It’s the FUTURE: Why Your Freelancer Should Work Offsite

I have been having this debate for several months now with fellow freelancers, clients, and even some headhunters in the creative field. One scenario that comes to mind is a headhunter would call me up with exciting news about how they have this wonderful job in mind, and they want me to give them a call. I would call to hear of the magical job that matched my skills (and hopefully my personality). I would listen to this “Rockstar Client” that they were describing, gaining excitement, rates approved and then it boiled down to one question. This million dollar question is:

“Is it onsite or offsite?”

The exciting tone of the conversation goes away, voices start to get lower, disappointment fills the air, and I am left with a speech of how the client really needs to have all hands on deck, doesn’t really like to have to communicate to freelancers outside the office, and then questions of if there is any way to change my mind. I have to stay strong, but then I don’t want to be stupid. After all, there are tons of unemployed people in the country, why would I want to turn down any opportunity paying $XX/hr? Why do I have to be the “different” one?

I felt this was a valid question and always start to consider my place, when I check Twitter, Vimeo, Blogs, etc… and I see other freelancers doing their thing. They are at home, producing good word, working with dope people and maintaining a great roster of clients. Why should I fold?


Entrepreneurial Spirit

I think there is a difference between a freelancer who likes to work in-house until they find the agency that they can mesh with versus the freelancer that is trying to work in such a way that they evolve to be an independent vendor/consultant. It’s hard to convince clients otherwise, especially when you are just starting out a lot of people would argue that you need to put in your time. It’s hard, in this Information Age, to believe stories like that because we read daily how people are starting startups (and failing, but nonetheless starting back up again), and producing great products to be the best in their craft. With any information that we need to grow into the business owner we want to be at our fingertips, there is really no excuse that we can give. So the first question we should ask ourselves is, what type of Entrepreneur am I?

In my experience, I would bring up these points in argument as to why a company should reconsider the services I had to offer. Especially in my line of work, as a creative, I find that a lot of the reasons are valid, but still very new because of traditional roles. I feel that a campaign should be made (and is in effect) for the Acknowledgement, Acceptance and Advancement of offsite/Remote work for Entrepreneurial Freelancers (now to be known as  AAAREF or Triple A REF).


Here are some reasons to be considered for promoting remote/offsite work:

1. Overhead is lower – The cost is lower because remote workers don’t use your office space, electricity, parking, maintenance, insurance expenses, furniture or computers. It also cuts down on employee benefit costs which averaged 42.7% of U.S. Company payroll in 2007. (source: Cisco)

2. Creativity shouldn’t be limited to 9-5 – With white walls, or even painted walls of beautiful color, creativity can be limited and often hindered because the human brain seeks adventure or creativity in new ways. Even with 8 hours to sit in front of the computer, our brains aren’t constantly working for those 8 hours which causes a loss in productivity. “We lose the ability to concentrate effectively within a few hours.” (source: Pick The Brain)

3. Vitamin D – Being inside for most of the day can cause actual health problems. With Vitamin D that we absorb from the sun, we not only gain a longer life but there is less disease, fewer infections, less depression, stronger bones, less pain and less inflammation. (source: Vitamin D3)

4. Meetings/corresponding can be done remotely – With the new advancements of VPN, Skype, iChat, and other technologies, we can virtually be in the same office without being physically present. Sometimes it’s better cause absence makes the heart grow fonder.

5. Some onsite is OK but shouldn’t be required – I’m not saying that one should NEVER go onsite, I just feel that we should have the choice. It’s been known that you if you forbid someone to do something they are more prone to do it for the satisfaction. If we allowed someone to do something, they may choose the more desired option.

6. People who work offsite are trained to be natural project managers – When working on your own there is no one to tell you what to do or what to not to do, when to wake up, or eat or manage projects. When you work offsite you step up naturally to do these projects because you know that they have to get done. Whether it’s a procrastinated action or one that’s carefully planned, it’s going to get done. We are natural born leaders and managers.

7. Social Media isn’t banned so your brand will be promoted more (if allowed. We won’t say anything bad.) – I can’t recall how many times I felt like I couldn’t do anything but work instead of promoting my project or work experience on Twitter or any other social media outlet because it was either banned or it was perceived that I wasn’t doing my work. I know in some instances it can be “too much” when you spend more time on Twitter than actually doing your work, but again, when used the right way, it can be a good tool for your company by promoting your product and your workers.

8. It’s 2011, what’s traditional anymore? – Why are we still holding on to the traditional roles of the 1940s with these work roles. There are many different new roles definitions being put into play, and it’s great if your company is able to jump ahead of the gun and put these new roles into place. The company who takes the leap will be seen as “innovative”.

Share some of your reasons as to why offsite is better than being in the office, or even vice-versa if you feel otherwise. I think it’s important to get the conversation going. I hope  to create a movement and make AAAREF more known amongst businesses and freelancers in the world.

Comments (1)
  • Igor

    March 28, 2012

    I am turning 50 and find I am too old to get dgesin jobs and have to work freelance. I live in Vancouver where it is very competitive, and you have to be a genius or have rewards or be young and cool to get hired by agencies. There is a huge age bias to get hired for jobs, so I have given up.There are few art director and manager jobs but at this age it’s more realistic to get hired as account manager.Aside from having to be a PHP and coding guru, I find there is less dgesin work out there and more and more work for back end coders. Alot of dgesin work offered is for students, interns and really really low wages. What with odesk and elance, and competing with a global workforce that doesn’t mind being paid under 5 dollars an hour, I find there is little hope for this career. I will be retiring soon! Sooner than I thought, but for what they are paying dgesiners out here and the fact that it’s so hard to get hired, I work on my own, but find that is a constant hustle for work. I can make just as much money being hired as an admin assistant. Graphic dgesin, wish I never went into it and got a real career, however it put food on my table for over 20 years.

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