In my dad’s time, the secretary wrote in short-hand, and then passed her notes to the ladies in the typing pool who produced a letter that was sent across town by the driver in the company-van to the mailroom at the client’s office. This provided a whole lot of people with permanent jobs, supporting a commercial systematic culture of nine to five-ing – providing for families while forming an important cog in the economy. We’ve come a long way since then and the language of shorthand is probably in the memory of only a few baby-boomers. Nowadays, the boss types his own e-mails, we communicate and share information in an instant, and heck…we’ve even become expert photographers and award-winning video producers, thanks to Instagram and TikTok.
As The Great Resignation permeates its way through dinner table topics, one has to wonder about the future of the workplace. Yes, sure, we’ve all been acutely aware of the freelance worker; those brave ones who quit on the nine-to-five routine and somehow always seem to make their way back into your inbox, doing splendid work on a project you’re in on. But no-one took the whole freelance thing too seriously until we were all sent home 2 years ago.
The reality is, the lockdown led a global mass of people to rethink why, how, where and under what circumstances they worked. The sheer number of countries (including our own) that are developing digital nomad visas, encouraging talent and allowing employees to work on a less permanent and more fluid basis indicates that hybrid work and the gig economy is here to stay. Leaders have in many cases been forced to trim down their teams to core personnel, and as those key staff have moved out of their pyjamas and back into the boardroom, they have reliased their worth. In order to combat high turnover of talent, companies have been pushed to offer better benefits or higher salaries, and more flexible working conditions. Freedom to work remotely or under a hybrid system has, according to a study in the US, become the most sought-after benefit.
The inverse of the big resignation is that companies are most definitely not keeping deadwood staff. Getting someone highly skilled to do the job, paying them for the project over a few weeks or months and sending them on their way is becoming not only a cost-effective solution, but a smarter choice. As a team manager, you get top skills for a specific project without the huge overhead and all the expenses that usually accompany a full-timer.
This doesn’t mean you can ‘Donald Trump’ your team and sweep a ‘you’re fired’ mania across the office floor. Managing a freelancer or contract employee within a hybrid system can be tricky. At Metisware, we, for instance keep a core, trusted and solid team that drives the company, looks after the all-important client relationships and protects the intellectual property of the business. From here, we establish our needs and pull in specialist skills where needed.
We’ve also realised that setting up your team for a successful hybrid system takes more than downloading Zoom. We’ve downscaled on our in-office desk space and up-scaled on our IT infrastructure. We’ve made sure that any and all of our freelance workers are set up properly at their remote offices. We do not accept power-outages or connectivity problems as reasons to fail or not deliver. We insist on a plan-B attitude and stress that our team must connect seamlessly and on-demand.
There are plenty of platforms to find talent; in the creative world there is fiverr.com and in the software development space there are tons of really good outsource innovators available. India specifically has an exceptionally talented pool of IT specialists, consultants, freelancers, networks and even teams. Our internal team then project-manages and quality-controls the giggers and manages the overall deliverables to our clients.
A win for all.