Maintaining telecommuting once COVID is gone is going to be a challenge. However, as we explored in our change series, with advocacy for working from home together with a strong business case for remote work benefits, we can create a new normal.
Here’s how we keep working on that change and make telecommuting a viable choice for worker and company alike.
Step five: Keep working on change
The enemy of change is not resistance but apathy. We push for change and then think it’s all over. It isn’t. Attending one march or signing a petition doesn’t create lasting change.
Where the rubber meets the road is consistent effort.
We have to be patient enough to take on a long-haul campaign. Unfortunately, our online existence and life’s pace has taught us to be less patient than what real change allows for.
How do we keep the momentum for a working from home campaign? Here are a few ideas:
- Stop seeing yourself as one person and embrace the community. We don’t have to be perfect to remind the establishment working from home is a benefit. We simply have to be singing from the same sheet music
- Start building the relationships we need. When freelancers weren’t included on JobKeeper, I soon saw the value in having conversations with any other place that would listen. We shared a common problem and it worked beautifully. Don’t focus on the differences. Focus on the common goal and the shared values. And invite everyone along to the party!
- Keep talking about it incessantly. Media still makes people sit up and listen. Being available and making information available are key. Spend time talking about the issues on blogs, on Medium, via video seminars, social media, at meetups and more. Freelancers and our allies need to write enough that the journalists see the story
- Conversations translate into campaigns. Those paint points for the focus of any campaign are valuable, even if they don’t get used the first time. Use them the second time. And the third. Build campaigns that cover the bases that include what you learn as each one unfolds
- Make it a thing for the target audience. Pitch yourself as a remote freelancer or remote worker. Speak to the efficiency of the model. Keep asking in the workplaces. Apply pressure
- Normalise the benefits. The Freelance Jungle regularly runs a survey to inform our policy. We also do it, so we have the proof the world seeks about the claims we make. If there is no existing paper on the benefits of a freelancer working from home, create one!
- Be a little punk. No, I don’t mean a little jerk. I mean like a punk rock band. Create noise, play the game expected and then break the rules. Garner attention. Use art, writing, music and creativity to make a point. Gather up all the weird and wonderful talents freelancers have to make a scene visible and push for recognition of what we do
- Play to your strengths. Everyone has the ability to move the needle. It’s about finding out exactly what that looks like for you
- Take the win- and ask for more. Nothing worth its salt comes easily. We are changing a few centuries thinking about servitude being a big part of the workplace. We’re off to a great start. Let’s not lose the momentum
- Put your butt where your mouth usually goes. Everyone has an opinion on how to do something better. Or what topics are or aren’t worthy. Most do it in five-minute bursts from the safety of behind their monitor or a perspiring beer. When you’re critiquing an idea or a movement, make sure you have enough skin in the game to warrant it. This is especially important when people are seeking to make huge changes like how we work as a society. Nothing’s ever perfect and we’ll never get to launch stage if we’re too busy getting it right to execute it in the time required to make an impact.
That’s great, but where’s the rally cry to get us telecommuting permanently?
Yes, I know waxing lyrical about the politics and psychology of change is part of the problem. We need to get off the blocks and get in there.
- Normalise it with your clients
Talk about the benefits – it’s only habit that keeps us in the office
- Get involved in politics and make telecommuting and remote work something you want
- Support the bodies pushing for your rights to remain
- Promote the companies that thrive working remotely
- Continue to show the benefits by producing good quality work
I’m also running a working group to find out how we can challenge conventional thinking and preserve telecommuting in Wollongong. Come along with your ideas!