Day to day management
Once your freelancers are onboarded and visible, another set of challenges emerge around the day-to-day management of their work.
Hours of operation
The first challenge is operating hours. A freelancer is not an employee and therefore they are entitled to keep their own hours. Of course, where the freelancer is working alone on a project this may be fine. However, as soon as the freelancer needs to integrate into an existing team of employees, it is normally better for the whole team to keep similar hours.
Hours of operation: Solution
There are two ways to overcome the challenge of different operating hours:
- Include a service level agreement in your freelancer's contract, which ensures a standard response time during your office hours.
- Offer your employees flexible hours.
Each option has its pros and cons. Deciding the right option for your organisation comes down to answering a few key questions:
- What percentage of your workforce are freelancers? If your organisation is largely dependent on a freelance workforce. You may decide to include a standard SLA in your freelancers' contracts.
- How easily can you find freelance talent? If you hire freelancers for very hard to find skills, you may not wish to impose SLAs in case it turns talented freelancers away.
- What implications does offering your employees flexible hours have? If your employees maintain core hours for an important business reason (e.g., customer service hours), you may not wish to introduce flexible working.
In addition to keeping similar hours, effective collaboration is another challenge to consider. Your internal teams will have access to communication, workspaces and software to enable them to collaborate effectively.
For the majority of freelance engagements, the messaging and file-sharing functions of an FMS platform will provide a simple solution.
Where a deeper level of integration into projects is required, for example with software development, where fully-fledged project management and version control software is required, the solution to enable a freelancer to collaborate with your internal team is to grant them access to the same project management and version control software. There are, however, two considerations when going to this level of collaboration:
- Licenses. You will need to consider software licenses.
- Access control: You many only want your freelancer to access certain areas or systems. You also need to have a system in place that removes their access rights once their contract finishes.
Change in project scope
In today's fast-moving, agile business world, a project's scope is extremely likely to change. Retasking employees is straightforward as their employment contracts allow for it. But where a freelancer is engaged to deliver against a statement of work, a change in project scope could prove problematic.
Change in project scope: solution
The solution is to use an FMS that enables quick, simple project posting and rehiring. When your project scope changes, you can simply end one project and rehire the freelance to deliver against a new statement of work with minimal admin.