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Is the bums-on-seats mentality slowly changing?

by Rachel Smith
08 May 2019

We’re noticing an interesting shift on our jobs board lately – more remote jobs. And, more jobs where there’s the option to work remotely, at least part of the time. You’ve got to wonder: is the bums-on-seats mentality endemic to many workplaces FINALLY shifting? We certainly hope so.

At Rachel’s List, if a job-poster comes to us for advice about a role they’re posting, we always ask if there’s the opportunity for applicants to work off-site. Sometimes there isn’t; the company only wants someone on-site and of course, there are roles where that makes perfect sense. But sometimes there is that opportunity, and in making the role flexible and the choice of where to work up to the job-seeker, that job-poster suddenly has access to a whole new world of talented, amazing applicants.

We know some magazines where entire teams work off-site, in cities all over Australia. We had a job posted just last month on a leading parenting website – a high-level editorial management position that was part-time, paid well – and was completely remote. The entire team worked from home or at co-working spaces of their choosing, and used online tools to manage workflows and to conduct meetings. It was a requirement that candidates did the same; no ifs, no buts. Other jobs coming through recently have offered workers the chance to ‘choose their city’ – working in a newsroom if the company has one in place, or remotely if there isn’t.

It’s taking a while, but I think many job-posters are starting to realise that you don’t need a bum-on-a-seat to have a productive workforce. Embracing remote freelance writers and other remote workers is the future. The technology is there and how companies source workers is definitely shifting.

Why are we so gung-ho about job-posters swapping their bums-on-seats policy for remote workers? Here are just a few reasons.

1. The creative ‘gig economy’ is a highly skilled market.

Thousands of editorial and digital workers have been displaced by redundancies in recent years; that’s no secret. And that means a lot of very experienced freelancers are out there, working across Australia – with specialist skills a job-poster’s team may not have, but could hugely benefit from.

2. Hiring a remote freelance writer or other creative can be a cost-effective way to plug the gaps.

A job-poster may want his or her team to focus on a big project while outsourcing generic tasks to a freelancer. It’s a win-win.

3. Job-posters save on resources.

If a company hires a freelancer for a short gig, you don’t need to make sure there’s a desk, a computer, a landline. They’re set up and ready to go. (If a company hires you as a contractor things may be a little different but a freelance project here and there – no sweat).

4. Remote freelance writers are used to hitting the ground running.

The freelancers I know are used to being autonomous, dealing with clients, managing their time and meeting deadlines – so all a job-poster needs to do is write a brief, set a deadline and let the freelancer get on with it.

Don’t get me wrong – we still post a heap of on-site, full-time roles as our job-seekers are fluid; sometimes you’re freelancing, sometimes you want more stability and a regular paycheck. But the take home message here is that opening up a job so remote workers can apply from anywhere significantly expands the talent pool job-posters have available to them.

Do you find job-posters are starting to trust in remote freelance writers and other creatives more and more? Or are you still experiencing frustration in that you won’t be considered by companies with a strict bums-on-seats policy?

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Rachel Smith

As a kid, Rachel used to carry around a little suitcase of pens and paper so she could stop and write stories whenever inspiration struck. These days, she writes for a living, in between running the show at Rachel's List. Some of you may actually believe she looks like a megaphone in real life, but it's not the case. Honest.
Rachel Smith
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