Guest blogger Lisa Froelings is a business and productivity consultant with over 4 years of experience in human resources working for a major retailer in the country before she decided to build her own business. Her interests include technology, mindfulness as well as time management.
Until recently, corporations around the world set certain standards for their employees. It seemed that these expectations were universal, as well as largely defined by set hours and strict contracts. Yet, in recent years the structured corporate environment has begun to embrace emerging trends in the world of work. These trends include focusing employee well-being, flexibility and social capital.
While it’ never easy to make a big change, many corporations have seen immediate success when working with the freelance workforce. Once seen as difficult to manage, the freelance workforce has leveraged the power of communication tools and had proven to be an invaluable source of information and independently minded employees. Just because you have an employee who is half way around the world, doesn’t mean you won’t receive the same quality of work, or better, than a 9-5 employee who begrudgingly comes to work every day.
For corporations that are new to the the freelance workforce, here are 4 reasons you should embrace freelancers today.
1. Freelancers can organically expand your network. One of the most commonly overlooked advantages of working with a freelancer is potential access to a global network. Companies that work consistently with select freelance employees, thus building a relationship, can use them as a reference for future recommendations. In addition to individual suggestions, freelance talent platforms today are reliable and carefully vet their talent before connecting them to clients. These platforms can serve as a database that companies can use as a reliable source high-quality talent from a diversified network.
2. Freelancers can help you boost innovation. The nature of the freelancer is to work with a variety of clients, and many of them build a diverse and colorful portfolio along the way. Corporate entities have since turned into leveraging the power of the freelance portfolio as a means of fostering innovation. Freelance employees can breathe new life into projects, by passing on knowledge, skills, and ideas that could help you grow and innovate in the future.
3. Working with freelancers can reduce overhead. The vast majority of freelancers work outside of the office, and even when they do report to a physical workspace it’s usually not every day. Having a flexible and remote team can greatly reduce overhead costs, as you won’t need as much space. By cutting down rent and utility costs, companies can invest that extra bit of cash into their employees, which is a win win for everyone involved. In recent years, various studies have shown that companies that invest in employee satisfaction see an increase in productivity, which is beneficial for the company on the whole.
4. Freelancers can make you more competitive. Opening yourself to the freelance workforce can potentially make you more competitive on multiple levels. For outside investors and potential collaborators, companies that are open to emerging trends are seen as better candidates for future projects. Freelancers are flexible by nature, thus in addition to expanding your network, they also tend to be more willing to take on new projects, compared to employees that have been focused only on one role for a prolonged period of time. Having staff members that are open-minded and multi-skilled can be an important asset, especially when in expansion phases.
By 2020 it’s expected that over 50% of the United States work force will be freelancing, thus companies will face difficulty finding employees in the traditional sense. Not only will the talent pool be more diverse, but more flexible and autonomous. While these changes are currently underway, there has never been a better time in the history of the workforce for corporations to embrace the freelance workforce.