THE CHALLENGES OF MANAGING A FREELANCE WORKFORCE

Although outsourcing projects to a freelance workforce is a logical, cost-effective growth strategy, companies often lose value during the recruitment and management process resulting in high turnover of freelance personnel, underwhelming hires, or time wasted on repetitive training.

The freelance/client relationship has interested us for many years and having facilitated over 200,000 freelance hires in that time, we’ve learned a few things during that time. In addition, the Freelancer Club is run exclusively using a freelance workforce that has come with highs, lows and a lot of lessons learned. Here are a few pointers we’ve picked up along the way.

The key to a healthy relationship is clear communication

A freelancer will often be working on multiple projects for a range of clients simultaneously, all of whom require their focus, creativity and time. Whilst a freelancer will give their all to each client whilst clocked in, they are not always accessible to change or adapt work outside of these hours.

Milestones and motivation

Staying on top of a project is vital, whether a freelancer is working remotely or not. Carly Vidal Wallace from fashion company Not Just A Label (NJAL) says that she uses “different project management systems from Asana to Wunderlist as well as the multiple types of video conferencing apps which exist to regularly be in communication visually as well.” Advancements in the way we can connect via video, screen sharing and voice is facilitating remote working relationships like never before.

Feeling like part of the family

When it comes to getting the job done, freelancers have one huge advantage. They are much less likely to be involved in the company’s social structure and office politics, which means they are free to exclusively concentrate on the work at hand. Remember, the hierarchical structure of employer and employee doesn’t work as well when it comes to freelancers. We’ve found that treating freelancers like business partners or collaborators will provide the foundation for a healthy working relationship.

Capitalising on their skillset

A freelancer’s unique set of skills often produces fresh perspectives and ideas that full-time employees wouldn’t have thought of. Matt Dowling notes how “the best part about working with freelancers is that they are masters of their craft and often bring a huge amount of value to a project above and beyond my expectations. They are typically more versed in self-management and don’t require as much of my time as an employee.”

Conclusion

Despite the challenges, hiring freelancers in the UK and internationally is not slowing down. In fact, it’s rapidly speeding up. The UK’s is now home to an “estimated 5 million self-employed people,” according to consultancy.uk.

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