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Remote Work And Freelancers Go Together Like PB&J

Image via Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Plenty has been written about the future of work and whether working remotely is here to stay or if employees will return to offices once the pandemic passes.

Upwork, the world's largest work marketplace as it counts 30% of the Fortune 100 as clients, published its second 2020 Future Workforce Pulse Report, which analyzes the hiring habits and sentiment of more than 1,000 hiring managers in the U.S.

One of the key findings of the report is the number of Americans working remotely will increase to 36.2 million by 2025, marking an 87% percent from Upwork's pre-pandemic level estimate of 19.5 million people from February 2020.

The report also found that 41.8% of the American workforce is working fully remote, while 56.8% of Americans are working from home at least part of the time. Surprisingly, the number of Americans working fully remote dropped by 5.9% since Upwork's report from April.

More than a quarter of the managers surveyed believe remote work will continue through 2021. Hiring managers cite increased productivity, elimination of non-essential meetings, more schedule flexibility and no commute as the benefits of remote work.

In a potential sign of how difficult it may be to return to an office setting, the report found that 68% of hiring managers believe remote work is going better now compared to when it first started. Only 5% of hiring managers surveyed said remote work is now going worse than at the onset.

"Our research shows the long-lasting impact that remote work and COVID-19 are likely to have on how hiring managers think about their organizations," Upwork Chief Economist Adam Ozimek said. "As businesses adapt and learn from this remote work experiment, many are altering their long term plans to accommodate this way of working. On work marketplaces like Upwork, we can already see this shift underway with increased demand for remote professionals."

Upwork, which is a marketplace for freelancers, has seen its stock nearly quadruple this year as the demand for freelancers has increased.

Upwork's report found a statistically significant relationship between hiring managers who embrace remote work and those willing to hire freelance employees. The report found that a 10% increase in the share of workers who intend on working remotely over the long-run is associated with a 1.6% to 2.7% increase in the likelihood of hiring freelancers.

"In the wake of the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the demand for hiring remote freelancers on the Upwork platform," Upwork said. "The survey suggests one explanation why: those who are most comfortable with remote work are also most likely to be engaged with freelancers."

Upwork summarizes the effect of COVID-19 best, concluding "As the data continues to suggest, the impact of COVID-19 will have lasting implications for businesses and professionals."

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Leftover Crumbs

  • Majority won't travel for holidays. A recent survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that 69% of Americans are unlikely to travel for Christmas and 44% won't take their next vacation for at least another year. "The hotel industry needs aid to survive until travel demand returns. Given this current environment, Congress cannot nor should not contemplate recess until a relief bill is passed now," AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers said. "Millions of Americans are out of work, and thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. We cannot afford to wait until the next Congress is sworn in for relief. Americans need help now."

  • GM isn't putting all its money into EVs. General Motors announced it will invest $76 million in its Tonawanda Engine Plant near Buffalo and $6 million in the Parma Metal Center near Cleveland. GM is making the investments as a result of strong demand for its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. "GM continues to invest to strengthen our core business and respond to growing customer demand for our full-size pickups," GM vice president of North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations Phil Kienle said.

  • Goldman Sachs CEO warns about IPOs. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said he is worried about retail investors rushing to invest in IPOs following last week's offerings by DoorDash and Airbnb. "I do think we're in a moment in time where there's a lot of euphoria. I personally am concerned about that," Solomon told CNBC. "I don't think in the long run that's healthy. I think it will rebalance over time, as it always does."

  • Starbucks ends happy hour. Starbucks is pausing its two-for-one happy hour promotion in the U.S. amid an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. "Partner care and safety remains the top priority," a Starbucks memo seen by Reuters said. "However, with the anticipated rise in cases as a result of holiday travel and the latest guidance from the scientific community to not gather indoors in large groups for a prolonged period of time, we feel it is best to pause Happy Hours."

  • Fed eyes climate change. The Federal Reserve will join 75 other central banks as its formally announced it will join the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, or NGFS, as a member. "As we develop our understanding of how best to assess the impact of climate change on the financial system, we look forward to continuing and deepening our discussions with our NGFS colleagues from around the world," Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell said.