Managing Freelancers With Employee Productivity Monitoring

The freelance economy is on the rise, enjoying skyrocketing growth over the past few years as more workers embrace flexibility, independence, and a better work-life balance. 

In the three years between 2020 and 2023, the number of US freelancers jumped a staggering 90%. Now, over 60 million US professionals are full-time freelancers, and that number continues to grow. Researchers predict that freelancers will comprise over 50% of the US workforce by 2027.

Clearly, this isn’t just a passing trend - the freelance economy is here to stay. It’s causing significant disruption to the employment landscape, forcing organizations to rethink their hiring and management practices.

What Are The Benefits and Challenges of Hiring Freelancers?

Over 80% of US businesses are using freelancers to fill talent gaps in their organization, according to a survey from Fiverr Business, and 80% of those surveyed believe that outsourcing with independent talent can help them withstand economic shocks.

Employing freelancers can get companies through tough times, giving them the agility to implement cost-saving hiring freezes and reduce overheads. It also allows these organizations to draw from a wide talent pool, selecting the specialists they need, when they need them.

Freelancers offer many benefits beyond the financial ones. They see things from an outside perspective, and many are already seasoned professionals. While 53% are in the younger Gen Z demographic, as one may expect, 44% are millennials - a generation that now has significant work experience. Using freelancers is also a sound HR strategy since some can be converted to part or full-time staff with reduced training time once they start in their new role. 

But freelancing isn’t entirely a win-win. Many companies remain hesitant to transition to freelance teams, and it’s easy to see why. These professionals may have the right skills for the job, but they still don’t have the entrenched company knowledge that a hire would. Even regular freelancers won’t have the same kind of working relationship with managers as in-house employees. Without that familiarity, it can be difficult to build trust and communicate effectively. They may also be juggling too much. 

That may not be an issue on smaller tasks where you can simply dismiss your freelancer if they haven’t met their deliverables or have submitted poor-quality work. For larger projects and repeat work, however, managers have to build a network of reliable freelancers they can supervise effectively.

How to Manage and Monitor Your Freelancers

With the right tools in place, managing and understanding contributions from freelancers becomes much easier. If they’re expected to engage with internal team members then a chat interface is valuable, like Slack or MS Teams as examples. A project management solution can help ensure that relevant team members have access to project status at any given time, and that freelancers know where to provide their updates. 

An Employee Productivity Monitoring (EPM) solution like Prodoscore makes managing remote, hybrid and in-office teams and people simple. The software surfaces actionable insights around when people work throughout the day, who they collaborate with, what tools they use, and more. 

It gives freelancers autonomy and flexibility while providing the person managing him or her peace of mind that they are engaged in the work.

Unlike other EPM software, Prodoscore doesn’t gather information indiscriminately, putting freelancers' privacy at risk. Instead, it only measures the metrics that matter, pulled from your company’s business applications.

Prodoscore integrates with your tools like your CRM, project management platform, office suite and phone system to understand how workers use these applications. This information is used to surface critical trends over time and spot potential problems quickly.

The streamlined approach prevents essential data from getting stuck in silos and creates transparency across teams. You’ll have visibility into what business applications your freelancers use, how they’re using them, and whether they’re on track to meet their deadlines.

When working with freelancers, many team leaders fall into the trap of micromanaging, but snooping on your freelancers is a good way to ensure they won’t want to work with you again. 

Prodoscore eliminates the need to constantly check in with your workers, providing a high level of transparency so managers can hold their outsourced talent accountable while maintaining a good relationship.

How will visibility impact your business?