If you’re a manager and you need help on projects, it might be tempting to hire some fresh faces around your office. When you hire someone full time, you’re able to set their schedule and control what they work on, but 2020 changed a lot about how we view work and view employee schedules. The reality is that hiring people for full-time positions is extremely expensive, and there often isn’t enough work to fill up a full workweek. Thanks to the remote work trend, hiring freelancers will be an effective way to fill out your staffing needs in an easy to manage way. With modern tools to simplify collaboration using digital tools, it’s never been a better time to work with freelancers.
Tools for Managing Freelancers
When working with freelancers who’d come into the office, you’d be limited by who could fit the schedule that you needed them. If you hired someone to work on Mondays and Fridays, they’d be in the office on those two days and unavailable at any other time. If you needed their assistance, you likely wouldn’t have the ability to ask for their help as your tools wouldn’t be set up for remote work. Their work would be limited by what they did while in the office.
With a new influx of tools to collaborate with freelancers, your work with them can scale up and scale down as needed. There are countless tools to collaborate and communicate with freelancers in a remote setting. Instead of needing face-to-face meetings, you can video chat with them to catch up on projects. Instead of emailing attachments back and forth, you work on the same document, spreadsheet, or presentation using countless tools, like online collaborative Notes, that allow both of you to edit simultaneously.
Instead of relying on just a traditional email application, there are multiple ways to turn email into a chat-like experience, or you can use a dedicated tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack to chat with your team of freelancers.
If you’re worried about your billable hours for your team of freelancers, you can implement a time-tracking solution like Harvest or Toggl in which your team can document what they’re working on and when. If you implement a time-tracking solution, you’ll need to set expectations on responding to messages and updating content. You can’t expect your team to be available like you would a full-time employee unless you’re willing to pay them an hour of work whenever you need to get their attention. A quick email might seem like it’s not a big deal, but that work adds up, and you have to be fair to your freelance team’s time. If you want them to be available whenever you want them, you’ll need to pay for their time when you need them.
Hire vs. Freelance?
One of the big decisions to consider when looking to hire someone or bring them on as a freelancer might be how you expect your business to grow over the next few years. If your business is seasonal, it might make more sense to hire freelancers for a set contract and then scale down your staffing needs during the off-season. If you expect your work to ramp up consistently, then you’ll want to consider hiring someone full-time.
One final thing to consider in hiring vs. freelance is to look at it, not as an either-or but a path. If you want to see if a potential employee will make a good fit with your team, you can start on a freelance basis to understand that it’s a trial basis and then move to full-time employment in the future.
The Final Verdict on Hiring vs. Using Freelancers
When it comes to managing freelancers, it’s essential to build out your “toolbox” of digital applications and services to set your team up for success. A proper suite of software will allow your team of employees and freelancers to collaborate regardless if they’re in the office or working remotely, respect a work-life balance, automate the usage of billable freelance hours, and give you a high-level view of project status. Thanks to the tools you have at your fingertips, it’s now easier than ever to manage a team of freelancers.