You only need to skim Bdaily or Business Insider to understand the impact that a lack of specialist skills can have on a company. Much like everything else in life we need to move with the times; one minute we’re happy playing snake on our Nokia 5110, the next we’re playing in a virtual 4D world with some bloke from Australia.
In order remain competitive in the constantly changing business environment, companies are becoming agile at being agile by increasing their use of independent talent. At one end of the scale, you have 100% remote teams; such as Buffer and Zapier. Then you have partially distributed companies such as GitHub. At the other end of the scale there are companies using freelancers or small companies to complete specialised tasks, such as graphic design, marketing, web development or admin support.
If you’re not au fait with handing over projects to remote workers, you’re in luck!
Here’s my guide to a harmonious and successful outsourcing experience
Find the right person
Are they self motivated? How do they manage their time? Are they any good? Look at previous work, ask to see portfolios, checkout their profiles, read references and testimonials.
Most communication with a freelancer is remote. Are they a good communicator? Can they write clearly and concisely? How do they interact and co-operate?
Dot the ‘I’s and Cross the ‘T’s
Be clear on the below points, then set them out in a contact or service agreement. It may seem a bit overkill, but it will avoid any grey areas and discrepancies that could delay your project and hinder your working relationship.
- project objectives
- ownership of work product
You can find several templates online, if you’re looking for a legally drawn up contract or other legal documents have a look at the Lawbite.
In the past if you wanted to check whether an employee was being productive, you’d have to walk over to their desk and speak to them. And if you wanted to work on a document at the same time as your colleague, you’d need to be sitting next to each other at a computer. Now, thanks to a wide range of tools and resources, remote working has never been simpler.
To make your life a whole lot easier I’ve compiled a list of some of the top tools and resources for agile working
- Asana is a tool used to track work and results, which is free to use for up to 15 people.
- Wrike is a project management app that includes collaboration tools and document sharing.
- Trello is a visual tool used to organise and prioritise projects.
- Basecamp offers do to lists, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system
- Tick tracks your time against your budgets, encouraging you to stick within budget.
- Replicon an alternative project cost management tool.
- Slack is a collaboration platform that centres around instant messaging, but features almost every integration for an all-in-one solution.
- Skype is hands down the most popular video calling and VoIP platform.
- Google hangout a free tool that brings conversations to life with photos and emojis.
5 considerations before investing time and money
Before you invest your time and money here are five questions you need to ask:
1. Which features really matter?
Don’t be dazzled by all singing, all dancing platforms. There are tools that come with everything you could ever want to use and there are those that focus on doing just one thing really well. What do need to make your life easier? Do you want to streamline processes? Improve efficiency and profitability? Enhance communication? Go for whatever works best for you!
2. Is it easy to use?
Is it easy to setup and use? What’s the customer service reputation of the company? How useful are the guides and tutorials?
3. What do existing users have to say?
Before taking the plunge take a look at what other users have to say. Product Hunt is a good place to find out what people really think.
4. Can it integrate?
How does the tool integrate with other platforms you use? Do you want the software to work with your accounts, marketing automation tool, email or CRM?
5. Do you need to use it on the go?
Does the product offer an iPhone or Android app that is as reliable and comprehensive as the desktop version?
It’s time to celebrate
The UK freelancer economy is continuing to boom, with York showing the highest growth over the past 3 years. Join us next Thursday as we celebrate National Freelancers Day.
If you’re looking for someone for a current project, tell us about it
and we’ll find you great people to work with.