As more and more companies move towards a more “remote” workforce, the need for adapting becomes greater. Managing a team of remote workers means keeping up with different projects, deadlines, and timezones, and scattered work all around.
This may sound overwhelming for some, but the fact is – more and more companies are developing tools that are made specifically to make managing remote workers a breeze.
Freelancers need to be managed wisely, and by that we mean they need efficient communication, time tracking, project management and more. The software available now can easily help you manage multiple projects with multiple freelancers at the same time without a major hassle.
Here are some tools you can use to communicate, manage, and collaborate with freelancers effectively.
If you don’t have a dedicated communication channel, then it probably means that you’re currently going through hundreds of emails, text messages, phone calls and documents to be able to share information with everyone. With a communication tool, you will have all the conversations in one place.
Slack is one of the most popular and premier tools when it comes to collaboration and collaborative management.
It allows all teams to work together by having different “channels” for group discussions. For example, let’s say there are three projects going on right now. Instead of talking about all those three projects in one place, there would be a dedicated channel to each project where you and the freelancer can share ideas/deadlines/milestones and more.
Another useful feature is the existence of automated notifications (either sending or receiving them). So this means you can easily add milestones, add new tasks, send notifications, arrange meetings, and assign different projects while tracking the progress.
You can also have private conversations and voice and video calling. Slack also allows you to search within uploaded documents and customize your workspace.
The app has become quite popular, so it’s better to start using it now. It also integrates with some major other project and time management apps like Google Drive, Trello and Asana (which will be talked about later). A significant advantage as well is that many people know how to use it, so the probability of hiring a freelancer who already knows how to use it is pretty high.
Google Hangouts is not the best option when it comes to chatting, but it is an excellent option if you want to make a call.
It is already integrated with a Google account so that you can set it up in seconds and you can very easily talk to up to 10 people on a call. Of course, this also means that using Google Hangouts requires a Google account. In return, you can use the software for free. Moreover, it allows you to instantly chat with up to 100 people at the same time.
Skype is perfect for conducting meetings.
You can add up to 25 people to a video or audio call, you can share your screen and you can easily share files with a size of up to 300MB. Moreover, it’s free of charge.
The only problem with Skype is the fact that it is often associated with scams. A lot of freelancers are advised not to take their conversations to Skype because they have no protection. However, if you have established a connection with your new hires, then it’s definitely a quick, easy, no-frills tool to use. In fact, it’s the simplest out of all, but not the most helpful in terms of project management.
A file sharing tool is essential when working with freelancers. It allows you to have all project related documents in one place.
Very few file sharing options can compete with Dropbox. In fact, 96% of Fortune 500 companies are avid users of the app – and for a good reason. This popular cloud-storage app acts as a file-sharing program as well and is extremely useful for your company and for managing freelancers.
You will be able to easily give new freelancers access to whatever files you want without having to send, upload or download anything manually. This allows the sharing of large data quickly and easily and you can even invite people who don’t have a Dropbox account to view and download files.
You can access files from anywhere thanks to their app. Some more features include shared-link passwords, sending file requests, integrated apps like Microsoft Office Online, and much more.
Google Drive is another popular alternative to Dropbox because it works perfectly with your Google account and you have full integration with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
It comes with a free storage space (15GB), you can sync your online files, and you can create and collaborate with others in real-time.
You can backup all of your information, convert PDF to text, and share all needed documents with freelancers.
WeTransfer is designed for sending and receiving large files.
It is only built for file sharing and does not allow any collaborations.
It’s straightforward to use, and you don’t even need to sign up. All you need to do is click the blue plus sign, add files, add up to 20 email recipient addresses and you’re done!
Working together on the same document, adding comments and asking and answering questions in one place; content collaboration tools are a dream come true for remote workers.
Google Docs is one of the most useful document collaboration apps when it comes to customizing content with other people.
Multiple templates include everything from resumes to proposals to brochure designs. You will be able to write as many comments as possible, with edits, remarks and more and have an ongoing conversation (similar to a chat) right on the document. This will help when it comes to efficiency since you won’t need to take the discussion elsewhere.
It’s also great when it comes to sharing – you can send any document via email (to either one person or the whole team) and choose who gets to view it, download it or edit it.
You can also check the document’s history to see who changed what, who viewed it last and what edits have been going on. This will allow you to monitor the progress daily.
Microsoft Office Online gives you full free access to Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook and OneNote. You will also have free access to Onedrive, which is an online storage service similar to Google Drive.
The best thing about Word Online is that if a freelancer doesn’t have any of Microsoft Office’s products, they can access the software online for free and without any download.
Word Online also opens all types of MS Office files, allows file sharing with anyone, multiple people can work on the same document, there are free templates available, and it saves your work automatically. In summary, it is quite similar to Google Docs.
The only difference is the fact that you can’t save files in their original format. Also, Google Docs works offline, while Word Online does not and always requires an internet connection.
Taken directly from their website: “Nuclino is the easiest way to organize and share knowledge in teams. Create real-time collaborative documents and connect them instantly like a wiki” .
Nuclino is one way to be able to organize and share content with your team of freelancers. Multiple freelancers can work on the same document, and you can connect people up to the document very easily.
What makes Nuclino special is the existence of graphs and trees that allow you to organize all your thoughts and ideas visually as well, so it’s the best tool to use for meetings, brainstorming sessions or brand values.
Another exciting feature is the visual representation of all of the team’s knowledge in one place. They are also integrated with Slack, Google G Suite, Draw.io and a lot more.
More features include instant search, checklists, mentions, drag and drop, data visualizations, hierarchical tagging and importing/exporting data.
Planning capacity and resources for your projects is vital for the success of them. Resource Planning Tools will help you automate these tasks while saving you a lot of time.
Resource Guru is an incredible project management tool that enables you and your freelancers to work from anywhere but still stay up to date.
You will be able to see the availability of everyone on the team, see everyone’s calendars and schedules and assign tasks based on that information.
One of their most important features is the Drag and Drop Resource Scheduling where you get a colorful schedule that can be accessed by everyone to input project deadlines, milestones, bookings, meetings, and freelancer availability. The bookings can also be very easily changed using the drag and drop feature.
There is also the leave management system which allows you to approve or disapprove vacation times or days off based on the future workloads.
There are also custom fields where you can choose to see only the criteria you want to focus on. Looking for someone who’s specifically free on New Year’s Eve? Filter by date.
In our opinion, the most useful feature is the Reports feature where the app tracks which percentage of work is billable, which freelancers are taking the most time, which projects are consuming the most effort and so on.
(Source: Resource Guru)
Google Sheets is very easy to use and pretty much gives you all the features you’d find in any other spreadsheet program with the addition of sharing, real-time editing, online storage, and offline access to the files you’ve worked on online. All you need is a Google account and you’re good to go.
Google Sheets’ strength lies in its simplicity – the working screen is perfectly uncluttered and you can easily collaborate on a project with a freelancer, or monitor your freelancer’s progress.
If you want a tool that will help you make long-term plans for long-term freelancers on large projects, this is the tool to go for. Teamweek enables you to visualize all your tasks on a timeline by importing tasks from other tools like Slack, for example, and it makes project planning a breeze.
This will most definitely help you and your freelancers stay organized. There is a team calendar, you can drag and drop dates, and there is a comprehensive view of the project and where it stands in real time.
Project management tools help users to get their jobs done. By using them, you can for example track the progress of your project, create timelines and assign tasks.
Basecamp is a tool that puts all your project management in one place. Think to-do lists, message boards, cloud storage and more. It will keep all relevant information that is related to each project in one tool so you can easily manage multiple freelancers. Features include to-do lists, due dates and date ranges, describing projects in details, being able to assign different tasks to different freelancers, attaching files, having a calendar, and a discussion room.
Trello is one of the most renowned project management tools that we highly recommend. If you appreciate visuals or graphs, then you will appreciate everything this tool has to offer.
You will be able to easily share your ideas with the team and organize them visually in a Kanban board. There are team cards, boards, personal tasks, and a lot more. It’s mainly visual, so you will find yourself being able to track and manage a project smoothly and efficiently.
Any project is separated into different lists and checklists, that you can add comments on, upload attachments to and assign due dates as well.
Asana is sleek, and a great project management tool that organizes everything that might feel like it’s too much. If you suddenly find yourself being met with hundreds of tasks you need to assign, multiple freelancers and many projects then Asana will help in organizing everything and collaborating with others.
Keep track of day to day tasks, use Timeline to create a project timeline with deadlines, use the board to visualize where your project stands, read reports on work, share information with whoever you want, and monitor everything by viewing it all on the calendar.
Time tracking tools will help you to pay freelancers only for the time they actually worked on your project. You can also find out which processes in your company still have optimization potential.
Harvest is one of the most well-known brands when it comes to time management. The app is basic, simple and has timers that make starting and timing a project a hassle-free process. It’s straightforward to use, and it supports all types of option for you as a client. You can build a task, bill different rates to different tasks, put different individual tasks for different freelancers and much more. You can also integrate it with Trello, Asana, and Basecamp.
This is another excellent tool for both, you and the freelancer. There is a timer built in that tracks the freelancer’s work and will export timesheets, set different rates and has offline time tracking as well. You can color-code projects and divide your teams into different groups.
Hubstaff will also help your freelancer track their time from wherever they are using on-the-go timers. You can track time to individual tasks or individual projects or even individual freelancers.
Moreover, you can download spreadsheets and customizable time reports, set up automatic payroll and monitor the freelancer’s work through screenshots and activity levels.