Discover what a flexible workforce is, and more so, its potential benefits. It’s the start of 2022, and companies are reopening after the festive season. This means a busy time for C-level executives, managers, and the on-site staff members, who must complete strategies, budgets, and considerably more for the year ahead.
All these efforts seek to gain more market share, beat off the competition, and increase profits by reducing business overheads. Some companies will succeed in all their objectives; however, others will fail dismally. Is there a staffing solution to help businesses remain more agile? Yes, there certainly is! Businesses are increasingly investing in a flexible workforce.
What is a flexible workforce?
A flexible workforce comprises two main components. One is a staffing component that can increase and decrease in accordance with the changing workload and/or the company’s financial situation. Secondly, the term refers to staff members able to complete several types of tasks. Such staff members can therefore be moved from one department to another, depending on where the need arises.
The concept of a flexible workforce is not new. However, this strategy was introduced to deal with the changing expectations and circumstances – for instance, retailers hiring seasonal staff over the holiday period to deal with the increase of customers; or farmers hiring seasonal workers to assist them with their harvests. Not all such positions are onsite roles − they can easily be filled by offsite workers. Such workers are known as virtual assistants; sometimes called VAs, or remote assistants. These virtual assistants, as the name implies, work remotely.
Nevertheless, they assist the core staff with their work; or they may undertake a specialist position, saving the company hiring extra on-site staff. For example, a virtual assistant can be hired to effect software development, graphic design, or web design and development. Such work can be set for a fixed term, such as a few weeks or months.
What are the benefits of a flexible workforce?
Within this flexible workforce environment, there are two main stakeholders, namely, the employee and the employer. The benefits for each differ slightly. In general, the benefits of this type of staffing model apply to both parties. Business has access to great talent; the workforce has access to better prospects; businesses gain access to novel skills; and employees acquire new skills by working for different businesses.
Additional benefits for businesses include reduced business overheads, especially in terms of salaries while gaining access to great talent and new skills. Business overheads that are reduced are office space, the need for workstations, and having to buy additional computers and other office equipment. In a diverse workforce, particularly if the employees are offshore, and in the managed service model, businesses have no payroll or HR issues to trouble them.
Extra benefits for labor include: Staff can complete their tasks from anywhere; remote staff have flexible working hours; currency differences allow remote staff a better salary than afforded to them locally. Simultaneously, the company saves on their wages.
What are the perils of a flexible workforce?
There are disadvantages to a scalable workforce; however, the benefits outweigh these disadvantages. Some risks may be as follows: Business owners looking for certain skills might not be able to find these when they need them the most. So too, the workers might be unable to find work should no positions be available.
There can be information technology security risks if an employer provides a remote worker with access to networks. If, for instance, there is a dispute, the remote worker could betray the employer who does not pay what is due them.
The future of the flexible workforce
Post the pandemic, it is possible that the flexible workforce will become the norm. Even on-site workers are craving the freedom to work remotely, and per flexible working hours. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly highlighted some of the risks, particularly for employees. Remote and temporary employees are frequently the first to be dismissed in a fiscal crisis.
Research by McKinsey in 2021 concluded that “contract, freelance, and temporary workers would overwhelmingly prefer permanent employment.” No bombshell really, since these workers have faced the most egregious financial impact of the pandemic. Such workers, for instance, “were nearly twice as likely as others to say that they could not afford health insurance.”
Is a flexible workforce appropriate for your business?
The answer hinges on many aspects, for instance, the industry you are in, and the type of skills that you need. Aristo Sourcing provides businesses with great talent. Our expert outsourcing specialist is able to guide you through the process. Our experienced people will ensure that you acquire the top talent, with the best skills for completing all your tasks. For more information about working with Aristo Sourcing, do book your complimentary consultation.