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Remote Work for Consultants - What Will Change post-COVID?

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March 25, 2021
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4 minutes
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

Whether you’re the type of person who likes remote work or not, the pandemic gave most of us a little taste of what it feels like to work from home.

We learned how to turn dining tables into workstations, how to watch movies and respond to emails simultaneously, how to keep kids busy during video conferences, and most importantly, how to make a living and be a productive member of society without stepping into an office.

A lot has changed because of the pandemic, and a lot more will change in the future. If you are a freelance consultant who works (or wants to work) remotely, then this article is for you.

We will discuss some key changes that are likely to affect the way remote freelance consultants work. There are new challenges waiting for you. However, you may be able to turn these challenges into opportunities by taking the right steps that are mentioned in this article. So, you are encouraged to read it all the way until the end.

1. More Companies Will Likely Offer Remote Consulting Projects to Consultants

Remote consulting projects are highly likely to be a big part of the post-pandemic consulting scene. The reason is pretty much self-explanatory. The pandemic has taught companies as well as consultants that being productive from the comfort of one’s home is completely possible.

According to a survey by Owl Labs, a whopping 74% of surveyees said that they are more likely to stick to a company that offers remote working options. So, there it is - most workers like working remotely, and businesses, well, they will have to let employees, as well as consultants, work remotely due to travel restrictions. If this system works well, chances are, it will stay in place even after the pandemic is over.

“The future we envision for work allows for infinite virtual workspaces that will unlock social and economic opportunities for people regardless of barriers like physical location. It will take time to get there, and we continue to build toward this.” – Andrew Bosworth

2. Consultants Could Have More Opportunities, but May Also Have to Face a Tougher Competition

Since location is not an issue any more, remote freelance consulting will surely be a thing in the future. This means that companies will have the ability to find the best consultants from around the world - not just the cities in which their offices are located. For example, a retail giant that is based in London may offer a remote consulting project to a management consultant who lives in New York - instead of offering it to a consultant who lives in London. This also means that consultants from different cities and countries may apply for any given remote freelance consulting role, which could increase competition.

There are several ways to prepare for this situation if you are a freelance consultant. First, sign up with an online consulting platform, such as Consultport. These platforms are regularly visited by businesses that are actively looking to hire freelance consultants. If your profile fits the project description, you may be contacted and hired.

You can also focus on growth hacks to make sure that you stand out from the crowd. For example, you can leverage content marketing to increase your personal brand awareness and position yourself as an expert, or you can focus on one particular niche that is likely to stay in demand. For example, digital transformation.

Competition may increase in the post-pandemic consulting industry. But remember to be positive and see the opportunity. Now, you can work on rewarding consulting projects for companies that are located in different time zones. How exciting!

3. The Number of Consultants Who Work as Freelancers May Rise

Remote freelance consulting required two things: a freelance consultant, and the ability to work remotely. We have already discussed why more and more companies are adopting the remote working model. Now, let’s discuss the rise of freelance consultants.

A lot of consultants who have worked as ‘employees’ for big consulting firms are now looking to avoid the ‘up or out’ system that big consultancies have. Even though it’s understandable that huge corporations need strong hierarchies to function properly, a lot of people at an employee level might find the competition and bureaucracy too hard to handle. The only way out of this is to become a freelancer and work on one’s own terms.

Again, online consulting platforms have also played a huge role in helping ‘employee’ consultants become ‘freelance’ consultants. Identifying as a freelance consultant is easy, but actually getting high-paid freelance projects could be difficult. This is when online consulting platforms come into play and assist consultants in finding profitable freelance work.

A lot of consultants have been laid off or face job uncertainty because of the pandemic. This may motivate them to find alternate means of continuing their consulting career, and freelancing is always a viable option with lots of benefits.

4. Due to Uncertainty, Businesses May Focus on Hiring Freelancers Instead of Full-Time Employee

The pandemic is far from over, but there are certain trends that could stay in place and affect the post-pandemic consulting industry. Brian Kropp, the VP of Gartner, says, “32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure.” The trend is likely to stay in place even after the pandemic ends and will shape the post-pandemic consulting processes. How? Well, if businesses get used to hiring and getting things done without permanent employees, and notice the cost benefits of doing so. As a result, they might as well continue with the same process even after all restrictions are lifted. This will increase job opportunities for all freelancers, independent contractors, and consultants.

Right now, too many companies are under enormous financial stress and are finding ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, this also includes letting some full-time employees go. However, remote freelance consulting may still thrive if consultants can provide value to businesses. And, as mentioned before, this may also lead to increased competition. But if you take an optimistic approach and focus on the opportunity, instead of difficulties, you will surely be able to adapt to the post-pandemic consulting environment.