadvantage to another. That’s why the decision to choose one over the other comes down to how you like to work and the environment that makes you most productive.