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We were delighted to contribute to this feature in the Sunday Independent on the financial pros and cons of Remote Working.

Our thoughts here:

Many people are more open to remote working now, given the crisis of the last few months. Some of those considering remote working however are concerned that they could lose out on promotions or pay rises – because there is sometimes a feeling that office-based workers are more likely to get promotions and pay rises because they are seen out and about the office more. What’s your view on this – is there a danger that remote workers could lose out on promotions and pay rises and what should remote workers do to ensure they don’t lose out here but get the promotions and pay rises they deserve?

 There is a real danger that remote workers can lose out here and it is paramount that companies ensure that this does not happen.

For fully remote companies like Shopify or Scraping Hub, these issues are non existent – the challenges arise with a Hybrid team, with some people working from home or remotely and others situated in the office. Remote workers miss out on rubbing shoulders with the management who will usually be onsite and may be overlooked for promotion – out of sight , out of mind.

The key thing that needs to change is the culture of presentee-ism in the traditional sense of being in the office equates to loyalty and productivity. Companies need to put their culture under the microscope and build the scaffolding around their remote work policy and procedure, to ensure that everyone is being treated equitably.

 A robust training and development programme should be developed for all the team – if a hybrid team of remote workers and on site workers becomes the status quo , as will be the case for most companies initially post covid, remote workers must be given the same opportunities, recognition and status as their counterparts in the office onsite. Companies will lose disgruntled talent if not.

Employees on their part can take the following steps to ensure they are being recognised:

  • Ditch the modesty. Ensure that your bosses are aware of any achievements/wins with your team and your boss. Your boss may not be aware that you hit your KPIs in record time unless you actually spell if out.
  • Write it down – keep a daily record of all your successes – any ideas you have brought to the table and what projects you have helped bring to fruition.
  • Ask for regular feedback and use this to highlight the excellent job you are doing – most companies are navigating their way through this new way of working so any good leader will seek feedback from you – this is your opportunity to highlight where you have been innovative and creative.
  • Seek a Sponsor – look for a mentor or a sponsor within the organisation – someone who is going to have your back and will keep your profile alive at management level
  • Don’t be shy – ensure you are communicating effectively and regularly with your peers and boss and that your seniors are aware of your ambitions. Ask for the promotion/job/pay rise.

Let’s say someone wants to work from home remotely for five days a week – but their boss isn’t up to the idea – and as a result, the individual is considering becoming self-employed or a contractor so they can work remotely full-time. What financial pros and cons would you like to highlight to someone who is considering doing so – particularly as Ireland is expected to enter a recession?

 Moving from a PAYE employee to a freelancer needs to be considered carefully. While you will generally be on a higher rate per hour as a contractor, you will need to consider that you will not be paid for maternity or paternity leave, sick leave or holidays.

Also, your salary may not be consistent – you may have lean months or weeks which you will need to budget for – For example if you were freelancing as an accountant, you may not be busy in the summer months but may need to work overtime at busy periods during the financial year.

Do you currently have a pension with your company? Are you going to have to give this up or start to think about contributing to a personal pension? It would definitely be advisable to speak to a financial advisor to consider all pension options.

If you set yourself up as a self employed contractor , you will have to do your own tax returns – there are specialised companies like Contracting Plus who will look after the whole process for you – there are expenses that you can deduct as a personal limited company like a €500 tax free voucher, that are interesting.

The advantages of being your own boss and working remotely are, of course, the flexibility to work when and where you want to – a reduction or elimination of your commute and the choice to live wherever you want. This must be weighed up with the insecurity of contracting life, particularly as we enter a period of economic instability.

Full article in the Sunday Independent