We've talked before about how technology has spurred the evolution of the workplace, and there's no place that's more evident than in the way people prefer to work, and what kind of work they are looking for. Today, Staples Business Advantage released additional findings from our Workplace Index, examining how the trends of freelance workers and flexible work are impacting the workplace.
With freelance workers citing benefits like increased flexibility, more money, and better work-life balance as prime reasons to freelance, it's easy to see why there's a rise in freelance workers in today's economy. And with businesses looking for ways to attract and utilize skilled talent, particularly for high-profile projects, this arrangement can be beneficial for everyone involved.
But as with all things in the workplace, there needs to be thoughtful preparation and follow-through to make working with freelancers a success each and every time, and it might surprise you to realize that everyone needs to be involved, from HR and procurement to facilities managers and IT. Here are 5 things to keep in mind:
Align on a strategy. This one comes first and foremost, and involves everyone. Determine your goals and priorities in working with freelancers and develop a documented strategy and process to guide all parts of the business.
Flexibility doesn't mean nixing the face-to-face. One of the benefits of the freelance economy is flexibility, of course. But that doesn't mean completely eliminating valuable face-to-face interaction. This might mean structuring time in the office and creating a mix of virtual and in-person work to make sure everyone functions as a team.
Technology is crucial. Whether it's providing access to the right office technology or being prepared to integrate your freelancers' personal devices into your network in a secure, well managed fashion, your IT department should be involved in your overall freelance strategy.
Maintain a safe workplace. How are your freelance employees entering the building? Badging and security procedures should be considered and maintained no matter who's coming and going in your office. And anyone working within your offices should be aware of your safety policies and training in case of an emergency.
Don't forget the expenses. Procurement also has a role to play as you engage freelancers—in some cases, freelancers and contract workers may expense supplies and other necessary expenditures back to the company. Procurement professionals can help establish procedures that ensure they maintain visibility and compliance while also keeping all your workers well stocked and ready to go.
As technology continues to evolve and younger workers seek more flexibility and control over their careers, expect the freelance economy to continue growing—and make sure you're prepared for it.