Flexibility and work-life balance are contributing to the rapid growth of the freelance economy according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a new study of office workers in the U.S.
The study found that “nearly one in four employees freelance in some capacity.” It also revealed overall, 12 percent of employees work as freelancers as their primary source of income. The same percentage of people freelance in addition to their primary job.
Benefits for Businesses and Freelancers
According to the study, flexibility to choose their own work hours (37 percent) and the ability to make more money (39 percent) are the top motivations for people to freelance. Thirty-two percent of employees prefer freelancing because it helps them achieve work-life balance.
It’s not just employees who benefit from freelance work. Businesses also gain from this arrangement.
By not having to hire full-time employees, small businesses save the money they’d be spending on full-time staff members. It’s also easier managing professional freelancers who work independently and quickly move up to speed.
Another benefit is the flexibility freelancers offer businesses. Since they choose their own time of work, it’s simpler for businesses get their work done even beyond the normal business hours.
“The freelance economy is a win-win for people who have a desire to work on their own time and companies who want to streamline in-house operations,” says Pat Griffin, enterprise account executive at HourlyNerd, a company that connects businesses with freelancers.
Things to Remember When Hiring Freelancers
Working with freelancers is quite different than getting the job done by full-time employees. Apart from providing temporary access to IT services and equipment, freelancers need more assistance to complete their work on time.
Here are some important things to remember when you hire freelancers.
Regular Interactions to Consider
Whether the freelancer sits in your office or works virtually, it is important to maintain regular communication throughout the project duration. Constant interaction ensures minimal confusion and mutual agreement on key deliverables, deadlines and expectations.
Workforce Strategy for Freelancers
Before hiring freelancers, you must develop a clear strategy to avoid confusions later. The strategy should include elements such as compensating freelancers, type of work to be allocated to them and managing relations.
IT Support Right from Day One
Freelancers are paid by the hour. It is, therefore, essential they have all the resources at their disposal on time. If you are getting freelancers to work out of your office, you must ensure they have laptops, docking stations and internet connection as well as access to your internal site to complete their work efficiently.
Freelancers Photo via Shutterstock