For many people, this New Year which offers hope for change and improvement after a turbulent 2016 in terms of politics, economy and news. As business people look to grow or catch up to hit targets, it may be time to reconsider how they resource.
A survey by the Office of National Statistics on Trends in self-employment in the UK highlighted that the level of self-employment had increased by around 730,000 between 2008 and 2015: rising from 3.8 million to 4.6 million. The UK also saw an increase of 182,000 self-employed people between 2016 and 2016, making a total of 4.69 million Brits working for themselves so it's clear the trend is growing. Technology (improved communication and connectivity,) trust (a move away from the belief that lack of supervision will inevitably lead to a lack of results and a better understanding of the interplay between relationship and transaction for projects completed) and benefits (the simple fact that using homeworkers, contractors and freelancers cost less; both in payroll and benefits, and in terms of avoiding days lost to sickness and holidays and utilities) have all made businesses pay attention to this growing way of resourcing.
Freelancing or "gig" work is going mainstream and may even overtake the so-called "portfolio career" by taking the idea of a career that moves with the individual, rather than dictating to them, over time. In a recent PeoplePerHour survey, 65% of 18-24 year olds said that freelancing was part of their long-term career plan, meaning that business need to offer millennials a way to sustain their levels of travel and freedom through flexible working in order to harness their talent.
Step forward: PeoplePerHour, the UK's number one freelance marketplace. Since 2007 they have seen exponential growth, with a 433% increase in UK freelancers since 2012. They now have 1.5million users now visiting the site every month to buy and sell time and skills in a way that is flexible for both businesses and freelancers.
Freelancer workers are also happier and more productive, bringing added value to businesses. A 2014 study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% increase in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. Hiring freelancers, who have a proven higher rate of happiness is therefore likely to result in faster and more effective project completion. A study by McKinsey noted a "substantial difference in the satisfaction levels of independent workers and traditional employees" with independent, or freelance workers scoring higher across the board for both work and life."
A YouGov survey, commissioned by PeoplePerHour also found that freelancers were enjoying life more than those in traditional working frameworks. 9% of Brits travel up to three hours or more each day. 44% of self-employed surveyed said they work from home and have no commute, meaning they have 720 hours or one month every year more to use for work or leisure. In additional, 24% of employed people surveyed spend no time exercising each week, versus just 18% of self-employed.
The same survey also revealed the true extent of what seems to be becoming a serious productivity problem: social media. Shockingly, 8% of British workers spend 45 minutes or more per hour on social media at work and that increases in the millennial age group, where is jumps to 10% in 25-34 year olds and 15% in 18-24 year-olds. This means that, in the average eight-hour day, they may only spend around two hours working. By outsourcing projects, paid on completion, businesses can avoiding subsidising this down time and getting a quicker turnaround.
PeoplePerHour CEO, Xenios Thrasyvoulou comments, "Startups and SMEs can't always afford to strike out with new projects by hiring new teams on a permanent basis, so those looking to grow their business will benefit hugely from outsourcing to skilled freelancers. They get all the benefits of working on a more targeted basis with experts in their field, but without huge overheads and setup time."
PeoplePerHour is the largest digital marketplace for Freelance talent in the UK with around 412,000 highly-specialized freelancers, and over 1 million users globally. The site offers a reliable, flexible, easily accessible and secure means of hiring real people who are experts in their field, each person rated with a review system, who are offering tangible skills and advice to help entrepreneurs grow their business. Overheads can be reduced and deadlines met thanks to the quick turnaround created by this mode of resourcing.