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Freelancers - how can we all work better together?

Freelancers - how can we all work better together?

Last week we partnered up with Manchester Digital to hold our first hybrid event centred around how freelancers, agencies and clients can work better together.  People chose whether to join in person or remotely and around 25 people joined us at the Manchester Technology Centre, with 20 joining remotely.

Thanks to every single person that took time out from their evenings’ to spend it with us. It was great and an encouraging nod to how we should consider making events accessible for anyone.

Thanks to Myles and Katie from Manchester Digital for working tirelessly to organise and run the event. So much work happened in the background which hopefully goes unnoticed my most, but we’re eternally grateful.

Next thanks to three amazing freelancers for spending time preparing talks and doing such an incredible job. ‘Inspiring’ can be overused, but not in this case.

Thank you Shehla, Sian, Jag.

Thank you Urška for brilliantly introducing the talks, talking to people on Zoom chat and then facilitating a collaborative session.

Cam and I talked about how we’re trying to do better working with freelancers and why we want things to improve.

We agreed to share the outputs of the event.

We started our talk with a question

How might we raise our standards for working together and get others to raise theirs too?

We’re still some way off answering this. The conversations, questions, discussion points were the start we hoped it would be but we’re not at the stage of sharing any defined standards. They shouldn’t come from us either, we want help from you.

Below are the broad themes that came from the evening. They’re a great starting place and we ended with more than we started with.

Understanding our own limits
We all have limits and we encourage people to think about their own and share them as well as try to protect themselves when they feel they are reaching their limits and need a break.
Good communication between freelancers and agencies
We want to have a shared understanding of what we are here to do and ways of how we can achieve things we agreed upon.
Sharing of understanding and work of other people
It’s important to share and understand what we can and can’t do.
Understanding the time things take
On a lot of occasions people don’t have a perception on how much time things take to make, do. We want people to show understanding as well as learn how much time is needed for certain things and be respectful about the time that was asked of in order to develop things.
Making contracts, briefs and processes easier to understand
Openness and transparency is very important in order to achieve good teamwork. That includes sharing the clients contract to make it transparent between everyone in the team and  processes, brief of the projects we are working on together.
Pay people on time or early if possible
Freelancers don’t have steady income and they could be relying on getting paid on time or early. It is important that agencies uphold that and or are transparent about payments with freelancers.
Making sure that people are paid fairly
Not every freelancer has awareness of how much they should be paid for their work or what would be a fair payment for their work. It is important to build on the understanding together and make sure that freelancers are paid equally.
Getting to know each other and treating each other with respect
We are working for our client and it is important that we are a team no matter if we are part of an agency or freelancers.

Taking time to make our team culture good is important and needed in order to work better together.

Feedback and evaluation is important

Feedback and evaluation is an important part of anyone’s professional development. We want to encourage feedback and evaluation to be included in our ways of working together so that we can learn and improve no matter if we are from an agency or freelancers.

You can see all the raw data on this open Miro board.

Making a commitment

It’s relatively easy to write words down. It’s harder to act on them. So here’s our commitment - something to work towards, to reflect on, to talk about, to share and to encourage critique from others.

Paper will:

  • Work with others to agree a set of standards
  • Share these standards with all freelancers, clients, partners and agencies we work with
  • Aim to have these standards used by over 50% of freelancers based in Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds before the end of 2024

Get involved if you want to

With these commitments we’ll keep working to raise our standards and others around us.

We want to help all voices to be heard.

It’d be lovely to hear any ideas you have, so we’d encourage you to:

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