Nearly one in four employees freelance in some capacity, according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a recent study of office workers in the U.S. conducted by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. Overall, 12 percent of employees work as freelancers for their primary source of income, and the same percentage freelance in addition to their primary job. Staples participates in the promotional products industry as distributor Staples Promotional Products (UPIC: AMER0016).

“For businesses, augmenting staff with temporary, contract workers is not new,” says Neil Ringel, Staples Advantage’s executive vice president. “While the organized online marketplace makes it easier to tap into a pool of skilled workers, businesses need to pay attention to the needs and expectations of freelancers and independent contractors as they can be quite different.”

Survey respondents freelanced for a number of reasons, including the flexibility to make their own hours (37 percent), make more money (39 percent) and achieve a work-life balance (32 percent).

“The freelance economy is a win-win for people who have a desire to work on their own time and companies who want to streamline in-house operations,” said Pat Griffin, enterprise account executive at HourlyNerd, a company that connects businesses who need help with a project with an expert who can do the job. “With smart, collaborative technology becoming more mainstream, the freelance economy enables businesses to redefine their workplace strategy making the physical workspace more effective by establishing efficient team structures and collaboration models.”

The full report is available from the Staples Advantage Workplace Index microsite.