How to Create a Work Environment That Works Better for the Freelance Spirit
There has been a lot written and a lot of internal discussions around the rise of the freelance employee. Whether that's due to the current entrepreneurial culture, work-life balance or free-floating career plans, there certainly seem to be more and more people opting for a freelance lifestyle at work. Just take a look at the growth of freelance work spaces in the last 18 months, and you’ll see what I mean.
The last of the Baby Boomers are moving into new phases of their careers, which is driving some of the activity. But also, the Millennial generation has a different point of view on how to manage their careers. They point to the many benefits of a more flexible work-style including a tremendous sense of accomplishment as each project reaches conclusion, the ability to call their own shots when it comes to work hours, ease of working from home or the office. Plus, the constant change of team members and situations is said to keep employees active and alert.
But, as a business owner and entrepreneur, how do you keep up with this pop-up employee mentality and still keep consistency of staff, continuity of business and controlled compensation budget?
While many say the key is to maintain a proper mix in your employee population of freelance folks and permanent team members, I believe there’s a way to culturally offer the benefits of being a pop-up employee while maintaining a permanent staff.
1. Celebrate the end of one project before you start the next one.
All too often, we start the next project before the current one is even finished, missing an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of the teams and its members. This is one big benefit of being a freelancer . . . you feel really good when the project is done, and then (and only then) do you progress to the next project with a fresh mindset.
Employers can instill this behavior in their staffs easily by letting them celebrate the end of one accomplishment before forcing the next one onto them! When you appreciate them, they’ll appreciate you right back as they dive headfirst into the next challenge.
2. Mix up teams and team member roles.
Part of the allure of being an employee on demand is that you get to work with different people each time, often taking on different roles on different projects. It keeps everything new.
Employers can instill this into their company culture simply by mixing up teams for each project and giving people different tasks to accomplish each time. A new mix with new skills just might create a breakthrough, eliminating the habitual routine many feel in their work.
3. Offer different kinds of work spaces and locations.
Professionals who freelance also comment on the allure of working in different environments, including mixing in working from home.
That’s easy to replicate for employers, too. Instead of just having one large open space, which seems to be the design-du-jour, mix up the environment in the office. Create large areas for group meetings along with individual quiet rooms, café settings and more.
Then, allow employees to choose their environment each day, so they can keep feeling fresh. If possible, include multiple locations. They will feel like they are working at different places while remaining loyal to just one.
You can gain a lot by adopting the benefits of the pop-up employee spirit. Your teams will not only be more loyal, but their energy will be maximized as they approach each situation as if it were brand new.
Plus, you’ll get brand new thinking in the process.