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Are agency staff better than employees?

Plus an update on Rich’s road to the London Marathon 2022

A common industry misconception about agency labour is that they can’t be very good as they haven’t got a full-time job. However, in our experience, the opposite is often true. 


Contrary to popular belief, we think that the operatives who work for Skilled Labour Services are often better than some permanent employees. Here are a few reasons we know this to be true.

Work/life balance

One of the main reasons that agency workers choose to work for an agency is so that they can have a better work/life balance. They get to choose when to take jobs and when to take a break, and they are able to work the hours that suit them, rather than being tied to a set working pattern. This flexibility can be very attractive and is often missing from PAYE roles.

Project choice

Another big advantage that agency staff have is the choice of projects they want to work on. This means that they can pick and choose the jobs that interest them, rather than being stuck working on something they hate. Staff are always more productive when they’re doing something they enjoy or working for clients who treat them well.


Our operatives get to mix up where they work and what type of projects which means they have a broad mix of experience across a range of sectors.

Not a lack of skills or ability

Let’s be realistic, often clients don’t tend to feel as committed to the resources we supply as they may towards their own employees. They see agency staff as a cost to be paid at the end of each week.  


This means that agency staff have to be on top form all day every day. If they’re not, the client would soon complain to us and have them removed from the job. If that happens, they’re not just off that job – they’re also going to find we are unlikely to ask them to work for our clients again in the future.


By contrast, employees may find it easier to hide their shortcomings or be less productive if they’re having an off day. 


If you’d like to find out how Skilled Labour Services can help provide high-quality, reliable labour for your construction project, get in touch today.

Rich’s road to London training update

As promised last month, between now and the London Marathon 2022 in the autumn, we will be sharing Rich’s training as he gears up to run 26.2 miles in aid of the construction industry charity, The Lighthouse Charity


At the time of writing, Rich has just completed week 2 of the London Marathon advanced training plan. Here’s what Rich had to say when we spoke to him recently about how things are going so far.


Why did you choose this training plan?

I’m usually a pretty spontaneous person when it comes to my running. I don’t typically follow a set training plan or schedule, I just run when and how much I feel like it. But this time around, I decided to commit to a more structured training plan.

I chose the advanced training plan because I wanted something that would stretch me and help me achieve a good time.  By the end of week four, I’ll be running either twelve miles or for one hour and forty-five minutes – whichever comes first.


Hopefully, the training plan will help me become a stronger and faster runner as well as lose a few pounds of weight along the way. 

Richard Allen running the Southampton Marathon

What has stopped you from sticking to a training plan in the past?

I would have to say that it’s a lack of discipline on my part. I’ll start out with all the best intentions, but as the weeks go by, I’ll find excuses to skip workouts or eat unhealthy foods. Work, nights out with friends, and family commitments can all get in the way of staying on track. But I’m hoping that by documenting my training journey in these articles, I’ll be more motivated to stick to the plan. 


Just like in business – accountability is important for consistency!

Rich – can you give us an idea of what the plan includes?

The plan includes five sessions a week. I will be interval training on Tuesdays with Hedge End Running Club plus Parkrun on Saturdays. Both of these are good for speed work. Wednesday and Thursday will be the days for slow and steady runs where I am heart rate training. Sunday is a long run – increasing each week up to 20 miles by week 12. 


Heart rate training enables me to run longer without exhaustion and is good for stamina. My target heart rate is 130/135 beats per minute (bpm) which is around 11-minute miles. This is quite a lot slower than I would normally run and this is challenging in itself. 


You’d be surprised how uncomfortable it is to run slower than normal. A typical pace for me is usually around nine and a half to ten minutes per mile for a “slow” run. This should build me towards a race pace of 8 and a half minute miles.

How are you feeling overall?

I’m feeling good overall. No niggles or injuries at the moment. I’m always looking out for indications of tightness so I can take preventive action instead of waiting until I’m injured. I’ve been injury-free for a while now and touch wood it continues.


I’m consciously making positive changes to my nutrition. I’ve increased my protein intake and reduced processed foods. This gives good fuel for training and repair whilst helping to lose weight – I hope to lose around half a stone by race day.


Overall I’m feeling pretty good so far. I’m focusing on the day-to-day plan rather than looking at the whole plan, which could feel daunting and I’m enjoying the process instead of only focusing on the race. 


Actually- that’s another good business lesson. It’s easy to be so focused on how you’re going to achieve the medium or long-term goals for your business that you can get overwhelmed. Instead, taking it a day, week or quarter at a time is less stressful, allows you to enjoy your business and, when you reflect, you’ll be surprised how far you’ve come!

How do you route plan to keep things interesting?

I like to mix things up when I’m route planning. Sometimes I’ll run to work at The Old Bond Store and then Uber home, or if I need to move the staff vans around I’ll run to the site to pick a van up and deliver it to another site. Running with HERC is also a great way to get some social interaction.


Personally, I prefer trail running to road running and I like to throw in the occasional race during my training plan. I’ll probably do a half marathon in late August which will be a good benchmark of how my race pace is coming along. 

How can people support your fundraising?

No amount is too small to make a difference – think of it as buying me a drink but for a good cause and without damaging my liver! Simply click here to donate and, because the Just Giving page is linked to my Strava you can also keep track of my progress. 

Richard Allen on a trail run

The more people I can reach, the better  – so when you see posts about my training runs on LinkedIn, be sure to comment and share. 


In advance – thank you for your support. 

About Author : Liz Clark