While the phrase ‘gig economy’ is a relatively new term, the idea of hiring freelance workers has been around for decades. In recent years, however, the number of freelancers has grown significantly. According to one study, there are more than 57 million gig workers today. This equates to 36% of the workforce, and some experts suggest that this number could rise to as much as 50% of the workforce by 2027.
What does this mean for your brand? If the gig economy infiltrates more than half of the workforce, it’s going to be nearly impossible for any size business to ignore. But how do you know when is the right time to hire a freelancer, work with an agency, or hire in-house? Let's start with a few definitions:
What Is the Gig Economy?
The gig economy, sometimes referred to as the freelancer economy, agile workforce, or independent workforce, is an economy where short-term jobs, contracted work, and temporary positions are commonplace. Companies tend to hire freelancers, independent contractors, or temporary workers instead of employees.
In most cases, contractors and freelancers are hired for specific jobs that they are to complete within a specific period of time, but they never become an actual employee of the company. While the organization maintains control over the contract itself, they are not considered an employer of the contractor, but rather a client.
Why Invest in the Gig Economy?
The idea of hiring freelancers or contractors to handle in-house work may seem unconventional to some, but it has a lot of benefits.
· Skilled Worker – The gig economy gives organizations access to workers across the globe. It gives you the opportunity to find a freelancer that has the exact skills needed to get the job done. Hiring the right freelancer can improve quality, productivity, and delivery time.
· On Demand Services – One of the best benefits of hiring from the gig economy is that it gives you the flexibility to hire on demand. You can set the contract to request as little or as much work as you need. These on demand services can grow and change as the demands of your business shift.
· Reduce Multi-Tasking – The gig economy allows you to outsource some of the work your employees are forced to multi-task on a daily basis. An increased amount of multi-tasking can impair your employees’ focus, memory, and production level. Using gig workers to handle some of these tasks can help your workers beat the multi-tasking blues.
· Lower Costs – In many cases, it’s significantly cheaper to hire a freelancer than an actual employee. With a freelancer, you won’t have to cover payroll taxes, benefits, training, and other employment costs. Instead, freelancers work for a set amount that is determined before the contract begins.
DIY Freelance Search vs. Agency Hours
There are two primary ways to find freelancers – by using one of the many freelancer platforms to search for a freelancer yourself or by working directly with an agency that finds freelancers for you.
Using one of the dozens of platforms available will definitely connect you with lots of gig workers. Upwork alone touts that it provides access to more than 12 million freelancers. This large number can be a double-edged sword. Certainly, you can find a freelancer on any of these sites in just a matter of minutes – but finding the right freelancer for your company is a different story altogether.
First, many freelancers tend to embellish their credentials and most of these platforms don’t verify these facts. In fact, with some platforms, freelancers don’t go through any vetting process at all.
Another major problem with a DIY search is ghosting. It’s not uncommon for a business to spend days or even weeks searching for the right freelancer only to have them go MIA after starting the contract. While, you will almost always get your money back when this happens, you won’t get back the time wasted.
Working with an agency may give you access to a smaller pool of freelancers, but at least these contractors will be vetted. This way you know that you are getting a qualified gig worker. In addition, agencies also tend to offer more accountability. You don’t have to worry about being ghosted because the agency will have a back-up system in place to make sure your services are delivered on time.
The gig economy offers companies a way to obtain the skilled talent they need to complete specific tasks without the need to hire new employees or to add more to the plate of their already overextended staff.
Bringing it all together
For example, planning a company event takes a lot of preparation. The planner must connect with vendors, track RSVPs, coordinate speakers, organize material, and make sure everything goes as planned on the day of the event. This can be a lot to add to a current employee’s plate. Companies can alleviate some of this stress and the need for multi-tasking by investing in agency hours and hiring experienced freelancers to handle these tasks instead.
Learn more about how the gig economy is changing workplaces and how it is helping companies fight the multi-tasking blues by contacting Nifty Method Marketing & Events today.