By Hayley Sharplin
I am in no way a seasoned pro regarding office environments, but there a few things I have picked up in the last couple of months during my freelancing journey. I’ve found office culture can have an overwhelming impact on my work.
At my last fulltime workplace they had what can only be described as a poor culture. This included mismatched values, a tense environment and forced social interactions. When they hired freelancers these poor people would find themselves in a dysfunctional, mismanaged, panicked environment. They were abandoned at a computer that hardly worked with little direction or insight for the project they had been hired to work on.
Since leaving this business behind I’ve been invited to freelance for various companies but Bunch was my first gig. When I showed up for my first day at Bunch I was a lot more nervous than I would have admitted to, but I soon realised there was no reason to be. The vibe around the Bunch office was busy but had an undertone of calm and warmth, the people here actually genuinely like each other, something I was not accustomed to.
As a freelancer I have noticed you find yourself in a grey zone. You exist in the same space and work often collaboratively on the same projects as the full timers but aren’t quite viewed in the same light. In my opinion, companies with good cultures bridge this gap by successfully doing a few key things.
Coming into a new environment is hard, especially when you (like me) are a bit shy. I have really appreciated when a senior employee has made the effort to make me feel welcome. When they’ve shown me around and introduced me to key members of the team. I feel much more confident when I have been given insight, scope and time to familiarise myself with the necessary projects. Feeling like you and your time are respected goes a long way in building a strong working relationship.
Companies that have a healthy culture have open lines of communication. Everyone knows what is expected of them, asking questions is encouraged and someone putting their hand up when they are struggling is ok. There is nothing worse than sitting at your computer unsure of what you are meant to be doing without the ability to ask for guidance.
Maintaining a good healthy work culture is a topic that is written about by much more qualified people than myself but if your culture includes engaging people in a respectful way, playing to their strengths and communicating with them in a warm professional manner, you have the right stuff.
So, if you engage freelancers in your workplace, give them the information they need to do their job and have a positive, respectful culture – success will follow . I don’t know about you but when I feel like I have done a good job for one of my clients I always feel a little happier — and in your own journey with your freelancers perhaps, like me, you’ll find a few genuine friendships along the way.