It’s no secret that working with freelance teams gives businesses a lot more flexibility. But what happens after you sign the contract to bring in extra help? How do you work together in an efficient and productive way when you and your in-house team are in a long-distance (work) relationship with freelancers located all across the country? Unsurprisingly, our team relies on Dropbox for Business to work with freelance contributors near and far. The key to helping everyone stay productive? Shared folders. Here are three tips for using shared folders to work smarter — and not harder — with freelancers. 1. Share onboarding materials with one click Because freelancers are typically hired on short-term contracts, it’s important to help them hit the ground running from day one, which is why effective onboarding is essential. Round up all the info that every new hire should know — team org charts, department procedures, HR contacts, you name it — and save everything to a shared folder. As soon as new freelancers join your team, simply add them to the folder. The entire onboarding process becomes much easier — and faster — when you’re able to direct everyone to a single location for important documents instead of digging through your inbox to forward 15 separate email attachments. Best of all, you can maintain control over these onboarding materials by granting freelancers view-only access. That way, only managers or HR staff — whoever has edit permissions — can make updates. 2. Set up folders for submitting work Let’s say you’re launching a new company blog and you’ve hired five freelance writers to contribute two posts every week. The good news is that you have a steady stream of blog content coming in. The bad news is that your inbox is starting to pile up with a ton of email attachments, as each writer submits work. So how do you stay on top of all the files that are coming and going? It’s as easy as setting up a couple of shared folders. For each freelancer on your team, create a shared folder labeled with the person’s name. Then add two sub-folders: one for outgoing assignments or reference materials, and the other for incoming submitted work. (Of course, don’t forget to invite each person to their designated folder.) In this case, you’ll want to use the default shared folder permissions so that each person can add, edit, or delete files in the individual shared folder you’ve created for them. With this folder setup, every freelancer you work with has a designated space for receiving assignments and uploading completed work. And since everyone can only see what’s in their particular shared folder, you don’t have to worry about people having access to your entire server and stumbling across any confidential or proprietary docs. Plus, you’ll get a notification when someone adds a new file to their shared folder — so you’ll know as soon as a new deliverable is uploaded. 3. Collaborate on files effortlessly What do you do when you’re kicking off an advertising campaign with lots of moving pieces — from the media plan and the creative brief to design assets — and half of your project team consists of freelancers who live in different cities? Use Dropbox shared folders to create a common workspace for everyone involved, whether it’s your in-house team, freelancers, agencies, or vendors. When you invite people to a shared folder, they’ll be able to make changes directly to the files inside. Even if you’re all working in different time zones, it feels like you’re sitting just down the hall. So when your freelance designers and copywriters save their files to your shared project folder, your in-house creative team can jump in and quickly make adjustments without emailing files back and forth. Teams who have opted into early access can even see when someone else has the file open, to avoid making changes when another team member is working. As with any team project, things can sometimes change on the fly. If one of your freelancers leaves your project midway, you can easily unshare the folder (as long as you’re the owner). This removes the files from the person’s Dropbox on any linked computers, so your project files and company information stay with you even when a team member moves on. Ready to try out these tips with your freelance team? Sign up for a free trial of Dropbox for Business!