The organizations across the globe have changed significantly over the years, and now that a majority of the young crowd is showing interest in working as a freelancer, most of the organizations are recruiting freelancers to carry out major operations. While freelancers can accomplish great feats for the company, but it is difficult to make them work as a team, primarily because of their remoteness.
As a manager, who is responsible for the performance of the freelancers, you need to ensure that their geographical difference does not become a problem and they can work as a team irrespective of their physical distance. Here are few tips that can help you achieve that.
- Establish an effective communication system:
Since the entire team works remotely, as a manager, it is your responsibility to establish a communication system that works. If you don’t a have a proper platform to communicate with each of the remote members of the team, forget about the teamwork, it won’t be possible to carry out the day-to-day work that the team is supposed to do.
You are the glue that manages to keep the team together. If they fail to reach you in the time of need, the team is bound to fall apart. Communication is a basic necessity when you are working with freelancers. It not only allows you to answer they’re the critical question but also helps you provide feedback on their work. This may seem like a tedious routine, but this actually helps to keep the team aligned, on track and unified.
Also, when you give enough attention to each of the members through communication, they feel like they belong to this team. If they are allowed complete autonomy, it may translate as you never considered them as a part of the team. This one-on-one check-in makes them feel valued.
- Spend a significant amount of time integrating the freelancers into the team:
Just because they are not physically in the office, that does not mean you should skip the integration part which every in-house employee goes through. It may be harder when each of the members is working remotely, but in order to offer them a team-like feeling, you need to conduct their integration into the team. It’s not that you have to do the whole thing. You can assign the task to a person who usually deals with the integration process.
The integration process does not just end after explaining the work culture to these remote freelancers. Yes, it may allow these independent professionals to understand the work culture, but the integration process needs to continue. Invite them over to the office every once in a while (if possible) to make them participate in the team building activities.
Allowing them to interact with each other face-to-face can be a team-building exercise. Since they need to work together as a team, this physical interaction works way more efficiently than any of its online counterparts. Video conferences are fine for a meeting, but if you are willing to build a team, you need to allow them to interact with each other physically.
- Create and nurture a leadership role within the team:
When a team has enough number of members, you need to allow the team to have its own lead. It has been observed that when a team is led by one of the members, it works better because of the frequent supervision. Also, it lets you take care of a bigger team just by delegating the responsibilities to one person.
However, you need to choose the leader carefully, because if a leader can guide a team to success, he can also do the opposite. Guide him properly, so that he can not only maintain a communication loop within the team but also play a bigger role in ensuring the team’s success. When a leader steps up and fulfills all his responsibilities with precision, it inspires the whole team to put their best efforts to achieve the designated goals.
Also, don’t forget to recognize every well-executed plan of the team leader. They don’t always have to be a game-changing move. Appreciation of any job well done can induce the morale of the leader as well as his team.
- Understand their workstyles:
As you may realize, freelancers don’t always follow the conventional workstyle like the in-house employees. Since most of them are used to working independently, the chances are each of them may have a unique way of solving a particular task. Being a manager, you need to understand the working style of each of the remote freelancers working in the team.
This will not only help you learn about their strengths and weaknesses but also allow you to learn new ways to approach a problem. Make sure they communicate within the team. So, if a member is having trouble solving a task with his limited knowledge and skills, the other members of the team can help him find a different way to deal with the problem.
As mentioned earlier, communication playa a major role in team building, and in this case also, communication will allow you and the team to understand each other’s work style and improve individual skillset with the help of effective communication. If you find that a member is lagging behind, you can provide more suggestions and assistance to him so that the team does not suffer because of him.
- Make sure the team is enjoying their work:
Whether it’s an in-house employee or even a freelancer, everyone performs better when they enjoy their work. Freelancers usually work for multiple clients, which splits their focus into several tasks at the same time. Having multiple clients may be beneficial for the freelancers, but as a client, you need 100 percent dedication from your team of freelancers.
To keep them involved in your work, make sure they are being assigned with tasks that they enjoy doing. It will not only improve your productivity but also boost their confidence. Since you cannot observe the behavior of your freelance team, it will be difficult to measure which areas they excel at.
That’s why you need to arrange a meeting that is attended by all of them every once in a while. In that meeting, they can share what they are comfortable with and what challenges them the most.
As you may realize, the team does not consist of only the remote freelancers. It also includes you and all the in-house employees who work in liaison with these freelancers. So you also need to make sure that the team at the office works in harmony with the freelancers every time they are asked to coordinate.
Author bio: Joanne Criss is an academic tutor at My Assignment help UK who has 5 years of experience in the field of freelance. Criss has worked for numerous companies for dissertation help while attending his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom.