“Those who can demonstrate how to do more with less money are the leaders of tomorrow,” says an article on Businessweek about managing virtual workers.
As the work economy shifts into a new paradigm of global competitiveness, the way we work must accommodate this change, as well. Despite the adamance of some companies and individuals, it cannot be denied that working virtually, telecommuting, or freelancing online is booming – with the number of people working from home rising to more than sixty percent between 2005 and 2009.
Employers who work with virtual freelancers are able to save on overhead and administration expenses, while still getting great output! On the other hand, no time is wasted because employers and freelancers both save time without having to commute, and only having to communicate virtually!
To some, managing online freelancers can be a real challenge, but it’s easy when done right! We’ve got some suggestions on how employers can manage freelancers online despite the distance, the timezone and cultural differences!
1. Set things straight.
Once you have selected your freelancer/s, make sure that you lay down the ground rules first before commencing with a project. Reiterate objectives, deliverables, deadlines, and payment methods. Make sure that the freelancer understands the Project Brief well. Set Milestones and stick to it – ensure that the freelancer sticks to it as well. Working virtually may mean more freedom for both parties, so as not to be abused, get organized and set a system that works well for you and your freelancer.
2. Use the tools and technology available!
Use online communication, monitoring, collaboration, and productivity tools that would work best for the both of you. Freelancer.com has provided users with a lot of venues to ensure that no communication is lost, and that both employers and freelancers are consistently collaborating with each other. To know more about the Freelancer.com tools you can use, check out: Mobile App (Android/iOS) and the Desktop App!
3. Communicate – Listen and be listened to.
Communication is a two-way street, and is probably the most important aspect that will see your project through – from the planning, to the execution, to the assessment, and completion! Tell your freelancer what you want for a certain project, and at the same time, hear him or her out when he or she has concerns or ideas about the job. Remember, communication also equates to collaboration! Freelancer.com has got the tool to make communication easier!
4. Trust your Freelancer.
Trust, like communication, is also two-way. The fact that the employer and freelancer chose each other to complete a project should be enough for them to believe that the project will run smoothly, and that it will be completed at the assigned deadline. Need a tangible manifestation? We recommend that employers set up Milestone Payments for their freelancers, as a sign of good faith. To learn more about Milestone Payments, click here.
5. Be sensitive to cultural and timezone differences.
Working with people across the globe can be such fun, but challenging all the same. When setting up online meetings or chats with your freelancer, consider the time difference between the two of you. As much as possible, meet halfway or compromise, or ensure that the freelancer is okay with it if it has to be late at night or early in the morning. At the same time, be sensitive to cultural differences (holidays, communication styles) for better working relations with your freelancer.
Ultimately, managing online freelancers boils down to clear communication, and constant collaboration. Professionalism, sensitivity and cooperation between employers and freelancers get the job done.