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CEO Discusses Independent Contract Workers in the Workplace

April 13, 2015
Matt Faustman, CEO of UpCounsel and a small business expert, discusses the trend of independent contract workers, their impact on the workplace and why they are becoming the new way for labor.

Recent years have seen a change in how employers hire talent, says Matt Faustman, CEO of UpCounsel and a small business experts.

“There has been a shift [away from] hiring full-time employees to hiring freelancers and contract workers,” said Faustman. “There are many pros and cons to hiring independent contract workers, so whether or not it makes sense for a business will depend on the industry, size of the company and the tasks needing to get done.”

Faustman notes there are advantages and disadvantageous for hiring independent contract workers, and there is a lot that business owners need to consider when hiring independent contractors. He recently had this to say in an exclusive Q&A with

Can you name several advantages and disadvantages for hiring independent contract workers?

Is it cheaper to hire a contractor? Yes, but it needs to be looked at a couple ways. It is cost-effective to hire a contract worker vs. the traditional full-time employee because you don’t have to pay for things like their benefits. However, a lot of times, businesses don’t need a full-time, 40-hour-a-week employee, so they opt to hire the contract worker.

Companies don’t necessarily hire contract workers because they don’t want to offer benefits, or pay the additional fees that come with a full-time employee. This is a labor economy. Businesses are starting to realize that they can take what once was a traditional one-person job, and break it down to [link] specialized workers to the specialized job tasks.

How do independent contractors affect the current workplace environment? 

The effect of independent contract workers on companies will depend on how the management team treats their contract workers. If the company makes an effort to integrate the workers, then the affect they have on the environment will be the same that every other employee has. If they are not integrated into the company, they may suffer from a not-so-enjoyable workplace environment. [Regular] employees probably won’t be impacted at all.

How should contract employers or temporary staffing agencies integrate/introduce independent contractors to the host employer’s workers and work site to ensure smooth sailing?

I think introduce them if they will be in the office, but if they are working remotely you don’t need to do that. Any contractor should get properly introduced. For example: interns. They are contractors. You want them to feel like they are a part of the company. You don’t want them to feel like they are any less than a full-time employee

Is working freelance a good work environment?

The biggest gripe of a freelancer worker about their work environment is that they don’t have people around them; they are by themselves. So that means they have to stay motivated by themselves, they don’t get to collaborate with others, etc. It is advantageous b/c they can work from anywhere. Bed, coffee shop, beach, etc. and they set their own hours so they have complete freedom over their schedules.

As a contractor you have complete silence and independence to lock yourself out of the world and get work done, whereas at the office, there are a lot of distractions. Some people are capable of this and some aren’t.

Should independent contractors expect the same training as the host employer's workers? 

No. Independent contractors are usually hired because they are very skilled in a very specific area. It is expected that they will need to be integrated into the company to collaborate, but they won’t need that specialized training. However, if you are looking to hire a contract worker to do more-general work [example: assemblyline work], then you will need to train them in what they will be doing.

What are the trending jobs for independent contractors?

Jobs in the accounting/tax field, writing, branding, on-demand labor, etc.

What is the difference between temporary workers and independent contractors?

The main difference between the two are the legal paper work and tax filings. A temporary worker will require a W-4 and a contractor worker will use a 1099.

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