It’s Not Magic — The Future of Work is Freelance-Focused

Rather than confining employees to a traditional work structure, this local fintech company is focusing on freelancers as the future of their workforce.

Written by Kim Conway
Published on Dec. 15, 2021
It’s Not Magic — The Future of Work is Freelance-Focused
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It’s a tale as old as time: When you come across a genie, you’re granted three wishes. From that point, the genie starts following your requests and loses all sense of autonomy until your wishes have been made and seen through.

Great for you; not so great for the genie.

But what happens if the genie catches wind of the current work landscape and, like many of us, wants to take advantage of a flexible schedule instead of working on the whim of the wish-maker? 

In other words: What if the genie goes freelance?

Many employees today are on the same page — they want to retain a sense of flexibility and control over their work days. Heightened by the pandemic, this trend is one that Michael Burdick, founder and chief strategy officer at Paro, is watching gain traction. He sees the future of work heading in this direction, because now that employees have experienced remote-first functionality, returning to work in a traditional context is “not a genie that can be put back in the bottle.” 

Adapting to a remote-first, freelance-first mindset is a powerful, valuable tool for companies amid the general uncertainty of a pandemic. Luckily, the team at Paro is prepared for this. So much so, that the limitations of traditional work are simply off the table. Instead, they’re living out their mission to offer professionals stability and empowerment in doing meaningful work.

 

Michael Burdick
Founder and Chief Strategy Officer • Paro.ai

 

What is one key work trend that emerged this year that you predict will continue to gain momentum in the year ahead, and why?

In the year ahead, the trend of remote work will continue to accelerate. In Q3 of 2021, 15 percent of high-paying job listings were remote — more than double the number of high-paying job listings that were remote a year ago. This sort of change would have been unthinkable in 2019, where, for further perspective, roughly 3.5 percent of high-paying job listings were remote.

After nearly two years of remote work — with business professionals experiencing, en masse, that they can have more flexibility, autonomy and choice in a remote-first world — working in traditional environments is not a genie that can be put back in the bottle. The data supports this as well: 58 percent of non-freelancers who are new to remote work due to the pandemic are now considering freelancing in the future.

These trends will continue into 2022 and beyond.

 

How will the industry further adapt to shifts brought on by the pandemic? How will those shifts impact the way your team works?

We are a platform that empowers business professionals to pursue meaningful work on their own terms. We’ve always bought into the mission that we sell by working with consultants and freelancers when possible. 

The pandemic profoundly shifted where and how talent chooses to work. A large segment of the best talent doesn’t want to be confined to traditional terms of employment; therefore, accessing and attracting top-tier talent means companies must meaningfully choose to work with freelancers and independent consultants.

To capture this benefit, Paro now approaches problem solving by determining what expertise is needed to achieve our goals, and then determining if that means the best method is to engage a consultant or freelancer. This has further enabled us to leverage flexible, on-demand and value-driving expertise.

The future of work is all about freedom of choice.”

 

As you head into the new year, what do you envision for the future of work? And how are you bringing that to life within your company?

The future of work is all about freedom of choice: Do the work you want, when you want, where you want and with whom you want —  and earn income while you do it. I believe that the freelance economy will be the economy in the future of work.

Having said that, there are some speed bumps, because leaving a predictable and stable income to go out on your own is super hard and, frankly, very scary. It’s a hurdle that most business professionals can’t overcome, even if they often want to.

Further, going out on your own and becoming your own boss typically is associated with freelancing, which to most is synonymous with the gig economy. Gigs don’t unlock business professionals, because professionals with specialized expertise desire a career, calling and fulfillment that can’t be found from one-off gigs. 

We’re building Paro with this in mind. Here, we understand the intangibles of autonomy, freedom and flexibility, as well as the importance of money, safety and security for business professionals. Our purpose and mission is empowering business professionals to pursue meaningful work on their own terms. We’re helping the freelance economy become the economy in the future of work.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Paro and Shutterstock.

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Fintech • Payments • Financial Services