Considerations in Outsourcing: Foreign Freelance

This world is getting smaller by the day. Technology has given us the ability to interact as if we were at the same table, from across the world. If you’re working with a digital medium it’s easier than ever to find the talent you need no matter where someone might live. The only challenge is how to manage and compensate freelancers from physically distance locales. What do you need to consider when working with individuals residing in another country?

Time zone differences

It can be a huge challenge to adapt your work demands to the time zone of the opposite side of the globe. Your employee might be asleep when you’re awake and vice versa. These differences can affect deadlines. In order to ensure proper deadlines are met, specify which time zone you are referring to when you say a deadline is at 5 p.m.

Currency differences

Your employee may wish to be paid in something other than U.S. dollars. There are several services such as PayPal that will automatically convert money for the end user, but this is important to work out with your employee as you are setting the agreements of their freelancing. This also helps you both in the long run to ensure neither party ends up losing out due to the exchange rate.

Language differences

It’s very important to realize that English may not be your freelancer’s native language. You should be very clear and concise with your requests without using slang or other words that are unclear to international employees. Always ask for clarification if you aren’t sure you understand your freelancer’s communication.

Legal differences

While it is often a good idea to have a contract drawn up with your freelancer, be aware that the legally binding contract here in the U.S. may not have the same power in another country. You may need to review country-specific business practices in order to determine what is and isn’t available for you and your freelancer. If you have an in-house counsel, he or she should be involved in the creation and examination of all contracts.

Cultural issues

When dealing with international employees take into consideration that a great deal of cultural differences may exist. Some cultures are very direct and to the point, others may wish to negotiate and bargain. Understand the cultural sensitivities of freelancers and be respectful.

No face-to-face contact

You may never meet your freelancer on a face-to-face basis. However, you can meet virtually via Facetime, Skype, GoToMeeting or Google Hangout.

Tax law challenges

The tax laws in all countries are not the same. It is important to have a working knowledge of the tax code in each country where your freelancers live. It may be easier to work with a human resources agency that understands  international tax code and agent support.

It’s quite an age we live in, when we can hire people from around the world to build a dynamic workforce. Just be sure you understand all of the considerations that come with hiring a freelancer in another country, and ask for professional input, if you’re unsure about something.



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