Words, Julia Kermode, FCSA
Let’s go back twenty years to the ‘90s when the air was thick with rumours that the traditional workplace was soon to be a thing of the past. Hot-desking was about to replace offices and workers would reject jobs for life in favour of portfolio careers armed with a phone and a laptop.
In 2015 the revolution mooted back in the day has not been quite as radical as some suggested then. But nevertheless, we are heading in that direction with around 2million freelancers, contractors interims and consultants choosing to work for themselves in the UK today.
These workers offer experience, expertise and knowledge and businesses can glean the benefits without committing themselves to all the costs (and risks) that come with hiring a full time employee, such as NI contributions, holiday pay, sickness pay, maternity/paternity rights and so on.
If businesses need to find staff quickly, bringing in seasoned contractors who can hit the ground running makes good sense. An organisation might need more staff in order to get the job done and grow the business but it needs more clients and more business to justify taking on more staff. Using contingent workers gives businesses the flexibility to manage through peaks and troughs in demand.
The specialists ready to plug the gaps
Bringing in contractors is the perfect way to keep your overheads down whilst allowing businesses to optimise access to expert skills and knowledge on an as and when basis.
Contingent workers offer a reliable and cost-effective route to specialist skills too. The REC’s Jobs Outlook report published in May 2015 revealed that 84% of employers cited access to key strategic skills as a main reason for using temporary staff, compared to 55% stating the same in 2013 so clearly it is a growing trend that is working for UK plc.
Perfect for long-term cover
Like it or not, businesses face maternity leave, sick leave, sabbaticals and holidays and staffing levels can be reduced when permanent employees are absent from work. Some of those absences are more finite and can be planned for but even then conjuring up the right people with the right skills for the job at the right time can prove difficult and time-consuming. Businesses really benefit from building up relationships with freelancers and contractors they can call and rely on as and when.
Bringing fresh ideas and new approaches
Freelancers are a source of creative energy and bring with them new ideas, not to mention new approaches and fresh perspectives. They invigorate businesses, doing full-time employees the world of good.
Calmness and experience
A crisis can strike any part of an organisation at any time, and regardless of size, it needs a high level specialist to tackle it - usually at short notice.
By engaging freelancers and contractors, companies have the flexibility to fulfil the requirements, before releasing them once the problem is resolved and the lessons learned.