Why business needs to embrace remote workers

Scenario one: A potential client contacts me. Things are going well. We exchange an email or two. We chat on the phone. Then they drop the phrase that every freelancer dreads… “Perhaps you could come by the office and we talk about this in person.”

Um… no.

Scenario two: An agency reaches out to you via LinkedIn. They have a great project that’s a good fit for your skillset and the kind of work you like to do. The pay rate is good. But wait, they want a bum on a seat in their office for eight hours a day from Monday to Friday… Why? Well, because… Just because. That’s how they do things.


Never mind the fact that my commute to an office in Melbourne would be about 25 hours if I had already organised my flight, I chose the freelance life because I don’t want to be a bum on a seat. I don’t want to commute. I enjoy working remotely from my home office and the freedom that brings.

Why do businesses want bums on seats?

What is at the heart of a business wanting a warm bum on seat?

Is it trust?

My reputation is on the line with every freelance job I take on. I’m invested in my work in a much greater way than I ever was as a bum on a seat in an office environment.

Not to mention the pfaff factor. When I worked in an office environment, I was paid for my time there, regardless of my output. Chatting in the kitchen while making a cuppa, lunches longer than my official break time, pointless meetings, dashing off to Medicare because they’re only open during business hours, this is the life of an office worker.

As a freelancer, I get paid for my outcomes. If I quote for a project that I estimate will take 20 hours and that project is accepted, I will get paid for 20 hours. If it takes me 30 hours because of all my pfaffing, it still costs the client 20 hours. If I get the work done in 15 hours, yay me. It still costs the client 20 hours. I am motivated to ditch the pfaff like I never was in an office environment.

No one can work for eight solid hours. At least, not work well. I have five good work hours in me a day. Five. Four hours some days. Do you really want to pay me for eight?

Reasons why business needs to embrace remote-working freelancers

1. It’s where the talented people are.

In my industry, people choose to work as freelancers because they don’t want a job — they want flexibility. If you want a job done well, hire a freelancer and pay for the outcome, not the bum on a seat.

There are brilliant freelance copywriters with the right skills and experience perfect for a project. So what if they are in a different city, state, or even country? Can a business find someone as equally perfect locally?

When you choose remote, the pool widens and deepens.

2. Skype and other technologies are breaking down the need to ‘meet in person’ barrier.

I don’t think there is anything we can cover in an in-person meeting that we can’t cover via Skype or a phone call.

3. Face-to-face meetings require compensation.

We are not employees. Most freelancers I know HATE the concept of having to work onsite, let alone the expectation of attending an unpaid client meeting.

If a business insists on a face-to-face meeting, they should be prepared to pay for the freelancer to attend that meeting. That time we spend travelling to and from your office, plus the time there, can add up to half a day. We are not employees — that is half a day away from our business, so business should expect to adequately compensate for that time we could be earning elsewhere.

When presented with a fee for a face-to-face meeting, Skype suddenly becomes a viable option and the business agrees there’s no need to meet in person after all. See item two.

4. Freelancers are invested in their reputation.

I am invested in my reputation. Without referrals and people saying positive things about my work, I don’t have a business. I am more invested in doing a good job as a freelancer than I ever was an employee. If trust is what’s preventing a business from hiring a remote freelancer, then ask for references from past clients, just like you would of a potential employee and their past employers.

5. We will prove ourselves with a paid trial

Don’t ever ask a freelancer to work for free, no matter how lucrative the ongoing work might be. I would be happy to prove myself with a paid trial, as would other freelancers.

Over to you… what’s been your experience of remote working either as a freelancer or the hirer?