Working with Remote Staffers

Posted by C.Martin on February 17, 2009

For those of you new to Paladin, or who have never hired a Paladin staffer or worked with a freelancer or consultant, I’m here to provide some tips for you on how to work with your new part-time, remote staff.

1)    Establish a method or approach for communication between you and the staffer.  Working remotely is very doable today but both client and staff must work at communication because we cant just ‘pop in’ to ask you a question, or vice versa.

2)    I recommend using some of the newer social media tools to stay in touch, from AOL instant messenger, to Facebook Chat or Gmail Chat, as good methods to provide a virtual ‘open door’ policy.

3)    Clearly define roles/duties/objectives.  Again, because we aren’t working together, it’s important to be clear about what it is you expect from your staffer.

4)    We don’t know your culture so by all means be a tour guide.  Just as you would take an out of town friend or relative around town to see the sites, tell us about the important people and their personalities and talk to us about your values and what’s important to you.  Because we are new and working remotely with you, its not likely we are going to get to know your culture or your boss’ idiosyncrasies.  So, by all means, be the guide to the cultural tour of your work place.  Tell us about the unique customs you have, birthday practices, staff meeting rituals and other quirks that make your workplace fun/taxing/burdensome/exasperating.

5)    We know you’re paying us by the hour but don’t shy away from including us in important meetings or sharing office developments.  I once had a client who never copied me on emails to staff or shared board reports because she had a tight budget and thought I would bill her to read emails and memos.

6)    Which brings me to the last tip:  have an early and open conversation about your budget.  In this economic climate, most reasonable freelancers are willing to work within your budget but we have to know what it is.  If you give us a ballpark budget figure, we’ll make sure we help you stick to it and make you look good!

Looking forward to your comments and tips, too!

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