Freelancing and Gen Z – What’s So Enticing?

Gen Z, the notorious rebels, are the decision-makers of the modern world. This generation of youngsters, myself included, is unlike the previous ones. Other generations might have a different take on us, but nobody can deny the fact that we are the quintessential trendsetters, and one trend all Gen-Zers widely appreciate is freelancing.

Many people came across this term in a more practical sense during the Covid-19 lockdown; however, Gen Z has always favored it. Work from home or outsourcing was not much of a trend in Pakistan before the pandemic and only got the deserved traction during this time of need.

Companies had to adapt to this shift to make ends meet, but now that people have tasted the essence of working from home and freelancing, they are inclined towards it more, especially Gen Z. Millennials and Baby Boomers have always preferred working conventionally, but they too are realizing the benefits of freelancing.

The biggest segment of users on freelancing websites comes from Zoomers. In a world where 3.3 billion people are working, 1.5 billion of them are freelancers, and according to digital payment giant Payoneer, Pakistan saw a hike of 47% in freelancer earnings. We are ranked 4th in the list of countries with the most freelancers in the world. These numbers speak for themselves, and there isn’t even the slightest doubt that freelancing is here to stay.

Now the question that is often asked is why people are opting for freelancing. Isn’t it the rule of thumb that one has to be “seen” to become successful? We’ve always been told that you need to go out and do more. So, why do members of Generation Z lean toward ‘work from home’ (WFH)?

After speaking to a bunch of freelancers and professionals who work from home for their companies and through my own freelancing/WFH experiences, I have compiled a few viable answers as to why we like staying at home.

Freedom of Work

For many Gen Z professionals, freedom is the most beneficial aspect of freelancing or working remotely. As freelancers, we choose to pick our tasks, we can decide which project to work on, set our own hours, and negotiate our own rates.

Most of us don’t like having authority over our heads to force work upon us or micromanage us. We enjoy working at our own pace and it won’t be wrong to say that we like to be our own boss. Although people (me included) who have done it all, i.e. worked as an employee, outsourced for a company, and did freelancing, I can categorically say that you can’t avoid working for someone who demands to monitor the progress.

Though even as a freelancer, you have to ultimately be answerable to the client, working from home is different in the sense that there is no constant pressure over our shoulders. Having a clear goal, and the confidence that we can achieve it in the allotted time frame allows us a great deal of autonomy. When one is in his/her comfortable space, free from any unwanted inhibitions, work just flows easily. Simply being in our own company boosts our confidence since we don’t feel out of place.

Personal Issues

Let’s face it: there are individuals, particularly women who are unable to leave their homes for various reasons. Family pressure is one of the most prevalent examples of the kinds of personal obstacles for them.

Though numerous girls are ‘allowed’ to get an education, they are discouraged from working in a professional setting because ‘she needs to get married eventually’ or ‘we don’t take money from women in our family.’ This is a major reason why the female labor force in Pakistan was reported to be only 20.16% in 2021. As unfortunate as it may sound, it is true.

This is where freelance work and remote opportunities help women feel confident in putting their education and abilities to good use. This also gives liberty to married women with children the freedom to be there for their families while still pursuing their own careers and achieving financial independence.

Freelancers may have a wide range of personal issues, but the majority of female workers I had a chance to talk to had family-related problems.

Perfect Part-Time Money Making

The Maximum age of a Z member is 25 years, so, most of us are students. We have a responsibility as students to devote more time to our studies, but with such high global inflation, we can’t expect anyone else to foot the bill for our education.

Out of the one million freelancers in Pakistan, the majority comprises those who are supporting their education or covering basic living expenses. Freelancing gives us the opportunity to make money when we need it, and there is no added pressure.

Also, many freelancers have full-time jobs because freelancing is a convenient option. Take me, for example; though I haven’t worked on-site while freelancing, I have had full-time remote jobs. I freelanced part-time and made almost exactly the same amount of money or sometimes even more than what I got paid for working full-time.

ZERO Travel Time

Saving travel time and money is a blessing one can’t ignore. This is one of the key reasons why people opt for freelancing. Be it boomers, Millennials, or Gen Z; nobody enjoys having to commute an hour or more each way to and from work.

When I asked a fellow freelancer and work-from-home enthusiast why she prefers it, she said, “For me, it’s definitely the travel time that’s reduced. I get extremely tired of traveling to and from my workplace, which unnecessarily consumes energy. Especially if you consider the traffic conditions of the city I am currently living in (Karachi).”

Her sentiments are right on point. Even skeptics of the freelance lifestyle can’t deny the convenience of never having to leave the house and bearing no traveling costs.

Be Presentable – Umm, What?

We all know how much appearance matters for an on-site position, but as freelancers, we have nothing to worry about. I don’t have to rush for my parlor appointment if my eyebrow gets a little messy or my upper lips aren’t done.

It’s indeed important to look presentable even if I don’t go to work, but there is no added pressure to look a certain way while working from home. This also eliminates the need to buy new clothing articles every few months. It’s a fact that people with permanent workplaces spend more money on their looks than those with freelancing jobs.

We don’t have to be too proper and can let our imperfections take over. Instead of focusing on other things, we can divert all of our attention toward our work.

The debate between freelancing and a traditional office job will continue because people are comfortable with what they are accustomed to. Workers who have spent most of their lives working in offices would find it hard to stay at home. For the members of Gen Z, we began our careers in the modern technological world where everything is possible with just a touch.

In short, freelancing is enticing because I can wear whatever I want, wake up whenever I want, and sit however I want. I am free to be who I really am, uninhibited by everyone’s judgment.

People would even term us Zoomers as lazy, but I like to think of ourselves as FASHIONABLY COMFORTABLE!

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Hamna Farrukh is a high-on-life but low-on-energy writer who found her passion for writing after completing a degree in Economics, which is carefully kept in a folder somewhere in a drawer. Her interest in marketing and advertisement peaked while working for Ishtehari, and finally, Synergyzer gave her bickering thoughts a much-needed voice through the platform to talk about shitty ads (some good ones) being made in Pakistan.