The evolution of technology has created new territory when it comes to the type of employees that help to grow a business. Many businesses still implement traditional work forces – full time workers who are based at the office – however, this may change with the recent “forced” introduction to remote working due to the onset of COVID-19. Businesses were tested during this pandemic on finding ways to keep going, and although most were technologically familiar with programmes that allowed for remote working, some found themselves scrambling to get up to speed with these new, unforeseen circumstances.
”“With most businesses running from home at the moment, a new realisation occurred that there may not be a need for many of them to keep brick and mortar offices and rely only on full-time, locally based employees,” explains Bongani Magudulela, Director at Search Partners International.
“Some businesses still believe that to get employees to work efficiently they would need to be watched constantly. However, due to the recent pandemic many have found that having staff working in their own space actually produced quality work with more innovation and foresight than before.” Having flexible work forces may be the way of the future for many businesses.
A flexible workforce includes a mix of part-time employees, contingent workers, freelancers, independent contractors and gig workers (once off employees). Depending on the type of work to be done, these employees can be hired seasonally, on a project-basis or contracted for a certain amount of time, with most of their work being done remotely.
“Although this type of workforce can be quite daunting for a traditionalist, having professionals work on a project when needed, as opposed to employing them full time, can have many added benefits for the business,” comments Bongani.
The advantages of having this type of workforce lies in the talent you are able to secure, the cost efficiency involved, new and fresh thoughts being brought to a project and an increase in productivity. Today’s best workers are not tying themselves to a 9 to 5 job and prefer the freedom to work on what they are interested in, when they want and where they want. This person may not be in the same city as you, or even the same country, but you are paying for their expertise, not their closeness in location.
“Given the freedom to work in this manner ensures high productivity, enthusiasm, and since the business is only paying for their time when working on a project and not a fulltime salary, overhead costs are lower. You may not even need a large office space, which brings down the costs even further,” explains Bongani.
Given the freedom to work where you please, and on projects that you are interested in creates an atmosphere of innovation and creation. The contractor’s mind is allowed to wonder and create, in the comfort of their own space, and with this comes imaginative thought.
When looking to employ people in this manner, it is important to make sure that you are comfortable with the arrangement, while discovering if the contractor is a good fit for the business.
“A good way to find out more about who you are looking to hire for a project is to look at and contact their references. Just as you would when filling a full time position, the same can be done here. You are getting someone to grow your brand, and be a part of the team, even if only for a short time. Knowing how they work is very important,” offers Bongani.
Over the past few months many businesses have been thrown into unfamiliar territory, however, a positive is that many have realised that there are more innovative and efficient ways in which to run a workforce.