Freelancers and contractors play a vital role in the global economy and many business owners are choosing to hire from a pool of talented freelancers rather than take on permanent employees, allowing them to benefit from an agile workforce.
In the UK alone, there are an estimated two million freelancers contributing some £271 billion each year. Freelancers now represent 6% of the UK workforce and these figures are only growing.
There are many advantages for small businesses utilising a freelance network. The flexibility to scale the workforce up and down easily across busy and quieter periods means they only pay for manpower when it’s needed. Businesses can also select their freelancer based on their experience and expertise, allowing for highly skilled hires as and when required.
Using freelance contractors
But of course, there are pros and cons to everything and what businesses are telling us is that while they want to continue to benefit from this experienced workforce and its cost-effectiveness, the red tape and the issue of compliance with the ever-changing legislative landscape is proving to be a real headache.
Here are our top three tips to maximise the benefits and streamline the process of working with freelancers.
Create a clear framework for working together with a freelance
Having structured processes and ways of working written down and in place ahead of a new freelance contract or project will help with onboarding and briefing freelancers. Whilst you know everything about your clients and your business, having that information in a shareable and easy to digest format means freelancers can also quickly get up to speed. Documenting your clients and their working preferences can also be really useful for a freelancer working directly with a client.
A clear and robust briefing system is key to getting the most out of your freelancer’s time. A well-considered brief outlining objectives, timeframes, budgets and expectations will reduce the back and forth at the start of a project and should provide solid background detail to give your freelancer a clear scope of what is expected. Creating template briefing documents and outlining processes using collaboration tools such as Google Docs will save time in the long run if working with multiple freelancers.
Build good relationships with your freelances
It is likely that your chosen freelancers will be working remotely, so building trust and a good relationship will make working together more productive in the long run. Communication is key to this – and getting the communication balance right is important to keep freelancers up to date without bombarding them with unnecessary information. Regular communication that relates to the project and client will keep your freelancer up to date. But remember, they don’t need to be copied in to every email relating to the project as this will just fill their time reading irrelevant information. Think about what they need to know and when.
Use tools that streamline the process
Online management systems for businesses working with freelancers can really help to streamline the process of working together. Not only will it streamline the process of working together but it can also help businesses overcome compliance obstacles – whether it’s making sure any freelancer data is stored in line with the new GDPR regulations, clarifying copyright ownership or ensuring that freelancers’ invoices are 100% tax compliant.
An online management system, such as Flime.com, really allows businesses to reap the benefits of a truly flexible, international workforce and to concentrate on what they do best - driving their business to grow profits and market share - without having to worry about all the bureaucracy and its associated paperwork.
Businesses and contractors alike can benefit by operating an instant, effective, hassle-free, cross-border payroll. Ultimately, with the use of services businesses can overcome administrative and legal challenges – essentially creating a streamlined, flawless workflow that makes outsourcing your workforce easier and admin-free.
There is no doubt that the ‘gig economy’ is flourishing in the UK, and as it continues to grow, so do the opportunities it presents. Businesses who work effectively with freelancers can benefit from the changing workforce, and by implementing workflows and systems that streamline that process will further reap the benefits.
Copyright 2019. Article was made possible by site supporter Pavel Shynkarenko, Flime