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Political and economic uncertainty in 2016 and 2017 has driven companies to scale back on their investments, but it doesn’t have to scale back their growth, says Rebecca Porter from Talmix. But, tapping into the potential of the flexible workforce can be a powerful way to maintain your competitive edge when the world around seems so unstable.If you thought that 2017 would provide respite from the chaos that was 2016, January would have pulled you out from that day dream.

Brexit has driven the fear of the unknown across the UK and Europe. Companies are unsure where to invest and how to continue to grow while they wait for an answer from the governments. According to a survey by Business West, following the EU referendum in 2016 many British small and medium-sized companies reported lay-offs, price hikes for their customers, or scale-backs of their investment plans, to prepare themselves for the year to come.

Uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges that companies face. This feeling is echoed in recent surveys and expert interviews, reiterating that uncertainty about the future is the biggest concern of CEOs and strategy leaders. In particular, CEOs expressed concern around the uncertainty in the economic environment and future government policy. They feel that these are the biggest challenges faced by businesses today. Without a concrete knowledge of what is to come, businesses struggle to prepare themselves for the future. While many businesses see this uncertainty as a time to hold off and keep your head down, it’s the companies that put their foot down and move fast who will see the greatest advantage over this period. Being able to flexibly bring in experts who can help pull together strategic and operational plans can mean the difference between coasting through tough periods and excelling.

Could the flexible workforce be the answer to business concerns over uncertainty?

Today’s dynamic workforce means that more highly skilled consultants are seeking flexible ways of working. These are people who have experience creating and running strategic projects aimed at improving businesses. They are used to working on a project-by-project basis, meaning that they are comfortable getting into things quickly, understanding the issues, and working with the companies to solve them.

Utilizing these highly skilled consultants in a flexible and project-based manner allows companies to stay on top of their strategic priorities, even in a time when they can’t commit significant assets to them. By using flexible staffing methods to bring in experts with profound experience in your area of operations, businesses can stay agile and lean, while still focusing on important projects.

Flexible staffing means that staying low-cost and the search for value align

Keeping costs low is of extreme importance during uncertain times, however this should not be done at the expense of the company. Technology has evolved to allow companies to tap into the best and the brightest of the global workforce to deliver on their strategic needs. At the tap of a button, a boutique consultancy can bring in an Italian-speaking supply chain expert to support a project with a new client. With the swish of a mouse, a growing e-commerce provider can hire in a digital marketing expert to grow its customer base. With experienced consultants looking for a new and more flexible way of working, companies of all sizes have the power to access this impressive talent without the huge price tag of a large consulting firm.

Uncertainty is a real concern for businesses right now. The economic and policy uncertainties effecting the world will take a while for governments to work through. Harnessing the power of this flexible way of working helps companies keep costs low while push forward on strategic initiatives. Can you risk being left behind?

Rebecca Porter is Client Success Manager for SME/high growth companies at Talmix.

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