For all the online chatter about becoming a #girlboss, there are tons of women who are opening up about corporate culture being unfriendly and unhealthy. We spoke to some women who told us why they opted for the freelance life ….
“I used to spend almost four hours a day travelling back and forth. I realised that I could spend that time getting work done or incorporating a quick workout. It was so unproductive and the travel hours also left me tired,” says Mira, a 28-year-old graphic designer from Bangalore. After switching to working from home, Mira has been able to juggle multiple projects at once as a graphic designer and all it took was setting up a website to showcase her work. According to her, freelancing also requires discipline, “Don’t sit around in your pyjamas all day” is Mira’s advice to aspiring freelancers. “I get up, take a shower and sit at a desk. This makes a huge difference to productivity.”
“I’m an introvert so the drinking sessions after work where you’re pressured by your bosses and colleagues to socialize, was taking a toll on me,” says Bina, a Mumbai-based graphic designer. Working from home, in the quiet of her house, helps her stay focused and get more work done, instead of having to be a part of water cooler conversations or endless smoke breaks that she feels obliged to accompany her colleagues to. “Having to listen to my colleagues’ dating exploits or office drama isn’t exactly what I want to do at the workplace. I’m happy to forgo that for silence and focus.”
“The bathroom were I worked at was abysmal.” Khushboo, a junior editor from Delhi, who worked on editing projects, was one of the only two women in her office. “For the equipments, sake the AC was turned on so high, that I’d be bundled up in a jacket. Most days I would go home exhausted with a headache.” This was a minor obstacle because she loved her job. But the difference it made to her health once she started working from home was hard to ignore.
“I am the most productive at night. And with no boss to oversee when I punch in and punch out, I’ve begun to stress less about showing up on time and working more,” says Neha, a freelance writer from Delhi. “I actually feel like my career took off after I was allowed to work at my own time and space”. “My clients don’t care what time I start work as long as I obey the deadlines.”
Another common reason women are opting to freelance is motherhood. New mothers are able to balance both work and family when they aren’t spending time “being at” offices.
Is it time to take a hard look at corporate culture? If employers want more women at their workspace, should they be looking at better offices, friendlier work culture and more autonomous timings? Or is this the way the office cookie crumbles? Tell us your experiences! We’d love to hear from you!