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Freelance work during the pandemic: Despite economic uncertainties, freelancers are happy

Freelance work during the pandemic: Despite economic uncertainties, freelancers are happy
04 June 2020

According to the research conducted by Rimuut, a finance company founded by Esen Bulut and Mert Bulut and a 2017 ITU Core initiative providing innovative solutions for individual professionals and companies in the freelance work order with independent professionals from 32 countries, the COVID-19 pandemic affects the work order of freelancers, their income expectation and motivation. Despite economic concerns, a flexible and independent working model continues to be preferred.


*** This release is originally published in Turkish.
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ISTANBUL (TR) - The coronavirus pandemic, which the world is struggling with, has caused the balances to change in the business world as in many other fields. As part of the social isolation measures taken, thousands of companies around the world experienced the remote working model. Offering innovative solutions for individual professionals and companies in the freelance working model, Rimuut, a finance company, conducted a research with the participation of thousands of freelancers from 32 countries in order to shed light on the opinions of independent professionals about freelance work in the “new normal”.

According to the research findings of Rimuut, revenues of 44% of freelancers decreased. One of every 3 independent professionals thinks that they may need to lower their service costs in order to find a job in a new competitive environment. Stating that the working hours are prolonged despite the increase in workloads, the participants reveal that the pandemic also affects their daily work patterns.

Decline in revenue seen most in creative areas

According to the data of Rimuut, in addition to 44% of people who lost their income during the pandemic period, one of every 2 independent professionals states that they foreseen a decrease in their income in the coming months. Design and creative are at the top of the service areas with lost revenue. This area is followed by consultancy with 31%, sales and marketing with 26%, and translation services with 22%.

The geographical distribution of revenue loss freelancers living in Turkey with 37% and 35% of the EU countries come forward. In addition to all these, it is seen that there is an important 28% of people who do not mention that they have lost income and customers during the pandemic.

Decrease in demand and increase in competition may lower wages

Another striking finding revealed by the research results was the self-employed thoughts about wage in the new normal period. While 32% of the freelancers think that they will have to offer more affordable wages in order to find a job, 55% of those who have this opinion predict that competition will increase.

When looking at the business areas of those who think that they will need to offer more affordable wages, the design and creative area stands out with 45%, followed by web, mobile and software development with 31%.

Working hours are getting longer while workload is decreasing

In the study, which included the financial status of the freelancers as well as the determinations regarding the work order, the effects of the pandemic on workload and motivation were noteworthy. While 29% of the professionals whose incomes are declining indicate a decrease in their motivation, the segment that noted a decrease in workload stands out with 36%. On the other hand, there is a 16% segment indicating an increase in workload with pandemic.

Another point that attracted attention in the results of the research was that it was stated that the working hours were extended despite the increase in the workload. Only 13% of employees who work longer hours report a drop in workload. This indicates that there is concentration and motivational prolongation rather than workload.

10% of the participants state that their working hours change on the day-night axis, and 18% state that they cannot establish a work and personal life balance. These rates show that there is no widespread adaptation problem even though there is a change of order. The Rimuut team relates this to the fact that freelancers are accustomed to work from home before the pandemic and are at peace with this order.

New approaches to freelance work in the new normal

The research also sheds light on freelancers' predictions about the new normal period after the pandemic. While 41% of the participants anticipate that freelance work will become widespread, 50% of them state that their approach to freelance work will change positively.

While an important segment of 48% thinks that the market will become more competitive for freelancers, those who say that new adaptation skills should be developed in this process are 48%, and those who say they will tend to find new customers are 47%. On the other hand, those who turn to more radical changes and think that they will need to change their existing service areas in the new competitive environment are recorded as 17%.

Freelancers are satisfied with their working order

According to Rimuut's data, freelancers' view of working patterns has changed positively by 68% compared to the pre-pandemic period. Despite the negative economic effects of the process, the independent working order remains indispensable for this section.

The future will embrace freelance work

As a company that nurtures these passions of independent professionals and produces solutions to strengthen them, Rimuut predicts that the pandemic process, which makes it necessary to work from home and flexible, will lead to major changes in the workforce, working models and employers' approach to self-employment in the future. According to Rimuut, the universal flexible work experiment, which is compulsory and possible by the pandemic, will lead to the development of freelance culture in the short term beyond uncertainty and difficulties, to prepare ground for breakthroughs and to take groundbreaking steps that offer more participation to freelance employees in the business world.


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