Originally published at: http://www.sitepoint.com/communicating-effectively-freelancers/
Working with freelancers isn’t much different from working with in-house employees but it does have its differences. Lack of communication is a frequent problem that I’m sure you’ve had ruin a project or two.
If you want to get the work done, you need to make sure that both you and your freelance workforce are on the same page. Here are some communication fundamentals to make it easier to work effectively with freelancers.
1. Develop Communication Rules
If you have been working with a particular freelancer for some time, you more or less have an idea about their communication skills and habits. However, if you’re working with somebody new, you can save yourself lots of problems if you develop some communication rules.
State your availability. Nobody expects you to be available 24/7 but if you haven’t set any expectations then you’ll run into trouble.
This is why it’s best to agree on hours when you both will be available online/on the phone. This way both of you know when the other party is available.
Time difference is something important to take into account. For instance, I am in Europe, while most of my clients are in the States. Most my clients know I am available in the morning their time, while for me, depending on which state they are, they are available in the afternoon/evening.
Before that there had been a few cases of “Why don’t you answer my calls/emails?!?!?! I’ve been waiting!” because when clients don’t know I am in Europe, not in California, they presume I am available during their business hours.
You also need to agree on acceptable delay in answering emails – i.e. 12 hours, 24 hours, etc. In the example above I simply explained to the clients that I can’t answer immediately even if I am not sleeping at the moment. Fortunately, no lives were lost due to my delay but I do agree it’s unpleasant when you sit by the phone/computer waiting for an answer.Continue reading this article on SitePoint