When you were very young, sharing probably wasn’t one of your favourite things to do. Whether it was your most cherished toy, a bag of sweets or even the TV remote, the idea of letting someone else borrow or even just have a turn, might have been enough to set off a red-faced tantrum and buckets of snot-filled tears.
But you’ll have no doubt grown up by now, and sharing - believe it or not - isn’t something we’re begrudgingly forced into by order of angry mum. It’s turned into a gesture that millions of us around the world love doing and actually benefit from. Fancy that.
These days, we share everything. We now live in a world where we can swap, buy and borrow pretty much anything and everything in just a single tap of a button. Whether it’s our home, car, bike or even pet pug, sharing has become an economy in its own right and one of the coolest, most exciting buzzwords doing the rounds.
Thanks to technology, life has got a whole lot easier for everyone. The exchange of business and services is quicker, easier, cheaper and more convenient than ever before. And what’s more, everyone benefits.
The sharing economy is a revolution. It's nothing short of a phenomenon, giving people all around the world the freedom of choice - not just in terms of the goods and services available to them - but choice over the way they work.
It has been the driving force behind the evolution of the workforce. In the same way that Joe Bloggs wants to be able to order a takeaway anytime, anywhere, companies around the world are enjoying the benefits of talent on tap - freelancers, contractors, interims and temporary workers, on-demand.
And we have the sharing economy to thank for the seemingly unstoppable rise of the independent worker - the guys who can fill a position, swoop in and complete projects at the drop of a hat. The traditional, one-job-career has gone, out the window. Freelancers, coffee-shop workers and the new, on-demand, flexible workforce has arrived.
In Europe alone, there was a 45% rise in the number of independent professionals between 2004-2013. Here in the UK, around 120,000 people start freelancing each year. And the signs suggest that this way of working is anything but a trend or a hiccup. This way of working is here to stay.
The sharing economy gives people everywhere control over how they buy, how they sell and perhaps most importantly, transformed how people live. Looking back all those years ago, to when you were giving mum hell for making you share your favourite whatever it was, perhaps she was right all along. Sharing really is caring.
How do you benefit from the sharing economy? Join the conversation...