From flexibility to rising pay, independent skilled professionals have much to gain from businesses’ increasing reliance on virtual assistance.
The internet, automation and other technological innovations are reshaping the global economy, causing no shortage of displacement for companies and their employees.
But through this wave of change, one thing is clear: companies have a need for a growing variety of highly skilled workers, and they’re increasingly turning to virtual assistance — hiring independent contractors who work remotely.
For independent workers who can handle the typical trade-offs involved — namely, zero health benefits, no vacation or paid sick days — there is a growing marketplace for employment that allows for work-life balance and flexibility, valuable benefits in their own right.
Some 64% of freelance workers opt to work on a contract basis because it allows them to organize work around their life, according to a report from staff outsourcing company Kelly Services.
Rolling with the Changes
Employers are increasingly relying on virtual assistance as a way to hedge against an uncertain global economy that’s being swiftly reshaped by massive technological changes.
This strategy enables businesses to quickly bolster the effectiveness of their workforce without sharply increasing their labor costs or going through a lengthy employee search.
The bottom line is contract workers cost less money, posing less of an overhead risk for companies.
As industries adapt to the changes wrought by automation and other technological trends, their need for skilled workers in these and other emerging areas is growing — and showing no signs of slowing.
Some 65% of executives say their external workforce of freelance hires is essential for operating at full capacity and meeting demand, according to a report by MBO Partners.
Flexibility, Freedom & More
Independent contractors who work remotely enjoy many benefits. Working on a freelance basis allows hires to set their own hours, enabling them to design their schedule to fit the demands of family life.
They can also determine how long of a contract they want to sign. It could be one month or three, or for as long as it takes to complete a specific project. Independent contractors are also free to make it a one-off and move on to some other opportunity.
Virtual assistance is being embraced by many companies, who are using freelancers to fill in for permanent employees or to bolster their ranks when tackling big projects.
Increasingly, freelance workers are also being hired to do jobs remotely as companies rely more on cloud-storage services, email and online communications platforms like Slack that allow workers to collaborate in real time, regardless of how much distance separates them.
That helps reduce the company’s cost for leasing office space, computers, furniture and other expenses. Freelancers, meanwhile, get the freedom to live anywhere they choose, giving them more control over how much they spend on housing, food and other costs.
One key advantage of working remotely as an independent professional is being spared a daily commute to the office. On average, Americans spend 26.4 minutes commuting each way to work, according to the U.S. Census’ 2017 American Community Survey.
Working from home also means a lot less wear and tear on cars and clothing.
Another big draw to freelance work: The pay is getting better. Roughly 18% of U.S. freelancers earned between $75,000 and $99,999 annually last year, up from 9% in 2014, according to a report from Upwork. And some 10% earned $100,000 to $149,000, up from 5% in 2014.
Being an independent contractor can also provide more opportunity for workers to expand their skills by enabling them to work around the time they need to take university courses or certification programs.
Greater Access Through Technology
The advent of high-speed internet, cloud computing and online collaboration platforms have helped pave the way for virtual assistance in recent years.
More Americans are getting in on the action, taking on work as remote, independent workers. Some 56.7 million Americans, or more than a third of all U.S. employees, freelanced in 2018, according to a study commissioned by Upwork and the Freelancers Union. That’s a 7% increase from 2014.
A surge in companies operating websites and apps geared to connecting freelance workers with employers is making it easier for contract workers to find jobs. Among these are Upwork, Freelancer, and Zirtual, among others.
FINSYNC’s virtual community of specialists connects businesses with independent skilled professionals who provide unrivaled support for bookkeeping, accounting, human capital management, financial analysis and corporate strategy.
Finding clients through a network like FINSYNC makes it easy for skilled professionals to connect with high-quality employers, saving significant time and outreach efforts to land valuable jobs. The best part? It’s free for both parties to join the network and see if they find the right fit.