Freelancers as a Reserve

Their role during high seasons and unexpected changes

Freelancers play an important role in smoothing seasonal fluctuations and compensating for unexpected changes. They act as a reliable reserve resource, able to respond quickly to business needs and provide stability during busy periods.

Arina Kozlova, EasyStaff’s Head of Customer Support, tells us why it is important to turn to freelancers during peak times and how best to do it.

Who are freelancers and why do businesses need them?

Freelancers are specialists who carry out projects for different customers. As a rule, they are experienced employees of companies who have started to engage in gigging, i.e. third-party projects, on a permanent basis or in addition to being employed.

More and more companies are turning to freelancers instead of full-fledged employment of employees. We at EasyStaff see the following reasons for this trend.

The path from the first message to the start of work is minimal. You can find a freelancer on freelance marketplaces. Once you post a task and receive offers, you are able to start work immediately. There is no need to conduct multiple interviews and find a time to meet. Freelancers themselves also prefer to complete projects quickly.

Less responsibility. A freelancer is an independent partner who does not expect more from the customer than payment for the work done. In addition, contract termination is relatively quick — without two-week notices, penalties, etc. If the freelancer himself decides to leave the project, it will not be difficult to find a replacement.

Optimal combination of price and quality. Working with a freelancer, a business gets the expertise of an experienced specialist for adequate money. Instead of full employment of an expensive employee on a permanent basis, the company uses the services of a professional point by point, within the framework of one project.

The labor of freelancers is expandable. This is the property of freelance workers that makes them so attractive to companies. It is simple to employ multiple freelancers to build up productivity. With the help of a reliable freelance marketplace, you can find multiple performers.

Geographical flexibility. Businesses can work with freelancers from anywhere in the world, allowing them to tap into global talent pools without being limited by location.
Freelancers are an easily expandable workforce to help your business withstand fluctuations.

Seasonal peaks, unexpected changes and freelancers

A seasonal peak is a time of year when a particular product or service becomes particularly in demand. Consider an example.

Example: From November to December, the highest number of purchases on online shops occurs. This creates a need for product listings. Consequently, there comes a high demand for freelance designers during these months.

Unexpected changes are well-known, yet dreaded. Having the ability to recruit a team that can shrink or expand in response to market challenges is a significant advantage.

Example: A language school in Russia that teaches English is expanding its staff. As a lion’s share of its target audience relocates abroad (primarily to the Balkan countries and Europe), the school is looking for teachers of Serbian, Italian, Spanish and Romanian.

Let's identify the main reasons why employment of freelancers is the best option during seasonal peaks:

  1. Freelancing means flexibility in customizing the workforce. Because freelancers are focused on getting work done quickly and expanding their client base, they are willing to finish one project and move on to the next. Their schedule and scope of work can be easily adjusted to meet the current needs of the business. A company can also conveniently reduce the number of freelancers because they don't expect a constant stream of projects from a single client.
  2. A freelancer saves the company's budget during times of uncertainty. Unlike full-time employees, a freelancer is not entitled to insurance benefits from the employer. This means that it is more profitable to keep such an employee. In a period of uncertainty, when everything changes every day, it is safest to work with contractors as they can be easily let go in case budgets get low.
  3. A freelancer is always open for new tasks. In crises, it is not always possible to immediately understand what kind of specialist is needed, and what his work will consist of. If the business is just taking off, and it is not clear what the job description for a new employee may look like, freelancers are the most convenient. This is important in order to understand exactly what kind of specialist is needed in the staff and whether it is needed.
  4. Freelancers allow you to get ahead of time. This is a non-obvious but useful advantage during peak periods. A team whose members are in different time zones can complete projects faster. If organised properly, 24/7 content production can be achieved.
Managing freelancers may be challenging but the cutting edge you get with freelancers is worth it.

Challenges of working with a large remote team of freelancers

Clearly, relying on freelancers during peak workloads is more profitable and rewarding. Despite the benefits, it’s important to work with a remote team wisely without risking your budget. Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes.

It's hard to keep everyone in the loop

With remote teams, it may be difficult to relay information and make sure it reaches the recipient. Communication channels should be easy and accessible, and regular syncs should be in place.

Solution 1: A tool where you can create groups is suitable for communication. It is important that it works globally and that you can send files in it. For example, Discord or Facebook.

Solution 2: Regular calls and messages. Sharing information and materials is an important step when working with external artists: firstly, because of the need to be "in the know"; secondly, for security reasons. If a freelancer suddenly decides to leave the project, he or she needs to be replaced quickly.

It’s difficult to find a reliable performer

Indeed, there are many scammed clients. The most reliable ways to find performers are freelance marketplaces and word of mouth. Traditionally, on marketplaces freelancers are verified, which allows you to exclude unreliable performers. If you look for freelancers through acquaintances and colleagues, there is every chance to find a reliable performer and even discuss their skills with clients.

However, you should be aware of potential schemes of deception — unreliable performers may behave in this way. What kind of schemes are there?

One for all. Unscrupulous performers create not only their own account, but also the account of "customers" (register these accounts for themselves). Then the freelancer completes orders and receives feedback and reviews, so that the profile seems legit. Once paid, the freelancer simply disappears after receiving an upfront payment.

External escrow service. Today, most freelance platforms offer a secure transaction service. If a performer proposes an external escrow account instead of an affordable and convenient solution within the platform, it is definitely a red flag.

Skippy Freelancer. If the performer is rushing you with payment, this is a red flag. A good freelancer has a queue of orders. There is no need for them to "ping" the customer daily.

It’s difficult to pay everyone quickly and conveniently

The basis of safe and reliable cooperation with a remote performer is timely payment for services. There are several ways to do this:

1) On the freelance platform. As mentioned above, good platforms have their own escrow services.

2)Through an international payment system. This method works if you are confident in the performer and if the payment system is available where the freelancer is located.

3)Through a freelancer management service — these systems allow you to transfer money anywhere in the world, helping the freelancer to conveniently withdraw funds to any card. They also offer the closing documents needed to declare income (for the freelancer) and expenses (for the client).

Freelancers not only provide companies with flexibility and scalability during seasonal peaks, but they are also an important element of social and economic adaptation. Therefore, when considering workforce management strategies and resource planning, turning to freelancers becomes a necessary step for success.
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