158,000. This was the number of freelancers living in Flanders and Brussels in 2018, according to a study led by UNIZO, the union for the self-employed. Last year alone, 25,000 Belgians became freelancers. A status which is increasingly popular, above all in the world of IT. More and more businesses in the digital sector prioritize collaborations with this type of worker rather than the classic employee contracts. But what are the advantages to collaborate with freelancers?
This is the main asset of freelancers: they adapt their working hours depending on their timetable but also on the urgency of the projects entrusted to them. In Belgium, the rules governing employed workers are rather strict. Work time is limited, additional hours are billed and employers have a very specific number of legal holidays. Rules that freelance workers can easily bypass, thanks to their status. Being their own boss, they can adapt their timetable without worrying about the legal rules imposed by the authorities. It’s thanks to this great flexibility that Belgian freelancers still hold the record for the greatest number of hours worked in Europe, with a total of 53 hours per week, against 39 for full-time employees*. A time advantage that proves to be quite practical, especially if the project you want to assign them is urgent.
Easier, simplified accounting
Collaborating with freelancers also allows you to settle salary charges, an amount which is rather high in our region (paid holidays, social security contributions, meal vouchers, company car, insurance…). Also, working with freelancers makes accounting easier as they are paid per project and create their own invoices, an undeniable asset, above all if you are at the head of a young business still with small financial means.
No need to train self-employed workers, as they often keep up-to-date with the latest news relating to their field in order to get ahead of their competitors. This represents a saving for employers, both in terms of time and money. Also, freelancers work independently, managing their own projects from A to Z. This independence also means that the employer does not need to spend more to supply the equipment the freelancer needs for work, as he or she will generally have all the tools and programs required.
Contracts, whether fixed or open-ended, involve quite a lot of paperwork. Steps to collaborate with an independent worker are much less restrictive for employers as you just need to set out the framework for the different projects, the deadlines and the objectives to be achieved.
Freelancers working for several businesses acquire great experience. Coming from outside your business, freelance workers can bring an external perspective and share development of their other projects with you. Also, they will generally develop a vast network of contacts in order to develop their skills. An address book they will not hesitate to share if the business they are working for feels the need.
Do you feel ready to collaborate with freelancers? You still need to find that rare gem! To find new collaborators, you have several options available to you, such as word-of-mouth, classified ads or even platforms that put businesses and freelancers in touch.