I don’t know about you, but I have a terrible record for blind spots. Only recently did I find out that pickles are just pickled cucumbers and not its own type of fruit. Which isn’t nearly as embarrassing as my friend mistaking that the elevator’s up and down call buttons were for the direction of where you are compared to the elevator – rather than where you want the elevator to go (he is 27). What I DO know about however is that the definition of work is changing as more and more people take up freelance and gig work – and the definitions can often confuse!
So, to help clear up the confusion, I have taken it upon myself to define them all in a handy guide. That way, you won’t end up clueless like my friend, who gets mercilessly mocked every time he gets near an elevator.
What is a Part Time Employee?
I’ll start with the most commonly understood and known term when it comes to working definitions. Being a part time employee is very similar to the standard full-time job – a standard employment contract, access to benefits and so on. The main difference however is that you work fewer hours. This could either be less days in a week, or possibly fewer shifts.
Part time employment is the original non-standard working practice and has been around for many years – unlike the rest of the definitions on this list such as…
What is Remote Working/Mobile Working/Work From Home?
Much like part time working, these refer to job roles where you are properly employed by your organisation and therefore get all the same contractual features as above. These job descriptions can include both full and part time roles, but their main characteristic is that you aren’t bound to a typical office. Workers under these descriptions will typically be based away from the main office – typically their home, another shared working space, or just about anywhere with a decent internet connection and access to other tools needed to perform their tasks. Normally this will be specified in your employment contract.
The benefit of this type of working is that you can avoid impractical, costly, and/or time-consuming commutes (stares angrily at INFURIATING leaves on the line) or possibly allow someone to be a full-time carer for children and loved ones while working. The flip side is that it can be quite anti-social working alone – which has led to the increase in shared working spaces.
What is Freelancing?
We have actually covered the idea of freelancing in detail before in a previous blog which you can read here, but here is a quick recap of what being a ‘freelancer’ means (other than a medieval dude with a large spike on a stick).
Freelancers are self-employed workers (or independent contractors) who don’t tend to be tied to one organisation. They will often be hired for a specific job or short period of time but won’t be ‘employed’ by that company in a more traditional sense. Freelancers can sometimes be a part of an agency or community that helps access potential jobs, but the key is that they’ll be specifically brought in for a specific project, for a period of time.
Common examples of freelancing and industries where this is common are:
- A graphic designer brought in to create a brochure
- A sales specialist brought in to help cover for a peak period such as the festive period
- A translator being used for a foreign language marketing campaign
What is Gig Working?
Finally, we get to gig working. The term ‘gig’ comes from exactly where you think it does – the word musicians call their individual jobs/concerts. This is exactly what gig workers are doing in essence – short individual tasks or pieces of work for cash. Where freelancing can earn you cash for time you put into a job (i.e. a week of accounting work around the end of the financial year), gig working is exclusively based on a pay per task basis. Common examples of gig working in the world today are:
- Delivering food
- Taxi drivers
- Answering customer service enquires through a brilliant app
Where gig working is similar to freelancing is that gig workers aren’t employed by the companies that they are doing tasks for or on behalf of. Gig workers are also never obliged to take on any task – if they don’t have time for that particular task, they can just choose not to do it.
This is why we think gig working is the ultimate example of flexible working in today’s world. You quite literally only work where and when you want. Limitless Experts for example, only need a device and internet connection in order to earn cash for tasks. This means they can earn on their commute or at home, as well as first thing in the morning, last thing at night – or even 3 am if that works for them. Not only this, Experts are under no pressure to complete a certain amount of tasks in a day – so whether they just want to do a few a day to pay for their daily coffee or more in order to save up for something bigger – everything is flexible. We go into this in more detail in our Gig Customer Service Report.
Here’s a table which better illustrates all the different working models and how they offer differing levels of flexibility:
|Type||Scheduled hours?||Employee of the business?||Salary/wages?||Commitment to work||Pay per tasks/project|
|Freelancer||Depends on contract||No||No||Yes||Yes|