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One company has more temps than full-time workers

Posted on June 12th, 2014 Read time: 2 minutes

An online temporary services company called Elance-oDesk lives by its mission of creating a workforce of freelancers. Elance-oDesk has 240 full-time employees and 500 temporary workers, according to Quartz Magazine.

"They choose how many hours they work, and they decide when," Elance-oDesk CEO Fabio Rosati told Quartz. "As a result, we are a very small company in terms of head count, but we serve a huge community 24/7."

Most of the work at the office is done remotely, by freelancers who do the job from home. Even the people who handle the desk are working from home – if someone walked into Elance-oDesk's main business center, they would find two telepresence robots that are controlled by freelancers.

The remaining workers who are inside the building are essentially managers for the other freelancers.

"One of the criteria (when hiring) is whether we think you can be a good choreographer," Rosati says. "We talk about music a lot. We talk about jazz ensembles when we hire an employee. Can this person be a good conductor? Can they choreograph others?"

An interesting feature of this arrangement is that when people finish their work for the day, they can immediately hand it off to the next freelancer who is working in another time zone.

Demand for this kind of labor may increase in the future. A recent study by Staffing.org, a staffing research site, found 43 percent of companies consider only 2 percent of their talent to be critical to the organization. If companies choose to strip down their permanent workers and hire only temporary workers, they may find major savings in tax dollars. An article on Staffing Talk, a staffing news aggregator and content site, argues the most critical part of business is now tax considerations and quality of labor. Hiring through an employer of record may prove to be more popular in the future.

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