“Gig economy” was one of the trend words in Sweden during 2017. The number of freelancers grew quickly. Delivery drivers and Uber had trouble with the unions, companies like FrilansFinans, helping freelancers invoicing without having to start their own businesses, sought funding through equity crowdfunding platform Pepins. It all made Sweden very interesting for anyone working with freelancers and independent consultants. And it’s of course not only in Sweden we see the rise of the independent worker. It’s the same across the entire Nordic region.
It makes me think of how long we’ve come since we started out in 2005. Then there was no cloud technology and the idea of a PR agency without offices and staff, working with freelancers locally based was indeed a different notion. “What, you have no offices?!” was often the comment in new business meetings. The exception was Google, unfaced by our setup, focusing on getting good people and getting things done. They went on to develop the first cloud based office solutions, Google Apps, so maybe not so strange they dared take a gamble on us, and we are forever grateful to them for it!
This past year, the idea of cloud based solutions and freelancers or independent consultants has exploded. It’s hard to think of a world without. Two of our clients are at the forefront in this space, Cornerstone OnDemand, a leader in cloud based learning and HR- solutions and CoMatch, a Berlin-based platform for independent management consultants and industry experts. Both disruptors and leaders in their field.
The new world of freelancing brings its own challenges. How can organisations ensure people are skilled in this fast moving world? How can consultants ensure they keep up so they are employable over time. How do you ensure a good working culture and climate when a large number of people aren’t actually employed by you?
We know a lot about how to manage teams without a traditional structure. Our advice is to:
Ensure you know each member of the team in person and truly understand what their skills are.
Involve them from the beginning of the project, ensure they know what the end result is supposed to look like, and listen to their input!
Trust them and give them a lot of freedom to do their jobs, after all they are the experts.
Tell them how much you value them!
Be very clear on money and hours upfront.
Always pay their invoices on time!