With the everyday pressures of balancing work and life – alongside navigating an unpredictable economic climate – it’s easy to understand why people are looking at alternatives to the ‘traditional’ 9-5, full-time roles which many have become accustomed to.
It’s becoming more apparent that employees are now feeling empowered – thanks to technology – to take control of how, where and when they want to work. And, more commonly than not, this isn’t sitting in an office Monday to Friday for eight hours.
From introducing flexible time, to remote options and four-day weeks, the ways in which the working day now operates continues to evolve and change the game for every single business sector.
And each method challenges organisations to revamp their working models, in order to meet a modern-day employee’s demands – and expectations – to keep top talent happy.
Moving away from the traditional workplace infrastructure of the past is something which the tech industry has had to embrace because of its ‘always on’, unpredictable and ever-evolving culture. Businesses in this field are adapting quickly, making short, sharp, and smart developments to their integral job roles, allowing them to continue to compete – and operate efficiently – within their skills and budgetary parameters.
In addition, digitally-based firms need to come up with effective ways to tackle the sector’s well-documented talent shortage and stay ahead of the curve.
So, with the way in which technology relies upon an agile approach to how people now want to work, could project-based employment models prove to be the answer to keep both employees and firms happy, productive and on top of their game?
How contractors can benefit a business
In short, these structures offer companies the flexibility to bring in tech talent ‘on demand’ when business levels dictate either the need for more people, or niche and specific skills required for projects. They allow colleagues to complete tasks of varying lengths, whilst offering a strong level of support due to their high-end capabilities, and a technical skillset fast which can truly help a company effectively deliver to their customers.
Project resource individuals are typically signed up to a provider who will vet their abilities, skills and preferences for them and will have a clear understanding of their client’s needs. This cuts down on time wastage and means that both parties are being provided with the best experience and expertise.
Of course, top talent does come at a cost – and self-employed work is often premium-priced – but what the employer is getting in return is someone who has a technically specific skillset, in crucial roles such as CCIE, Networking, DevOps or AWS, to complete the job.
And, a temporary employee can often cost less than an annual salary, as they are only requested when the project requires their skills.
Because freelancers are measured against each piece of work, businesses can also adapt their employment model in order to suit budgets and better understand the ‘level’ of employee – and associated cost – required to get the right results, meaning the ROI can be instantaneous.
Maintaining an agile approach is imperative within the tech sector, so businesses which possess flexibility towards ever-evolving projects should also invest in this kind of worker – someone who can hit the ground running regardless of where the task is at.
By giving the employee the opportunity to control their own career destiny, organisations are gifted the same aspect too. Having an employment-based model in place allows firms to organise when they need a short-term worker, and when they don’t – resulting in lower overheads.
What are the pros and cons to tech freelancers?
It’s important for people entering into contractor work to be comfortable with possessing flexibility to take on jobs when they’re available – and that they want to work on.
By giving themselves the freedom to not be tied down to a permanent deal, this can mean that they ultimately fit their career around their lifestyle, but they must also be aware of the unpredictability freelancing can bring.
And, whilst there is a premium price attached to tech project workers, they need to be armed with the knowledge that they won’t always know where they’re working from one quarter to the next.
A major factor here is about having the right personality. Contractors have to have a get-up-and-go nature to embrace change, thrive during flux, and operate smartly in an exciting industry that’s forever being disrupted.
There are many advantages for people working solely on projects, one of which is the opportunity they will get to develop a range of specific skills – gained from each business they work with. Understanding different managers and departments can truly help them to upskill, and ensure that they become a desirable prospect for an organisation’s hiring team.
With each successful task completion, comes the prospect of repeat work too – many contractors see their original terms being extended, because they have impressed in the organisations where they have been placed.
Overall, a contractor who has the ability to swiftly slot into various working cultures – which differ across each company – and can manage stakeholders effectively – can be considered as the ‘holy grail’ for a tech firm, when searching for top, agile, talent quickly.
Evolve employment models to suit a changing sector
Tech businesses will experience many peaks and troughs throughout the year, and it’s up to their employment methods to reflect that – as long as these suit the firm, and everyone understands the crucial role that a freelancer can play.
Working out the hours, costs and what is needed will help companies to become more agile in their approach when completing tasks, and enable them to stay one step ahead of the competition.
But those that haven’t trialled project-based models before will need to take time to get their strategy in place, and establish which structure is the best fit for them. They will need to work with a strong, experienced partner to ensure they see the full benefit.
It’s about being able to not only control how the organisation works, but at the same time empower people to manage their individual careers whether these are on a permanent or temporary basis.
By offering flexibility, a business can be much more understanding of the evolving nature that comes with digital disruption – and adapt swiftly, in order to produce the best results.
Giving employees the power to take ownership of their working lives and gift them the time to spend with friends, family and passions, can help attract the brightest, most-engaged, and productive talent to the tech industry – especially at a time when the sector needs them the most.
Alex Wilkinson, chief operating officer of cloud-based resource specialists, Cranford Group