Future-proofing business for SMEs in 2017 with outsourced talent

Shelling out extra fixed costs for recruitment, utilities, pensions and healthcare can be avoided by opting for the flexible outsourced skills.

For many people, this New Year offers hope for change and improvement after a turbulent, political and economic 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 consider outsourced talent.

A survey by the Office of National Statistics on trends in self-employment in the UK highlights that the level of self-employment has 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 2015 and 2016, making a total of 4.69 million Brits working for themselves. Technology, trust 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 could be the key for SMEs

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 per cent of 18-24 year olds say that freelancing was part of their long-term career plan, meaning that businesses need to offer millennials a way to sustain their levels of travel and freedom through flexible working in order to harness their talent.

Freelance workers are also happier and more productive, bringing added value to businesses. A 2014 study by economists at the University of Warwick finds that happiness led to a 12 per cent increase in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10 per cent 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 notes 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 finds that freelancers were enjoying life more than those in traditional working frameworks.

One in ten (9 per cent) Brits travel up to three hours or more each day. Nearly half (44 per cent) of self-employed say 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 addition, 24 per cent of employed people surveyed spend no time exercising each week, versus just 18 per cent of self-employed.

The same survey also reveals the true extent of what seems to be becoming a serious productivity problem: social media. Shockingly, 8 per cent of British workers spend 45 minutes or more per hour on social media at work and that increases in the millennial age group, where it jumps to 10 per cent in 25-34 year olds and 15 per cent in 18-24 year-olds. This means that, in the average eight-hour day, they may only spend around two hours working.

By using outsourced workers on 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 outsourced talent 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.’

Further reading on outsourced talent

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.