You are tired of battling peak-hour traffic every morning, fed up with having your new ideas quashed and tired of feeling guilty for leaving the office early.

Have you ever considered venturing into the realm of contract work?

Information technology, design, engineering, accounting and journalism are just a few of the many sectors that are familiar with the benefits of contractual work arrangements.

This is fast becoming an option with employees. In a society where the transient workforce is rapidly emerging, employers are seeking contract employees who can deliver effective results on project basis.

Whether it is working from home or in the office for a period of time, the move from holding a full-time job to a contract position is one that you can think about.

Pros and cons

Flexibility is one of the biggest pull factors of contract work. Most people are attracted to the autonomy of being able to manage their working hours, working style and career direction

Yet this freedom requires self-discipline and motivation, especially if you are working offsite and not in an office environment.

Contract work can be a less reliable working arrangement. It does not provide the security and benefits of full-time employment, such as paid annual and sick leave. It may be daunting going from one project to another and not knowing when and where your next offer will come.

However, it can also be very lucrative. Contract workers typically get paid by the hour. Depending on the job and the nature of your industry, you can often make more money than counterparts who are doing the same job on a full-time basis.

Hence, working on a contractual basis - especially if you can find a long-term contract of one year or longer - can be quite profitable. Unlike most salaried staff, contract staff can also be paid for overtime work.

The opportunity to broaden your skills set as you work on a variety of projects and gain contacts in the industry is another major advantage.

Check the market

Do your research before embarking on a contract-based career. Find out if there is a market for the service you are offering.

While the absence of a boss is an attraction, your contractual working arrangement may also mean that employers are not there to offer support, encouragement and positive feedback.

Contract workers are also expected to deliver outcomes. This means you have to be confident in the skills and services you offer.

It is important to assess your skills. Are they transferable? Begin by researching reputable courses to hone your skills. Talk to people in the industry to get an idea of what to expect.

Network

Talk to fellow contract workers to gain a broader understanding of the type of contract work you intend to pursue. Let your contacts know that you are seriously considering the move to a more flexible arrangement.

For instance, they may have assignments that they cannot take on and would like to recommend them to you.

Analyse the market demand for your service. If it is a highly competitive market, it may be hard to gain a foothold. However, do not let this deter you. Again, talk to contacts in the industry, as effective networking is the key.

Keep your options open

You may be in a situation where contract work is not the ideal scenario for you but rather a safety net while you are looking for full-time work.

It is important to keep an open mind during your job search. Exploring contractual work as an option does not mean you are locked in the arrangement. Often, a job may be advertised only as a contract position but eventually becomes a full-time position.

Organisations are continually changing. Restructuring or new ventures can provide you with a permanent offer in the future. If full-time work is what you are looking for, be mindful that contract work is a possibility and can get you a permanent placement. An employer will remember you based on your performance, attitude and presentation.

In the end, you have to decide the type of working environment you prefer and how you think contract work can contribute to your career plans. If you enjoy the variety of working on various projects and the greater freedom of being able to manage your own time and tasks, then contract work is an option to explore.

Most importantly, keep in mind the importance of networking and be confident in the skills and services you offer.