Remote Employees or Freelancers?

by | Sep 21, 2021 | Global Employer Services

Covid-19 pandemic brought alternative work setups to life. This significant change totally transformed businesses and the way they are working with their staff. Suddenly, everyone worked from home as a freelancer.

Established businesses would rather stay away from using freelancers; this was not their cup of tea as it didn’t offer enough compliance and safety. But, in fairness, today’s situation shows minor differences between using a freelancer or a home-based employee. So, let’s quickly compare those two concepts and see which one could work better for entrepreneurs.

Now, it’s an equal playing field for large corporations and startups to hire more globally. If you’re thinking about transitioning from an office-based team to a distributed workforce, you may employ a freelancer or a remote employee.

Freelancers are people you employ for a particular job who can potentially work for many other companies simultaneously. While there may be a contract in place, it cannot be enforced 100%. Meanwhile, a remote employee is part of your company and works on a full-time basis. While remote employees may be in another part of the world, they are, in essence, very much part of your company.

Let’s look closely at how these two types of employment differ.

Freelancers may work with many clients. They are self-employed individuals with a specific skill set to offer your company for certain projects. Once they finish the project or task, they have the freedom to move to their next project or decline any more jobs from you or another.

Furthermore, freelancers have no definite schedules since they’re paid for task assignments rather than in working hours.

On the other hand, remote employees refer to full-time staff working away from the office. It’s not usually a work-from-home setup. Most of them can work anywhere as long as they produce the outcome expected and work within the company guidelines and expectations.

The major benefits of remote employees are that they have the advantage of being a freelancer (work-from-anywhere) and being a full-time employee (a fixed monthly rate). It’s like working in an office, except you’re not actually inside an office. In addition, you can create a budget as a remote staff since you know exactly how much you’re making each month.

Successful companies addressed different time zones for their distributed team by having core working hours to work together. It involves virtual presence during work hours in communication channels like emails, Google Meet, Slack, or Skype. Hence, they make sure that everyone feels like a part of the team. Just like an office-based staff, they are evaluated with their performance and serve as regular staff of your company, meaning they have all the benefits and other perks of an employee.

Indeed, having a freelancer for a short project may work for your business. However, when you plan long-term and sustainable international expansion, remote teams are the ideal solution.

Hiring freelancers may be less expensive than hiring an office worker, the benefits of working remotely outweigh the cost. You will not pay for office space lease and other supplies. Investing in a remote employee may provide you with an engaged and motivated team member who will grow into their role and eventually become a leader to your organization.

Before you decide to hire freelancers to do your work for you, here are some things that you need to consider:


Most freelancers have several clients at the same time. Hence, you may not communicate with them if there are urgent changes to the projects. Furthermore, if they’ve misinterpreted your instructions, they may not deliver your desired outcome. 

Constant Hiring

If you have long-term plans, your HR department may hire or re-hire freelancers for those specific tasks. Unfortunately, it means your recruitment team will have an additional workload every time you need a freelancer. Furthermore, even if they have a great candidate, freelancers can decline job offers depending on their preference. 

If you are a small business or just starting hiring a freelancer may save you money in the short term. However, the process of searching for freelancers over and over again is not reasonable.

High Rates

A new study shows that freelancers overcharge their clients by as much as 50-100% if they know they’re shortlisted. It’s also expected that the best freelancers cannot accommodate more clients. Hence, the increased hourly rates or you will need to settle with other freelancers as a second option. 

Data Security & Confidentiality

You can include data policies and confidentiality agreements on your contracts. However, how can you ensure that freelancers abide by these agreements? Even though your system has protection and monitoring tools, there’s still a chance for cybersecurity issues to arise. 

Meanwhile, here are the benefits of hiring remote staff:

Reduce Operating Expenses

During economic downturns, office leasing rent payments may add up quickly. In addition, other overhead expenditures will add to the expenses. Furthermore, employees love the remote work setup. A recent Glassdoor survey said that 30% of people would exchange their salary raises for the ability to work from home.

Increase Employee Retention

There are many selling factors for employees about remote work. For example, they don’t have to commute every day and prepare for work, etc. Hence, it boosted employee retention for your company. 

Ensure Consistent Quality for Tasks and Productivity

Full-time remote employees have a better understanding of your company’s goals and customer needs, as well as a stronger sense of ownership over their work. According to a recent study working from home can boost productivity by up to 50%. 

Strengthen Your Work Culture

Business leaders understand that their culture is their brand. Therefore, aligning your company’s culture and brand is critical to its international success since it generates a competitive edge and assures sustainable growth. In addition, remote employees are more likely than freelancers to feel ownership over the company’s culture and embrace your company’s values.

If you’re considering hiring your remote team, let Employ handle all the HR and administrative duties for you. Our services will help you in the process as you start your international expansion. Contact us today.

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