The last few years have seen seismic shifts in the world of work. As we move into a post-pandemic era, temporary and flexible forms of employment are on the rise. For employers and employees alike, this new normal presents both challenges and opportunities.

Businesses today need workforces that can rapidly adapt to changing economic tides and fluctuating demand. As such, temping has become an increasingly crucial part of operations, providing access to specialised skills and enabling efficient scaling up or down. The stats speak for themselves – over the past decade, temporary job placements have increased by a whopping 30%.

For professionals, temp work offers an unrivalled diversity of experience across multiple fields. It caters to popular preferences for portfolio careers and greater autonomy. Whether it’s due to uncertainty, necessity, or choice, temporary contracts allow people to move fluidly between projects that play to their strengths and interests. With transferrable skills more important than ever, temping enables you to continually expand and update your toolkit.

That said, concerns around job security and access to employee benefits still present very real challenges. Managing a multi-contracted workforce requires considerable administrative oversight. So what can workers and employers do to harness the potential of this shift, while minimising the pitfalls?

For businesses, communication and culture-building across all staff are key. This means extending training, social events and performance management support to temporary workers. It also means tightly integrating contractors into everyday operations through mentorship programmes. A good staffing agency will support managers in overseeing their temp workforce.

As a temporary worker, self-care strategies are important to calm any anxiety around job uncertainty. This can involve setting clear workload boundaries or maintaining contacts for future referrals. Another useful approach is to view temping as a ‘try before you buy’ opportunity, using placements to test different sectors before choosing an area to specialise in.

Of course, the rise in temporary arrangements necessitates stronger legal protections – an issue the government cannot continue brushing under the carpet. Introducing a simplified status designation between ‘employee’ and ‘self-employed’ would be a good starting point. From there, enforcing minimum rates of pay, holiday allowance and sick pay eligibility for temp workers is essential.

The world of work is changing rapidly before our eyes – and temporary arrangements are bridging the gaps. By embracing temping strategically and compassionately, employers and professionals alike can benefit from this tectonic shift towards flexibility and variety.

Laura Gouws

Finance Clerical Senior Consultant