The freelancers’ guide: How to make working from home work for you long-term

12 months. Three lockdowns. Working from home has been a reality for lots of us for a while. For new and old freelancers, WFH has been so beneficial they're planning to keep going on a full-time or part-time basis even when we can start shaking hands again.

Want to make your home office permanent? This is how.

A survey of 1200 UK-based freelancers reported in Forbes has shed new light on the experience of freelancers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • 21% are brand new freelancers. They went freelance after losing their job because of the pandemic.
  • 74% say they're happier as a freelancer compared to when they were as a permanent employee.
  • 74% think the logistics of WFH have been really easy to adapt to. They're particularly thankful for tools like Slack and Zoom.
  • Most freelancers surveyed said they're no more productive while WFH, but a significant 36% of freelancers think they do get more done.

Have a project wishlist

Surveyed freelancers were split down the middle when it came to quality of projects available - 31% think Covid brought more opportunity for freelance gigs while 30% thought the opposite. Working for yourself can make it hard to say no to things that come your way, whether they're genuinely interesting or not.

Before you start bidding/pitching for everything, create a list of what you need a project to include to make your work/home life happy. It could be the content of the job itself, how long it takes, what the client's like, how you'll collaborate, or - most importantly - the financial value of the job. This will help you decide if it's worth your time.

Work on yourself when you're not working on other things

71% of surveyed freelancers said some of their projects were delayed or cancelled completely because of the pandemic. For brand new freelancers especially this is quite a tough realisation - freelancers have to create their own stability because their clients often won't.

If you find yourself unexpectedly less busy than you thought you'd be, try to avoid time-consuming panic mode. Have other ways of spending your time ready to go, including networking remotely with other freelancers, working on your own branding and marketing, or learning a new skill. Anything but twiddling your thumbs and worrying about the work you're not doing.

Fill your old commuting time with something much better

It's been so long since you travelled to offices and meetings that it's probably quite hard to remember how much time it used to waste. Now you can do whatever you want with that time. 36% of the surveyed freelancers think they're more productive because they can use their commuting time for more useful things.

If your old commute took 60 minutes out of your day, you could use it for a morning run, a long breakfast, a lie-in, some reading, emails, childcare, or just keep it free and flexible for whatever needs your attention most.

Be conscious of how you spend your time (or it'll run away from you)

85% of the freelancers surveyed say they spend 6+ hours a day researching their work, doing the work itself, marketing themselves, and talking to clients. That's all essential stuff, but the non-essential can easily creep into your day. Stop it now and it won't become a problem later.

If balancing work and life has been one of the big benefits of WFH it's important to keep that balance. For freelancing from home to work well long-term, the most valuable parts of your work should get top priority and the stuff that doesn't matter so much should be firmly on the sidelines.

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