Here’s to our exclusive AMA (Ask Me Anything) episode with Marwan Abdelaziz, CEO of Ureed, on ‘Connecting the Dots of Freelancing, COVID-19, and Gig Economy’. In this live conversation, we asked various questions to Marwan to spruce out insights on critical subjects that resonate with freelancers and businesses during the present case scenario, including:
- The change in the freelancing landscape due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- How COVID-19 and the booming freelancing system is paving towards creating a Gig Economy system?
- And advice for both freelancers and business during this period.
Affirming freelancing or remote working as a solution for companies, institutions and talented people, Marwan said,
“COVID-19 accelerated the remote culture like no other trigger ever in MENA region, because it was an alien concept for big companies, enterprises and government entities to allow employees to operate outside the premises. What we saw is that more and more clients started to accept the fact that you cannot have all the talent or requirements met via people working within the premises, but that opened an avenue for talented people everywhere,”
“During the early COVID period, most companies stood still, but various ones which had massive targets, they had to find a solution, and the solution was apparent, that you can start tapping into freelancing or remort working,”
Speaking of Ureed’s witnessing of changes on the demand side for remote work, Marwan shared,
“We saw a massive bump from both enterprise clients and direct clients on our platform and we got an opportunity to connect them with talented people who lost their jobs moving to freelancing. We expect those people to stick around even after the crisis because that was the first time when highly talented people realised that they can make their career our of freelancing. This was not an option before, and we are glad that we are contributing towards changing the culture across the MENA region,”
Enlisting the limitations of remote-working, Marwan added,
“Limitations are there of the mindset, this is always an issue with freelancing the culture of trust between someone who’s sitting a thousand miles away. Middle East didn’t accept freelancing until the crisis happened, but other countries are doing it for the past decade. Our vision is to work with companies to help them accept the fact that they can work with people remotely. While a lot of business and government leaders too leading the change when it comes to the culture of hiring, it will take some time for the majority of the market to accept this fact and start experimenting freelancing,”
“Another thing is that we don’t want companies to use freelancing as the tool to offload their costs and full-time employees to become contractors, we want them to use this tool to increase their productivity. We’ll be working very hard in the x number of years to ensure that the full-time employees would also have their rights preserved, either by their health insurance or other matching benefits,”
Finally, advising freelancers in light of the new normal, Marwan opined,
“We need to do massive rescaling. There are many people who were been used to of corporate life for so long, and being a freelancer means that you have to versatile, you need to become a business on your own, extend your skillset beyond what you can technically deliver. One common issue with freelancers is that they though they are good at the work they do, but when it comes to dealing with clients, handling payments, negotiating the contracts, and other things inline, they always fell short.”
Founded in 2017 by Nour Al Hassan, Marwan Abdelaziz and Iyad Ahmad, Ureed.com is a freelance services marketplace that provides endless opportunities for talents across the MENAPT (Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan & Turkey) region and beyond. Witnessing that freelancing is becoming the new normal in an ever-thriving gig economy, Ureed’s founders, all nationals of MENA countries, realised that now more than ever is the time for freelance work to become better, easier and more accessible in the region.