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Collaborating and Managing Off-Site Marketing Officials

When Marissa Mayer ended Yahoo’s policy of off-site workers, some called it a mistake. It seems the tech industry is especially prone to outsourcing its work, a practice you might already be working with or considering. How you deal with your off-site employees will come to define the quality of work you put out.

Establish Communication

The value of crowdsourcing is that you get to exchange ideas and find new methods to work on your existing projects. You can crowdsource design opinions on your Facebook page, but you should crowdsource important decisions about your business with the team you work with as well. If your goal is to grow and create better products, one of the best things you can do for remote contacts is to establish a clear line of communication for individuals.

Who are the managers responsible for projects? When are they available? How can they be reached? You should know the answers to these questions. The virtual numbers offered at are useful for putting international workers in touch with decision makers. It's important to give managers local phone numbers and Skype names so workers can find them.

When you bring on new workers, especially ones working outside your office, that clear line of communication will help usher projects through the pipeline faster. Designate someone to resolve disputes that may arise, like questions about project parameters or changes to a due date.

Project Tracking

Project tracking helps executives look at what’s being done at a high level and figure out ways to remove road blocks and speed up production. Great project tracking software lets users report on tasks they complete, including attachments or comments.

Basecamp is a popular application that is familiar to many freelancers. It allows project managers to detail a task list, complete with due dates and attachments, with many workers reporting in. Detailed comments can provide the status of a project, and completed tasks can be checked off and reviewed.

Rally is a program that is based on Agile, a development philosophy that tries to keep production speeds high. Rally takes a high level look at bugs and issues that arise in application development, and allows managers to prioritize those tasks and assign them to development teams. Managers can also receive detailed reports that track time spent on a project vs the estimates.  

Without a system of accountability, projects can quickly get out of hand.


One of the benefits to being a contractor is the freedom to work as you please. For employers, that freedom can become a burden if things aren’t properly scheduled. In addition, employers who choose to bill by the hour may have disputes over how an employee’s time is spent. This can happen frequently when employees work remotely, so arrange a rudimentary schedule to keep things simple. Try designating times when an employee must be on-call.

Tools in the Cloud

Google Docs, now part of Google’s Drive suite of applications, lets users work together in real-time. Documents can be altered by more than one user, with changes tracked so all users can review. First hinted at with Google’s Wave platform, this kind of collaboration is now standard with programs like Dropbox.

Uploading documents to the cloud also helps keep backups secure from problems with your local device.

Clear Objectives

The most effective tool in management is the ability to set measurable goals for employees and provide evaluations based on those goals. When you are working remotely, due dates and quality of work become important. Set your expectations up front:

·  Managing email: which metrics do you want to improve?

·  Social Media: Has your contractor increased followers and improved engagement?

·  SEO: Are you seeing traffic from targeted keywords?

These evaluations are standard for any in-house employee. Keep those standards the same for off-site workers and you’ll be able to communicate more effectively and increase the value of workers you hire.