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Customer’s Tip of the Day: How to Make the Management of Your Freelance Staff More Efficient

Published by Anne  |  Tuesday, 13 November, 2012
Working with freelancers may seem challenging from time to time, as keeping them synced with your team isn’t always an easy thing to do. Since freelancers have a floating schedule, often work remotely and deal with separate tasks, rather than the whole project, they can easily fall out of the loop. However, one of our customers efficiently manages the work of 8 freelancers at the same time. Interested to know how? Take a sneak peek with us into their way of successfully organizing the team work.


 
Customer’s background

FreestyleXtreme is a Bristol-based web shop that specializes in accessories, apparel and sports equipment for almost all forms of extreme sports. Recently, the team has been focused on getting into new territories and, therefore, had to work with a number of freelance translators to localize their website in different European languages.


Customer’s tip:

“Wages are the biggest expense in our company, so it’s critical for us to find the most optimal way to manage the team’s workload, especially when it comes to the part-time workers,” shares Ben Robert Richardson, the founder of FreestyleXtreme.
He understands that if there are too many tasks assigned to freelancers, they may run out of time and miss critical deadlines. At the same time, if freelancers don’t get enough of work, the company’s efficiency will suffer.

To take most of their time, FreestyleXtreme’s team has come up with several guidelines that make it easier to synchronize their workload. Here’s what helps them make freelancers the same part of the team as full-time workers.
 

Dedicate a fair amount of time to the onboarding process

According to FreestyleXtreme team, the best way to familiarize people with a new system is to let them take their time with it. On the first workday, the team lets the new person spend the time he or she needs to get familiar with the new tool. The team members explain the benefits of Wrike and the way it works. Then the newcomers usually get some time to figure out how the system works on their own.
 

Share your company’s vision with freelancers

Another important part of the onboarding process is to make part-time translators enthusiastic about what they do. Team members explain to the freelance translators that they are now the company’s voice in the new countries and that their work is valuable for the company. As a result, motivated workers take more responsibility for their assignments.
 

Let the freelancers know about your goals in advance

Scrum methodology helps a lot in planning for the FreestyleXtreme’s team. They run regular monthly meetings and set major deadlines several weeks in advance. This ensures that part-timers will have enough time to complete important tasks marked on their work schedule. Then each week, the head of each department checks up on the progress to make sure there are no stumbling blocks on the way.
 

Assign a team member to be a point of contact for your part-timers

There is one full-time member on FreestyleXtreme’s team who manages the workload of the freelance workers and acts as the central point of contact for the project updates. This helps to avoid conflicts and make sure important details don’t slip away.

 
Have regular progress check-ups

All freelancers in FreestyleXtreme have a five-minute morning meeting with the supervisor to go through their tasks for the day on Wrike. Manager looks through the project’s progress, clarifies the details, and adjusts Wrike schedules accordingly. Since freelancers normally work just 2 or 3 days per week, such approach makes sure everyone’s on the same page, even when part-time workers are out of the office.
 

Selective sharing helps vary the level of involvement

The easiest way to manage freelancers’ work is to put all tasks assigned to them in a separate folder in Wrike. With the selective sharing, you easily choose how much of the project data you want your freelancers to see. You can share only related tasks with each person, and at the same time, monitor the progress of all freelancers in the folder’s Activity Stream. If you feel like you want to involve part-time workers more in the project, you also can share other particular tasks or subfolders with any of them. For instance, you might share a subfolder with the project schedule.
 

Keep everything logged in

Last but not the least comes a simple rule of FreestyleXtreme’s team - no matter how small the task is, it should be always logged into Wrike project management tool! This way, nothing gets lost, even if it was backlogged months ago.
 

To learn more about FreestyleXtreme team’s workflow and managing the extreme sports equipment business, watch our podcast with Ben Robert Richardson!



 
Do you also apply any of these principles in your team’s work? Or do you organize your work with freelancers differently?



“Wrike has enabled us to effectively manage our team’s time and be more productive! All tasks are now transparent, so at any time I can see the progress along with any problems, and also learn how different members of our staff are handling their workload. We have now developed an ethos that, no matter how small a task is, it is put into Wrike, so nothing is overlooked or forgotten!”

Ben Robert Richardson, founder of FreestyleXtreme



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