7 Best Practices for Using Remote Freelance Workers

7 Best Practices for Using Remote Freelance Workers

Hiring remote freelancers is very attractive to employers in a labor market wrought with shortages. With costs on the rise worldwide, using remote independent contractors, or freelancers can help businesses save money. Because of these and other reasons, the gig economy has grown. Freelance careers have become more normalized over the past few years.

As organizations bring on more freelancers to complete projects, it’s helpful to learn tips for managing freelance work remotely.

Today, we’re discussing 7 of the best practices you can use when managing freelance workers to help you complete projects remotely.


Best Practices When Using Freelance Workers

Classify them accurately

Misclassification of freelance workers is rampant and comes with huge implications. If employers misclassify employees, they may violate wage, tax, and employment eligibility laws. This could come with financial and legal penalties.

To qualify as a freelancer, workers set their own work hours and use their own tools and methods to complete their work. Though completing projects might require some oversight, providing too much for your freelancers could violate their classification. For example, if an organization provides training, requires set work hours and meetings, and specifies the order in which freelancers complete tasks, they may be at risk of misclassification lawsuits.

Comparing exactly what you need against what a freelancer can legally provide could help you discover whether your projects can benefit from hiring freelancers and how to classify them.

Provide clear expectations

Having clear expectations can help make sure your independent contractors understand their tasks and can meet their deadlines. It’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t technically your employees. It’s likely that they’re providing work for several other employers during or around the same time they’re working for you. Each of these employers might have its own management styles, types of projects, and work expectations.
Providing clear expectations helps them understand how their work fits in with your organization’s goals, style, and culture. This can help ensure your freelancers provide you with:
  • What you want
  • How you want it
  • When you want it

Request sample work

The internet can help make finding a freelance worker easy. Many apps and websites provide you with your pick of potential workers. When you find a resume that catches your attention, it’s important to ask freelancers for a sample of their work. You can choose to have them send some samples they’ve already created. This helps you understand whether they can give you what you need, how long it might take them to complete, and what kind of direction they might need to tailor their work to your organization.
Hiring freelance workers doesn’t always include a traditional interview, communicating with them during this process can also help ensure that they are a good cultural fit for your organization.

Create a Contract

Contracts can do so much to help create a business relationship. An ideal contract helps protect both the organization and the worker. A contract should outline in writing exactly what you both can reasonably expect from your agreement. Because it’s in writing, both parties can refer to the contract if any disputes about their tasks and expectations arise during a project. For example, if a worker misses a deadline or your organization requests work outside of the contract’s expectations, the contract can help clarify or resolve the conflict.

Contracts keep everything legitimate and safe and can help maintain a positive working relationship between workers and clients.

Ensure alignment on project scope and timelines

Your contract with your freelance workers likely outlines the project scope and timelines. Either way, it’s important for both parties to understand what kind of work the project requires—and how much. Whether your new hire is a full-time freelancer or works gigs part-time to make extra money, they need to know how to manage their time when providing work for you. Understanding the scope of their work and expected deadlines can help them figure out whether your projects can fit into their schedule. For example, when hiring a freelance writer, it could be helpful for them to understand that you might require additional drafts after they submit their work. This way, they can schedule a time to provide them for you.

Understand their skills

One of the more important aspects of hiring a freelancer is understanding exactly what skills they provide. If you know what they can (or can’t) do well, you can understand what projects you should assign to them. You might have several talented freelance journalists that provide articles for your website or blog, but it’s helpful for you to know which provide the best character profiles, the best entertainment reports, or the best political insight. You might have one marketing freelance worker who more strongly understands social media and one who works better with SEO.

Understanding the skills specific to each freelance worker helps you save time and ensures you receive the best quality work for each project.

Pay them on time

The old adage is, “Time is money.” This isn’t just true for your organization—it’s likely just as important for your freelance workers. Paying them on time is crucial for several reasons, such as:
  • It protects your business integrity
  • It encourages freelancers to return for more work
  • It sets the example of keeping to timelines
  • It’s the right thing to do

That last point might be the most important one.

Though these might all be business decisions, it’s important to remember that there are humans on both sides of the agreement. Your freelance workers are people with budgets and reasonably expect to receive payment for the time they take to provide work for you. In fact, when considering best practices for managing freelancers—or any workers—”the right thing to do” should always be a top priority.