This year, the working world has learned that there is no one right way to work. Any given day, people work from home, an office, an Airbnb, or somewhere else. Working hours also vary across full-time, part-time, and independent contractors. A contract employee is someone hired by a company for a set time period and pay rate. Their employer only controls the result of the work, not when, where, and how it’ll be done. Contractors are also known as contract employees or freelancers.
The renaissance of contract employment
Contract work appeals to folks who want more flexibility than traditional employment typically provides. And in the past two years, more people than ever want flexible work. 36% of the workforce performed freelance work in the past year, and more than a third of them have switched to freelance permanently. So it’s no surprise that this year’s workforce contains the highest percentage of freelancers in history. So chances are, your company currently employs at least a few independent contractors. You likely have strategies in place to promote employee engagement and productivity. Those same tactics won’t necessarily apply to your freelance workers. In this post, we’ll break down the top challenges involved with employing freelancers and tips on how to prevent them.
Tip #1: Align on contract expectations
Typically, contract workers specify exactly what their rate entails. They might have another gig, so they’re only available on certain days of the week. They may also have restrictions around commute distance. Or maybe they prefer remote work only. Before you make a decision on hiring a contractor, carefully review the contract details and be sure you are aligned with the terms. It’s your responsibility to respect their boundaries. That often means being flexible with their schedule. The hybrid work policy your company has established for full-time employees might not make sense for freelancers. So be sure to clearly communicate your company’s policies during the interview stage so you both can make sure it’s the right fit.
Tip #2: Invite contractors into the workplace culture
Freelancers are typically self-reliant. However, that doesn’t mean they should work in silos. Instead, introduce new contractors to the teams they’ll work closely with. Ideally, schedule these meetings face-to-face in the workplace. This helps establish a connection to not only the functional team but also your company and brand. You can also provide impactful context to the tasks you assign your contract employees. When your contractors feel more connected to their team and the company’s mission, then their projects have more meaning. And they will likely produce higher quality work. You should also equip contractors with at least one reliable point of contact to help them find any resources they need to complete their tasks.
Tip #3: Help contractors easily navigate the workplace
Sometimes contractors have to come on-site for onboarding, brainstorming sessions, or other situations that call for in-person interaction. When visiting the workplace, contractors should not feel like total strangers. So make sure the front desk expects them when they arrive. Consider sending helpful information ahead of time, like directions or a map of the workplace. Maybe even designate a host to greet them and show them around. A visitor management system like Envoy lets you design sign-in flows specifically for contract workers. Automatically send pre-visit details, including any required steps (such as vaccine card verification or lunch ordering). And with instant host notifications, teams will know as soon as their contractors arrive on-site.-There’s a lot you can do to set your independent contractors up for success. Use these tips as a starting point to build your foundation for driving contractor excellence. And most importantly, make your contract workers feel welcomed and valued. If your contractors enjoy their work, you’re more likely to enjoy the results. And you can build a working relationship that will benefit both of you for years to come.