Can a business really run on zero employees?

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Or at most, the concept of any business running without employees is radical. It may seem impossible. But it’s a model that many businesses (and professionals) are using — and it’s working.

Brexit and Covid have presented uncharted territory for most UK businesses. Despite the most difficult trading period in living memory, the combined impact of the two paved the way for a new breed of company: the ‘ultra-thin business’.

Some businesses may choose to run on a small team of employees with a strong network of regular freelancers. Others with freelancers alone. But something 74 percent of SMEs say they recognize the benefits of external talent.. And the pool is wide.

Britain now boasts all around. 2.2 million freelancers, and that number is growing. What’s more, with the forecast around McKinsey By 2027, 50 percent of the workforce will work remotely. – A decision driven by the workforce, not by leadership – One thing is clear: employees and the self-employed are running the show.

So, why the change, and why so fast?

Advances in technology that began in the first round of the pandemic with the explosion of Zoom, for example, now mean that hiring or becoming a freelancer no longer requires the expensive infrastructure it used to. Nor is it an unusual or ‘outside the box’ career path.

Professionals saw an opportunity for a different way to climb the career ladder. The work-life balance that many employers claimed was often far from reality, and advocating for a better one resulted in many turning to freelance.

Suffice it to say. Covid dried up the income stream of many businesses in just a few days., meaning mass vacations and vacations occurred at an alarming rate. It suddenly became clear how dangerous the ‘traditional’ model was to business, and the cost (both financial and emotional) of reducing business was a reality many employers did not want to repeat.

It is also a high demand, low supply market. Businesses are looking for more diverse talent to meet more diverse requirements — AI, blockchain, cyber security, complex marketing functions. But tapping into that market means making significant changes. For the first time, UK businesses will have to meet workforce requirements if they want to access the right skills.

The ‘ultra-thin’ model is also a strong opportunity for founders who want to get their business off the ground with efficient use of capital. Outsourcing accountants, IT professionals, sales and marketing support and more provides a faster infrastructure, and greater access to global markets. The same goes for businesses looking to expand their territories without local offices.

There are still disadvantages.

Deploying freelancers across any broad spectrum would mean a complete rethinking of the structure. Any good business has a specific way of delivering a service or product, and maintaining that unique brand approach is, of course, more difficult without permanent employees. Consistency in the end result becomes more important and more challenging, and agreeing on things like working hours will not always be a given.

For freelancers, the most notable con is finance. I’m talking about pensions, benefits, annual leave and everything in between. Among the businesses that use freelance labor, 44 percent admitted to not paying their bill by the last day. It is due. And according to new research, many Self-employed Britons have unpaid bills of more than £2,000 per month..

All that being said, security is for businesses and individuals alike in my books. I’m careful to say that having permanent employees or staying in permanent employment is the ‘safe’ option – you only need to look at the fallout from The Great Resignation or the pandemic.

Am I seeing permanent employment becoming obsolete? no.

Deploying freelancers as an extension of operations can create a lean and agile model, leverage a wider pool of specialists and experts, and keep overhead costs low, all while meeting customer needs or Without sacrificing satisfaction. Firms that embrace the opportunity to roll out a diverse, global workforce will arguably be the most effective.

Over the next five years, the ‘ultra-thin’ model may well be what we see most businesses use.

So yes: it’s possible, and it’s already happening.