The services industry is experiencing new types of pressures that are changing businesses around the world. In this blog series, we will examine the six major pressures facing services firms today, their causes, and how you can successfully respond.
Read our previous entry about short-term, project-based work.
Pressure #2 - Remote Teams and Subcontractors
Services firms are using remote workforces more than ever, filling their team with skilled professionals located across the country or even around the world. Research from Global Workplace Analytics shows that work-at-home positions at companies have grown by 140% from 2005 to 2018. This has also led to fewer full-time positions in favor of leveraging subcontractors, who can bring specific skills that may not warrant a 40-hour work week position.
According to Mavenlink’s State of the Services Economy research, 50% of surveyed services businesses indicated that freelancers, contractors, and subcontractors were very important to their business. In addition, 72% of respondents said they work with employees in different countries. While these remote workers and freelancers help service businesses today quickly respond to an ever-widening array of projects requested by clients, they pose their own set of challenges to running a successful business that provides consistently high-quality services.
What’s Causing This Pressure?
More and more people in the workforce would prefer to work remotely for at least a portion of their job. In addition, the continual improvements in telecommunication technologies means that remote work is more feasible than ever. When combined with higher expectations and a wider variety of project requests, services firms will need to seek out freelancers around the world to find specific skills.
This means that services firms today are not only using contract workers more often, they depend on them to consistently satisfy client demands. But firms may not be prepared to balance freelancer schedules and the consistent influx of new projects. This change in project and resource management can cause new pressures, with mistakes leading to more time spent managing tasks, ineffective resource allocation, and poor client satisfaction if freelancers are not properly prepared to fulfill client expectations.
Alleviating The Pressure
The increasing percentage of remote and contract workers should be seen as an opportunity for growth, rather than a source of stress. However, leveraging this shift in the workforce requires the right strategy and technology. Effective communication, task management, availability planning, and insights regarding contractor skills can help a services business work with the right freelancers for the right projects. Success can result in higher rates of client satisfaction and the ability to respond quickly to new project requests, with less time spent on coordination and management.
Succeeding in the Modern Services Industry
Each individual services firm will leverage remote teams and subcontractors in different ways, but utilizing them as effectively as possible will bring balance to project strategies and improve margins.
Learn more in our ebook “The Rise of the Remote Worker in the Digital Age.”