Fractional Work is the Future of Work

Shannon Kinet
March 3, 2024
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Fractional Work is the Future of Work

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I’m Shannon - a veteran remote worker, and spent over two years before the pandemic as Director of Commercial Ops at Remote Year, a company at the forefront of the remote work movement. I’m also a fractional RevOps leader with a knack for connecting and organizing systems, people and processes at early stage startups.

Fractional Work is the Future of Work: Is Your Organization Prepared?

Today I’m sharing why I believe fractional work is the future of work. I reflect on the pandemic-induced shift toward remote work and the similarities of that paradigm shift to the growing fractional work movement. I want to make the case that your organization should consider taking an early adoption approach to fractional work, and offer some considerations as you get started down this path.

The Early Days of the Pandemic

Picture this, it’s the fall of 2020 and your company finally decided to go fully remote…  

“Can everyone hear me?”  *cue the sea of unimpressed head bobs and thumbs up’s* 

Your junior associate comes off mute, enlightening attendees with a chorus of grinding espresso beans and clanking dishes to announce that her home WiFi is out and she’ll be on mute for the duration of the call. Half of the attendees have their video off, microphone on mute, while the other half discuss their local weather patterns and show off their cat's new bow tie. The presenter struggles to find the right window to share their presentation.

Help us all.

Despite the shift to remote work being heavily predicted as the future of work, the majority of companies suffered through months of stale productivity and painstaking financial losses because they weren’t adequately prepared.

Fractional Work is Coming

In an attempt to set you up for future success, I’m sharing here what you can anticipate for the next major paradigm shift as it applies to the future of work, fractional work.

If you’re new to the concept of fractional work, check out this description by Taylor Crane of Fractional Jobs, the viral-growth job board for fractional work, for a thorough explanation.

Your organization is likely familiar with the Fractional CFO, someone who comes in part-time to handle the critical finance work that you don't need to hire a full-time CFO for. What's happening now though, over the last few years, is that all job functions are getting fractionalized. Think CMO, CTO, etc. It’s not just c-suite roles that are seeing this shift, even senior-level ICs are doing fractional work. Proactive, future-looking organizations are already leveraging this approach and realizing the massive potential that lies in a broader adoption of fractional work. There are many factors that contribute to the suitability of a given role for fractional work. The primary benefits reported by companies adopting this model are:

  • Greater access to talent, particularly expert-level talent that is notioriously difficult to recruit.
  • A fractional employee costs less than traditional employment - aside from the obvious fact that the salary reflects part-time employment, companies also don't need to pay bonuses, benefits, payroll tax, etc.
  • Major efficiency gains - Fractional workers aren’t “on the clock” for water cooler conversation or unproductive “inbox cleanout” type tasks. A properly executed fractional work agreement ensures you are aligned on what the deliverables and outcomes will be for the time contracted. In other words, you're paying for exactly what you get.
  • Fractional engagements are more flexible - You can start and stop as needed, so there's much lower risks associated with acquisition costs, onboarding and offboarding, time to productivity, etc.
  • Eliminate the middleman - Traditionally access to part-time talent came exclusively from agencies. But now you can remove the hefty agency or firm-based fees seen in traditional consulting.

Considerations for Early Adopters

When it comes to fractional work, one of the biggest hurdles for organizations to overcome is operational preparedness. To optimize for success with fractional work, your organization will need to get buttoned up on the basics. Here are a few things to consider to the extent you want to start taking advantage of fractional talent:

Where Can You Leverage Fractional Work?

Within you org, where might it make sense to consider a fractional hire? Perhaps there's a department without a "Head of" because you don't need someone full-time. Or that department head will soon be out on maternity leave. Having a fractional to assist in this transition, overseeing the execution of shifting responsibilities and providing support as your department head returns, is another great example of leveraging fractional support.

Or maybe your full-time team members own responsibilities outside their expertise, and instead you can bring in an actual expert to own it for 5 - 10 hrs / week instead.

Consider tasking internal ops support, for example, to do an audit across departments.

How Would the Team Respond to a Hybridized Employment Landscape?

Imagine you brought on a Fractional Head of Operations. How might the team react? With enthusiasm, or skpeticism, or somewhere in between? How can you mitigate this? Consider collaborating with the leadership team to anticipate how bringing on fractional talent might impact productivity or morale.

It likely just takes a conversation and mindset shift, but don't ignore it.

What Internal Policies and Procedures Might Need to Change?

Fractional employees operate very similar to full-time employees, but there are a few key differences. For starters, they are independent contractors. Do you have the right employment agreement to use for this?

Fractionals are also trained to onboard into an organization VERY quickly and hit the ground running. Can your onboarding policies and training materials support this?

How Would Reporting Structures Work?

Fractional ICs can report into department heads easily. But did you know it's also common for fractional department heads to manage teams of full-time employees? How might this work in your organization?

What's the Right Way to Hire Fractional?

If you have the need for fractional talent, do you know where you'd go to find them? Traditional recruiters don't have fractional talent networks, and fractional leaders aren't typically browsing Indeed or Linkedin Jobs for opportunities.

Instead, you could leverage a platform like, dedicated to finding forward-looking companies incredible fractional talent.

Taking small, exploratory steps today is the best way for your organization to be prepared for the changing tides. The professional landscape is rapidly evolving. Are you ready for the future of fractional work?

Was this helpful? Have more questions? Feel free to get in touch with me via Linkedin.

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