Hiring a Freelancer or Remote Employee? Let’s Talk about What NOT to Do

I’ve worked from home (I own my business…I am not an employee) since 2014. Some of my clients find me on Upwork. Some have found me on Twitter. Some come through referral from other clients who met me through various ways. I know that for many of you, hiring a freelancer or remote employee is new territory. I want you and your new professional to be happy. So, let’s talk about what not to do.

There’s an article published on Slate that fully expresses many things that work from home professionals do not like, such as being insulted. While every situation is different when it comes to work from home scenarios, there is one cardinal rule: you need to do your homework when making a decision on who you want to hire and once you hire them, treat them like an adult.

As a seasoned professional, here are the things you should not do if you expect to work with someone like me:

Do NOT Talk Down to Anyone

I don’t care what credentials you have, what you pay or paid, or anything about else. You’re paying me to do something specific which means you actually need me more than I need you. And while you may think that the opposite is true for freelancers or employees, you’ll spend a lot more time trying to replace a freelancer or employee with another person who can do the job and put up with your BS than what we will spend replacing you with a reasonable replacement.

Do NOT Insist on Knowing What Is Happening 24/7

Even if you are an employer and you hire an employee, you’re only entitled to certain hours of the day. And if you hire a freelancer or independent contractor, you should already be on the same page about the hours that your person will be available for updates and questions. You should also be on the same page for deadlines. So, stay in your lane. This is especially true if you hire employees who have set hours. Unless they are on-call, leave them alone during their off hours. Contractors like me have no problem ignoring your email, text, or phone call until business hours.

Fun fact: freelancers and independent contractors may be counted as your employees by the IRS if you’re giving them too many rules to follow. So, if you want to avoid certain taxes and such, again, stay in your lane.

No Micromanaging, Period

When you micromanage it says more about your inability to communicate your initial needs than it does about the employee or the freelancer. It also says volumes about your poor leadership skills. It also screams that you’re unsure about your own decision-making abilities because you’re questioning the team you chose. Set the guidelines and let go. Follow-up at reasonable intervals…and three times a day or even once a day is often not reasonable…unless you’re working with a virtual assistant or something like that.

Ditch the Virtual Meetings

You do not need all of the virtual meetings. They are time wasters. They eat up valuable productivity. You’re likely insisting that people attend who don’t need to be there. They’re likely too long…and you’re probably not even following an agenda or staying on task. Zoom fatigue is real.

I refuse most virtual meetings. The few I accept I will not stay in if I can tell that they are going off course.

Do NOT Seek Perfection

If you’re new to working from home or hiring remotely, you may also be dealing with a situation where remote work is new for the other person. Allow for grace. Change some of your expectations. Working from home is often glamorized. It is never as perfect as what people want it to be or think it will be.

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