The idea of a flexible workforce is not necessarily new, even though in recent times it has gained significantly in both popularity and credibility.
Using a flexible workforce to get your IT projects, staffing, or support accomplished can be a brilliant business move. You can adjust the project's completion date and the priority to apply just the right number of team members to meet your budget requirements. And bonus, you're not paying for technician downtime or taking on unbillable bench time.
What's driving flexible work models?
Historically, organizations maintained specialty departments to support their business. Over time, however, many have determined that the overhead of these sometimes termed "non-essential" departments outweighs the benefit to the organization. Departments like IT have suffered drastic cutbacks over the years. Now more than ever, this specialty is outsourced to a managed service provider (MSP) or a time and materials arrangement with independent contractors.
At an increasing rate technology specialists work independently or with an agency that helps technicians find work. In other words, you hire the contractor on your own or through the agency and pay by the contract, written according to your terms.
With flexible labor, you're able to complete projects, minimize your budget, and compress time to completion by using the "by the hour, day, project, etc." workforce model.
Examples of projects or services provided by a flexible workforce include:
- Software upgrades
- Office/Department/Business moves or relocations
- Equipment installations and office set-up services
- Help Desk Support
- Security training and testing
- Network and server support
Flexibility does not come without potential challenge, however. You must consider all the benefits and potential pitfalls of contracting your projects when flexible labor is involved. Here are some considerations:
What are you relying on as a quality indicator? In other words, how do you know this technician's work history or performance? Do you believe the reviews written online are from a credible source?
How will you judge the skill of the technician to make sure you're matched with a qualified expert?
How quickly will you be able to reschedule a technician when your project is delayed or accelerated? Was your process to hire this individual easily repeatable? Remember, flexible workers (especially the good ones) may have full schedules by the time your project is set to begin.
We cannot overstate this one. Who is managing the overall project, what are their service level expectations, and how will communication occur? If the project manager is your employee, you're probably in pretty good shape. But if you don't have a project manager (meaning a full time, trained in the discipline, or even better, certified PMP), your risk goes up.
Go with an intermediary.
Here's the thing. You can access flexible technicians easily with online tools or apps. But your project risk is also an important (THE most important) consideration. Your best bet is to work with a business whose core competency is IT projects and who can offer you project manager-led flexible workforce. You get the benefit of budget savings because you don't have fulltime technicians on staff and the downtime that can come with them.
If this sounds like something you would like to explore, let us know. We would be happy to discuss your projects with you to determine the best model for completion.