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Finding a line between management, autonomy and hoping for the best - supporting freelancers takes more than a clear brief.

there’s a strange reverse-parallel when it comes to freelancing and management styles.

as the world fights back against “hovering” managers and presenteeism where micromanagement is the bad guy - many freelancers have the opposite issue to deal with - a complete lack of structure, support and feedback, poor onboarding, poor in-project communication, zero offboarding and follow up.

as businesses move away from command and control and towards more autonomous teams, rapid and agile working, and slightly fewer hovering art directors, we risk also stepping back even further from people who are only part of our teams for short bursts of time.

all too often, freelancers are having to create their own structures and second guess the new working culture of each organisation they step into, in order to do a good job.

many freelancers are adept at this rapid immersion and discovery of how to communicate, how things work, which platform they’re using today (yes, we have an account on teams, asana, slack, zoom, google hangouts, miro, adobe, trello, teams again [but with a personal account], skype, skype for business, skype not for business, google drive, dropbox, github, the list grows weekly) and where to ask when looking for files on ‘the server’, but there’s an overhead on this time taken to figure things out.

this isn’t just a freelancer issue - rapid and cross-functional teams are being utilised more often across many businesses - and building ways of rapid onboarding becomes essential for all teams - to share what vision, direction, objectives and where the best coffee is around here. but all so often, those onboarding / kickoffs are operationally focused (what are we trying to do, when do we need to do it by), without any sharing of cultural norms (how do we work, what’s expected), they’re often one way (we tell you, we don’t ask you) and they’re non-asynchronous, so if you miss the kick-off, you’re left to figure it out yourself.

no-one wants more meetings, so this isn’t about adding another invite, but rather finding ways of communicating your working culture as well as project goals to new or temporary team members, and finding ways to understand how each team member works and what they bring - less kickoff, more showing people the pitch for the ball to be kicked around in.

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