Opinion

Embrace the flexibility in a freelancer’s working week

With no strict nine till five, adland should set its sights on the freelancer when the going gets tough, writes Cavalry CEO Dave Bentley.

Unlike companies, freelancers aren’t always shackled by the constraints of a Monday to Friday working week. Instead, a large contingent of freelancers prefer to mix up when they work by swapping week days for evenings and weekends.

In an age where there is increasing pressure on companies to deliver more with less time and resource, could this be an under-utilised area of freelancing to help drive up productivity and hit deadlines?

More so than full time employees, freelancers can shape their week by balancing what works best for their personal and professional situation. After all, flexibility and control of time are core drivers for why people choose to freelance.

Photo by hj barraza on Unsplash

Additionally, when some freelancers are not required to work standard business hours, they often choose to get the work done more efficiently by compressing their working week into longer but fewer days. This makes a ton of sense as it gives freelancers more flexibility in how they spend the rest of the week, whether it being for personal time or other jobs.

This flexibility strikes me as an interesting opportunity for companies to leverage. Ultimately a freelancer’s flexibility could easily transfer to increasing a company’s flexibility and productivity.

Instead of a company having to plan projects based on constraints of Monday to Friday nine to five, they can start to consider how projects (or parts of projects) can be delivered in different more efficient ways. Projects can in theory be turned around quicker through evening work, while overall weekly productivity could increase by two days with freelancers being engaged to work weekends. It also allows for companies to create a continuous flow of work in a similar way to what offshore partners provide.

Yet for many companies and in particular agencies, working with freelancers typically means bringing them into the office having them working alongside their team lead. After 17 years in agencies I know as well as anyone that in many instances this is necessary. But not all… there are plenty of opportunities where you simply need a good brief and open lines of communication. Plus, with the proliferation of amazing online tools that support remote working (e.g. Slack and Asana), it has never been easier to make this happen.

In this day and age companies have to find ways to do more with less time and resources. Overflow work, a tight deadline or a project dropped in the lap can all potentially be supported by bringing in a freelancer who is flexible about when they work, creating a better end result for both the project and the sanity of your own team.

Dave Bentley is the CEO of Cavalry. 

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