Does your job require a freelancer or a full timer?

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Freelancers are a viable option for established business enterprises and not just for start-ups. In an article with Business Today, professional services firm Ernst & Young shared that they used a pool of 300-plus freelancers for various projects.1

It’s important to note that while some roles naturally lend themselves to remote work, others require face-to-face interaction and ongoing presence. Besides the role or work profile, the needs of the business too should be taken into consideration. For instance, an in-house designer may be essential at an ad agency, but the marketing team of an IT firm could well afford to outsource this task to a freelancer.

When deciding if you want to hire a freelancer or a full timer, here are a few things to consider:

Be clear on the objective and duration of the role

When you have income from a full-time job to fall back on, you can afford to be picky about the kind of projects that you work on. Instead of choosing projects solely on the basis of their fee, find projects that enrich your life. Perhaps you could find a project that centres around your passion. When you’re doing something you really enjoy, it’s less likely to feel like a job and can actually invigorate you after a full day at work.Often, hires are made randomly in the face of short-term pressure. For instance, an IT product company requiring a PR specialist to create publicity prior to the launch of a product would end up hiring an in-house person. The reasoning usually is that individuals can scale up in the future, while agencies would charge exorbitantly for the one-time. What would the said person do after the event though? Unfortunately, since the role was designed with a short-term objective in mind, not much. Had they but known it, a freelancer might have been a better proposition.

The same company however may require a full time PR specialist to maintain an ongoing relationship with analysts and influencers in the IT industry. The role here--PR specialist--is the same but the objectives are different. As a hiring manager, you will need to be clear about expectations from the role.

The duration and volume of work

If the nature of the work is long-term and of an ongoing nature, it may be worthwhile to consider a full-time hire. Freelancers typically charge by the hour and their per hour charges are higher than that of full-time hires. If your freelancer clocks in the same number of hours as a full-time employee, perhaps a full-time hire would be cheaper.. Keep in mind though that with a freelancer, you’d save on health insurance, employee benefits, paid vacation, PF fund and real estate.

You may also want to consider the duration for which the volume of work is likely to continue. For instance, Amazon regularly outsources certain roles during peak season.2 This is a short-term arrangement as the high volume is not expected to continue beyond the holidays.

The budget in hand

The rampant layoffs that sweep across companies during an economic downturn lends credence to two central facts—one, most companies have not imbibed cost-cutting as a best practice and two, most companies are overstaffed. Having the budget to hire an extra hand does not necessitate hiring a full-time staff member who would likely be a liability in the years to come. Moreover, as this article will tell you full-time employees are far from being engaged full time and this can lead to attrition despite your best efforts.

To conclude, if the nature and duration of the job, the volume of work involved and the technologies required to support freelancing are in place, there is no reason why a good number of full-time employees cannot be replaced by freelancers.



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