Many experts have predicted that by 2025, around 80% of the world’s population will be working as freelancers. The world is shifting from conventional methods of making money—and it’s all thanks to the diversity and accessibility of the internet.

But working as a freelancer puts us at somewhat of a disadvantage. The lack of face-to-face interaction with clients and team members can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunication and often, severed working relationships.

Handling a project remotely comes with its own set of barriers…

- How do you keep your team cohesive?

- How do you manage team tasks effectively?

- Where do you find reliable contractors?

- How do you manage, pay and monitor your team?

- How do you establish what your client wants?

- What’s the best testing process?

- How do you overcome communication gaps?

…which is why it’s so vital to use all the resources at our disposal to overcome these hurdles to working remotely.

Below I’ve set out the best practices for handling remote projects more efficiently in order to maintain flow, productivity and harmony within your business.

Identify Challenges

The first step is to recognize the likely challenges you will face. In a world of remote projects, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Here are some things you’re likely to encounter if this is your first tie handling a remote project:

- Holes in your team’s communication can cause a lot of disruption when multiple people are working on the same project—especially if only one person is reporting back to the client.

- Team members won’t always know what’s expected of them, or how to measure their work efforts.

- You are likely to run into staff management issues that involve legalities you know nothing about; such as:

  • Staff disputes
  • Contracts
  • Leave management
  • Payroll
  • Assigning tasks to various team members can be time-consuming and often confusing.
  • Team members may not always ‘gel’ together, which can create an isolation culture where teamwork has fallen by the wayside.

Message Apps

Invest in a good messaging app that allows you to communicate securely within your team. Some messaging apps are more user-friendly than others. And some are more conducive to a remote project environment.

Before choosing a message app, ask yourself the following:

- Can I communicate with all team members while switching to private conversation?

- Are my conversations secure against spyware and hackers?

- Can I archive conversations, record phone calls and transfer files securely?

- Is the interface quick and user friendly?

Select a messaging app that enhances your workflow and eliminates frustrating delays and gaps in communication. If your messaging apps doesn’t compliment your workflow, switch to one that does—and don’t be afraid to pay for it.

Productivity Apps

I’ve personally invested a lot of time and trial into productivity apps for my business. Once you find the right one, you and your team will achieve a consistent workflow that results in efficiency and higher productivity.

A good productivity app should be able to monitor your team’s work process, and record it for later reference. It should also encourage your staff to reach set targets each day. Productivity apps also come with a certain reward factor, and many allow you to choose your own.

I use ForestApp for my team because it shows me how much work time each team member has put in. It also gives them something to work towards, because the app is diverse and fun to play with.

HR Software

Payroll, contracts and labor issues can be a nightmare if you aren’t a qualified HR expert. With so many remote projects being handled by companies and freelancers, a massive market has opened up for HR software that’s automated, self-explanatory and accurate.

One thing you want to avoid while working on a remote project is delays. And one of the things that causes delays most frequently are the little staff issues you don’t expect. HR software allows you to automate processes like contract generation, payroll and legal issues. It provides you with all the templates, guidelines and applications you need to automate your staff process—allowing you to focus on your remote project.

Task Management Apps

Creating an efficient workflow for your remote project can’t happen unless each team member knows what their part is. A task management app like Wunderlist gives each team member an overview of all responsibilities across the team, as well as their individually assigned tasks.

This is a great way to keep track of clients, deadlines and project categories. You can break down projects into smaller parts and assign them to multiple individuals to ensure speed and cohesion on one project. Because there’s a record of every activity, you can monitor your team more efficiently and without dispute.

There are many to choose from, and some may not give you the flow you’re after. Choose one that compliments your team, and one that everybody feels comfortable working with.

Create Cohesion Within Your Team

As the person heading this remote project, it’s up to you as the team leader to connect your team in solidarity. There are several ways to do this, but it requires an initial mindset that demands your involvement in your team’s workflow.

Once you’ve decided to be present as a team leader, here’s what you can do:

- Encourage your staff on individual projects via message groups and build morale.

- Praise them for successful projects openly and publically.

- Get your staff to work together at coffee shops every once in a while to re-affirm team cohesion.

- Have weekly video conference calls with your entire team to ensure everyone’s on the same page for the week’s tasks.

- Create some healthy competition between staff and offer a reward for the best performer.

Doing this will keep your team tight. They’ll communicate better, and may even become friends with each other. Happy team members will result in a successful project, happy clients and repeat work.