Working with freelancers or contractors can help your business sail through a period of change and uncertainty. But once you’ve decided that working with freelancers is right for your business, how do you effectively manage them? Putting in some simple processes early and checking in on them often can help your team of freelancers do their best possible work, while making sure you and your team don’t need to be available during all hours of the day and night.

To get you started, we’ve compiled a few ideas on how to successfully manage a team of (remote) freelancers and contractors.

Have remote communication tools in place

There is likely a remote element to how you work with your freelancers. And having the tools in place to make remote communication happen easily will make it easier to work with and manage your team of freelancers. 

Andrea Woroch spoke to a number of US business owners and consultants to understand how they successfully communicate in a remote working setup. Among ideas such as being a proactive communicator, and setting expectations, is the idea that good communication leads to good remote work.

Deciding how people should reach out when they have quick questions, which video conference platforms they should use, means they’ll save valuable time. Plus, making these explanations part of the onboarding, makes it even easier. You’re likely to have fewer miscommunications between your in-house team and freelancers. 

Along with having the right communication tools, explaining who your freelancer workforce’s main stakeholders and points of contact are throughout a project’s lifecycle can mean they’re able to focus on the work that matters to your business, and will even enjoy it more. You’ll also likely see projects turned around faster if freelancers know who their main stakeholders are, as there’s little time spent waiting for critical emails to get answered, or process queries clarified. 

Having something as simple as a word document listing all stakeholders and their contact details as part of the onboarding process can mean a lot to your freelancers.

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Manage projects well

Defining the project scope, outcomes and milestones even before a new project starts, will decrease the amount of uncertainty and repeated work that might be done later. All because the project scope and deliverables clearly outlined! 

Something so seemingly straightforward also makes it easy for freelancers to complete the right work on time and within your budget — they know what’s expected of them, and when it should be delivered from day one. This also makes it easy for everyone to collaborate asynchronously and allows everyone involved to feel they’ve completed great work. Using one central system which stores files and manages workflows can save your team hours from having to complete admin tasks, chase documents, and other people. 

There are a number of tools available to manage the projects your team of freelancers works on. A good place to start is the Project Management Institute, which provides training and events, along with project management tools. Plus, it means your freelancers don’t have to spend a lot of time making sure they have all the information needed to do their work, and can get right to the stuff that’s important to your business.

Use a freelance management tool

The number of people who might interact with a freelancer within your company, from HR and legal for contracts, to IT for access to tools, and finance for payments (not even mentioning the headaches of payment errors — we’re all human), takes a lot of time and coordination from your employees.

With a freelance management tool, you’ll be able to manage contracts, onboarding, task management, time tracking, and invoice payments, all in one place. But it can be difficult to choose the best freelance management tool for your company. A good starting point to understand what you need a freelance management tool for, is by mapping the current touchpoints a new freelancer has within your business as they go through their onboarding. Then, ask for their feedback on what went well, and what could have been improved.

With a tool like Lano, their customer success team makes sure you’re able to get the most out of the platform — whether it’s error-free payments, compliance and easy onboarding, project and budget management, or achieving operational excellence.