This aim of this paper is to provide an in-depth analysis of the differences that exist between freelance and fulltime work, going into details about the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of work modules. In the creative and media industry, it is common for firms to hire workers on a contract basis, either temporarily or permanently. Freelance workers can, therefore, be defined as employees that fulfill some or all of the following criteria: they work from home or on their own premises such as offices, are usually employed by several firms at the same time, with the contracts lasting for specified periods of time, and mostly work on their own terms, dictating their hours of employment and compensation among other terms in the contract. They can also be referred to as contractors. Full-time workers, on the other hand, are employees of a firm that have been hired as per the employment contract of the company, are paid in the form of a salary that is majorly agreed upon by the employer, and are liable to receive employment benefits as per the policies of the organization or the state and federal laws (The Seattle Times, 2017). This research is therefore of much interest to me as a future entrant in the creative industry, as I seek to understand what form of work, either full-time or freelance, would best suit my future goals and interests, and why. Through this research, I also seek to have an in-depth comprehension of the various terms of employment and why they exist, based on a review of various types of literature.
In this paper, the main agendas that I hope to address include the merits and demerits of both full-time and freelance workers; the various gaps that exist between the two modes of work and how they can be addressed to suit the various stakeholders; and the future of both modes of work, paying particular attention to advancement in technology especially in relation to the creative industry. The report is therefore organized into various themes as listed above, all following the same order.
Part Two: Themes and Issues
The in-depth meaning of both modes of work
As stated above, a freelancer is a worker who is not tied down by one employer, but instead has the freedom to work with several clients at the same time or in succession as their freedom and job availability allows them. With the recent deviations in organizational configurations and hiring tendencies in the creative and media industry, the subcontracting of labor for companies has increasingly shifted to the preference of freelance workers. This has been greatly influenced by the uncertainty that surrounds the availability of jobs and tasks. Workers are therefore hired when a company has a task that needs expertise, and usually on contract terms (Storey et al, 2005). It is therefore common to find freelancers in jobs as writing, accounting, photography, design, web-developing, translation and tutoring among other roles. The word freelance is however not a permissible job status but is instead a form of describing the type of work that one does. With regards to the tax laws in the UK, freelancers are recognized as self-employed individuals who are responsible for registering under the self-employment body and are mandated to annually file their tax returns after a self-assessment. From this point of view, there exists no difference between a freelancer and a contractor in the UK. While a contractor will still file their own tax returns after a self-assessment and is regarded as a self-employed individual, their work practice is a little different, in that they usually work for one client fulltime within a specified period of time before moving on to another client, unlike a freelancer who can simultaneously work for several clients. They are commonly found in the IT division of the media industry, often brought in to assist with the firms short-term projects. Both freelancers and contractors can be regarded as small business owners, as they are often registered as either sole traders or under their own limited companies, which are the determinants of their tax responsibilities(Wimbledon, 2016).
On the other hand, a full-time worker offers their expertise for a sole corporation on a full-time basis and is paid at the end of every month for work done, or in form of hours put in. Their employer is responsible for handling their taxes and reporting them. As a part of the organization policies, the worker is eligible to welfares such as health insurance, retirement benefits, and credit benefits among others. Their compensations are usually fixed but can be adjusted in cases where they have worked overtime or have been promoted to rank. In the end, the choice between them being a freelancer/contractor or a full-time employee at a company is hugely dependent on ones goals, personality, and experience in the field. It is important that workers are adaptable and dynamic enough to shift with the changing work environments. In current times where job security is not a guarantee anymore, changing economic times require that one has the skills to break down existing barriers and possibly be able to oscillate between the two forms of work, as suits them. In the end, the greatest determinant of ones choice is their satisfaction with the mode of work (Mullaney, 2015).
The merits and demerits of freelance work
The first advantage of being a freelancer is that one has the freedom of being flexible with their hours. One is able to choose their personal productive hours, and work during those hours only, even if they do not fall within regular business hours. One can, therefore, plan their own holidays and free days in a given period, without having to answer to any authority except themselves. They only have to ensure that they meet the deadlines within which they have agreed with their clients. Secondly, a freelancer has total control over their jobs and clients. They get to choose whom they work with, in reference to their terms of trade. Therefore, if they have problems with a client before a contract is signed, they have the ability to let the client or opportunity pass and wait for clients that are easier to work with. In addition to having flexible hours, freelancers also have the freedom to work at their location of choice. They are not stuck in offices or at home, but can instead choose to work while on a vacation, at the local coffee shop, and at the park among other various places- as per their personal freedom allows them to (Amin, 2015).
A freelancer is also their self-manager. The only person they have to answer to is themselves, and maybe the client they are working for. They, therefore, have no one that is hanging over them or micromanaging their lives. They are responsible for making all the decisions associated with the business and have all the control. Further, a freelancer has the huge advantage of being able to determine their compensation rates, and are therefore at an advantage of getting all the profits from the projects they have completed, rather than being stuck with flat rates that are seldom adjusted regardless of whether the project large or small. They are therefore able to very easily grow themselves and their business by plowing back the huge profits they get from completed projects (Amin, 2015). Finally, a freelancer is able to take advantage of more tax deductions by deducting expenses that they can do without such as renting a space, travel expenses, communication costs and other legitimate costs incurred when running their business. They are also at liberty to take up various tax-sheltering investments that can further minimize their deductions and increase their income potential.
There, however, exist various disadvantages with being a freelancer. First, the freelancer hs to ensure that they are able to make much more money than they did at their previous employment or than their employed counterparts, so that they are able to cater for the employment benefits they do not receive, including paid leaves, health insurance, sponsored trips and 401(k) contributions among others. They also need to be able to cater for the expenses of running the business in general, they should make 2 to 2.5 times the amount that their salaried counterparts make. A freelancer also has to wear a lot of has, especially if they are just beginning their business as sole entrepreneurs, in the creative and media industry, for instance, they have to be conversant with accounts, consulting, marketing, and advertising among others, while still dealing with the main agenda of their proprietorship. These additional activities often account for many hours that are non-billable on the client, and hence the individual has to be comfortable with putting a lot more effort without increasing compensation rates. Also, a freelancer has to deal with inconsistent revenues, as paychecks are never regular and depend on the availability of clients. They, therefore, have to adjust their expenses and monthly costs such as mortgages and car payments among others to be catered for by the irregular cashflow within previously agreed upon deadlines. In addition, a freelancer is responsible for finding their own jobs. They can be said to be chronic job seekers in the sense that they most often have to always be approaching potential clients and aiming to close deals. They, therefore, have to be very familiar with platforms through which they can market themselves and interact with clients and network to ensure that they always get referrals when job offers are available (Wong, 2017).
While deciding on whether to be a freelancer, one must, therefore, be confident that they are comfortable with having no benefits, working round the clock, having a non-guaranteed income stream that has unlimited potential, be able to entertain and entice clients, be okay with handling administrative responsibilities and that they have the initial cash investment needed to start a sole proprietorship. Termed as the boundless career freelancing is a tasking venture that can prove to be very rewarding for workers in the film and arts arena, especially because of the dependence and lack of limitations for a determined individual (DeFillippi, 1994).
The merits and demerits of fulltime work
The advantages associated with being a fulltime company employee are largely dependent on the company policies and the state or federal laws, but a majority are uniform across the various organizations. One of the biggest merits of being a full-time employee are the benefits associated with being a part of a company such as health insurance, pension, and retirement schemes, and paid leaves among others. These contributions to ones finances make huge differences in the lives of employees across the globe and are the greatest reason why most employees will choose to remain in employment for in their whole career lives. In addition, employees benefit from individual company benefit such a subsidized credit rates, paid workshops and training that further develop their skill sets, access to cheap gym memberships and organizational cafeterias among others. They do not have to account for extra working costs such as renting space and finding projects to work on. Employees have fewer risks as their job security and income at the end of every month are guaranteed. Although employed employees are not guaranteed of promotions, they have better chances at advancing their opportunities and taking advantage of the growth that the company is undergoing. If they have been long-term workers at the firm, they are usually viewed as investments, and can easily take advantage of this status. Employees also enjoy fixed work schedules, and can hence plan their weeks and months way ahead. They are able to plan...
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