As Pink explains, beyond the realm of repetitive, mechanical tasks motivation comes not from financial bonuses but from three factors: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
For the freelance professional, independence offers the opportunity for all three.
The desire for autonomy, and the positive results which arise from giving opportunities to realise this within a corprorate environment, are seen in the examples of Atlassian (the Australian software company featured in the talk), 3M (who famously allows its employees a percentage of time to work on their own projects leading to the invention of Post-It notes amongst other things) and Google (who have a similar policy). The flip side is reflected in the results of the famous Whitehall Study by Professor Michael Marmot which found – to simplify – that the less control that one has over one’s environment, the more stress one suffers. Hence the typing pool (the study goes back several years) could be more highly stressed than a senior civil servant with a much greater level of responsibility simply because the senior civil servant could exercise control over his working life.
The animation (hopefully embedded below) is worth eleven minutes of your time.
(All credit to 21apps’ Andrew Woodward for flagging this video in his LinkedIn discussion.)