Hybrid Teams Increase Small Office Quality and Efficiency – And Save Money

Hybrid Teams Increase Small Office Quality and Efficiency – And Save Money

By Dan Davenport

Companies today have a choice: doing everything themselves with staff resources or hiring outside resources. On one side, you may have to maintain a large staff – not always the best practice, especially considering the seasonal nature of many of the things a company does. And companies today are always on the lookout for more efficient ways to accomplish their goals. On the other side, handing a major project or process, especially Communications, completely over to an outside agency can be extremely inefficient and not yield results that are in the companies’ best interest.

Enter temporary workers – in all their many forms. The simplest, of course, call a temp agency and say, “Send me workers.” For many short term situations, this is a perfect solution – as long as you get the right workers.

But temporary slots for specialized work like Communications are best served, not by generic temps, but by experienced Freelance Workers.

Their benefits are many:

  • You can easily afford the very best people available because you are only paying for them when you need them – no need to keep highly trained and specialized staff all year ’round.
  • When the project or short term situation is over, the workers, and their costs, disappear.
  • While Freelancers are not working for you, they are practicing and developing their skills – and learning new skills – at someone else’s expense, not yours. They will bring these enhanced capabilities back to you the next time they work for you.
  • They can, and should, be paid legally through an agency so you bear no payroll costs and to ease bookkeeping.
  • They do not need to work within your physical office on your equipment – thanks to the Internet, they can be literally anywhere in the world, and working on their own equipment. This helps assure the IRS that they are indeed contract workers, not employees requiring benefits.

Believe it or not, it is also better for the Freelancer – they get to keep their skills sharp by always doing work they enjoy in their chosen field, not filling in time between projects with, “make work.” Some Freelance workers, of course, would prefer the staff job because of the benefits and the regular paycheck.

OK – you’re going to use Freelance help. But how best to direct them? Welcome to the Hybrid Team of internal and external human resources. A company staff person, completely familiar with your company (where answers can be found, the right person to go to for approvals, the best place to grab lunch, etc., right down to the correct use of the company logo) and who is completely familiar with the project and its goals, directs one or more Freelance experts. It’s the best of both worlds – the depth, knowledge, and experience of the company employee supervising the depth, knowledge, and experience of the Freelance Worker.

This is a remarkably efficient way to account for the ups and downs of business while maintaining a high quality image, and keeping costs under control. It is this mix of inside and outside resources that makes the most efficient use of existing budgets.

The newest, and very welcome, addition to the Freelance community is the Virtual Assistant – an excellent choice for longer term assignments that require a broader skill set than the usual Freelance Writer, Designer, Programmer, etc. These people are excellent for meeting and registration management, and many other tasks. And, like the regular Freelancer, can be anywhere in the world.

The important part is to keep control of the project within the company. Turning this over to an agency can mean lost time and revenue as corrections are made at the end of the process rather than all along the way. Think of one of the Apollo moon flights. With a 250 million mile flight ahead of them, small, efficient corrections taken early in the flight and several times along the way can mean the difference between easily achieving lunar orbit, or missing the moon by millions of miles. These small corrections early in the flight take very little effort (fuel) for the result achieved. Compare that with making no corrections along the way, and then when millions of miles off track, not having enough fuel (budget) to actually reach the goal. Keeping project supervision in-house is very similar to this. Constant input and updates keep the project on the desired track, so that when final approval time comes, there are no surprises, everyone already knows that it is on track and only minor corrections may be necessary before project completion. Time and money saved.

One thing I am not advocating is shipping your work outside your own country. The internet makes many workers available, and many of the skills you need may be from less expensive parts of your own country. But your country’s workers understand your culture and will require less training and guidance than non-nationals. Again, time and money saved.

Where to find these gems? A simple internet search on, “Virtual Assistants” or “Freelance Workers” will get you many, resources from which to choose, and there simply isn’t enough room here to list them all. This is the best situation for the company needing Freelancers or Virtual Assistants – many people available so you can get just the right person for your needs.

The Hybrid Team is an excellent choice for many complex projects in companies today. The ad hoc nature of these teams make them very efficient, and because of the cost savings involved, allow you to extend the reach of your existing budgets.

Copyright 2008 Dan Davenport

Dan Davenport is an award winning business communications producer; multimedia, video, print

Goal: Bring excitement back into business communications,

Look to http://smallofficecommunicator.net for communications ideas and answers. Share your own experience with others and get questions answered. We are aimed at people in small companies or in small departments in large companies who want to learn effective communication practices and procedures that will help motivate people and enhance sales without major budget impact.

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