In the run up to the fifth European Freelancers Week (#EFWeek), the European Coworking Assembly has released its 2020 Manifesto. The Manifesto aims to bring focus to the need for governments, businesses, and other stakeholders in the European economy to grapple actively with the changing face of work. It is important that policy be made, contracts created, and the work be done to incorporate the innovative approaches and solutions being developed every day to the rapid changes we are facing – and much of this work is being initiated and developed by freelancers in Europe.
The European Freelancers Week started with a Manifesto, and given the enormous amount of change we have seen wrought since then, we felt it was time to launch a new one, to reflect current conditions which have considerably changed in five years.
The #EFWeek is the largest annual celebration of independent work and aims at self-empowerment of the self-employed. The highlighted events are by freelancers, for freelancers. We believe and maintain that freelancers are the drivers of innovation and change the way we work and live every day.
The theme of this year’s #EFWeek is “Freelancer Ecosystems in Europe” and the whole ecosystem is being tested every day. Personal responses range from anxiety, to eagerness to rise to the challenge – but everyone is surrounded by the uncertainty that includes the entire ecosystem. And, uncertainty is not good for freelancers and other living things.
Independent professionals experience a lack of benefits compared to their working counterparts, the feeling of loneliness and navigating the journey on their own, while some struggle to set rates that compete with the market. The #EFWeek Manifesto provides a uniformed declaration of the recognition and policies we are campaigning for the 12, 7 million highly skilled own-account workers in Europe.
At the same time, this is an unprecedented opportunity to build back better, to speak with one voice about what we want to bring forward with us into the future and what we think is best left in the dust of the path. Coworking in Europe is stepping forward to provide the infrastructure needed to integrate these changes right along the economy, from the biggest multinational to the student with a part time gig job.
A massive change project requires guiding principles to avoid fizzling away into nothingness and so we have boiled the areas of need down into the following points:
Give us a voice
Give us official status at all levels of government and legislation. Talk to our representative organisations and give us a seat at the table.
When you create policy about employment and industry, think about how it will specifically affect freelancers, the smallest among small businesses.
Include freelancers in all official statistics, and better research our sector. Don’t put us together with other small business categories.
To read the full Manifesto, and to support our vision and values, add your signature here.