- Upwork, a global freelancing platform, announced its partnership with Microsoft to launch the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit, an integrated workforce collaboration service that helps businesses work with freelancers at scale. Microsoft 365 and Upwork Enterprise are powering the toolkit.
- Employers will be able to customize their experience working with freelancers through managing hiring and access to freelance workers, scheduling tasks and project due dates, and collaborating on and viewing projects at scale.
- Enterprise customers can install the Upwork connectors, load their data and start exploring these tools immediately. There's no cost to current Office 365/Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Upwork Enterprise users.
More enterprise collaborations are emerging, as companies realize the value of leveraging each other's expertise for a better product or service. And as more companies realize the need for agility in today's market, solutions focused on freelancer and contract management may take off.
With the increase of freelancers in the labor force and employers' growing need for more on-demand hiring, collaborations like that of Upwork and Microsoft could be a sign of what's to come in the tech market. Employers need to be able to hire contingent workers quickly and efficiently through technology, and gig workers need to know where their skills are needed. Tools that can offer that functionality may get more popular in the coming year.
A key piece of Microsoft's toolkit is the compliance feature. Congress has made some efforts to update decades-old labor laws to accommodate a workforce that is becoming more independent. But with little movement on this issue from lawmakers, HR professionals and hiring managers must comply with current laws distinguishing independent contractors from employees, which aren't exactly straightforward.