Business owners who outsource need to make an effort to recognize remote freelancersto improve productivity. Most telecommute freelancers are happier working from home. However, the reality is that many of them also find that working from home can be stressful. Freelancers must prove that they work hard and are not taking advantage of the convenient work-life balance they can enjoy.
According to a Global Workplace Analytics article, “50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency.” The opportunity for people to work from home is common and offers financial benefits to business owners.
One of the top challenges of freelancers that work from home is the feeling of being isolated. Many feel a lack of support from management or that they do not have the necessary tools to succeed. This can impact work productivity, and as a result, the bottom line for a company.
The idea of managing remote freelancers may sound convenient. After all, you work from home and occasionally catch up with freelancers through online chats. It is easy for a company to neglect to recognize remote freelancers because of the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” This is inevitable if management does not have an engagement strategy implemented to recognize remote freelancers who deserve appreciation.
Have no fear. The tips below can help you make freelancers feel like shining stars in the most creative ways.
Questions to Ask Before You Begin Planning to Recognize Remote Freelancers
Keep the demographics and culture of freelancers in mind when implementing these ideas. It is essential to consider the norms that each lives by to discover how to properly recognize remote freelancers. The recognition programs used in the United States can differ to practices used in India and the Philippines, for example.
The age group of the freelancers is another point to consider. A Generation Z, millennial or baby boomer can each have different interests. The approach to recognize remote freelancers with age gaps will therefore be different as well.
One of the best ways to find out what freelancers prefer is to send a survey when a new hire starts working with the company. A section that focuses on what will create a feeling of value for exceeding expectations can be reviewed by you and anyone who helps you with hiring and managing freelancers.
Ways to Recognize Remote Freelancers
1. Thank You Notes
Surprise freelancers by sending e-cards or email thank you notes to recognize their accomplishments and hard work. You can easily create templates and personalize the message for each situation. Recognize remote freelancers on special occasions and to mark milestones in their personal and professional development. Here are some opportunities you can grab to recognize remote freelancers :
- Birthdays and holidays
- Promotions and educational achievements
- Improvements in performance at your company
We encourage you to follow this up with pointers like resume writing tips to support them with their career goals. Embrace your leadership role to show them that you want to help them in all areas of their development. This is highly motivating and will develop a loyalty to and appreciation for you as well.
2. Recognition from the Top Down
According to a Gallup Survey, 24 percent of people say that “the most memorable recognition comes most often from a “manager (28%), followed by a high-level leader or CEO (24%)”. I remember when I used to work for a reputable organization where the CEO walked around the office at least once a month to follow up on people’s progress and to start conversations with new hires. It made me feel valued that the CEO had the time to speak with freelancers.
A creative way to show top talent that they are valued at the organization is to ask the CEO to call or send a personal message to freelancers. It can be in the form of a filmed video or a hand-written card sent in the mail.
3. The Power of Monthly In-Person Meetings
According to a Harvard Business Review article, when remote freelancers “encountered common workplace challenges, 84% said the concern dragged on for a few days or more, while 47% admitted to letting it drag on for weeks or more.”
One of the best ways to avoid this from happening at your company is to recognize remote freelancers by setting monthly meetings. Discuss with freelancers how they feel about their work experience and any issues they are facing. Ask them about their personal lives, how they get along with other freelancers, and what their future aspirations are with your company. It is a good way to create a sense of belonging and collaboration.
4. A Virtual Bulletin Board
Recognize remote freelancers through a virtual board. Share funny images, videos and cartoons to build rapport with them. Invite them to post their own content. This will encourage creativity. Furthermore, if they are feeling stress, these items can relax them and help them to get back into gear. It will also help to improve interaction among freelancers who feel isolated while working from home.
5. Plan Annual Activities
Recognize remote freelancers by planning an annual event for everyone to meet in an informal setting. It can be a work retreat at a resort, a weekend at a golf club, a trip to a theme park or an event at the company headquarters. The in-person interaction can help to bring freelancers closer. As a result, it can improve productivity.
6. Share Accomplishments with the Company
The power of email in communicating good deeds is helpful. If you received a positive note from a happy customer for excellent services, recognize remote freelancers by sharing the comment and naming each person who contributed. When a freelancer has earned your trust and is given higher-level tasks, copy in executive members so they are aware and can pass on their congratulations as well. Welcome new freelancers to the entire organization in a group chat or email.
7. Casual Fridays
Some companies have a telecommuting culture of practicing one casual day a week. Freelancers can open chat conversations about pop culture, their favorite movie of the month, their iPod music list, or fun activities to do on the weekend.
A telecommute organization that works without a chance to wind down is not a productive one. Freelancers need a chance to get personal with colleagues. Management can also get involved to show that they are human beings, too, and have personal interests other than the goal of meeting metrics at work.
8. Volunteer Leaders to Manage
At one of the companies I worked with, when the manager needed time off or had to work on another assignment, a colleague with leadership skills was appointed to manage the group. This can help with career development for freelancers who are interested in roles as future managers or supervisors. It also instills confidence in freelancers when they know they can depend on a colleague without the pressure of a manager logged in real time.
Recognize Remote Freelancers Today
Remote freelancers need to know that they can be themselves, and that you recognize remote freelancers for their specific and unique achievements. The goal of recognition is to treat freelancers the way you want to be treated. How you communicate with people is a self-reflection of the company. Think on this as you search for ways to recognize remote freelancers who are doing projects for you right now.
It is also good to adopt this company culture that will inspire freelancers to begin recognizing their peers for good performance. Practice this at every level and watch freelancers create a positive dynamic of encouragement and collaboration.
When you interact with freelancers, remember that working from home can be more isolating than you think. Create a workplace culture that leverages social interactions to become closer with freelancers. Ask yourself how you would like to be treated in a new remote environment and use creative ways to connect with freelancers.
If you’ve had a bad remote hiring experience, think about whether recognition was the source of the problem. If you’re ready to give it another shot, sign up with FreeeUp and submit a freelancer request. FreeeUp is a fast-hire marketplace that gets you in touch with the top 1% of online freelancers.
Makeda Waterman is a professional writer with clips from CNBC Make It., Huffington Post, Glassdoor.com, Elite Daily, Fast Company, among others. She is passionate about helping people improve the quality of their career.