First of all, we should see whether the Companies and Organisations are interested in working with the freelancers over full-time employees? The answer may vary from one country to another, and in western countries, the answer is yes! In developing countries, the scenario is changing, but still, consultants pay a limited role in big companies and corporates.
Why is freelancing becoming popular?
There are more than 100 large companies in the World who are allowing freelancers to work with them as consultants. They are fine with their workforce spread across the globe and working from their homes. So, there must be some reasons why these fortune 500 companies and many others are working with freelancers as well as why people prefer to work as freelancers instead of employees.
Key reasons for Employers selecting Freelancers:
Project Timing and Simplicity in Up-scaling
The company has a specific task to complete in a certain period. If they are not having in-house resources meet the deadline, they can go through the lengthy process of onboarding a new employee which involves:
- It is much easier to find freelancers
- Entire management approval process and HR (Interviewing) process
- Back-and-forth negotiating of the salary/sign-on bonus
- New employee onboarding for benefits/office/computer/phone/etc.
- Notice period for joining of new employees
Low Risk and Easy Down-Scaling
Lower risk in times of economic downturn is very important. When utilising freelancers, business owners don’t hold the same obligations as they do to employees. For example, in the case of lower business, you can scale down the workforce. While ramping down, there is no fear of violating any labour laws.
While freelancer rates may be higher paid, there are significant savings in other areas. Office space, computers, supplies, employment taxes, and benefits will all be covered by the freelancer. There are country specific retirement benefits which are not part of the freelancer agreements, making more savings for the business.
In some cases, the freelancer charges are much lesser than employees as well, and the business can do some research on these specific skills to have freelancer focus for this type of work.
A strange thing happens within companies about developing a certain set of politics and silos. An external consultant has no baggage. There are multiple groups created, and they can be problems for the employer as they start affecting working together and creates performance issues also.
While a company deploys employees onto a particular project, there might be a specific skill required for a portion of the project. For example, a healthcare IT company might have a bunch of full-time developers writing the code but need a database security expert for some time. Instead of hiring a full-time security person, the company might prefer to hire a consultant or a freelance gig for just that part of the project.
Lower investment in training and support as the business owners can seek out specialised, highly-skilled workers; they may need to invest less in training and support. If the business model is set from beginning to have outsourced to contractors, then the infrastructure cost can also be saved considerably.
Advantages of being a freelancer:
As a freelancer, you have a lot more flexibility. You can set your hours, pick and choose your assignments. You can increase or reduce your freelance work hours, and work around personal life and social commitments. As long as you meet your deadlines, you can take the whole day off and work at night if you want. This flexibility is one of the most important factors in selecting a freelancer lifestyle. A side-note to this is related to travelling to the workplace is a big pain in many cities, and one can avoid that with freelance remote working.
No Office Politics
As a freelancer, you don’t have to deal with office politics for the most part. Even if you have regular clients, you are away from their office politics. You often work remotely or are only in the employer office for a very short duration and not much affected by any such politics.
On the face of it, you have total control as a freelancer. You choose what to work on and what not to. If a particular assignment doesn’t interest you, you can simply reject it. In most cases, you’ll probably have to take up the assignments which you don’t also like, as you are worried about meeting your expenses.
You also have a ‘boss’ for each assignment and your client will give you instructions, and expect a certain standard of work from you. You may get some autonomy or control over how to do the work but can’t depart too much from client’s expectations.
Some Disadvantages of being a Freelancer:
You have to arrange your health insurance, you don’t get paid when you take time off, and you have to plan for your retirement. When it comes to training, that’s your responsibility too. As a freelancer, you have to motivate yourself. You have to find your clients, do your marketing, set up your website, and negotiate your contracts.
Freelancing can be very unstable regarding getting money. You may have a lot of work on some days, and you may be sitting idle some days. That makes it hard to plan and hard to manage your financial affairs. As a freelancer, you’re often a lone wolf. You may work from home most of the time, or from your rented studio space. There is not much of bonding or co-working.
Advantages for Employer:
- Cost saving
- Can quickly onboard people
- Find niche skills quickly
- No need to make all arrangements for new employee
Disadvantages for Employer:
- Commitment may be an issue
- Not much control over the freelancer’s schedule and work
- Risk of freelancer leaving the task anytime
In spite of knowing that there are some disadvantages of working as a freelancer, there are more and more people getting attracted towards freelancing as they find there are more advantages than the disadvantages.
Advantages of Freelancer:
- Lots of flexibility to choose your hours.
- Find freelance jobs of your choice and skills
- Almost no involvement in any office politics.
Disadvantages of Freelancer:
- No employee benefits & unpredictable income
- Lack of community.
- You have to motivate yourself.