The Way We Work

Whether bringing on board a new contractor or switching managers internally, team transitions are a critical point of failure in many remote work relationships. Here are our 4 steps to making changes within your team flow smoothly:

1. Introductions Make sure to introduce the contractor to the people they will be working with, and clearly explain what they can expect from each person. Are there existing contractors on your team that can mentor the newbie? Someone they will be interacting with regularly, or relying on for their work process? Make these connections clear from the start to put your contractor on the path to success.

2. Deadlines & Expectations More than anything else, this is where the final results can begin to stray from the image in your mind. To keep reality in line with desired outcomes, have clear discussions with your contractor about:

  • Working hours/availability. What times of day will they be online? How many hours per week can they commit to your work?
  • Contact plan. How and when can you reach them? What is a good schedule for recurring conversations to discuss the status of the work, obstacles and changes?
  • Impact. What is riding on the success of their work? What skills are you valuing in their position?
  • Due Dates. When is the final work due? At what points should you have check-in conversations along the way?

Even if you are transitioning a contractor to a different in-house manager, the new manager should revisit this conversation to ensure they are on the same page or adjust the contractor’s role to fit the new reporting structure.

3. Logistics While there may be an obvious answer to the question of “How will you submit your work?”, the range of tools available means that it many not be clear to the contractor what you mean by “Send it to me.” Are they uploading code to a shared repository? Drafting blog posts in WordPress? Emailing spreadsheets to you once per week? Nail down these details of working together to make sure they have access to all the resources they need, and you’re getting results in a useful and applicable format.

4. Sharing staff There are often  opportunities for existing contractors to expand their role within your organization. When sharing contractors, it is important to make clear the expectations on their time and how various assignments should interact with their primary role. This conversation typically addresses:

  • Who they will be receiving additional work from.
  • How much time they are expected to spend on this work.
  • Who will be their primary contact/manager.
  • What to do if they run into issues or conflicts between assignments.

Have you run into issues with transitions within your team? What do you suggest other managers do to streamline this process? Let us know in the comments!

Erica Benton

Social Media Guru

Erica Benton joined oDesk in 2009, bringing with her nearly a decade of small business and freelance experience, and a love of all things social. Her passion for startups, technology and marketing was born during her tenure with Kulesa Faul Public Relations, while she learned the art of entrepreneurship firsthand through Equine Alternatives, a business she founded while earning her Bachelor of Science degree from… read more