Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers
A side-gig in retirement can help pad a nest egg, keep a retiree engaged, and provide wanted structure to days post full-time employment.
But rather than settle for part-time work for somebody else, in greater numbers, boomers are using their skills and expertise to earn a side income freelancing online from home, according to a new report from the editors of International Living.
The “freelance economy” is booming today, and that’s a benefit for expats eager to gain a remote income they could take with them abroad, according to a new report from International Living.
“As we come out of the pandemic, many doors have closed,” says Winton Churchill, founder of Barefoot Consultants, author of the book The “New” Retirement: The Rise of the Gig Economy and How You Can Profit From It, and a contributor to International Living. That poses real challenges to folks who found themselves forced to take an early retirement or laid off a few years shy of a planned retirement, says Churchill.
“But in this sea of bad news, there is the proverbial silver lining,” says Churchill. “The big winner in the post-pandemic world is the freelancer and the remote worker.
“Much has changed for the good, and those who realize it quickly will have an advantage.”
If you’re a baby boomer with some work and life skills, “you’ve never had more options,” Churchill argues.
“Many more companies and organizations are hiring freelancers and remote workers now than they ever had in the past because they are confident that they can successfully have people working remotely,” he says.
“Going forward we see a much-increased appetite for freelancers, especially those with deep knowledge, well-honed skills, and lots of experience rebuilding after a big economic shift. At the same time, we are seeing millions of job openings go unfilled. Looks like a great opportunity for those age 50+ who learn how to thrive in the world of freelancing and remote work.”
More than 400,000 seniors are now doing gig work through online platforms, according to a recent study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute. Moreover, a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows the sharpest rise in “alternative work arrangements” was among workers aged 55 to 75.
In the International Living report, Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers, Winton Churchill identifies three ways the pandemic has changed the freelance climate and three trends for the immediate future.
1. Resistance Gone
“For the better part of 20 years that I’ve been on freelance networks, there has always been resistance among hiring managers in companies, non-profits, and governments,” Churchill says.
“They felt as if the freelancer, especially if working remotely, would be much less productive than the employee sharing the same office building as the manager.
“But this was demolished during the lockdown as managers discovered freelancers and remote workers were even more productive when working from home and proved capable of keeping their organizations rolling along.”
2. Employees Working From Home Are Productive
According to workplace benefits consulting firm Mercer, 94% of 800 employers surveyed indicated that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic.
“It is amazing how removing a long commute, removing the distraction of irrelevant meetings and office gossip, bad lunches grabbed on the run, and all the other distractions of office life that your remote worker can be even more productive,” Churchill says.
3. Cool New Tools
“One of the great things that happened during the pandemic is a number of tools came online for people working remotely,” he says in the report. “Some of them were already out there in the marketplace but they’ve been terrifically enhanced for freelancers and remote workers because of the pandemic and lockdowns and people working from home.”
The four tools Churchill mention in his report are Zoom, Slack, Trello, and Asana.
Trends in Freelancing that Benefit Boomers
1. Employers Will Seek More Freelancers in Their Staffing Plans
“Organizations everywhere want more flexibility in their staffing plans. In the past a company may have had 20 employees. Now they will have 12 to 15 core employees and six to eight freelancers that come in during seasonal peaks or to handle very specialized projects.
“This will give organizations better flexibility in controlling their staffing cost while being better able to afford more specialized talent when needed.”
Baby boomers, Churchill argues, are ideal for this sort of employment because they bring expertise, work experience, and professionalism to the table.
2. Hiring Trends Favor People That Have More Experience
“The ability to build an organization up after a trauma like the pandemic must rely on people who have experience coming back from economic upsets.
“Baby Boomers (and really anyone over age 50+) have faced these kinds of economic upsets many times in their career and met the demands of rebuilding after any economic crisis,” Churchill says.
“Employers are looking for wisdom beyond what we would call ‘book learning’ experience but practical experience seasoned over those decades.”
3. No More Late Nights (or Long Days) at the Office
“Organizations are taking a long, hard look at what we call ‘the office,’ Churchill says. “They are rethinking how much they really need it, or at least if they need that much of it.
“Some companies have already informed employees they can work from home for the foreseeable future.”
This increased flexibility can be a benefit to people who are eager to earn part-time in retirement, make their own schedules, and have control over where they live and when they work.
The full report can be found, here: Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers.