With round after round of heavy layoffs across multiple categories, hiring freezes in place, recruitment challenges in many sectors, many people are feeling overwhelmed and having to pick up the slack, as teams simply don't have enough people to do the work required.
This BBC article reports on the emotional and productivity challenges being faced by many organisations, and an October 2022 report from the British Chambers of Commerce evidenced that 76% of companies are struggling to recruit staff, and 56% saying that they were operating below full capacity as a result.
The direct impact of this is significant on both individuals wellbeing - lower productivity, absence from work and even burnout, leading to further challenges in the team - and organisational effectiveness, with projects backing up, tensions fraying, and deadlines missed.
The British Chambers of Commerce, in their recommendations to government, have listed "Encouraging firms to find new ways of unlocking pools of talent". We agree - this is one of the opportunities where collaborating with freelancers can help to tackle some of the internal challenges your lean teams might be facing.
Ways freelancers can lighten the load
Bringing in a freelancer to pick up some of the workload is clearly one of the easiest ways of lightening the load for people. Scaling your team by bringing a few additional people with similar capabilities for a short period of time, whilst you're able to hire, reduces stress across the board.
Bringing in a senior individual on a short-term or part-time basis can help too - to coach, mentor and support the team if they're missing key individuals, or to help identify new efficiencies and processes to work in a more lean and agile way.
Introducing a partner to support a team leader can help as well, creating space and time for the manager to focus on people challenges, or develop a new strategy to navigate the unknown.
Working with freelancers on a more 'when needed' basis also frees up budget to focus on core capabilities, and use contingent budget for those times when you need to draft in skills which are less essential right now, only when required.
Indeed, rethinking your talent strategy to shift away from 'owned employees' to 'fluid teams' which balance internal core competencies, and collaborate with specialists to supercharge projects when required, allows you be lean on people costs, whilst still delivering high value work.
Freelancers do have their own mental health pressures - so just shifting the stress from your people onto others isn't the right approach, you'll need to make sure you're working effectively with freelancers, to get their best work, but being able to tap into the fluid workforce to give support to your perm staff is a step towards making sure your people will continue to be part of your business moving forward.
The Independency Co. can help you build effective and supportive ways of working with freelancers, as well as build a bench of specialists you can call upon when needed. Drop us a line if you're interested in finding out more.