Impact coronavirus freelancers - Gig Talks

GIG talks Pt 1: "In what ways has the corona crisis impacted your freelance business?"

reading time: 7min | #GiG Talks #GiGHOUSE | 16 November 2020 | Daan De Bock

Just before the start of the second wave of Corona, we brought some GiGHOUSE freelancers to the table to talk with them about the implications of Corona on their lives, careers and families. With the help of moderator Marleen Deleu of the Nextconomy knowledge platform, we painted a true picture of freelancing at the time of COVID-19. We renamed these conversations the "GiG Talks" and hope with this reporting to assist freelancers in these extraordinary days, because after all, shared grief is half grief.

We start this series with the ultimate question, the elephant in the room: In what ways has the corona crisis impacted your operations?"


Kora looks back on a period when her duties as an HR manager turned 180° day by day. The projects she was working on were put on hold. "Suddenly I was dealing with work-at-home policies, temporary unemployment and layoff rounds. It was all hands on deck. A period unlike any other. At the same time, I still see around me many colleagues whose assignments were terminated and fell without income."

impact coronavirus Kora


Kurt, a freelancer in visual communications, saw his schedule transform from full to blank, and summer still didn't change that. "One of my clients was itself severely affected by corona and other assignments were put on hold or were completed."

Freelancer Kurt


Thibault could then continue to rely on his two regular clients as a freelance marketing consultant. Despite declining business for one of them. "We took the opportunity there to invest the freed up time in projects that otherwise had little time for, but were strategically important. And they reaped the benefits of that when they restarted.."

Freelancer Thibault


For Sabine the care of her children in particular played tricks on her. An interesting period began as a grant consultant. But working in combination with caring for four small children turned out to be an unfeasible proposition. "I made a conscious decision to lay off work for two months, which amounted to two months without income."

Freelancer Sabine


Caroline, event consultant, was a full-time entrepreneur for a thick year at the beginning of the crisis. She saw her operations shut down even before the lockdown was declared. For seven weeks, her regular activities were halted. She cautiously resumed her activities with administrative freelance assignments.

Freelancer Caroline


How hard freelancers are suffering, who is weathering the crisis without a problem and who is going through hard times, cannot be named in one breath. We find that even with two similar profiles (Thibault and Kurt) the situation differs day and night. Therefore, it is also very difficult to predict who can or cannot continue to work in the crisis but there are indications.

A survey of NextConomy readers at the beginning of the first lockdown learned that two out of three participants experienced an impact on their activities. For half of them, that even meant an empty schedule in a matter of weeks. This is in line with the findings from Unizo's Freelancer Focus Report in which 61% of clients said they were working less with freelancers by postponing projects or discontinuing existing collaborations. Many of these clients even had to close their doors or focused on cost cutting.

Are there certain groups that are more hard-pressed? We don't have precise local figures, but it goes without saying that those active in the events sector are strongly challenged, for example. And those with a distinct IT profile are reaping the rewards of the digital express train that corona has been driving. This is also what the figures published by Online Labor Index teach us, although they mainly highlight the situation in the US. An analysis of the pandemic proof jobs (fig.) tells us that the biggest hits are in sales & marketing and creative & multimedia jobs while demand for IT experts, meanwhile, is higher than before the corona crisis.

impact coronavirus Online labor index US


Watch the clip here

In the next episode of the GiG talks we talk about the financial impact of Corona on freelancers. Would you like to keep up with more news about GiGHOUSE and the GiG TALKS?


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