Now that remote work has become commonplace, you’re more likely to enjoy the chance to control your working hours. This lets you manage your time and effort over the entire day; it affords you better work-life balance.
Yet sometimes, you feel burned out. Employers might have you handle too much work. Or your collaboration with teammates might not be going too smoothly. Our circumstances change constantly; that’s why smart homeowners look for mortgage refinancing, or employees take on a side hustle.
Working from home might have been an ideal situation to begin with. But if you’re getting overwhelmed, it might be time to take action. One option you might have considered is outsourcing to the freelance market. Is it possible to hire freelancers to do your remote work? What are the ethical questions involved?
Disclosure is all-important
Remote working arrangements are something that most of us, employers and workers alike, are still figuring out on the fly. Although we anticipated some two-way benefits, such as cost savings and better flexibility, many issues with remote work have only revealed themselves over the months of hands-on experience.
This makes it imperative to talk to your employer about considering freelancers as a solution to your workload. First, they are paying you, not anyone else, to get the job done. There’s an implicit level of trust in that relationship. They are familiar with your output and ability to meet the expected standards and deadlines.
Second, if there’s any challenge that should arise, involving your boss is the professional thing to do. Understandably, your difficulties are your foremost concern, but they have to take the big picture view. It’s their job to make sure that you can do yours. Helping to resolve your performance issues will improve the business and give them insight into how to make remote work better for the whole team.
Finally, your employer might have other, better options available to address the matter. They might be aware that other employees have the bandwidth and skills necessary to share the load with you. Unreasonable deadlines can be adjusted. You can even be given unexpected time off or a reduced workload moving forward.
Assuming that your employer is on board with exploring the freelance option, you’ll have to acquaint yourself with the challenges involved. What’s the extent of your involvement in the hiring process? You might only need to draw up the specs of the job, but you might also have to play the part of the hiring manager.
If it’s more of the latter, you’ll be facing a significant handicap in this area. You probably won’t be able to meet individuals in person. That limitation on effective communication will be in place from the get-go. You’ll have to find ways to look past the resume.
How do you analyze a freelancer’s portfolio? You’ll have to align the sort of work you’re looking to outsource with similar projects they’ve accomplished in the past. And if you can’t find a perfect match, you have to be prepared to compromise. What aspects of the job do you find the most time-consuming, tedious, or painful? Relinquishing those first will free up more of your time and energy to focus on what remains.
Going further, you can do a background check once you’ve narrowed down the field to a few candidates. Inquire with their clients; check out their posts on social media. You can also schedule a meeting to ask them some questions and assess their suitability for the job.
Holding freelancers accountable
Even if background research and the initial interview leave you with a favorable impression of a freelancer’s reliability, you need to draw up a formal contract. You can’t leave anything to chance.
What happens if they don’t meet the specified deadlines or quality requirements? You’ll end up shouldering the work anyway, only with more pressure and less time to deliver. The whole company could suffer as a result.
A good contract isn’t the only way to ensure that freelancers are accountable for their end of the bargain. But it sets the tone for a professional business relationship. It makes the scope and expectations of the job clear to all parties. On the freelancer’s end, it also puts to bed any uncertainties over their deliverables and how they are going to get paid.
Besides the contract, you might want to try additional tools like Hubstaff to track the productivity of your chosen freelancer. After all, the effectiveness of remote work is largely based on trust. And until you have that trust, it’s best to verify that the job you outsourced is getting done.