In today’s global economy, freelancers and contractors play a vital role in helping businesses to deliver their product or service, with many companies choosing to hire from a pool of talented freelancers to bolster their workforce rather than take on permanent employees.
In total, it’s estimated that the self-employed market contributes £275 billion to the UK economy. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports that the number of self-employed workers has increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017 accounting for 15 per cent of the UK workforce. This growing ‘gig economy’ represents a significant shift in the structure of the workforce and whilst it allows flexibility to manage busy periods and make specialist hires, the red tape and the issue of compliance with changing legislation proves to be a real headache.
When it comes to working with freelancers and managing them across projects, the permanent employees of a company are often tasked with the onboarding process, protecting their data, paying their invoices and creating reports. This takes time and means employees aren’t focused on their actual job.
As this ‘gig economy’ flourishes and looks set to continue, it is more important than ever to make working with freelancers as effective and streamlined as possible. Here’s five ways to make working with freelancers more effective for your business….
1.Choose the right freelancer for the job
There are many advantages for businesses using a freelance network. The flexibility to scale the workforce up and down easily across busy and quieter periods means paying only for manpower when it’s needed. Businesses can also select their freelancer based on their experience and expertise, allowing for highly skilled hires as and when required. Considering and choosing the freelancer with the best fit for your project means that they will be more effective from the outset.
2.Create a clear framework for working together
A clear briefing system is vital to getting the most out of your freelancer’s time. A well-considered brief outlining objectives, timeframes, budgets and expectations will reduce the back and forth at the start of a project and should provide solid background detail to give your freelancer a clear scope of what is expected. Creating template briefing documents and outlining processes will save time in the long run.
3.Use tools that streamline the process
Carefully managing freelance contracts to maximise the pros and eliminate the cons can be achieved by picking the right tools – online management services can streamline the process and overcome administrative and legal challenges. With a streamlined workflow, outsourcing your workforce is made easier and admin-free meaning businesses have time to concentrate on what they do best – focus on driving their growth, profits and market share.
By listening to businesses and understanding the challenges of working with freelancers, the service also helps overcome compliance obstacles without having to worry about all the bureaucracy and its associated paperwork, whether it’s GDPR, the Article 13 Copyright Directive, the Criminal Finances Act, changing tax rules, and so on. Choosing a freelance management system that takes care of GDPR as part of its core business means that companies no longer have to worry about being compliant or dedicate time and money to the process such as data capture and protection.
4.Create a companywide approach to save money
Using a freelance management service creates a centralised company-wide approach to managing and hiring freelancers. This allows companies to track exactly how much is being spent and on what, resulting in more accurate evaluation of budget spent on freelancers. Paying at scale is also possible via API, this can save a lot of effort to finance department employees.
5.Ensure good channels of communication throughout projects
Communication is paramount to successfully working with freelancers, it is important to keep freelancers up to date with project developments with clear, concise updates, but avoid bombarding them with too much detail.
There is no doubt that the ‘gig economy’ will continue to grow in the UK, and as it does, it presents opportunities for businesses to make it work for them. Businesses who work effectively with freelancers can benefit from the changing workforce, and by implementing workflows and systems that streamline that process will further reap the benefits.