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07.30.14 | blog

Independent Contractors: The Model of the Free and the Brave

With 63 million Americans predicted to work from home by 2016, it is no wonder why traditional offices are on the tail end of popularity (Forrester Research). But, when you take a step back and think about it, this change can not only be a result of the rise of the independent contractor model and the longing to work from home. No. This shift towards crowdsourcing and independent contractors is a result of poor security practices in bricks and mortar facilities… across all industries. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 65 million Americans are expected to be freelancers, temps, independent contractors, and solopreneurs, making up about 40% of the workforce by 2020. It is no wonder why Fortune 500 companies are moving towards an independent contractor model. Take Microsoft’s cutting 18,000 jobs, the biggest in the company’s history. Although the cut is a result of Microsoft’s $7 billion Nokia acquisition, who knows, it could very well contract with thousands of the people they are planning to cut to maintain the same level of innovation in a much more cost effective way.

But still, why are all companies not making the move to a work-from-home model? Well, management is not only reluctant to delegate tasks to people who are their employees for fear of intellectual theft and fraudulent activity, but they also think keeping operations in house or in a tightly controlled environment protects sensitive data. Again, this is not true.

In fact, work at home contractors demographics cut the crime risk by 2/3. With this in mind, it is still curious why companies are hesitant to join other businesses and reap the benefits of an independent contractor/work-from-home model. The benefits are great and the innovation even greater.

Access to premier talent. Without geographical constraints, organizations have access to talent from anywhere in the world. Marketers in Milan can collaborate with IT folks in Silicon Valley, the innovation endless.

Work life balance. Independent contractors are able to make their own schedule, while working during hours that are most convenient to them and when they are most productive. This ensures flexibility in their schedules, motivation to perform well, and satisfaction in the work they are completing.

Intrinsic motivation. Independent contractor’s intrinsic motivation is partially a result of work life balance; however, their intrinsic motivation also stems from the ability to choose what type of work they collaborate on. Gone are the days where a manager told an employee what tasks to work on, regardless of their specialty. Contractors now have the option to choose their work, completing tasks that they enjoy, collaborating on innovation projects that they are proud to contribute to.

Although at first taking that step towards work from home is daunting, organizations that have already taken the plunge are questioning how they went for so long without taking advantage of this model.

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