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Hiring an Independent Worker vs Full Time Employee: 3 myths debunked!

So you’re wondering what’s going to be more beneficial to your business – hiring that full-time employee or sourcing an Independent Worker for your project? You may already be swaying towards one or the other, but ultimately, you’re considering what is easiest and most cost-efficient for you, whilst getting the job done to the highest standard, right?

While one may seem easier or more financially beneficial in the short term, it’s good to look at the bigger picture before writing off any of your options.

Common factors that can influence your decision may include cost, logistics and control. You might be thinking “but aren’t freelancers more expensive?” or “with an employee, I know exactly when they’re working and what they’re doing” or “I prefer to have someone in the office between 9-5”.

Often these assumptions and concerns come from how we have been taught work should be. Traditionally, you hire an employee and they work for you. They come into work every day, do their set number of hours and then you pay them at the end of every month. Simple. In the meantime, the independent workforce – contractors, freelancers and the like, are growing rapidly, there’s a whole pool of incredibly talented individuals out there who could be perfect for your project, so what’s stopping you from working with them?

There are many myths around the independent workforce that can put a barrier up between a potentially beautiful partnership, so we want you to know that hiring an independent worker has a whole variety of benefits that could work more effectively for your organisation. To help clear some of those up, below we’ve listed the three top myths around hiring independent workers, and suitably debunked them so you can make an empowered and informed decision about who to hire for your next project!

Freelancers are more expensive

Probably the most common factor that comes to mind when hiring a workforce is cost. We totally understand that you want to keep costs to a minimum, whilst getting the job done well! We also totally get that seeing a contractor rate of $600 a day might make you wince and think “but I could just get one of my full-timers to do it”, or just hire someone new on a similar wage.

But is there really no additional cost to doing that? What’s important to remember is that the independent workforce is vast and often broken down into specialisms. The benefit of hiring an Indy is that you can source someone with the exact skill set required to fulfil your needs, which means getting it done quickly, efficiently and to the highest standard. When hiring a full-time employee, you’d be hard pushed to find someone with such specific skills, and in the long-term, it wouldn’t necessarily be all that useful to the business once the project is finished.

Similarly, asking Karen from accounts to step up isn’t always a great idea either – getting a current employee to do the work may take time and resource away from other areas of the business, and is likely to make the project you’re working on feel like a laboured task that is sucking you dry of internal resources.

So ask yourself this – what specific skills are required for your project? What do you want your timeline for outcomes to look like? And what’s the real cost if this project were not to get done on time? Hiring an independent worker can save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long run, so don’t shy away from those contractor rates right away!

It’s more difficult to manage outcomes with a freelancer

Despite most of the world having worked remotely for a least some of the time over the past two years, remote working is still not favoured by all. However, for independent workers and freelancers, they have always managed where and how they work, so it’s just another day in the job for them.

We hear you though, managing a big project remotely bring up a whole bunch of concerns around communication, logistics and project management, but there’s really no reason for it to be any less effective than working face to face. In fact, hiring an Indy to work on your project creates a great sense of flexibility that can be beneficial to your organisation in many ways.

Not only do you not have to squeeze them into your already limited office space, but it also doesn’t limit your scope. Perhaps there’s one person who’s perfect for the job, they specialise in the exact software you need help with, but they live on the other side of the world. Flying them to the office would seem absurd right? But you can still work with them!

The key to success here is a strong SOW (Statement of Work) that outlines clearly the outcomes, deliverables and timescales. For independent workers that’s their bread and butter and the basis of how they work, and how they get paid, so you can be sure there’s no wasted time on the clock.

As long as you have clear communication and focus throughout the project, you’re actually much more likely to reach your deliverables in a timely manner.

Working with a freelancer is riskier than a full-time employee

The word compliance (or contractor compliance) can often scare organizations. Sometimes the tax regulations for the independent workforce can feel like a minefield, and that can put people off hiring a contractor or freelancer. But truth be told, it’s not any more complicated than employee tax, in fact, it makes your life easier in some ways as it’s the Indy who’s responsible for their own tax.

As long as you ensure you classify any independent workers correctly, and ensure they remain a separate entity to your business, you’re all good! As self-employed workers, this means treating them as such. Based on the IRS’s general rule of thumb, an easy way to clarify this is by asking yourself who has control over the outcomes and deliverables and who has control over how and where the work gets done.

As the organization hiring the freelancer, you should only have control over the outcomes and deliverables, not where and how they get done. If you are a small business, then consider all the factors of the working relationship to determine whether your worker is truly independent or an employee.

Overall, there can be many great benefits to working with an independent worker in the UK over a full-time employee – there’s potential to get the job done quicker and to your specific requirements, whilst proving to be more cost-efficient to the business. It’s important to consider all the variables of your project including your budget, timescales and how you and other team members feel you work best in order to make the right decision for you.

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