Full-time vs. part-time vs. freelance: what should you hire?
As remote work becomes more popular every day, you must understand what suits you best as an agency.
The events that transpired throughout 2020 shaped society in so many ways, but one that draws attention the most is how technology adapted to a worldwide sheltering at home. Freelancing can sustain you and help you achieve a good standard of living, so a question comes into mind: when should small businesses switch from hiring freelancers to full-time employees?
Remote work has come to stay forever, it enables you to improve your work-life balance and decrease the amount of stress you gain while working in an office environment, the statistics and feelings of working from home are always changing, but as revealing as it may seem, through Virgin media business report 86% of employees to feel happier when working from home than those who don´t. It may come down as a shocker and you may be wondering and consider part-time and freelance a real opportunity, though there are uncertainties in that area.
The rise of the freelance nation has largely been a win-win from both sides of the desk. Employers experience financial savings with independent contractors and find a way to lower that risk. Workers use freelancing to tide them over between jobs, to add income, and some are in it for flexibility. It’s hard to underestimate the power of perks like the ability to work around family and schedules, travel, and obviously, the comfort of not wearing shoes while working.
Going through the same line, both employers and workers may not want to go the freelance route. From the recruiters‘ point of view, they may prefer the implied commitment that goes along with a full-time employee. Workers may prefer the stability of a full-time job or find the benefits like health insurance and a retirement fund desirable or necessary.
So is hiring an independent contractor the right choice for your agency? There are by no means any rules that you must follow to make decisions. Instead, use this article as a guide when considering who to hire and when.
Whether your agency hires full-time staff, freelancers, or part-time employees, there will always be pros and cons coming from those worlds, so we’re here to discuss and help you decide which of them is the best choice.
Salaried employment is the most common option providing great loads of benefits that range from financial stability, health insurance, and corporate social package, plus you’re able to network face-to-face and get mentored, which is extremely useful for industry freshers and veterans. However, you must get used to the 9 to six schedule, and that requires hours of communication and can be tiresome specially if you live far from your place of work.
So let‘s point out the pros and cons of full-time workers so we can have a clear and distinguished idea of what are the benefits of this kind of routine.
Pros of full-time employment
Stable and monthly income, plus financial security
Full-time employment contracts include an obligation to pay you an agreed, protected, and legally binding amount every month, sometimes that being weekly or bimonthly. Your employer is also obligated to pay legally mandated tax and pension contributions and honor any bonuses or commission payments earned within fiscal pay dates.
Financial security is one of the most attractive elements of working full-time – it provides professional and financial peace of mind and the ability to accurately budget in the long term.
Working a fixed schedule
Full-time employment generally provides set working structures, such as set hours worked per week or shift patterns. This differs from freelance or contractor working schedules which are typically project-based, short term or at the behest of a client. Full-time work in this regard provides set working schedules and rigorous commitment expectations.
Great opportunity to develop new habits and self-discipline alas make your career grow
For any employee with one eye on the future, most full-time workers have a pathway to career advancement. This is achieved both through proximity to senior members of the team who can faster development, and internal training courses, L&D programs, and mentor relationships.
Enjoy more perks
Perks are the cherry on the top of the employment cake, as they come in all shapes and sizes. They could be anything from discount commuting costs to gym memberships, cultural days out to a company car, a company phone to high street discounts, and social events to partnerships with brands: Perks are uniquely and powerful in attracting people to full-time work and are a sign of how much an employer values your time and labor. It´s a clear reward for your hard work.
Full coverage of social package benefits
Employers are again obligated to support employees with their welfare, and much of this will be through social security benefits. Although these can vary, at the very least employers will offer sick pay and set return-to-work policies for those who have extended periods away from work. Employers can also offer a range of other benefits of time away from work. Employers can also offer a range of other benefits such as childcare vouchers, increased sick leave pay, and other welfare perks.
Most importantly, full-time employers know that almost every eventuality is looked after, including unexpected periods away from the office due to illness or injury. Again, this sort of support is an unheralded positive for full-time workers.
Cons of full-time employment
You may find it difficult to balance your personal life
Full-time employment is all-encompassing. Considering we spend two-thirds of our waking life at work, finding the balance between a productive and effective working life and time away from the grind can be difficult. This can lead to overwork or, at worst burnout
You may become too comfortable with your routine
It’s no exaggeration to say routine is the enemy of full-time work. The inherent security of full-time work can lead to employees taking their foot off the gas, which can lead to a dispassionate workforce, a lack of drive or desire to progress, and an uninspired career.
Your CV may lack versatility
Although commitment to a company is not a bad thing, CVs are designed to show your versatility, adaptability, and passion for whatever industry you work in. Your CV needs to show your vision, and as such, having a long tenure at one employer can be a sign of a lack of energy to progress or advance in your career.
You may experience more work-related stress
Committing to working for one employer full time can in some regards lead to an increase in work-related stress. It’s unavoidable that full-time staff becomes emotionally invested in their work – it´s a natural state when so much energy is spent providing for that employer. As such, stress levels will rise in tandem with increased workloads.
You may find it harder to find new jobs
There’s a school of thought that says it’s easier to find a job when you have a job. However, job searching takes a lot of time and effort, strategizing, and patience: all things that become harder and more difficult to commit to when you’re in a full-time job and every professional moment is committed to an employer. Plus you may find it difficult to leave your job due to loyalty. This is objectively not a bad thing, but when the time comes to pull the trigger and exit that company, you may find it very difficult to part ways
You can´t choose your projects
Although there´s no formula for full-time working schedules or workloads, the employer that offer full-time contracts, generally speaking, have set hierarchies, structures, and workloads that are meticulously managed. This means that, compared to freelancers or contracted workers, you will not get to choose where you apply your skills. This can be, for some, frustrating and limiting.
You could get bored
Boredom is one of the most impactful hidden negatives of full-time work. Boredom is bred from routine and a lack of engagement in your work, and can, left unchecked, hamstring your career. Most critically, it makes you a less productive worker, which will reflect in your ongoing performance management, analysis, and employee return or investment. Boredom effectively makes you a poor worker.
It’s easy to confuse part-time employment and freelance work. However, if you’re looking for a part-time job you must understand the core difference between the part-time and full-time types of work. While freelancers are self-employed, part-time workers are still considered to be part of the agency and considered for employee benefits. Working hours for part-time workers tend to be around 30 hours per week or less and are involved in a vast amount of workflows, unlike freelance workers who work on particular projects.
Part-time workers hourly allow students to combine both working and studying at the university and provide flexibility, for example, to young parents who are responsible for taking care of their newborn child.
After attending classes for over eight hours a day, the last thing you want to do is commit yourself to a four-hour shift, but there are quite a lot of benefits of going for a part-time option.
From making some extra money on the side to gaining valuable work experience, here´s why you should consider taking part-time work.
Pros of part-time jobs
More free time to pursue other projects and activities
Arguably the biggest advantage of them all. It increases free time with which to pursue extracurricular activities. For those lacking the requisite academic credentials for their dream job, a part-time position may serve as a stepping stone that affords the flexibility to obtain the certification needed to find roles in the desired profession. Others may use part-time jobs to climb the ladder within an existing field. For example, an individual with a social work degree can obtain part-time entry-level work that lets them simultaneously earn the graduate degree needed to land a more lucrative mental health job.
Part-time jobs also appeal to those nurturing special projects, such as writing, civic outreach, and artistic endeavors. Such pursuits offer immense personal fulfillment, even if they don´t bring in large paychecks.
Opening doors to New Job opportunities
When there are no full-time positions available within a given company, workers may accept part-time employment to position themselves as the obvious candidate when a coveted full-time slot becomes available. A par time job can also help individuals gain experience and training in fields familiar to them. After all, an employer who may be reluctant to hire an experienced person on a full-time basis may be inclined to hire an eager candidate on a part-time basis if they express an enthusiastic desire to learn the trade.
Opportunity to Earn more money
Although it may sound counterintuitive, working par time sometimes enable an individual to make more money – especially if they are capable of balancing more than one job. For example, a person who pairs a 30-hour-per-week gig with another 20-hour-per-week gig may pull in a greater combined income than a single full-time position would provide. Furthermore, given that many full-time salaried positions demand 50 to 60-hour work weeks, this individual may still end up working fewer total hours.
Reduced Stress Levels and Improved Health
Studies show that full-time workers tend to feel worn out, due to insufficient time needed to exercise, enjoy the sunny outdoors, and generally commit to a healthy lifestyle. Contrarily, part-time workers have more time to hit the gym more often and get a better night’s sleep. Part-time employment also allows more efficient management of daily tasks like grocery shopping, doing the laundry, and completing other household chores, ultimately resulting in more order at home.
Paradoxically, voluntary par time workers often experience decreased financial stress, because they conform spending to align with their income. This behavior is antithetical to the phenomenon known as lifestyle inflation, where one’s expenses expand with increased income. In other words: those capable of adjusting to a slightly lower standard of living often discover that working fewer hours is favorable to the demands of working full time.
The importance of family
Working part-time is ideal for family-oriented individuals especially those who value the opportunity to pick up their children from school. Furthermore, part-timers may save on daycare expenses, which may exceed the extra money earned by working full time.
Although a certain income level is necessary to provide for one’s family, those who earn just enough to pay for essential living expenses, while sacrificing luxury goods, may find short-term work to be an unacceptable trade-off.
Freelance employment is a great way to live your life and make money without being turned into a corporate slave. If you prefer working alone and feel capable of attracting new clients or have already developed your own professional network, then off you go, do it! There´s no better way to take control over your career than to become a freelancer, however, there are some difficulties that freelancers are constantly struggling with while being self-employed. Plus, not everyone is able to self-discipline themselves and constantly lacks motivation without being pushed either by scurrying co-workers or an overly demanding boss.
To make things clear, let´s take a closer look at the pros and cons of a freelance job.
Pros of Freelance work
Freedom of choice
One of the best advantages of freelancing is the freedom of choosing the work for yourself. In freelancing, one is free to choose the client, project, company, agency or the kind of service one wants to deliver as per their suitability. Unlike a corporate job, the freelancing doesn´t hold you to work on undesirable projects with disliked clients.
Flexibility of work
This is another big advantage of freelancing. A freelancer works accordingly to his schedule. There are free from any restriction of the rigid 9 to 5 job. They can work whenever and however they want to deliver the project on time. The clients just need the allotted project to be submitted in time and don´t care about the work or time a freelancer puts in to complete the job, unlike corporate styles.
Freelancers have the advantage of controlling their workload. They are free to take as much work as they want, based on their competency, capability, and availability. Freelancers can also work with a team of other freelancers and delegate work to respective experts in the team.
Freelancers are independent beings. They are not bound by any limitations, terms, or conditions of any employer for a long-term basis. They are also free to use their creativity, without any hindrance from employers, unlike corporate jobs.
Unlike corporate jobs, freelancing provides the advantage of the exposure of working with different clients simultaneously.
Cons of Freelancing
The sole responsibility for work
As a freelancer, one is solely responsible for all the work done on a project. So, the success or failure of the project lies solely on the freelancer’s shoulders. Also, unlike in a corporate job, there is no one to guide or share different ideas for the project, making it difficult to make decisions alone.
Sporadic work pattern
Continuous workflows are one of the main advantages of freelancing. Freelancers have to strive hard in the starting or even forever to get the next project after completing the previous ones. Often, a client may ask to work on a project and then shelf it for unknown reasons. There may be long gaps too between different projects.
Lack of employee benefits
another disadvantage of freelancing is the lack of employee benefits that one receives in their corporate job like provident fund, paid leaves, regular incomes, celebrations, gifts, appraisals, appreciations, bonuses, etc.
Freelancers become isolated as they no longer spend their days working with their colleagues. They work alone with no teammates. This is a disadvantage for those who are social and don´t like to work alone all time. Also, lack of communication with peers causes stress and boredom too.
Lack of resources
As freelancers work alone, they have to work on their own. There are no available resources like computers, data, meetings on projects, discussions on strategies, etc.., which one gets in a corporate job.
Type of Relationship with each employee
A full-time employee works for one company or agency and is paid either hourly or by salary for work done. The employers handle tax withholding and reporting and the employee is usually entitled to benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, and others.
Full-time employment is usually specified at will, meaning that even if you are offered employment, you or your employer can terminate that employment at any time for any reason. There are laws that protect workers from unfair discrimination and unsuitable working conditions, but employees are not immune to layoffs, downsizing, or buyouts.
For example, a new employee is hired as a graphic designer in a creative agency. He is expected to work about 40 hours each week in an office, and in return is compensated with a salary and a wide array of benefits, likely health insurance, paid sick and vacation time, and perhaps an educational reimbursement. Overtime may or may not be required, and may or may not the compensated for depending on the offer of employment.
You are a part-time worker if you have fewer working hours than a comparable full-time worker.
In comparison to a full-time worker who works for the same employer as you.
For example, a part-time sales assistant can compare themselves to a full-time sales assistant who is doing the same job, in the same shop.
Freelancers have a very different relationship with agencies and companies, which function now not only as employers but as clients. The distinction between freelance and contract work itself, however, is a little less clear, and one can sometimes blur into the other.
Generally, they are hired by the project, and the client relationship is straightforward. Freelancers are expected to report and withhold their own taxes and typically itemize their deductions. They do not receive employee benefits from the companies they work with.
Freelancers usually juggle multiple clients at a time; and when not doing client work, they may be marketing themselves and networking, trying to find new work.
For example, a freelance web developer may be currently working with three clients and booked out, with these or other clients, for the next five months. She works from home and invoices her clients to get paid. She figures out the tax side of things or hires someone to do that for her, just as though she were her own business- which in a sense, she is.
Economic Analysis: Which one is better?
Full-time vs Part-time
Part-time employees are always paid by the hour. That’s why they are usually responsible for clocking in and clocking out at the beginning and at the end of their shifts. They may also be asked to submit a timesheet at the end of every week to make sure they are paid for all the time that they work.
Full-time employers may get paid by the hour just like part-time employees, or they may receive a flat salary. This is not usually something that can be negotiated with an employer. A full-time employee who is paid by the hour is referred to as nonexempt while those who are salaried are referred to as exempt. The difference between them is that the first one is paid overtime for any time worked over 40 hours per week. Exempt employees on the other hand always earn the same salary no matter how many extra hours they work.
In terms of earnings, you’ll find that many full-time employees are paid more than their par time counterparts, especially if they have specialized skills. It wouldn´t be unusual to see a pay increase if you change from a part-time role to a full-time one; you may even see your compensation restructured entirely if you are paid a flat salary rather than an hourly one. Compared to par time employees, full-time employees may also have more job responsibilities and opportunities for career progression, such as getting a promotion to a managerial role. However, there are still plenty of high-paying part-time jobs, such as nannies and customer service representatives.
This one is the safest option. And usually, the one that more peace of mind gives. You get a steady income and then use your free time for whatever you want, you can even keep on working as a freelancer if you’re up to it. If you want even more flexibility you can go for the par time option but you may end up wanting to compensate with more freelance gigs.
Full-time gives more money than part-time, but if you want to be your own boss and like to trace your own routine, you will want to skip this option, but a full time is always a good idea, and it usually forces you to adapt to how the whole world develops.
The freelance economy, also known as the gig economy, is a labor market consisting of a growing number of short-term contracts. Companies and agencies alike hire self-employed workers to undertake specific jobs in return for an agreed-upon payment, rather than offering them permanent positions.
They have more economic uncertainties that demand more flexible hours, cost benefits for large companies and agencies, and technological advancements have prompted the number of people working as freelancers to skyrocket in recent years.
Benefits of working freelance include more flexible hours, the possibility to work from home, and the opportunity to deduct business expenses from earnings.
Drawbacks include being responsible for paying taxes and not receiving the many other benefits that accompany permanent employment.
Freelancers can work as many hours as they like. Some work full time, balancing the number of different jobs for various clients and companies alike. Others do it on a part-time basis, enabling them to earn some extra income on the side in addition to a full-time job.
Freelancers on a fee upfront with clients and then in many cases typically send them an invoice when the work is complete in order to be paid.
Freelance workers are considered independent contractors. That means they are responsible for paying their own taxes, health insurance, and pension contributions. They are not eligible for vacation benefits or sick leave.
The freelance economy has given many individuals the opportunity to pursue livelihoods that were formerly difficult to enter.
You may want to consider this option if you want more flexible hours, a freelancer worker can earn more than a full-time employer if you are willing to work and exceed a 9 to 5 shift and also have numerous clients, it all depends on how you want to manage yourself. Keep in mind that freelance workers don´t benefit from insurance and you may end up drenched in a workaholic routine if you don´t know how to balance it, so be careful.
When to Hire Freelancers vs. Full-Time Employees vs. Part-time employees
Many business owners struggle to decide when it’s necessary to hire freelancers or full-time employees. There are several factors you must consider to determine what’s suitable for your own business and what resources are available.
One of the challenges with hiring freelancers is that they often work with several clients, creating scheduling conflicts and limiting their availability. They may only be available to deliver work on certain days or timeframes.
If you’re struggling to meet deadlines for specific tasks because of freelancer availability, it might be time to fill that position with a full-time employee.
You’ll need to complete a cost analysis of the value of those tasks, the cost for delays, and how you can increase capacity and revenue with a full-time time staff member in that role.
You need to constantly measure the feasibility of hiring a freelancer vs a full-time employee.
First, calculate the cost of a full-time employee for each service you provide. For example, a creative agency might need a marketer, copywriter, UX designer, developer, account manager, and social media manager.
You should avoid hiring freelancers for roles where they must interact with your clients or users. Freelancers don’t have a vested interest in your business, nor do they share your company culture and values. You also have to worry about a freelancer stealing your business.
If you´re a small company, hiring an account manager can help communication between your clients and freelancers. If a freelancer does have to be on a call, make sure a full-time employer is present to lead the conversation and only call on the freelancer when necessary.
If you need someone specialized to communicate with clients and users regularly, it would be better to hire full-time employees. This person will help maintain consistency while promoting the company´s best interests.
You might not see the gains immediately, but over time that consistency will prove invaluable. As a specialist, this person will have a positive impact on growing your business.
If you have tasks or projects requiring someone to work intimately with sensitive company information, you should hire a full-time employee over a freelancer.
You’ll have greater control over the full-time workers, including where they work, the networks they connect to, and other security protocols. You can also supply them with secure company devices to log into systems securely.
Make sure to use a password manager for freelancers and full-time workers alike to limit access to applications and data.
Take a long hard look at what you do, analyze this alongside what sort of work-life balance you want, then craft a strategic job search that takes stock of what you want from your work.
Research how colleagues within the industry work and what structures and contracts work for them.
If you have any doubts about full-time employment, freelance or part-time, the best thing to do is communicate with those who can help you: employer, prospective employer, or recruiter.
You’d be surprised at how supportive and forgiving business owners and hiring managers can be confronted with incontrovertible proof a full-time, freelance, or part-time contract with all the attributable working expectations work or doesn‘t work for you.
At the end of the day, employers want happy, engaged, and productive staff. Having a candid conversation about whether full-time work, freelance, or part-time is right for you is necessary.
Sometimes it is worth considering part-time employment especially if you’re a student or a young parent, and sometimes, it is better to become a full-time employee and gain experience in office work, especially if you’re just starting your career. Plus it provides you with financial security.
As for freelance employment, it’s a good option for those who are already known in the professional circle and their reputation speaks for themselves, otherwise searching for customers from scratch might turn into a big headache. However, if you’re determined to follow your own way and developed a powerful strategy, don´t hesitate and go for it!