There's this notion that if you are working from home, you have all the time in the universe to host people and, of course, heed to their requests whenever they need you. Many people believe that working from home is a breeze. You are your own boss!
The one thing that these people fail to acknowledge is that just like any other job, freelancers working from home have schedules, milestones, and goals, sometimes stricter than those of people who are employed.
Unlike employment, where the salary is constant whether you spend an hour on your phone, the next 30 minutes chatting with a colleague, and only six and a half hours working, freelance work is pretty different. Every hour is billable.
You can spend thirty minutes on your phone. That's great, but no one is going to pay you for sitting at your desk and not working. Even when the payment is not hourly, your input is directly proportional to your output. If a freelancer takes one week to transcribe a one-hour video, who will get peanuts? Your guess is as good as mine.
The amount of time one takes to successfully deliver a project directly translates to their earnings. That's why time is a crucial factor in a freelancer's life, especially for those who work online.
For this very reason, friends and family of this workforce must strive to understand the profession. It's a good idea to learn how your freelance friends work to give them humble time rather than label them as reclusive.
To help you accommodate friends and family working from home, here are simple etiquettes that could literally save their lives.
No surprises, call first
Nothing gets on my nerves like someone knocking on my door without notice. Their argument? They were in my neighbourhood and thought it wise to drop in. I always appreciate the thought, but really?
Please, the next time you are in your freelancer friend's neighbourhood, do your business and leave if you didn't call in advance. People are trying to make a living. And you popping in in the middle of the day is uncalled for. If anything, you are adding pressure to their already tight schedule. Always call first. And it's not just calling when you are already on your way. Call in advance. Give them humble time to confirm if they'll be available.
Stick to the schedule
Traditional employment comes with leave days and offs, perfect breaks to rejuvenate. However, what makes you think that just because someone is a freelancer, they'll also take time to chill with you during that time? Let's understand one thing. Your leave or off day is at your convenience. Not your friend's. And so if their free time is Sunday, it remains a Sunday whether your off is from Monday through Thursday.
They could take time off, but why would they do that if they have work and they could still see you over the weekend? Not only that, your paycheck remains the same through the four off days, but for them, four days out of the office means four days' pay off their paycheck.
Another thing, if you agreed to visit at 4:00 p.m visit at that time. Don't show up in the morning hours! Sometimes, these people have schedules and deadlines to meet. Other times it's not even about the deadlines. They might have weekly financial goals or milestones they've set for themselves. So, when they've gone above and beyond to fix you in their schedule and then you decide to come at your own time, you are not only jeopardizing their plans but also ruining their financial outlook. Be reasonable!
Still on schedules, don't overstay your visit. If you were just passing by, spending an hour or two doesn't seem like someone passing by, does it? Tagging your three colleagues you met along the way is also not polite. If you have to come with a plus one, please give that information in advance. It's simple etiquette!
Take the NOs with grace
There are times one has to put their foot down and say "no" to weekend plans, random visits, or anything that doesn't align with their plans. Often, the "no" is usually not taken politely. Why? As I said earlier, to most people who do not understand freelancing, working from home means someone is available, and if they are not, they are selfish.
If a freelancer tells you they are busy, they are busy. There's no way around it. You may take offence if they can't oblige to your request, which is normal. But also put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand where they are coming from. Do they show up at your workplace anytime they want to, or when they are in the area? Then why should you? Yes, they may be working from home, but freelancing requires just the same level of commitment, if not more than formal employment. So, respect that.
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