Since 2020, the option of working remotely has
Of course, working from home has been a thing for years, but the option really came into its own during the pandemic and has since remained a popular alternative for many fields and industries. And the remote work option happens to be a mainstay for my field – freelancing.
In order to do what I do, I don’t need much – just a place to sit and a computer. Sure, I also have notepads and pens, snacks, a hot drink, and maybe a blanket too, but I really only need my trusty laptop to do my job.
Not long ago, one client asked me where my office was, and I almost laughed out loud. He thought I was doing well enough to have an office of my own in downtown Petoskey. Not to say that I don’t have freelance work filling my hours outside of my other jobs, but I’m definitely not yet at a place where I can financially justify a Gaslight District brick-and-mortar set-up. Maybe someday.
Many questions come along with working remotely, such as deciding if you’re going to work in bed, at the kitchen table, on the couch with your feet up on the coffee table (a personal favorite of mine), at a coffee shop, or at a table in the library. Not one to creatively thrive in the public buzz, typically, for me, freelancing means loungewear or pajamas at home and a third cup of coffee while editing an autobiography, researching local events, organizing information in a logical layout, or HTML tagging a 2,000-word blog post about a law firm’s area of expertise – the assignments and projects are vast and varied, keeping me sharp and engaged.
Working remotely gives me all kinds of freedom – I can start work at six in the morning or noon, and I can work past midnight if I choose. There’s no dress code to adhere to, no one to tell me I look “sick” because I’m not wearing my typical winged eyeliner, and I can take breaks whenever I want, fitting in leisurely afternoon walks. These are some pretty sweet pros regarding the working-from-home situation but also some cons.
Technically, I’m always at work when I’m home. Even once I shut my laptop for the day, the work is still before me, and many times I work later than I should because the work is accessible from my comfy couch cushion. Since I freelance from all areas in my apartment, it’s almost as if I’ve tainted the entire floor plan with drafts, red pens, deadlines, and notes. I don’t yet have an at-home designated office space where I can corral all of my freelance accouterments and shut the door, officially calling it a day without having to look at the stacks of papers or my ever-ready laptop while trying to relax. Hopefully, such a situation isn’t too far off, though.
Another con is not having an IT department or staff member to call when my printer goes on the fritz. Currently, my laptop and printer don’t “recognize” each other, which means I have to use my iPad if I want to print something. First-world problems, I know, but I dream of having someone else fix this ridiculous connectivity issue. But for now, I have to be my own technology-savvy white knight who swears regularly and dreams of ax-kicking this HP contraption, Office Space style. So why have a printer in the first place, you may ask. Well, I’m a tactile millennial who enjoys hard copies of articles, drafts, and instructions – very old school and very unlike the kids of today. More to come on my decrepit age next month.
Now, I recently jetted off to sunny Florida for a much-needed getaway – when you freelance and juggle several other jobs, it’s easy to find yourself working twenty-plus days straight, risking burnout, so I flew south and left my laptop at home, thus removing any temptation to work while I attempted to take a load off and enjoy a vacation. Yes, I still checked my email to make sure I didn’t miss anything vital, but knowing that my small business doesn’t deal in life or death, it was easier to flag certain emails and leave them until I was in the north once again.
And now, I am back home, resuming paused projects, wading through emails, and getting back into the swing of my freelance/multiple-job life. However, when I’m overseas this summer, my laptop will be joining me for remote work while I take a jaunt around Germany and a foray into France. I would love to simply be a tourist for two weeks, but the jobs and deadlines won’t wait that long. So, I may end up blogging and freelancing from a German apartment or a French cafe table, channeling my inner ex-pat. After all, ‘tis the life of a freelancer – it’s like being a roaming troubadour, but with a keyboard.
Coming up next:
Monday, June 5
The Big 33