I am sure that you must have observed the recent shift in the workforce perspective when it comes to working in a cubicle. A workplace is no different; it’s also evolving and adapting to the needs of employees.
By leveraging technology and collaborative tools, companies are shifting from traditional 9-5 job to a remote working setup. And it seems like a good option too. This option makes it simpler for employees to maintain a healthy balance between their work and personal life, thus reducing all the trouble and mental stress.
In today’s world, people value flexibility in work, and freelancing is the best option for that. And for employers, it provides a broader talent pool at a more affordable cost, also evading complexities associated with keeping everyone on-site.
But is this transition that simple? Is it just like you wake up one day and decide that you are going to turn the rock and go freelance with your company? It’s not that easy; Remote teams have blockades different from those observed in traditional on-site teams.
Read here – Freelancers vs. In-house Team
For starters, radical trust and good communication are crucial between employees and employers who don’t see each other regularly. Now, this might not sound like a big problem; all you need to do is communicate, right? Well, this might come as a surprise to say that not everyone is capable of having effective communication with one another, and this is also one of the primary reasons why remote teams fail.
Now, this is perplexing; you must be thinking that in the beginning we talked about how many companies are transitioning from 9-5 job to a more remote setting, and now we are talking about the issues working with a freelance team…
Well, I am sure that you want to grow as a company and ride the remote work train but worried about the complexities that it proposes. What to do now? The answer is simple – build a Managed remote team.
Freelance Team vs. Managed Freelance Team
What does it mean to have a managed freelance team?
Well, there isn’t much difference between a freelance team and a managed freelance team. In both the cases team members share information, collaborate, and offer assistance to each other – the job is the same. But the reason that makes a managed freelance team one up the traditional remote team is an additional layer of management.
Freelance does pose some challenges in unexpected ways; however, having someone to ensure that you set KPIs for the work and build accountability within the process can be helpful.
Significant areas where a managed freelance team outshines the traditional freelance team –
Leadership is one of the critical areas to determine the success of a freelance team. Appointing a team leader who is responsible for managing and ensuring that they meet their performance objectives without affecting the timeline and quality of the deliverables.
In case of a traditional remote team where there is no additional management layer, all the heavy lifting has to be done by the startup owner. As a startup owner, you already have so much on your plate that you don’t have time to babysit a remote team which ultimately lags behind.
2.Set Clear Goals or Priorities Among Team Members
With a managed freelance team, you can set clear goals and priorities for the team members. With each and everyone in a different timezone working on a flexible schedule, things can get confusing and two people might start working on the same thing. Setting tasks and goals for each team member with individual priorities helps them understand what tasks they need to complete.
3.Initiating Engagement and Cooperation
If you have ever talked to a freelancer, you must have heard them saying that they can’t engage with other members of the team. By placing a Success Manager as a middle layer, the engagement between team members and the employer can be made simpler.
Success Manager should regularly assess the team by asking the following questions:
– Are all the members contributing to conversations and projects?
– Are they attending and actively participating in team meetings?
– Are the team members motivated to take on new work or are they feeling overwhelmed?
– Are people working well together or is there any constant and unproductive team conflict?
Organizations that work with a managed freelance team have substantially better odds for success than those who start their team on a whim.
The Process to Build a Managed Freelance Team
Now that you are aware of the benefits of having a managed freelance team over the traditional remote team. The next question that must have popped up in your mind would be how to build a managed remote team and What’s the process?
Going Remote? Is it the best option for your company?
How many times have you heard companies saying that you need to get in a room and sit face-to-face and brainstorm ideas to be successful?
Well, I think that it’s not true at all, ask Buffer, GitLab, Zapier, and Basecamp. These are some fully remote companies that let you work from anywhere.
Setting up and running a freelance team requires some serious planning and commitment. Especially if you are transitioning from the traditional way to a remote setting, it will completely reshape your organization’s culture.
Before you jump the gun and decide to go completely remote, here are a few things you should ask yourself –
1. Is there a compelling reason why your team needs to be in the same cubicle every day?
2. How to bifurcate tasks that you can work on from home and for that you need to be on site?
3. Which tools and services will you require if you decide to go remote?
4. How to use your team’s varying schedules and locations to offer better services and solutions?
Working with a freelance team is not for everyone, but under the right conditions and an additional management layer, a virtual team can be capable of running itself.
Developing Your Personal A-Team
Now that you are determined to go with a remote team, it’s time to start focusing on some specifics regarding your hiring processes. When building your A-Team, you need to consider the skills and abilities you require in your remote employees. It’s crucial to test out a potential employee before getting them too involved in your business. The best way to do so is by assigning a test task and observing their progress as they complete it.
The process of developing a competent team starts with finding qualified remote employees (obviously). So start looking for those remote workers who will make your organization shine like a halo. According to a survey, most people prefer working with remote employees who are referred to them. If you don’t know anyone who can refer to you a few remote workers or you don’t like the ones referred for some reason, the next place to look for would be the freelance platforms. Trust me and you will find some experienced and skilled professionals, for sure. There are several freelancing platforms available that it’s almost difficult to choose from. Every freelancing platform offers a unique feature of its own such as Secure Money Protection, Pre-defined Job Posting Template, etc. Here is a list of the top unconventional freelance platforms that bring something unique to the market.
Once you are registered to a freelance platform, you are all set to begin your search for those dark horses. The first step is to post a job where remote workers can apply. It seems like a straightforward job, but there are specific rules which you should stick to. Don’t post the specs of your entire project because there are people who scan sites daily looking for projects to steal. Instead, focus on publishing a general description of what you want to build using the required coding languages.
After you have posted a job requirement, you are destined to receive the spam requests. The real challenge begins now; you have to weed through all the requests you receive. Naturally, you will receive a lot of useless applications as well, to analyze those and select a few worthy candidates.
You can create a list of basic skills that are required in remote workers to work efficiently. These skills could include things such as –
3.Flexible Management Style
You should build comprehensive interview points to test out the skills, experience, and expertise of an individual. You can include questions that help you better learn the perspective of the interviewee and understand the motivations for getting a freelancing job.
Best Interview Questions for Freelancer
1. Why do you do freelancing? – It can give you some insights into what the person is looking to gain by not having a traditional office job. This can be helpful to bring out the inner thoughts of an individual and understand them better.
2. Can you self-manage yourself? – Now, most of the times individuals choose to work remotely because it provides them with the flexibility that can’t be achieved in the traditional 9-5 job. There might be a situation where the employee has to work on the edge, so it is vital to know whether a remote worker is capable of managing it or not.
3. How would you rate yourself when it comes to communication? – The whole team’s efficiency depends on proactive communication. And since everyone in the team will be working from different locations and using technology to rely on all sorts of conversation, it is imperative to have excellent communication skills.
4. Why do you want to work with our company? – This is the most common question in an interview. This helps the interviewer grasp how much an individual is invested in your company.
Since hiring freelancers is different from hiring traditional employees, you need to tweak your approach a little. Here are some tips to help you through the process.
1.Conduct a live discussion
No matter if you are interviewing a traditional employee or a remote employee, it’s in your best interest to have a live discussion. The body language of the interviewee can answer some basic questions like is that person really interested in the job? You can also get an idea of how an individual will behave and act in a stressful situation.
2.Have a trial by combat (Test their expertise)
Most of the time interviewees tend to hide things during the interview about their specific skills that turn out to be different later on. This might affect your entire project. It’s good to assign a test and ask them to complete it in a given timeline.
Also, there might be the case where you are confused between two individuals and can’t decide who to choose. You can assign the same task to both and then compare who did a better job at completing it.
How to Successfully Manage Freelance Team
Now that you have assembled your A-Team I am sure you are eager to start working with them. As a leader in your organization, you need to be willing, able and excited to take the responsibility of moving projects and tasks forward to meet deadlines. This is a massive part of virtual team management, and it’s what separates you from the rest of the organization.
Few tips that can make it easy for you to manage your freelance team –
1.Managing Tasks and Setting Priorities
When assigning tasks to the team members to make sure you keep the number of tasks limited. An ideal number of the task would be around 2-3 at a time. If you assign too many tasks, it will create confusion and room for error.
Defining clear priorities is essential. You should be able to pinpoint important projects to work on and the most important tasks
within a project.
2. Embrace Technology
Remote work revolves around using technology. Technology is the glue that holds remote workers and the organization together. Technology plays a vital role in setting up your remote team correctly. Key areas where you can leverage technology to make sure that you succeed are Communication and Monitoring.
There are multiple tools available that can help you set up an effective communication and monitoring system.
3. Build a culture
Building a culture is really important. Since everyone in your team is miles apart from each other, you need to find ways to compensate for the fact that you are not bumping into each other.
Making your remote team feel a part of something big is really important. You can arrange yearly trips where all of the team members come together. On birthdays and special occasions, you can gift your team members. This will help you solidify the bond between team members as well as with you.
4.Create Documentation and Processes
Blueprinting the task really helps. You can create templates, plans and process to streamline everything. With a proper process in place, in case of emergencies, anyone can take a look at the process and come up with solutions.
Also, when you set a process, it tells your employees the “Why” behind any task. It is going to be a tough task at the beginning but as time passes and once a repetitive task is blueprinted, it’s done forever. It’s an effective way of scaling your business.
How RemotePanda Operates
What makes Remotepanda different
RemotePanda is a marketplace to hire remote workers. What really sets RemotePanda apart from the other platform is that RemotePanda offers that additional layer of management which is required to ensure the success of any project.
RemotePanda exists because of the rise of CXO’s who want the benefits of working with the remote team but also don’t want to waste their valuable time and energy into managing them.
RemotePanda has developed a marketplace with unique features that are like a concierge service to outsourcing, and where a successful manager is assigned that helps throughout the journey from matchmaking, setting of the process, building the KPIs and reporting.
RemotePanda follows a very streamlined process. As soon as a client shoots an inquiry regarding a project, the team at RemotePanda go through all the resources and select the top 4-5 profiles of the people that fit the client’s requirements. The client can also go through all the resources on the website and pick the one which suits him. The team at RemotePanda is determined to make the process of finding the right remote resource as simple as possible. After the remote resources are shortlisted, interviews are scheduled a successful manager is assigned to the client. The success manager acts as a medium between the client and the remote employee. Success manager aids and function as your personal assistant that is invented to assist you in achieving the specific goal which involves your hired resource. This assistance will entail; help from the time of hire all the way through receiving your deliverables. In essence, it functions as your team member.
Building a managed remote team is not an easy task. There are multiple pieces of the puzzle which need to be collected and assembled in order to see a bigger picture. You need to focus on things that seem like some small stones on the side of the road and if overlooked, these small stones can turn into a big rock blocking your road to success.
Eager to give remote work a try?
We’re always happy to spill “insider” secrets on what makes for a happy, effective telecommuting team. Drop us a line anytime and let us know what questions you have about the wonderful world of remote work!