Tag: human resources management

How to Manage Employees and Freelancers by Email and Social Media



Last Updated: Jul 11, 2014
When you have remote employees and freelancers, it can be hard to keep tabs on what they’re doing. This advice on managing them via email and social media will help you keep communication open and productivity high.

Gone are the days when businesses required its workers to sit in a cubicle on the fourth floor and gaze out the office window a few minutes before starting the day. The Internet has spawned a new cottage industry – remote workforce labor, otherwise known as freelancing.

But one doesn’t need to be a freelancer to work remotely. Many companies are hiring employees and setting them up in a home office.

Remote work can take on any number of qualities for the benefit of company and worker alike. For example:

Why Virtual Relationships Are Beneficial

As long as the job gets done, does it matter who does it or how they get it done? Many companies are realizing that the pool of their potential candidates can be broadened by looking beyond geographical boundaries. This can often save money by reducing office space, overhead, pay and benefits, and expenditures related to office furniture and supplies since homebound employees may provide their own.

But there are other benefits, as well. Studies show that workers who work remotely from home are happier, more productive, and less likely to quit their jobs.

SEE ALSO: Tips for Outsourcing to Freelancers

While the study above concerned itself with call center employees, there may be reasons to believe other types of workers (employees or freelancers) could perform better at home. Writers and proofreaders, for instance, may be less distracted than if they worked in a busy office. Nevertheless, if you allow your employees to telecommute, or you work with freelancers a lot, then you’ll have to find ways to manage their projects from a distance, and that means communicating often through digital interfaces.

E-mail and social media seem to be the preferred and most familiar of the digital communication media.

How to Manage Projects Remotely Through E-mail

E-mail is fairly ubiquitous. It’s been around long enough that everyone understands it—even the most fearful technophobe. And it’s easy to use. The advantages are legion.

For starters, e-mail allows you and your remote workers a way to focus on your work load without distractions. You can schedule your e-mail time apart from your work time and still manage to get everything accomplished that needs to be accomplished. That’s true of managers and employees, as well as freelancers who may work with you on a per-project basis.

Here are a few suggestions on how to get the best from your employees and freelancers if you find yourself managing them through e-mail:

The important thing is to keep it low-key. Handle important business by phone and keep the e-mail space reserved for project-oriented details.

SEE ALSO: Flexible Work Advantages

How to Manage Projects Remotely Through Social Media

Try your best to use e-mail when communicating with remote workers. If you need to utilize social media for business, do it in such a way that you don’t annoy or embarrass your workers. Also, keep in mind the restrictions of the media. Twitter, even when direct messaging, will only allow you 140 characters.

The best way to manage remote workers through social media—especially if you are managing more than one—is to set up a group for project communication. You can still private message individual workers if you need to. Facebook and Google+ both allow you to start private groups for discussing projects related to your business. Unless the business you are discussing would be interesting to your customers, or the public, try to keep business-related messages off the public airways. Some exceptions to this rule might be:

Freelancers and employees might help you promote your projects if you use social media to send them kudos and give them credit where due. Keep this golden rule in mind: Criticize in private, praise in public.

© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

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How to Reduce Attorney Fees for Your Business



Last Updated: Aug 29, 2016
At some point in the life of your business you will probably need an attorney’s expertise. Here are ways to manage your legal expenses and keep attorney’s fees under control. 

Whether you are just starting a business and need to form an entity, have an existing business and are negotiating contracts with third parties or are in the process of selling your business, an attorney will undoubtedly play a critical role. It’s important to keep in mind, however, as vital as an attorney’s advice is in these situations, it doesn’t mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Set forth below are three strategies to minimize attorney fees and stay within your budget:

1. Know What You Need

The first step to ensuring you receive quality legal services for an affordable fee is to know exactly what you need from your lawyer. Prior to seeking out a lawyer, write down any questions you would like to ask and take notes of your situation. Will you need help with specific documentation or just need more general legal advice? The more organized you are before you speak with a lawyer, the better off you’ll be.

2. Negotiate Fixed Fees

Small business owners are particularly sensitive to costs associated with hiring counsel when they have a legal need. For this reason, business owners should negotiate fixed fees for their transactional needs rather than paying an attorney on an hourly basis. This is because with fixed fees both the client and attorney are very clear on what the intended objectives of the engagement are. An experienced attorney will know what needs to be done and how much time they will likely spend on the matter and will be able to (more or less) accurately price it upfront.

Sometimes attorneys are resistant to provide fixed fees on the theory that a matter is too complicated to price it up front, say for instance, when purchasing a business. If you do receive pushback, break down the matter into discrete tasks. You could agree to pay (i) a fixed-fee for initial legal due diligence, (ii) a second fixed-fee for the initial drafting of the purchase and sale agreement, and (iii) another fixed-fee for revisions, negotiations and finalization of the agreement. Structuring attorney fees this way ensures that you have control over your costs and clearly defines the scope and involvement of the attorney throughout the process. 

With hourly rates, on the other hand, even the most well intentioned attorneys could be inaccurate with their time-keeping, which may ultimately result in unexpected costs for the client. Take for example an attorney that charges $300 per hour and bills for 10 hours of work, for a total of $3,000 at the end of the engagement. If the attorney billed in increments of 6 minutes (which is customary) and is off by 6 minutes in tracking for each hour spent, that would mean an additional hour’s worth of work (or $300.00 in this example) is charged without any actual value in return. Simply put, inaccurate timekeeping can add up if you are on a budget. That said, if you are unable to negotiate a fixed-fee arrangement, you should request that the fee based on the hourly rate is capped at a set amount so that you at least have a sense of the outside cost.

3. Using Legal Forms

One method small businesses often utilize to save on costs is downloading a legal form and filling in the blanks. This certainly will reduce your legal costs since the business owner is deciding to forgo counsel. While it is true that most forms contain “standard” or “boilerplate” provisions, it is the non-standard provisions that really require an attorney’s attention. Instead of just using a stock document form without any modification, a better approach would be to use the legal form as a starting point and have an attorney tailor the form to your particular needs. This should save you significant fees as the attorney can concentrate on the customization and reworking of deficient provisions in the “standard” form rather than starting from scratch. 

Tej PrakashTej Prakash is the co-founder of ShouldiSign.com, an online legal marketplace that helps individuals and businesses find and engage pre-vetted attorneys in a transparent environment. Prior to co-founding Should I Sign, Tej was a corporate attorney at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and then Kleinberg, Kaplan Wolff & Cohen, P.C., specializing in public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital transactions and general corporate and securities law matters. He also has experience serving as an advisor to start-up companies.

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