Working as a freelance translator comes with a number of perks. And not just in terms of flexible working hours, but also the possibility to work from your couch. Recent advances in technology are making it easier and easier to work remotely. But while the prospect of working from home (or beach, or a café) might be tempting, it has its limitations too. So, what is it? A dream-come-true, a curse or, perhaps, a mixed blessing?
The pros of working from home
No commute time
Commuting, whether by car or public transport, can be time-consuming and stressful. If you are a freelance translator working from home, you don’t have to worry about wasting your time stuck in a traffic jam. You can spend those precious minutes/hours much more effectively. Not having to go to work every day can also save you some money you would otherwise have to spend on petrol or bus/train fares.
Home office gives an undoubtful benefit of working at a time that suits you best. This, in turn, can improve your productivity, as you can organize your day in such a way, to work during your peak hours. But it also makes it easier to handle your family matters or arrange various appointments.
Customizing your office
Prefer working on a laptop over a desktop? Find it easier to work with multiple screens?Feel like getting yourself a new ergonomic chair or trying out a standing desk? Working from home means you get to customize your home office to suit your preferences and needs. You are free to experiment with various solutions instead of making do with dull corporate settings and office cubicles. You can write off some of your home office expenses on your taxes too.
The cons of working from home
Takes some discipline
Do you sometimes struggle to get out of bed to go to work? Feel like staying home from work due to bad weather? Not being expected to actually leave home, freelancers may find it even harder to resist these temptations. It takes a great deal of motivation and self-discipline to get down to work at a specific time, e.g. early in the morning. Being your own boss also requires good organizing skills. Without a supervisor to keep an eye on you, or other professionals around you, getting into routine can be a real struggle.
While working from home means no loud environment, or other co-workers looking over your shoulder, it comes with its own set of distractions too. It may be quite difficult to cut out on the time you spend on social media channels, web surfing or checking your inbox. Other common distractions include too frequent food and drink breaks, housework or… your family. Working from home you may discover your family finds it hard to accept that even though you’re home, you’re actually at work and are not always available.
Impact on social life
This one is not directly related to home office itself, but it has something to do with the way most freelancer function. Having flexible work time you can work when you really have to work, and take your time off, when you have no new projects to complete. But it often means you’re working opposite hours from your significant other or your friends. When translation projects start piling on, you might end up working late hours. Lastly, the lack of office colleagues to hang out with may lead to the feeling of social isolation.