Emelie Fågelstedt fotograferad för tidningen Konsulten.

Ten years as a freelancer – recap, reflections and learnings from 2020

This year marks 10 years since I started working as a communications freelancer. At the same time it marks a transition to remote work and a transformation of the labour market as a result of the pandemic. It is also the year my daughter turned one and started preschool. I wanted to take the time to do a quick recap of the year; the projects I’ve worked on, the people I’ve collaborated with, and the challenges and learnings that were had. My focus this year has been on the gig economy, education, remote work, innovation, community, and the fast growing games industry.

Remote work, location independent businesses, and Svenska Nomader

‘The world’s largest experiment for remote work.” That is how CNN referred to the pandemic back in the spring. We saw a digital transformation of the labour market equivalent to five years almost over a night. This is something that Svenska Nomader, the community I’ve been part of running since 2017 and that today consists of over 10 000 remote workers, has been studying and learning from for many years. How do you work in remote or hybrid teams? How do you collaborate when your team is distributed throughout the country, or the world? What companies and individuals can we learn from that have already been working remotely for many years? We’ve discussed, collected and shared our insights through svenskanomader.se and our social channels throughout the year. And will continue to do so in 2021.

The shift to remote work and the challenges it poses for both businesses and societies also led us to a collaboration with Boden Business Park where we conducted a pre-study on innovation hubs and meeting places post-corona, exploring what makes an attractive space that attracts people to work from there. We reached out to and talked with some of the world’s leading digital nomad hubs, including Hubud in Bali, Arctic Co-working Lodge in Norway, Co-working Bansko in Bulgaria and Second Home is Lisbon. The learnings were then shared in a report, with an aim to help put Boden Business Park on the global digital nomad map.

I’ve also had the opportunity to give talks and workshops on remote work for Work Without Limit Summit, Tech BBQ, Länstyrelsen Stockholm, Länstyrelsen Skåne, Akamai, Technigo, Jobylon, TechTank Blekinge, and Boden Business Park, among others.

Some top tips for remote collaboration tools I’ve picked up this year and before: 

  • Slack - for team communication and daily-contact with collaborative partners. This is a must-have for the team at Svenska Nomader as well as in contact with our partners. I’ve also started supporting some of my other clients with implementing the use of Slack for their internal communication this year.
  • Miro - for digital workshops and real-time collaboration, with post-its, mind-mapping, flow-charts and you name it. Miro has been a key tool for our Giglab Sverige digital workshops this fall.
  • Trello – great post-it boards for quick project management in remote teams.

Gig economy – for a more sustainable growth

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been part of the learning project Giglab Sverige with an aim for a more sustainable growth of the gig economy in Sweden – a joint initiative from Jobtech Development / Swedish Public Employment Office, The Swedish Tax Agency, Coompanion, Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign and Handelshögskolan in Stockholm. We’ve put up the website giglabsverige.se to start understanding the challenges facing different parties within the gig economy from a systematic approach, including gig workers, gig platforms and society as a whole. During the fall, we conducted four digital workshops to collect more knowledge and perspectives to add on to our mapping of the system. I had the privilege of being the moderator of these workshops, and was also part of planning the workshops together with the innovation teams at Jobtech Development, The Swedish Tax Agency and SVID. The results will be presented in a report in the beginning of 2021.

I’ve also had the opportunity to give talks and workshops on the gig economy throughout the year, including talks for Knowit, NEXT, Olofströms Näringsliv, Work Without Limit Summit and Boden Business Park.

Studies show that the pandemic might result in an accelerated growth of the gig economy. Throughout the year, I’ve had the chance to share my thoughts  on the gig economy and remote work with DN, Konsulten, P4 Stockholm, and a few others.

Hack the Crisis – Response to the pandemic

Back in April, I joined the government-led hackathon Hack the Crisis together along with 7000 other individuals hoping to come up with solutions to help society, businesses and individuals in the time of the pandemic. My team ended up winning in the Saving Businesses – concept category.

Putting together a team with members from Stockholm, Frankfurt and Pajala we set out on a quest to present a concept on how to ‘save businesses’. Proposing the use of ‘Platsbanken’ – the most powerful job posting board in Sweden owned by Arbetsförmedlingen – and adding ‘remote’ and ‘gigs’ as new functions to make it easier to source temporary skills throughout the whole country to quicker match skills and available jobs. Our solution is yet to be implemented, but we’ve had good discussions with the team at Platsbanken. Through DIGG, we’ve also come in contact with Tillväxtverket and Startup Sweden to find other ways of combining the gig economy and remote work to help people find meaningful jobs.

This led to an interview with Företagarna on our solution, as well as podcast interviews with Urbanistica Podcast and Gigapay podcast.


I continued to be part of the Innovation Pioneers team together with the amazing Susanne Fuglsang, a a communications consultant. This year was different as we saw ourselves transitioning to all digital events for the 50+ member companies. A lot of learnings were had when face-to-face workshops needed to transition to video calls. We still managed to co-create and learn together with the network through four digital tank meetings under the new name IPx. In April we did an IPx session on Response & Rebound from the pandemic  with an Innovation Class VR/AR. In June Doberman hosted an IPx session on ‘The State of Innovation in the Corona Crisis’. In September, Ericsson ONE and The Social Few co-hosted an IPx session on Inclusive innovation and in December, CGI hosted the last IPx of the year on ‘Human Connections’. In November, the annual Innovation Pioneers Summit took an an all-digital form and live broadcasted learnings from innovation leaders in Sweden, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea to the global innovation ecosystem. The theme: “Changing the way we collaborate”.


Games industry – education, esports, role models and beyond

One of the most exciting things with 2020 was that I took a step into the games industry and was involved in several exciting projects within the space.

Together with Changemaker Educations and their game branch Futuregames, I was part of putting together an application for the first ever diploma course in games marketing back in the spring together with Per Myrén and Tabitha Hayes, CMO at Star Stable Entertainment. We were granted a start from MYH and in the end of August we set off on a journey together with 30+ marketing professionals looking to transition into the games industry with the new Futuregames Games Marketer diploma course. Throughout the fall we’ve had guest lecturers come in from Star Stable Entertainment, Avalanche Studios, Paradox Interactive, SYBO Games, Mojang, MAG Interactive, and Toca Boca to mention a few. As facilitator of the course for the past fifteen weeks, I’ve learned so much from both taking part in the content, but also from the class of professionals who with their 5, 10, 20 years of experience from digital marketing have given me a lot of new ideas and perspectives on the industry.

In the spring, I also started a new project together with Akamai Technologies and DreamHack on cyber security in esports. We set out to complete the first ever report showing the gamers’ perspective on cyber security and cyber threats facing the industry. Over 1200 gamers shared their insights resulting in the report Esports: Hacked that was published earlier this fall. Some key findings include more than half of gamers stating that they have had their accounts hacked.

Together with tech pioneer Elisabeth Tegner and Mehrnaz Amanat Bari, Software Developer at Frostbite Engine, I was also part of putting together Tidsvåg – a virtual games party, in collaboration with Internetstiftelen, Goto10 and Futuregames. In mid-October we put together a seminar aimed at highlighting female role models within the games industry to inspire more young girls to pursue a career in games and tech. Thank you to the participating speaker; Mehrnaz Amant Bari, Anna Norrevik, CEO at Antler Interactive, Emelie Nordstrand Lindgren, games developer at Paradox Interactive, Johanna Schramm, Community Manager at Resolution Games, and Kiki Olofsson, Senior Director of Art på King. See the recording here:

The year concluded with me moderating the first ever Futuregames Live Sessions on the future of gaming, and also handing out the Elisabeth Tegner Scholarship for the third year in a row. This year’s scholarship went to Liza Lind and Lillie Klefelt, founders of Female Legends, for leading the way to more equality and inclusivity in esports and the wider gaming community. The scholarship was handed out at the first ever Futuregames Live Sessions, that I also had a chance to moderate.

The power of the network – Altinget

In the fall I also became the meeting leader for the labor market policy network at Altinget. Giving me a chance to lead discussions with politicians, researches, industry organizations, think tanks and more on the labor market today and tomorrow. I look forward to continuing in this role in 2021!


Plans for 2021

Ten years down my career as a freelancer, I know I’m still just at the beginning of this journey. I’m beyond proud for the achievements along the way, and also that I’ve been able to make it through this different and challenging year by transitioning even more to remote. As always – it is the people around me that make it possible. So thank you to everyone I’ve collaborated with this year!

Emelie Fågelstedt

Independent communications strategist supporting organizations with their digital business and communications strategy since 2010. Founder of digital agency Fågelstedt Kommunikation and co-founder of Svenska Nomader, Sweden's largest platform for digital nomads. Public speaker on tech, social media, e-commerce and the future of work.

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