Thanks to technology, along with improved enterprise collaboration tools, more people than ever before are working from home. In fact, “the number of telecommuting workers has increased 115% in a decade,” according Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. That equals almost 4 million workers (roughly 1/3 of the US workforce) working from home at least 50% of the time, per CNN.

As more and more people begin experiencing flexibility in their work schedule, the line between “freelance worker” and “remote office employee” begins to get a little blurry. What’s the difference between someone who works primarily from home, setting their own office hours versus someone else who calls themselves a freelancer but only works with one or two larger clients (also from home)? In a nutshell: there’s a big difference.

The great news is that there are enterprise collaboration tools for both applications that can make your work life easier. Whether you’re working with an online team for a large corporation, or hustling alone as a solopreneur, online collaboration tools like project management apps are an absolute must. You don’t have to be sitting across the country from your team members to benefit from awesome tools for your business.

Let’s dive into the three major differences between a freelancer and an employee who utilizes collaboration tools for business in their remote work.

You Can Work Remotely … But Only Occasionally

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One of the biggest benefits of being a full-time freelancer and working in the freedom economy is getting to work from wherever you desire. Although more companies are recognizing the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, chances are you aren’t able to work 100% from home (or the local coffee shop of your choice). The good news? Comprehensive enterprise collaboration systems can change that.

If you’re not ready to freelance full-time just yet, but you’re dying to get out of the office, consider some of the following tips:

  1. Make a list of the tasks you commonly complete in your job role on a weekly and monthly basis. Highlight all the tasks that don’t require you to physically be working in the office to execute. You may be surprised to find that with the right enterprise collaboration systems in place, there are very few tasks that require you to work on site.
  2. Now, study the list of jobs that require you to be on site at your office. Consider why that is. Is it because you need to speak with someone on your team once the task is completed? You can easily do that via video conferencing apps like Skype. Does your boss need to sign off on your work immediately after you’re finished? You can quickly send them a PDF, Word Doc, Excel or PowerPoint via a slew of online collaboration tools.
  3. Next, create a list of new jobs that you would love to take on that you’re not currently executing. Outline how you could perform these duties from home with enterprise collaboration systems, and how you’ll plan to measure the effectiveness of your work. This will allow you to take on additional tasks in your work that you enjoy, while alleviating unnecessary work for your employer; it’s a win-win! Be sure you stress that you’re able to do the new tasks remotely and which specific enterprise collaboration tools you’ll be using to do so.

You’re Not Technically Your Own Boss

Along with total flexibility in your work schedule, freelancing allows you to make the call on who you work with and what types of work you take on. When you’re working for someone else, you most likely don’t have that luxury. That’s not to say you don’t have the opportunity to change the type of work you’re doing in your current workplace, however.

Consider making some of the following changes in your 9-5 to ensure you’re doing more work that you’re passionate about:

  1. Are there tasks that you’re currently completing that you don’t love doing? Make a list of them. Are any of them things that would be better suited for someone else in your department to handle? For example, maybe you’ve been tasked with creating website analytics reports each month because when you first started in your role, there wasn’t anyone else on the team to do them. If your department has grown with additional employees or new interns, and new enterprise collaboration systems have been put into place, there may be the opportunity to shift some job duties elsewhere. Be sure to come up with a list of new tasks that you’d be willing to take on in place of the ones you’re hoping to give up.
  2. Think about your biggest business-related strengths. If you aren’t sure what those are, take some of the following online tests to help you identify them: 123test, Richard Step, CliftonStrengths. Is it your ability to facilitate better communication via enterprise collaboration? Perhaps it’s your attention to detail? Another easy way to find out what you’re good at is by asking your coworkers. Ask 3-5 of your teammates which tasks and job duties they think you do best. Then analyze what they have to say; are you actively working on the things you do best, or are they a small part of what you do? If it’s the latter, it’s time to have a conversation with your boss about how you can work on more of the things you enjoy doing and are great at executing.
  3. Come up with a 6-month, 1-year and 2-year strategy on how you can transition to doing jobs that you’re passionate about within your work setting. That might be within your same department, in the form of a promotion. Or, it may be in a completely different field that you’re interested in learning more about. Regardless, if you come up with a plan to identify where you want to go, you can begin creating a plan to get you there, little by little.

The Enterprise Collaboration Tools You’re Using Were Selected by Your Company

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Another difference between working as a freelancer vs. working as a remote employee are the online collaboration tools you’re using every day. As an employee, you’re often told which systems and collaboration tools for business to use in your job, without much input. As a freelancer, it’s up to you to implement every app, tool and website platform you’ll need in your work. Although it can feel a bit overwhelming as a new business owner when you’re researching and setting up all of your new tools, there is also incredible freedom in being able to choose which platform is best for your work.

If you’re looking to implement new enterprise collaboration tools in your 9-5, consider taking some of the following steps to get started:

  1. Consider the tasks you execute most, and what the pain points are in each process. Is it a lack of communication throughout the process? Or having to use outdated online collaboration tools?
  2. Next, research tools to help make your job easier. It may be a better messaging app to chat with your coworkers throughout the day, or an easier way to track project progress.
  3. Finally, take your compiled list of new apps, platforms and enterprise collaboration systems and present them to your boss for consideration. Chances are, if the tools you’re suggesting can benefit various segments of your work, they’ll at least consider them!

Explore How Enterprise Collaboration Tools Can Benefit Your Business Today

It’s no secret that working remotely is on the rise. Approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with telecommuting or working remotely. As more people are working from home, the definitions of “freelancing” and “remote work” may seem harder to define. However, there are three key differences between freelance remote workers and remote employees. Those are the capacity that you’re able to work remotely, whether or not you’re your own boss and can determine the type of work you do, and which tools you’re able to implement in your job.

Regardless if you’re currently hustling in the gig economy, an aspiring entrepreneur or working happily in your corporate career, there are enterprise collaboration tools that can make your work more seamless.

Explore project management software that allows you to communicate easier with your teammates, update your boss on a project’s progress, check on a client’s invoice, study Gantt Charts, quickly send important files, send payment requests and much more.

Discover better enterprise collaboration tools today so you can focus on executing more of the work you love.