Surviving in the DIY Economy

Surviving in the DIY Economy

by Brian Robertson

In my last article I examined a number of options for organisations responding to the Corona Virus. Since then, events have moved at an astonishing speed, and we now live in a state of emergency. I’ve had calls from clients ranging from requests for information on, whether to pay an employee who is quarantined because their spouse was in contact with a person diagnosed at his workplace, to if I consult to my client via Zoom, can I still charge my normal hourly rate or must I discount?

Technology influence

Here’s the thing, the world has changed forever and with it the nature of the workplace. Technology has made the notion of place irrelevant for most skilled jobs – one can just as easily access communication, resources and information from the slope of Mount Everest as in the office. You can draft your strategic marketing plan, complete an excel budget and communicate this with the team instantly. But still we cling to the standard employment relationship – sign a letter of employment, agree to comply with working hours and get measured by how frequently you are at your desk.

Well the most progressive, efficient companies I know have loosened their grip on the employment relationship. Much of their work is now being done by individuals other than full-time employees. Think about it, does it make sense to go through an expensive recruitment process, induction, training and have a fixed cost when you can pay a contractor or consultant an hourly rate for the best possible advice, assistance as if they were on your payroll. The beauty is no laborious labour disputes IR difficulties managing industrial relations, pay disputes, poor discipline and poor performance. You simply have a 24-hour termination clause.

Over the years as a consultant I’ve worked in a wide variety of industries at every level from middle-management to board level. It allows me to work from wherever it is I choose to be. If I’m on holiday and you desperately need a disciplinary hearing chaired, we do it via Zoom. It gives me increased flexibility, the ability to craft my life as I see fit and the freedom to choose the “gigs” that give me pleasure, reward and satisfaction. For your business, it allows you to draw on a global pool of talent and experience when you need it, rather than an under-resourced talent in your office daily, weekly, monthly, annually, forever.

Technology has created incredible opportunities for both business and those looking for an alternative to fulltime employment. The cloud, mobile apps, collaboration platform, collaborative workplaces provide just about every type of business function needed to provide an excellent service to clients at virtually no cost. And to business, the cost is an hourly rate that can be negotiated and capped allowing you to budget accordingly.

But it’s not just in organisations I’ve experienced this phenomenon. If you ever have the joy of organising a mass participation event, you will experience the many moving parts that come together to prepare and host the event disband and move on just as quickly. From fencing companies, road signage, outdoor marketing, traffic control, disaster management they are paid for the event. Now imagine if it was your business and you had the employees for 12 months of the year?

As one of my favourite authors Mark Manson explains it,

“Throughout history, the biggest and most necessary changes typically come in the wake of crises, much like our most important personal changes often come in the wake of our traumas. There’s always growth in pain. And there’s always opportunity for creation in destruction.”

Here’s your chance to do the things you’ve wanted to do but couldn’t find the urgency to do. Any significant change in my life has usually been preceded by an unexpected significant event.

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