The distinction between full time employees and contracted associates or freelancers is disappearing all the time. Consultants and freelancers tend to use different email and Instant Messaging services, which can cause communication bottlenecks and often means valuable client updates get buried in the inbox.
Associates may also come and go as work ramps up and down, causing challenges with getting them up to speed and in turn capturing information before they leave.
The 4th Office becomes the assured destination that your consultants and freelancers can go to, meaning everyone is in one place, able to easily communicate with each other at times that suit them. They can contribute to ongoing discussions without needing to keep up with fragmented email chains.
Because discussions and decisions happen in one central place, rather than scattered across various inboxes, it means everyone stays on the same page, information is retained and communication is smooth and easy.
Getting started with the 4th Office
1. Add your full time employees
Invite your full time employees as internal users to the platform. This will give them instant access to any open groups you have created, however you may need to share client projects, other projects or client records with them.
Contracted freelancers who work regularly with you may also benefit from being internal users.
2. Add associates or partners
Other people who work with your business on an ad-hoc basis should be invited into your community as an external (guest) user. This gives you greater control over what they can see and do.
A full explanation of the difference between internal and external (guest) users can be found here
3. Start promoting use of the 4th Office as a communication tool
Doing this is a subtle way will help other users gain confidence in using a new communication method, rather than relying solely on email. Once you have your documents and projects on the platform, you can start driving consultants and associates there, where tasks, comments and feedback will naturally start to evolve into further discussions.