When you run a small business, you often need help with various activities but don’t have the resources or need to bring on full- or part-time staff. That’s why hiring freelancers can be a great solution. With freelancers, you can outsource tasks on a regular or ad-hoc basis without making the commitment of an employer. But, don’t forget: You still need to act as a manager!

If you are currently working with freelancers or plan to, it’s critical that you manage them efficiently, especially if they work remotely. Otherwise, you can run into issues when it comes to communication, workflow, deadlines and more.

Luckily there are several tools and tips that can help you manage freelancers so that everyone stays on the same page and delivers the expected results.

Setup Tools to Manage Remote Teams

If you’re managing freelancers remotely, you need a project management tool that centralizes all aspects of management, communication and reporting. Luckily, there are a variety of project management tools that offer different features and price points based on your needs.

These tools can come in the form of project management, task management, collaboration or time-tracking. No matter what type of tool you decide to use, it will record valuable data, like how long it takes freelancers to complete tasks, the time it takes to fix unexpected road bumps, and how much time you dedicated to planning. You would be surprised how much time it takes to complete what may seem like quick, mundane tasks in preplanning. Having a tool to track your progress will allow for evaluation after the project is over to reveal ways in which to improve and be better and faster on the next project.

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Courtesy of Hocu.bafreelancer

Hub Your Communication

Clear communication is essential to any team no matter the size or if it’s remote or on-site. Many of the tools mentioned above have communication features that make sharing, presenting, and brainstorming with other team members a cinch!

Make sure to make the most of these real-time communication features like video conferencing, instant messaging, and document sharing and collaboration. With the right tool, you can host weekly meetings via video conference and keep communication flowing as a project progresses.

Communication tools can also help build team camaraderie and unity, which improves productivity and overall team happiness!  

Track and Organize Your Progress

It can be frustrating having no idea how far along your freelancers are in their tasks. Features like interactive Gantt Charts, timesheets and calendar views let you see how far along they are in their task and how much they have left to do. When your freelancers are aware of everyone’s progress, including their own, it helps create a stronger sense of ownership over assigned tasks. Seeing the full picture of the project’s progress can motivate freelancers to stay in sync with other’s progress and not fall behind their team members.  It also helps you identify which parts of the project are flowing well and where the bottlenecks arise.

The Takeaway

You only need to invest a bit of time and money in order to put these tips into action. With so many project management tools to choose from, you are bound to find the right solution for your needs and budget. And, at the end of the day, your ROI will benefit. Having a system to manage your freelancers will produce faster and better results. It’ll also strengthen your relationship with freelancers and help them better enjoy their experience working with your business.

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Alex Brown writes about online project management software, collaboration tools, PM best practices, and other tech trends at ProjectManager.com.

Written by Alex Brown