The destruction and rebuilding of traditional job roles has been one of the largest economic shifts of the last decade. Some, like car manufacturers, have been broken into their component parts and mechanised; humans rarely need to step onto the production line these days. In other industries shrinking budgets have meant workers now need more skills than ever before. Journalists in 2015 are expected to be writers, broadcasters, researchers, fact-checkers, sub-editors, coders, social media experts and more.
These changes have given rise to a new way of working. Traditional jobs have been taskified: split into individual bite-size gigs and given to the best person available. That person could be someone in-house, it could be a local supplier, or it could be someone on the other side of the planet: Today's technology means the best person for the job is never more than a few clicks away.
All of this change has been driven by innovation and nowhere has tech had a bigger impact than in the agency world. Clients want agency work to be multi-format, multi-device, omni-channel, viral and delivered yesterday.
To respond to changing client demand, many agencies have adapted the way they work, and use agile methodologies and flexible freelance workforces so they are able to turn on a dime if trends dictate. Full-time employees with fixed skillsets often aren't able to upend the work they’re used to doing if a project requires it, which is why freelancers are used by so many agencies. Don’t have the skills you need in house? There will always be a freelancer who can supply them.
Work taskification may be an alien concept to people used to working on large projects, but it has several key advantages over traditional waterfall-style project management.
Many Specialists; Not One Generalist
Agencies love to hire the Jack Of All Trades; the worker who can pitch in for many projects and works across design, development, editorial, marketing and every other team. In the old world Jack was a great hire, but with the specialists of the world now available at the click of a button agencies can get higher quality work at the same price (or less) by finding a remote specialist.
The freelance world has been quick to respond to the taskification of work and the need for niche specialists - most high-earning freelancers now pitch themselves as specialists in a few disciplines, rather than full-stack designers, developers or otherwise.
Access To Talent At The Right Time
Anyone working at a large agency you’ll be aware how slowly some projects can move. Unforeseen complications, vague client feedback or internal issues can stall large work for weeks or months - meaning the next stage in the agency production line is left twisting in the wind while the work is finished.
By taskifying the work there is no need to even turn on the next stage of the production line until the work is ready for them. Your design team spend two weeks putting together a creative based on client feedback, and within a few hours of them finishing their work you can have a copywriter working on it.
For rush jobs a network of expert freelancers is an especially powerful resource. Outsourcing to just one supplier inevitably means waiting in line for their other client’s work to be finished, but putting the work out to a wide network of freelancers is almost guaranteed to locate someone who can get it done at short notice.
A Quick Fix For Odd Jobs
Limited capacity is perhaps the biggest drawback of a permanent staff in the agency world, where the feast and famine cycle is a constant challenge. Your staff can only deal with so much work, no matter how much you optimise other processes around them.
This often means small, low priority jobs are bumped down the to-do list until they essentially cease to exist. That old PDF that needs updated branding. The code tweak needed on the company website to improve tracking. The new landing page that is designed but not written. Big client work will always take priority, but it’s important the small jobs get done too.
By turning those jobs into tasks to be completed by an external freelancer you can get them done quickly, for a good price, and not take time away from important work being done by others.
In years past, many agencies would eschew outsourcing taskified work simply because the administrative rigmarole involved - finding the right freelancer, signing contracts, collecting invoices - could often take longer than the work itself.
However with freelancer management systems like Coworks, which brings workers to you and handles the project management and paperwork, taking care of the whole job can be as simple as sending an email and processing a payment.
With a team of expert freelancers ready to spring into action entire projects can be taskified and managed easily. Additional freelancers with new skills can easily be brought on board, allowing agencies to quickly respond to demand for new skills from clients.
All-in-one freelancer management systems also make an agency much more attractive to freelancers; they know the work is above-board, the contracts are in place, and payment won’t take months to arrive.
If you'd like our help in taskifying your work and finding the right freelancers for your projects, get in touch today for a demo of Coworks.