Freelance or office work – which is better?

Freelancing has long been no longer a gimmick, but despite this, many people still cannot dare to take a step toward working remotely, even though they dream of leaving the stuffy office. Fear of instability, as a rule, takes over the open prospects and opportunities.

Still, what’s better: freelancing or working in an office?

The answer is not simple. Each activity has its pros and cons, and which one is right for you depends entirely on your personality and how you want to work.

So to help you make the right decision, we’ve tried to compare freelancing to office work on several fronts, such as flexibility, control over your work, job security and more.

Whether you’re sitting in an office dreaming of freedom, or you’re tired of freelancing and longing for a full-time job, this article will help you decide. It will also be helpful if you’re just starting out in your career and want to know which path to take.

Before we begin, we would like to establish clear definitions for both types of activities, as concepts like “freelancer” and “salaried employee” are a bit blurred these days. For the purposes of this article, we have decided to refer to salaried workers as people who work full-time under contract for a particular company with a regular salary, while freelancers are creatives who work for themselves and collaborate with different clients.


How it works for salaried workers

Many companies are improving “work-life balance” these days, but employers in general still have a long way to go.

Many employees work far more hours than the 9-to-5 standard, and even during non-work hours are expected to be available by phone or e-mail. And while there is part-time work, reduced hours, and separation of duties, most forms of employment involve an inflexible, fixed commitment to a certain working hours weekly, with a limited time period per year for vacation.

Although employers often allow time off for important life events (family holidays or personal affairs), studies have shown that people who devote more time to their families often do not do well in their careers-particularly women who choose to take time off to care for their children.

How it works for freelancers

As a freelancer, you tend to have a lot more flexibility in your work. You can set your own work schedule, choose your own projects, increase or decrease your work hours, without neglecting family life or social obligations. As long as you meet agreed-upon deadlines, you can take the whole day off and work at night if you want.

But don’t get carried away and think you’ll spend all your time playing with the kids or relaxing with your significant other. Work tends to pile up, and when deadlines come, you may have to cancel your plans and work through the night to get everything done in time.

Without a clear work schedule, coworkers who can cover, and a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the month, it’s easy to take on too much. When the question is posed this way, one begins to question the flexibility of freelancing.

What it means for you

If you like consistency and feel good about being tied to a daily schedule, then full-time for a fixed monthly salary is probably a good choice. If, however, you want to manage your own schedule or you have a lot of commitments outside of work that require your time and attention, then freelancing is a great option.


How it works for salaried workers

Office politics tend to overshadow formal organizational roles and hijack critical organizational processes, making simple tasks difficult and tedious and organizations inefficient; wearing people down and accounting for much of the stress and burnout associated with work.

Of course, not every workplace becomes toxic, but in many organizations, especially large ones, there will be some sort of personality clash or power struggle.

How it works for freelancers

As a freelancer, for the most part, you don’t have to deal with office politics. For one thing, you’re not tied to a particular company, but you do have multiple bosses in different organizations. And even if you have regular clients, you’re usually detached from office politics. You work remotely or send an invoice for payment. If company policies start affecting you as well, you can move away from a particular client and find new ones instead.

Again, there’s a nuance: freelancers often have to deal with their clients’ office policies, which leads to problems like endless project changes. It’s essentially something you’re relatively free from, but you can’t completely ignore.

What it means for you

If you excel at reading people and their emotions, navigating difficult environments and sometimes competing with others for rewards, then you won’t be put off by the office politics that often come with office work. If that puts you off, freelancing offers a partial respite.


How it works for salaried workers

One of the big perks of office work is access to some benefits, such as health insurance, paid vacation, maternity leave, retirement or other benefits. These things can make a huge difference in your financial well-being and health, and for your family as well.

And in addition to the basic benefits, companies often organize various activities for employees and provide some benefits. For example, like a free gym membership, cafeteria meals, and access to a range of discounts. In addition, large firms often provide a training budget, so you can develop your skills at the company’s expense.

How it works for freelancers

Generally speaking, as a freelancer, you’re on your own. You have to handle your own health insurance, you don’t get paid vacation pay, and you have to take care of your own retirement and plan for it. When it comes to training, that’s your responsibility, too.

What it means for you

This is one of the few metrics where there is no clear winner. The extra benefits provided by a good employer are valuable, and the main disadvantage of freelancing is having to arrange insurance and retirement accounts yourself. However, there are many opportunities to invest money by ensuring that you have everything you need.


How it works for employees

In a company, you have a boss, and that person tells you what to do. You also have to work within the organization’s rules (both written and unwritten), which can be quite extensive. The reality is that you have less control over your work than you do as a freelancer.

If you have a good boss, he or she will probably give you some autonomy, and as you rise through the ranks, control over your work should increase. However, you will still be dependent on others to achieve your goal, but you can still carve out some independence for yourself.

How it works for freelancers

At first glance, you have complete control as a freelancer. You choose what to work on and what not to work on. If a project doesn’t interest you, you can simply drop it.

The trouble is, you have bills to pay at the end of the month. And if you’re not in a very good position, you’ll probably have to take on some task orders that you won’t be so happy about.

And while you may think differently, you also have a “boss” for each assignment: your client gives you instructions and expects a certain level of work from you. You can have independence and control over how to do the work, but if you stray too far from the client’s requirements, you may run into problems.

What it means for you

It’s a myth that self-employment gives you more control over your work than working for a company. This is partly true, but as we just saw, there are mitigating factors.


How it works for salaried employees

When you work for the same company, your motivation is often very structured. You receive performance reviews at the end of each year, and these reviews determine, for example, whether you will make more money next year, receive a bonus, or even a promotion.

Even the proverbial “daily routine” serves a motivational purpose: If you are late to work, your boss will be angry, and if you are late too often, you will be fired. It should motivate you to get out of bed when your alarm clock goes off!

How it works for freelancers

As a freelancer, you need to motivate yourself. You need to find clients yourself, do your own marketing, create your own website, and negotiate contracts. You have to constantly showcase yourself to the public without someone telling you to do it.

And when you get assignments, you have to do them yourself. If, for example, you get a big project with a deadline in a month, there’s nothing to stop you from spending the next 29 days getting up late and watching TV in the afternoon. No one will get mad at you or fire you. But there will be consequences on the 30th day if you can’t meet the deadline. So it’s up to you to organize your time and stay on top of things.

What it means for you

If you don’t know how to motivate yourself, the more structured environment offered by regular paid work may work for you. As a freelancer, you have to take the initiative yourself. But don’t worry too much – I don’t consider myself highly motivated, and I have survived as a freelancer. An empty bank account is a pretty strong motivator.


How it works for salaried workers

What’s hard to argue with is that working in an office is more secure than freelancing. You get paid regularly, and as long as you do a good job, you can expect to be paid at the end of each month. Even if you get laid off, your employer will usually notify you and give you some compensation.

How it works for freelancers

Freelancing can be very unstable. You can get into a “feast or famine” cycle, where one month you’re swamped with work and the next you can’t find a single job. This makes it difficult to plan and manage your finances. And even if you have regular customers, you can lose them at any time.

But that’s not all bad news for freelancers. Poor office workers have everything in one place, so for them to lose their jobs is a disaster. A freelancer, on the other hand, has several clients, so if you lose one, you can just rely on income from other clients until you find a replacement. It’s unlikely that you’ll lose all your clients at once, unless there’s a huge economic downturn and upheaval in your industry. By the way, it also affects office workers.

What it means for you

Generally, office jobs are more stable, offering a projected month-to-month income? So it’s a good option if you don’t like the thought of having to constantly worry when it’s time to pay your utilities. Freelance work, on the other hand, can bounce up and down, so you’ll need a lot of patience for uncertainty, especially in the beginning. However, keep in mind that having multiple sources of income gives you extra security.

To conclude

Now I’d like to summarize and highlight some of the pros and cons of both activities.

The advantages of freelancing:

Greater flexibility and the ability to choose your working hours.

The ability to choose work at your own discretion.

Multiple sources of income

Disadvantages of freelancing:

Lack of benefits.

Lack of communication.

Unpredictable income.

Benefits of office work:

Providing benefits, health insurance, paid vacation and retirement contributions.

Stability and predictability.

Disadvantages of office work:

Fixed hours and lack of flexibility.

Limitation of autonomy.

Total loss of income in the event of termination.

As you can see, there are good and bad points to both job options, so it’s impossible to say one is better than the other. It depends entirely on your personality and what you want to get out of your career. The next step is to decide which path is right for you.