Workshifters come in many varieties, and the 2 flavors with which I am most familiar are the freelance contractor and the full-time employee who works from home.
In either case, your time is your money. The hours you attach to any given task or project have a value – the time you could be spending on another task. In other words, the opportunity cost of doing Project A is equal to the financial compensation lost for not doing Project B or to the intrinsic benefits sacrificed by not just taking time for yourself. From this perspective, it’s easy for workshifters to understand what our time and efforts are worth.
It’s not so easy for employers and clients, however. In fact, they are on the opposite side of this 2-way mirror. This is particularly true in the case of employers, who may view workshifters as commodities. What’s in it for them to allow this employee to workshift – how much will it cost them? What flexibility does the workshifter have (that these employers do not), and how much does that devalue what the workshifter is really worth? Call it workshifter discrimination, if you will.
To allow an employee the flexibility to workshift, possibly at the exclusion of other employees (assuming telework is not regularly allowed at this company), there has got to be:
- Strong justification
- Inherent trust
- Positive tangible or intangible returns/results
Businesses are not charities, after all.
So what’s a workshifter to do about not only proving worth but also maintaining flexibility? For me, the key is building a case for the value of my work – full-time, part-time or anything in-between. But how do I build such a case?
Know not only the absolute value of your contributions but also their relative strength when compared against anyone in a full-time, 9-to-5 position. Could they do what you do regardless of their schedule?
Be your own judge, jury and legal counsel
Look at the facts. What have you been able to accomplish that others have been given the same opportunity to do, yet failed in their attempts?
Know your limits and own them
Recognize the value you place on both your output and your flexibility. Perhaps you do not need to be paid more, but you are not willing to accept less either. If you reach an impasse with your employer, be very sure that you’re willing to walk and take the value of your skills with you.
What is your workshifting work worth?
Photo Credit: treehouse1977