The futurists had it wrong. For years, dystopians predicted that the grim future of work would be an endless line of mechanically punching in and punching out, with little separating the typical worker from a robot. It was gray and grimy and cruel, a world where personality was stomped out. Everyone was tied to a faceless and soulless corporation for the rest of their predetermined life.
That isn’t exactly how things have panned out, however. The idea of lifelong work is all but gone. No one expects to remain working at the same place for the rest of their career like we used to. Millennial workers are especially opposed to the idea of staying with the same company until they retire. Instead, young workers increasingly turn to contract work in order to remain nimble. We’ve entered the age of the freelance economy, with increasing numbers of contract workers, and that has increased the need for reliable computer systems.
Companies like Uber or Lyft can be seen as the epitome of the freelance economy, and they’ve come under increasing fire regarding their unwillingness to designate their workers as employees and provide benefits and job security. However, this trend is seeping into other industries, so just about all workers – writers, tech experts, editors, designer – now find themselves in an economy where they are expected to hustle for work and provide services without the support of a physical office. Instead, their office is their home, or in some cases, just their smartphone or tablet. The freelance economy is one of connection, so having reliable home computer systems and expert mobile service and repair has become even more vitally important.
Who Is in the Freelance Economy
In the United States alone, there are an estimated 53 million workers that fall under the freelance category, which is 34% of the workplace. This number is slightly misleading, because as we’ll see, there are some people with a foot in both worlds. They can be grouped roughly into five categories that often overlap.
- Nighttime freelancers: These are people with a full-time job who moonlight at night or on the weekends. These workers still maintain job security but are also dipping their toes into the waters of independence.
- Temporary workers: Maybe the oldest of freelancers. These workers are brought into a company for a single project with the expectation that they are there for a very limited period of time.
- Freelance business owner: This is someone who incorporated and runs their own business, with all the tax expectations that come with it. It’s essentially a micro-business. Some work with their own names, and some go by their business title. Think of the difference between “Eric Blair, the writer” or “Blair Writing, LLC”.
- Multiple stream workers: Some freelance, some part-time, some temp. These are the quintessential hustlers of the 21st century. Think of someone who works as a paralegal during the day on special projects and then drives for Lyft at night.
- Independent contractors: The most prominent of anyone in the freelance economy. These people work on a project-to-project basis. This group ranges from people who are established, have a reputation, and have a client base to folks who are just getting started by trawling the Craigslist “Gigs” section to get some work. Ideally, everyone from the latter group joins the former.
Why a Reliable Connection Is Key for the Freelance Economy
There are many who think that the freelance economy is dangerous, because no one has any stability or security. There is a good chance that we are rearranging our economy around it (i.e. decoupling health care from employment), which is a nod to reality. Then there are many who think it is freeing and liberating, so they join it out of a desire for the unique structure. And there are many who are thrust into it by economic factors. Regardless, it’s here to stay and to be a part of it, you need a reliable internet and mobile connection.
Work, as we know it, is increasingly severed from the idea of an office. Quite often, as a freelancer or contractor, you don’t go to work somewhere – you are your work. When someone asks where you work, you can respond, equally accurately, both “nowhere” and “everywhere.” Your home is your office, and wherever you are, you have to be ready to take a gig in order to keep pushing forward in the new economic frontier.
Reliability is incredibly key. You need to have a strong and secure connection so that you don’t lose any client data. You need to have a smartphone, a tablet, and other mobile tech that allows you to be at work wherever you are, with a great signal and an affordable plan. You need a computer repair and mobile repair place that can come to you, and that has many convenient locations. In short, you need a system that prevents anything from going wrong. Or if it does, you need to be able to fix it right away.
ClickAway is the company that can help you every step of the way. With stores all over the Bay Area, and with a reputation as the best mobile and computer repair shop in the region, ClickAway is uniquely suited to help you navigate the rough and uncharted waters of the freelance economy. For some people, it is an exciting new world, and for some it is scary, but both groups need professional and expert help. ClickAway is here to be that help. The future isn’t what anyone anticipated, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be ready for it.