If you have a short term need for extra staff in your business you may be considering what is the best option to fill the requirement. You could engage workers directly, either on fixed term employment contracts or as casual workers, or you could use an agency.

Here are some things to consider when working out the best option for your need.

Management and administration

If your business is set up to employ and pay workers already, and you have sufficient management capacity to cope with additional staff, you may feel it’s fine to engage workers directly. On the other hand, if your requirement is fairly significant and would present too high an additional administrative and management burden on what is perhaps usually a very small business, using agency workers might be best. The agency deals with the administration, the payment and a lot of the management, leaving you free to use the workers flexibly, for a fee.

Degree of control

If you need a high degree of control over the staff, including the terms and conditions they are engaged under, how they operate and your relationship with them, you may want to consider employing them directly rather than through an agency.

Skills and attributes

If your need is very specific and you want to be able to choose who you employ, you are best doing that directly. However if you just need additional pairs of hands, or ‘bodies’ on the ground who meet certain minimum requirements, an agency can fulfil that.

Level of demand

Although obviously good business planning should enable you to predict staffing requirements, if you are lucky enough to have a sudden increase in demand for what your business does, perhaps due to outside events influencing the market you operate in, you may struggle to recruit enough workers yourself to meet this demand. An agency could help you here.

Length of requirement

Although some businesses do use agency workers on a long-term basis, this is unlikely to provide good value for money and also risks ambiguity developing in the relationship with the worker, with the possibility they may be seen as your employee as they become ‘part’ of your business. If you need someone consistent fairly long term, then a fixed term employment contract is likely to be better value and more accurately reflect the nature of the engagement.


Not sure what kind of short term worker will meet your requirements? Do get in touch for some advice.