Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Work from home does not make you a dullard

How things have changed

In conversations with an ex-colleague, I was amused to learn of some exploitation of engagements being contemplated by certain clients employing freelance consultants.

During this pandemic, the employment market is a bit fraught, for some, they are well placed to take on interesting opportunities and certain circumstances have closed up availability that competition is keen. What this can do is weaken both the resolved and bargaining clout of the consultant as they have to weigh the options amongst the various choices.

One given change to the workplace dynamic is working from home or working remotely. People are only going into the office if there is no way that they can do their work from home. I, for one have never visited the premises of my office since I took on this role in May and it is unlikely I will for the term of my contract.

Home and away, the same

Whether working from home or in the office, the same expertise is still required to do the job. For subject matter experts, what they are hired for is knowledge, know-how, and experience, bringing much of their wealth of insight and ability to bear on situations in the environment where they are engaged.

What I have heard is some clients are considering paying a lower rate to consultants who are working remotely, maybe in the misguided view that unsupervised consultants who cannot be micromanaged with some jobs worthy manager watching over their shoulders to ensure they are mercenaries to the core mean a loss of productivity.

This forgets that consultants are by and large professional and dedicated to getting things done effectively and efficiently. My further argument is that consultants are paid for their expertise regardless of where they are working from. A consultant is not suddenly a genius at work and a dullard at home.

The skill is the deal

I have not heard that permanent staff will be subjected to this stupid idea, not that it can happen without a fight, a dirty one at that. In fact, if you do expect a consultant to come into the office during this pandemic, you should be paying danger-money. The organisation I work for had over 500 COVID-19 infections in the time from September to January with one death registered. I fall into a vulnerable group, so, I cannot attend the office at all.

One thing I know is that I have been able to do my job remotely as best I can within the strictures of the permissions and rights that have been awarded. I hope that alone makes me worthy of my remuneration and hopefully is a testament of a good workman that no one will countenance an idea so reprehensible and expectant of utter and complete repudiation.

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