WHY CONTRACTS ARE KING WHEN WORKING WITH FREELANCERS

When lockdown began, working from home seemed like a novelty to many full time employees who were used to working in offices. Long commutes were suddenly replaced with dreamy sleep-ins and stiff office attire with comfy PJ’s. However, the novelty of this new reality was short lived by many of these employees.

I only had to hop on Zoom calls with family and friends to notice this. A few weeks into lockdown, weary faces began to stare back at me through my laptop screen.

Some friends despaired at the fact that their usual six o’clock sign off times suddenly seemed non existent, while others complained about having to work on weekends in order to stay on top of their growing workloads.

Companies seemed to be turning a blind eye as high stress levels and burnout became commonplace among their full time staff.

Why am I highlighting the plight of full time employees on a website that facilitates freelancers?

Because lots of companies (many of whom had never worked with freelancers before) have started hiring freelancers over the last few months to plug skill gaps, produce content and provide expertise on a range of projects. 

As highlighted above, companies are still learning how to manage employees who are working remotely, and will face similar challenges when working with freelancers.

 

Person signing a contract

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can a company ensure that they establish and maintain a mutually beneficial yet respectful and healthy relationship with a freelancer?

Firstly, agree on a contract before any work starts. 

It’s simple. Draw up a contract and send it to the freelancer. Include the full job description, rates, terms etc. Liaise with the freelancer in question to see what days/times suit them best to be contacted, and include this information in the contract too. 

What’s next? Ensure that your freelancer is satisfied with the contract (get this confirmation in writing over an email) before they begin ANY work. 

What else should you include in freelance contracts?

There may be some things that you feel would add to or improve a freelancers experience with your company. If you have fun chat groups for staff on business communication platforms like Slack or if you have company wide virtual activities to help staff wind down every Friday, I’d recommend you include these details in a Welcome Pack or Doc accompanying the contract. 

Finally, it’s really important to remember that most freelancers work with other clients aside from your company. 

Therefore, it’s crucial that you don’t contact freelancers outside of the hours agreed in the contract. They manage their time well to ensure that they can work effectively on all their clients projects.

Persistently contacting them outside of their available hours will leave them with a bad taste in their mouths, which may inadvertently affect the quality of the work they produce for you.

While you might be in the habit of micromanaging your employees and contacting them at all hours, know that a freelancer won’t hang around too long if you treat them in the same manner. 

A well written contract will allow you and your freelancer to set appropriate boundaries from the outset, which will do wonders for your working relationship.  

 

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