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Every day we’re side hustlin’—literally. By 2020, it’s estimated that 43% of the American workforce will be freelancers. The ever-growing gig economy has also had an effect on remote work, with telecommuting having grown 115% between 2005 and 2015.
As more and more people embrace the flexibility that comes with being their own boss, they’re also facing some of the realities of working remotely. Feelings of isolation and struggles to get out from behind the screen on a daily basis are entirely too common. And as more workers opt to join the gig economy, these issues can only prove to be continuing challenges.
No matter where your team members may be working from, here’s how you can bring everyone into the fold and keep them engaged with your business.
One of the biggest stereotypes of the gig economy? That the industry is composed of mostly millennials. In reality, baby boomers also make up a considerable number of remote workers and telecommuters, and they are 22% more likely to seek out gig employment than millennials.
While communication is key to keeping all employees engaged, full-time and freelance alike, it’s also important to consider how you communicate with your team. Personalize it according to each member’s needs. If you have a remote worker who lives on the East Coast while you’re based out of the West Coast, you’re not likely to schedule a phone meeting with them at 8 a.m. EST.
Offer a wide range of communication methods from email to Skype, take into consideration the locations of each team member, and make sure both parties are communicating together on a regular basis.
Across all age groups, there’s an increasing focus on personal growth within any job position. Remote and freelance workers want to be able to experience advancement within their career as much as anyone in-house does. And they have a lot to offer due to their specialized skill sets.
Take the time to acknowledge the strengths of remote employees and assist with finessing their skills. Offer compelling workloads that give them the chance to prove themselves and create a stronger portfolio that showcases their work. Additionally, see if you can provide funding opportunities for those interested in enrolling in classes, webinars, or conferences where they can further enhance their skill sets.
Notice a freelancer consistently going above and beyond on their assignments or a contractor who can be counted on to help fix issues no matter what time it is? Acknowledge their hard work by saying thank you, providing little incentives for a job well done like a gift card or bonus, or if you can, sending companywide emails praising them for their contributions to the company.
With a little extra encouragement, you’re giving remote workers more motivation to keep up the good work and allowing others around them to take notice and thank them for everything they’ve done too.