In any working environment, communication is an important facet of the day-to-day dynamic between colleagues as well as between bosses and employees. For freelancers and telecommuters that aren’t working in a conventional office, however, communication becomes particularly significant and sensitive.

In this article, let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect communication, and how they impact the work flow for freelancers and telecommuters.

Infrastructure Limitations

When you look up job postings on the Web, you might think that the Skype requirement is unnecessary and inconvenient. However, once you start dealing with your employer over the Internet, you’ll find that e-mail and instant messaging are convenient but might pose some difficulty for you in terms of understanding what your directives are specifically.

The moment you start getting irritated by missed correspondence or vague instructions that take forever to be clarified, you’ll wish you had invested in that speedy computer or fast internet service provider that can handle video calling via Skype, Yahoo! Messenger Video or Voice Calling, RingCentral virtual PBX, or other similar programs and services. This is work, and sometimes you have to shell out some dough to make work it go smoother. If you’re lucky, the employer might shoulder some of the costs.

The Language Barrier

If there’s anything that’s relatively easy to get over these days, it’s the language barrier. English remains the primary language, and this doesn’t change in freelancing simply because many of the jobs originate from companies based in Western countries, companies that are seeking some financial flexibility by outsourcing certain aspects of the business.

While speaking English isn’t a requirement for many jobs, it’s still a plus and definitely helps facilitate the back and forth between an aspiring employee and the employer. If there’s a problem in this aspect, however, it is up to both sides to ensure that messages are relayed as clearly as possible so that work can be completed faster and more efficiently.

Availability

Sometimes, telecommuters and freelancers lapse into some kind of lull where they fail to login to the relevant communication channels. It could also be that certain things at home affect availability. When this happens, one might miss important messages from the employer. Similarly, the employer might fail to check in on the progress of a task, which can be important because regular assessments allow for early detection of errors.

The availability of the employer or the one in charge of the task is also critical in case the freelancer has some clarifications about the task. It also helps reassure the freelancer and lets him or her feel taken care of. It sucks to finish working on something, only to find out months later that one aspect of your task didn’t sit well with the client—a little tidbit of information that could have helped the freelancer avoid future mistakes.

I think we can all agree that ineffective communication leads to an inefficient working environment. Every side has work to do on their respective parts to ensure smooth communication at all times, and when this is accomplished, the freelancer or telecommuter will be able to concentrate on doing his or her tasks well.