The Benefits Of Freelancing (Other Than Sleep-Ins, Working In Your PJs)
There are myriad benefits to freelancing: flexibility in work hours, ability to work from a tropical island if so desired (preferably one with a strong Wi-Fi connection), being able to work on projects that you feel passionate about – the list goes on.
However, there are other less-spoken-about perks to becoming a digital nomad which make freelancing an even more attractive prospect for office-dwellers considering taking the leap to the other side of the laptop.
#1 No more office politics
Career progression should be largely based on merit and capability; however, a key measure of an employee’s rise to the top of the pecking order can be attributed to their ability to navigate the wild jungle of office politics.
It’s pivotal to be viewed as a team player and also, at the same time, to be the best on the field – all the while keeping an eye out for any opponents attempting to take you out of the game. Playing the game of office politics is crucial to climbing the career ladder, but it can also be cutthroat and may leave you worse for wear if you don’t emerge as the winner.
Freelancing enables you to work on your own terms without having to engage in the dramatics of office politics on a daily basis.
#2 Scrapping pointless meetings
Effective meetings with a clear agenda and well-defined outcomes are fantastic and they can promote teamwork and transparency in communication and decision-making. Ineffective and non-essential meetings, on the other hand, where meeting participants aren’t prepared, and key takeaways and action points are ambiguous, undermine the relevance of internal meetings and are painful to sit through.
Work meetings can eat up a considerable amount of time from your workday and what’s with back-to-back pointless meetings always falling on the day where there are five deadlines to hit before close of business?
#3 Banishing ‘buzz words’
You know, the “We need ‘all hands on deck’ this week to ‘think outside the box’ and ensure our ‘value proposition’ has ‘synergy’.” Every office employee has likely heard or seen these words, or something along these lines; they’ll likely pop up at some point in your career, whether it’s the monthly team meeting or an all-staff email.
Office jargon and company acronyms are often the first thing to master when starting at a new workplace and after a while, the company vernacular becomes a second language. However, office jargon can often be used to veil how little we know about a topic and it’s a crafty way to mask a lack of innovation or the fact that the company doesn’t have a clear and focused direction. And if you freelance, you will limit your exposure to this particular kind of hot air.
#4 Escaping toxic colleagues
We’ve all been there: faking a polite smile while a sleazy/racist/gossiping co-worker makes an inappropriate or offensive comment. Dealing with people that you wouldn’t normally associate with outside the office walls is a fact of life, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy putting up with negative behavior for five days out of your week, particularly if this toxic person is on your team – or even worse – if they’re your manager.
You may come across these types of clients when you’re a freelancer, but the key difference is that you have the power to say ‘no’ if you’d prefer not to work with them.
#5 Avoiding unhealthy food habits
Morning and afternoon tea at work is a definite perk of office life, particularly when there is a baking god/dess among the team – and there’s usually at least one. However, when there’s an afternoon tea being held every second day because it’s a colleague’s birthday or their last day of work, or you’re celebrating an engagement or a company milestone, all of the sugary cupcakes and cronuts quickly add up in heavy calories. Or you might be lucky enough to be taken out to eat at client lunches week after week.
Office life is usually means a generally sedentary lifestyle, meaning you’re less active – and if you couple that with consuming less-than-healthy lunches – you can become pretty unhealthy pretty quickly. Some businesses recognise the unhealthy food and lifestyle habits that can accompany office life and arrange fruit delivery to the office and free or subsidised gym memberships for employees; however, these benefits aren’t available at every company and you may find your waistline expanding more quickly than you can finish off that second cronut. Here’s some ways to eat for success.
#6 Not worrying about redundancies or resourcing issues
Red flags and warning signs appear when a company begins to cut business costs by reducing expenses and employee benefits, or are unable to hire new people to fill existing holes and work is spread across already overloaded workers.
Working while there are whispers of redundancies can be an incredibly stressful time for employees with adverse health effects, and it’s a given that being overworked isn’t exactly great for your stress levels, either – which is why freelancing can be a welcome relief as the buck stops entirely with you.
#7 No performance reviews
During performance review time, employees are expected to rate their abilities, play up their successes and to let their manager know why they’re deserving of that elusive pay rise. There are a number of issues with performance reviews, specifically the time physically spent completing them and its actual proven usefulness in recognising and rewarding good employees.
Some companies have started phasing out traditional performance reviews and have implemented processes with an emphasis on regular feedback and review between employees and their managers instead of waiting until the end of the financial year. However, stock-standard performance reviews are still the norm and remain the bane of most employees’ and managers’ lives.
Camha is a freelance editor and writer currently based in Perth. She is a wannabe word nerd, travel-addict and coffee enthusiast, and thinks that life is just one big Seinfeld episode (where Elaine is her BFF). She has written for Broadsheet, AWOL, The Big Bus and the Huffington Post Australia, and tweets at @curatedbycammi