Image via Flickr by snre
Hiring foreign contractors is more common today than it’s ever been, and for good reason. Contractors in Australia can help give 24/7 customer service for clients, and they can remove the headache of constant supervision. They come with their own problems, but with these ideas, integrating them into your team can be easy.
Create a Universal Meeting Time
Australia has between an 8-hour and 11-hour time difference from the UK, making it difficult to sync up meeting times. That’s why it’s crucial when dealing with contractors that live in Australia to set up a standard time that will work for all parties. For example, you and your contractor could meet to talk every Monday at 8 a.m. UTC when it’s 4 p.m. in Perth and 7 p.m. in Sydney.
Set Up Cloud Sharing Tools
Obviously, finding the time to compare notes in person is hard when the other party lives on the other side of the world. This doesn’t have to limit productivity, though. Programs like Office 365 and Evernote offer a space to share documents and links securely and review the progress of the project, while other programs like Skype and Cisco WebEx allow users to chat over video, including screen sharing, file sharing, and annotation. These programs and others like them are essential to collaborating with a distant contractor, but with them it can feel as easy as working in the same office.
Get to Know Your Contractor
It can be easy, especially when working with a remote contractor, to see them as a faceless worker providing a service, but it’s important to treat them how you would treat other employees. Take time to learn about them by having some small talk before and after a meeting, or by setting up a personal one-on-one independent of the work. Because a lot of important social cues are nonverbal, doing all of this over a video chat app like Skype or Zoom can strengthen your rapport and make your contractor feel like a part of the team.
It can seem like a lot of work to build a relationship with someone you may never meet in person, but when someone working for you respects you as a person and not just a boss, they’ll be more willing to put in effort for your project.
Dealing With Taxes
The first thing to determine is whether your contractor is a resident of the UK. Most long-term contractors in Australia aren’t, but the ones who are will need a standard PAYE, meaning taxes will operate in the same way as any employee working in the UK. For nonresident employees without a PAYE obligation, the employer can pay the contractor with a UK payroll. If the company already has a presence in Australia, tax withholding for the contractor will be necessary, but if the company is small and hasn’t set up a branch there, tax withholding isn’t required.
Integrating an Australian contractor into your team has never been easier with modern collaboration tools. These ideas can turn them from a distant employee into a valuable asset.