By: Emma Miller
According to one survey, about 45 percent of all working people in America telecommute at least part-time. Most important reasons why this is so being the fact that this kind of work allows one to adjust their work hours to their day-job and in this way become a stream of side-revenue. Therefore, it is more than clear that remote workers, freelancers in particular, are becoming a significant portion of the workforce you cannot afford to neglect.
However, what about the business owners? How can one motivate people who see this job only as a side income, coordinate between people who never meet in person or even run a system based on freelancers? Well, here are a couple of suggestions.
Change Your Attitude
First of all, whether you perceive your freelancers as full-fledged members of your staff or a temporary addition to your company depends only on your mindset. You see, some companies successfully operate and manage to stay profitable while relying exclusively on a freelancer-based workforce. That being said, the choice of a freelancer isn’t one you can make without some careful consideration. Approach this situation as if you were to choose a regular member of your team and you can’t go wrong. The advantages here are that most freelancer hiring platforms have objective metrics on display, which can make your job of making a selection less biased.
Invest in Their Training
One of the reasons why so many entrepreneurs are reluctant to invest in training or education of their freelancer employees is due to the fact that they see them as unreliable. Of course, there is some truth to this and there is nothing preventing a freelancer to just walk away, days after they’ve finished their training. On the other hand, same goes for the members of your in-house staff, yet, this doesn’t prevent you from holding educational meetings, sending them on various online courses and switching them to new tasks where they can get more experience.
Create a Contract
Some of the problems we listed above are of concern not just to employers but to the employees, as well. Terminating cooperation is much harder to do in person and in the era of the internet, there’s no way of telling that your future employer isn’t a fraud or devising an elaborate hoax to cheat you. In order to put everyone’s mind at ease, and give your employee another incentive to work harder, you might want to compose an employment contract. For those who need an employment letter, due to their own lack of experience in this area, there are many great templates for you to use or look into online.
Nurture a Relationship
The next major issue is the fact that it’s significantly harder to form a meaningful relationship with a person online. Nonetheless, how exactly valid is this argument in the age where people socialize online, date online and fall in love online? If anything, you can use conference call feature to schedule a face-to-face meeting with every single one of your employees. Talk to them about their own needs, aspirations and interests. As always, people are more interested in what they have to say than what you have to say, which is why you might want to learn a thing or two about the art of active listening. In this way, you will start a personal relationship that could easily grow into loyalty to the brand.
This particular trend is something that is quite problematic even in the actual office; for freelancers, it can be completely unbearable. As we’ve already mentioned several times earlier, your freelancers may already suspect that you don’t trust their abilities, loyalty or reliability. Needless to say, by micromanaging every single task you put them on, you will only reinforce those suspicions. Aside from being quite bad for their morale, it may also further encourage them to want to leave this work environment.
Pay for a Job Well Done
Finally, you need to keep in mind that, at the end of the day, freelancers are there to get paid, which means that if they see a more lucrative opportunity elsewhere, they have little to no reason not to pursue it. Unfortunately, this means that you will quickly stay without some of your most prolific remote employees, unless you are willing to pay them what they’re worth. Sure, from a financial standpoint, it would be cheaper to simply hire some new freelancers but bringing in inexperienced people to demanding work posts seldom results in a satisfactory production continuity.
At the end of the day, if we were to oversimplify the above-listed six points, we would draw the conclusion that, in order to better manage your freelancers, you need to learn how to treat them like your in-house employees. The greatest difference here is that there are some practical, technical and logistical obstacles, caused by the delicate nature of your professional relationship. Still, it is your job as an entrepreneur to find your way around them in the most satisfactory and the most cost-efficient manner.
By Emma Miller
About the author
Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focuses are digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog.