How can Businesses Effectively Manage Freelancers?
It is no surprise that businesses are hesitant to hire freelancers despite the numerous benefits they provide because it is believed that they can be challenging to manage. However, efficiently managing remote workers have become a necessity due to COVID-19. Companies all over the world are tapping into the talent available in the gig economy to not just survive but to flourish and optimize costs for running their businesses.
As the economies, worldwide struggle with large numbers of full-time employees being laid off, hiring freelancers is the best alternative for companies. Independent consultants and experts are highly skilled individuals, and as contractual work has increased post-pandemic, they have become a necessity that cannot be overlooked.
Examining the challenges of managing freelance workers is the first step to generating solutions.
The one reason why people often hesitate to hire freelancers is a lack of direct supervision, and providing support to remote workers can also be tricky. Virtually accessing information can also be time-consuming as freelancers cannot have direct contact with supervisors overlooking the projects. Furthermore, the pandemic has led to additional obstacles for productivity and the quality of work delivered. Social distancing and isolation have left most people’s mental capacity a little worse off. Hence, productivity levels can decline from time to time among remote workers. Moreover, working in a workplace is entirely different than working from home, and the distractions at home can lead to less focus and reduced concentration at work.
Nevertheless, it is essential to remember that most of the issues mentioned in the previous paragraphs are only related to full-time workers who had to transition to a remote working environment. Expert Freelancers can easily navigate through these concerns as they are used to working remotely. Most of them also have home offices and are adjusted to this form of the working environment. Besides, working from home without any supervision is a norm for most freelancers, and as their competence highly depends on client satisfaction, they are always motivated to deliver high-quality work.
Now, from a manager’s point of view, the issue of effective management can be easily dealt with by following a few simple protocols.
First and foremost, clear and concise communication is paramount. Ensure the guidelines and information you provide to the hired freelancers are clear, to the point, and regular. Daily or at least weekly check-ins (for longer projects) are crucial to keeping up a good workflow. As most freelancers are independent workers, they won’t require direct supervision, but you must always check their progress and provide deadlines for each task they have been given responsibility for.
Time tracking reports are very beneficial to measure the productivity and efficiency of freelancers. Carefully examine the time they take to complete each task and provide them feedback on their delivered content.
If your company has hired a few different freelancers working on separate or even similar projects, it is always beneficial to rely on management tools. As everyone is forced to work virtually, it is smart to take as much advantage of technology as much as possible. There are numerous management tools available that companies can employ to track freelancers and even to keep track of full-time employees who are currently working from home.
Lastly, we advise all businesses to be rational and flexible. Everyone in this world is affected by COVID-19, and we are all trying to cope with the pandemic’s consequences. The best way to do this is to efficiently manage expectations, managers must always communicate the tasks, the reasons behind those tasks, and the expected outcomes and results. In this way, you would be providing the scope, the deadlines, and the expected outcomes and deliverables to the contractual freelance employees or even the teams of full-time remote workers that you might be managing.
With regards to flexibility, we recommend trusting workers and giving them the freedom to complete their tasks within the assigned schedule. As everyone has a lot going on, being too rigid can actually lead to low productivity, but keep in mind that by doing this, we do not mean COVID-19 should be used as an excuse for not completing responsibilities.
Workforce management is an extensive process even more so when it concerns freelancers and remote workers. However, a positive mindset, clearly defined goals and outcomes, and effective two-way communication can easily take businesses towards success.