The Future of Remote Gambling
Out of 2,000 Gen Z respondents from the UK, 67% of them said that they believed freelancing would be a fulfilling career path. Pixabay

Since the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the number of companies offering flexible hybrid working arrangements in the UK has risen by at least 10 per cent.

In the last months of 2022, it was estimated that more than 15 per cent of hybrid workers are choosing to work remotely and online.

During the COVID pandemic, the number of young people aged 16 to 34 working in hybrid roles more than doubled and represented the largest increase across all age brackets.

It has also been found that those above the age of 34, who have had experience working in the workplace and with in-person colleagues, were more likely to choose to work from home.

Despite the UK Parliament report that claims remote and hybrid working boasts an "increased well-being, self-reported productivity and work satisfaction, reduced work-life conflict, new ways to collaborate and more inclusive ways of working through the use of technology", for those who have never experienced in-house roles, the effect is a complete contrast.

Speaking to three individuals aged 21 to 24 and members of Gen Z who have each recently graduated and succeeded in obtaining freelance, hybrid or remote positions, I found that there is much struggle attached to online employment.

Cai, age 24:

Cai, who works as a Freelancer in Television Production, spoke to me about the lack of routine and regular wages that hybrid roles bring.

Cai told me: "As a freelancer working in TV production, it can be difficult to find consistent employment and work frequently enough to maintain a regular income."

Having only graduated in the summer of 2023, Cai also recognised that she has been forced to find work independently and with little experience in the freelance industry.

Cai expressed: "As I graduated recently, this is my first experience in the production industry, so it is challenging to network and make relevant contacts with a lack of experience on set or in an office environment."

A recent investigation into freelance employment, conducted by Fiverr, found that out of 2,000 Gen Z respondents from the UK, 67 per cent of them said that they believed freelancing would be a fulfilling career path.

The Fiverr data also revealed that 44 per cent of the group of 12- to 26-year-olds said that they aspired to have flexible working hours – acknowledging the benefits of an in-person environment.

Speaking of the self-motivation that Cai is forced to find when working from home, the 24-year-old added: "The routine of working from home can also be difficult - finding motivation to be productive in an environment usually reserved for relaxation."

Several freelance, hybrid and remote workers choose to work in local cafes or other hospitable environments.

Data shows that the average UK employee spends almost £2,500 a year in coffee shops – equivalent to around eight per cent of their annual salary.

Cai continued to tell me that "leaving the house to work from a cafe usually costs money, which a freelancer doesn't typically have to spare".

"Especially during a cost-of-living crisis," Cai stated.

Speaking of the ways that she tackles the negative effects of remote working, the Television Production Freelancer explained: "Building a routine has been the most effective way of guaranteeing that I use my time at home productively - waking up early, designating a lunch break and restraining from using my phone have been beneficial tips."

Although Cai recognises the loneliness and lack of self-motivation attached to working from home as a recent graduate, the 24-year-old has also noticed some benefits of freelance employment.

"Having the freedom to work on projects of my own choosing has allowed me to source jobs which I'm passionate about and makes my work enjoyable and fulfilling," she told me.

During our conversation, Cai was again reminded of the negative effects of her job, reminding me that: "The downside to freelancing is predominantly the irregularity of work and not knowing when the next payday will be."

Edie, age 23:

After graduating from university in 2022, Edie worked as an Energy Specialist in a hybrid remote arrangement.

In Edie's words, her role consisted of "glorified shit shovelling, answering customers inbound calls and helping to resolve issues with their gas & electric bills".

Despite only working in the role for a short while, Edie spoke to me about the dramatic negative effect that the job had on her.

The 23-year-old told me: "My mental health deteriorated."

Edie continued to tell me that although "it was an incredibly rewarding role and I worked with great people... working in energy during an energy crisis, especially on the phone, it was really easy to see people not treat you like a person".

Having only worked in the company for less than three months, the negative effect of remote employment on Edie's mental state ultimately forced her to resign.

"I left due to mental health deterioration, it sent my anxiety through the roof and the structure of the company just wasn't built to support the number of staff for that kind of crisis," she told me.

Office-based work has proven to benefit the mental well-being of employers, predominantly due to socialisation.

Office-based work has proven to benefit the mental well-being of employers, predominantly due to socialisation.

Recognising that she had recently left education, which provided her with the much-needed in-person contact and a routine, Edie added: "In-person socialisation was so key for that remote role, due to the nature of calls and for some sanity!"

The 23-year-old continued to tell me that working in the office "meant everything and I met so many amazing people who I didn't think I would in my adult life in that way, so that was lovely".

A recent Morning Consult report supports Edie's in-person argument, stating: "Generationally, a larger majority of Gen Z adults do most of their work in person compared with their older counterparts, and this young cohort also shows the strongest overall preference for working in an office."

Speaking of the many young and remote workers who have been forced to motivate themselves to work from home, Edie concluded: "I think when working from home, self-motivation is a basic need for survival, just remembering you're part of a bigger picture and not isolated even though you are working alone and remotely."

Natalia, age 21:

Natalia, who works remotely as a Fashion Editor for a Polish news outlet, also told me that working from home was not what she expected.

"Starting my first job remotely was definitely something different than I thought I would be," Natalia said.

At the start of her career, the 21-year-old thought that she would be working in a busy newsroom, surrounded by her colleagues.

The Fashion Editor explained: "I was imagining sitting in the office with other editors, discussing most current topics, researching some new ideas with an ongoing discussion."

Once she had made it into the media industry at just 20 years old and while studying for a degree in Journalism, Natalia realised that the "online world turned out to be almost the opposite".

Working remotely from the UK, the 21-year-old revealed that she "wasn't comfortable at the beginning" and felt anxious when she was "emailing and texting for advice or asking questions".

"I couldn't just talk to older editors and consult, with was definitely a con", Natalia added.

Research also suggests that making the commute to work can benefit an individual's well-being and improve work-life balance. Remote work, however, has proven to make it difficult to compartmentalise different aspects of life.

Despite initially being worried about her lack of experience and viewing her remote role as isolating, Natalia now acknowledges that working remotely benefitted her hugely – especially when she was working as an international student in the UK.

Natalia told me: "On the other hand, it gave me many opportunities, especially as a person who was studying abroad. I could write for Polish editorials while studying in London, I could manage it while going for lectures."

Since working as a remote Fashion Editor, like many others, Natalia has been forced to make changes to her life to overcome the lack of motivation that working from home brings.

Natalia went on to explain: "I've learned how to manage my time better, I found out what environment I am most productive in and what works best for me."

Acknowledging the positive aspects of working from home, Natalia revealed that as time went on, she noticed that remote working has given her much more than it has taken away.

She said: "With time it quickly turned out that remote work just gave me much more than it actually took away and after two years' time, without a doubt, I can say that I would love doing my job fully remotely."

Although Natalia has found peace with working out of the office, she still experiences loneliness.

When I asked Natalia if she still feels lonely while working remotely, the 21-year-old responded with: "A bit, yes, cause in general [Microsoft] Teams texting is much different from regular in-person contact."

Like Natalia, it was recorded that in 2020, 2.6 million adults said that they "often" or "always" felt lonely while working remotely in the UK. By 2021, the number had increased to a huge 3.7 million people experiencing loneliness, according to the Office for National Statistics.