Remote work has become for some and a lifestyle that allowed different people to have a different job, not as the traditional one. While freelance you own your time, the truth is that the scheduling has to be done perfectly to meet customer expectations.
No doubt remote work has brought too many advantages thanks to the advantages that the Internet has presented us over the years. It seems that each year there are more young people who want to participate in this type of work. But it is necessarily to know how to sell yourself in order to close deals with potential customers.
Remote Work Definition
There can be different definitions or words that can exprese the same idea. Remote work definition can be also searched in other terms such as Telecommuting or even homeworking. The idea behind is to keep doing the tasks that are given wherever the employee wants. ACAS, an organzation in the UK, define homeworking as:
Homeworking is an arrangement in which employees perform their usual jobrelated tasks at home rather than in a central workplace, and do so for a regular portion of their work schedule, using electronic media to communicate with others both inside and outside the organisation.
Remote Work Advantages and Disadvantages
Remote Work Advantages
In a report prepared by the Future of Work Institute, they establish the benefits of flexible working arrangements.
1. Addressing Advanced Technology by Enabling Complexity
- Increased employee productivity. It is measured more on flexible workers than traditional ones. Also they can be able to leverage on new technologies to collaborate and communicate.
- Effective Virtual Teams. Flexibility encourages the formation of high profile teams that can confront highly sophisticated workload independently their physical location.
2. Addressing Rapid Globalisation by Creating Agility
- Meeting the customers needs. The continous operations that can be done in multiple locations and time zones can reach 24/7 customer demands.
- Matching customers expectations. Flexibility helps to meet the growing expectations of consumers who expect around the clock access to goods and services.
- Reduced business travel. The reduction of face to face meetings decreases the need for any travel.
- Agile infrastructure. The office occupancy is reduced and the real estate savings are reflected on those costs.
3. Addressing New Societal Values by Creating Choice
- Increased engagement. The people are able to fit their work as they want. This enables to shape on every circumstances they have producing a loyalty and engagement to their work.
- Greater retention. The stress is reduced due to the ability of change the working habit which makes employees ot have a second thought when leaving the company.
- More senior women. For the women who left their jobs due to motherhood, it requires flexibility and the company support. Remote work can increase the proportion of senior women in companies.
- Attraction and retention of senior executives. Not only younger generations are willing to work everywhere, also senior management can focus on remote work.
4. Addressing Changing Demographics by Accommodating Generations
- Flexible retirement. For older workers this can help in their transition to retirement. Remote work can create choices for the retirement and reduce the loss of tacit knowledge if the employee just left suddenly the job.
- Generational working styles. Diversity allows the company to have a multidisciplinary team and it reduces the potiential conflict between generations.
Remote Work Disadvantages
According to IBM on their article of mobile working experience, they set some challenges that show the remote work disadvantages.
1. Collaboration and Communication with Others
Isolation can be a difficult issue when working in home or away from the main office. It is not the same to have your colleague right next to, and see him every single day.
2. Making the Technology Work
Sometimes just a computer is not enough. Software and security that are proper from the companies equipment could bring risk and it might not be easy to use outside the company infrastructure.
3. Staying on the Top of Informal Developments
Also, sometimes small talks during breaks with important information about the company happens outside working hours.
4. Balancing Work Life Demands
The challenge to keep aside life and work will be an important issue to solve.
5. Finding Information
Business connectivity and acces to information could be slower if there are many security locks. Or if the company is not fully virtualised than documents can’t be reached.
6. Organising Time
If the employee is not a great time scheduler than it might happen a mess when managing time.
Are you ready for remote work?
For businesses is difficult to know if they are ready to start applying an environment that moves towards remote work. There are several aspect to take into consideration and AON gives what businesses should ask themselves to determine if they are ready for remote work.
- Does the senior management team vocally support virtual work?
- Can we measure and manage virtual workers’ engagement?
- Have virtual work-specific HR policies been established?
- Is there a space reduction or hoteling plan in place?
- Is there a plan for measuring virtual worker performance?
- Have we detailed the changing structure and tasks of virtual jobs?
- Is there a communication plan in place?
- Can managers be trained on how to manage virtual workers?
Best practices for working remotely
I will name five practices to consider when doing some remote work as a freelancer.
If you’re bored being in one place for hours and that was one reason why you decided to leave your old job, remote work allows you to choose where you want to work. It may be from the comfort of your home, in a park, beach, mountains, or coworking spaces. It depends on how you feel regarding your productivity. It is better to always choose the place that prevents you from being distracted and do a better job.
2. Workload control
Big or small projects, you choose. While at the beginning you may have difficulty signing projects, you will be obtaining reputation that will make easier to choose the type of project that is of your interest. You will know if you will accept other projects while working simultaneously, or you expect to finish the project that you already have in progress.
3. Choose how much you charge
Again, at first you may not be able to ask for big money, but your quality and effort will be your presentation card for future work. You may charge more depending on the complexity of the project, time and experience. And probably there will be customers who are not willing to pay, but surely there will be others who are really convinced you’re worth what you charge.
4. Learn to manage as a business
Like any business, a job requires a control over expenditures and revenue. Management will let you know how to accept or reject the projects you have in door, knowing how much money you should ask in advance for relevant purchases to operate the project. Digital tools you use may have some cost and is something you should consider.
There is a false belief that either a startup, small business or freelance, you will avoid having hateful bosses. On the contrary, as a entrepreneur you have to deal with much more demanding customers than your old bosses, but here you’ll set your criteria and quality of work. Here is required to give customers the quality they deserve.