The working world is changing and with it so is the need for the once-prominent office-based 9-to-5 employee.

Millennials currently makeup one-third of the American workforce and have brought with them a brand new mentality in which the work-life balance is a much greater necessity.

According to a survey by Upwork, there are 55 million listed freelancers in the United States. This makes up 35% of the total US workforce, and it’s expected that this figure will rise to more than half the amount of workers by 2020. The role of a freelancer is something which businesses can hugely benefit from – and here’s why.
Affordability

For many small businesses and startups, expensive overheads can prove to be a real issue. Hiring full-time employees is not always the most efficient way to work, so hiring a freelancer as and when required would help to cut unnecessary costs.
It’s not just idle time that would be avoided either. By hiring a contractor, a business could avoid needing to pay for large office space by hiring a remote worker. Often, a freelancer who works away from the office can quote their services at a cheaper rate due to the lack of overhead costs.

Flexibility

The need for flexibility in a role has ousted money as a key aspect in job hunting for many. Because of this, freelancing is becoming more popular, and a business can take advantage of the larger talent field that is becoming available.
With the working week increasing on average by seven hours, the need for flexible working has led to many employees ‘going it alone’. A recent salary survey found that over a third of respondents were looking for a new role so they could work remotely.

Experience

By dipping into the pool of freelancers available, a company can reach a far wider audience. Thanks to the continuous technological advances, it’s possible to find a candidate from the other side of the world who could be a better fit than those who are based in your location.

“You can design a project in your location, and have it built anywhere – and this may be a key to success for small businesses,” Elance CEO Fabio Rosati told Inc. “Once you assign a job, go home, and have results the next day from around the world, you start to see the potential competitive advantage.”

A freelancer can bring with them a wealth of experience from working with a host of businesses across industries. Each job that they are tasked with requires a new skill.

Therefore they are continuously improving their knowledge.

Attitude and Adaptability
In order to build their portfolio, a freelancer must provide a high standard of work – how else are they going to generate new business? Unlike their full-time counterparts, employees hired as a contractor are often expected to complete a very specific role. If they’ve been approached for a certain role, they will often go the extra mile to make sure you’re satisfied with their end product.

This predominantly leads to a higher level of productivity, and this mentality can be contagious for other employees, helping to motivate them for their tasks.

Quick Turnaround

With many freelancers avoiding the ‘normal’ working times, a business is able to request work to be completed outside of the usual time zones and find that the task is completed by the time they return to the office.

“Freelancing lets you shift gears when the world does,” says Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancer’s Union and author of The Freelancer’s Bible. With a freelancer, you can set deadlines to suit the business and then outreach. You can avoid delays that are often required due to making sure staff are trained. By hiring a freelancer, you can bring in personnel who are already fully equipped to complete the job successfully.

Running a business can be stressful and extremely time-consuming. Sometimes it’s ‘better the devil you know,’ but with the workforce edging more and more towards freelance roles, the vast talent that is available makes hiring a contractor a great option.
With often a higher level of productivity for your money, it’s certainly worth looking at.

About the Author: 

Jamie Roberts is a well-travelled freelance journalist who is currently based in the UK. He specialises in producing articles based around recruitment, modernisation, and work culture. He also has a love of sport and Huskies. Share your thoughts with Jamie on Twitter @j1roberts

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