Skype’s video conferencing functionality has transformed the way we communicate. It is particularly useful for freelance and remote workers, such as professional translators, who are based at home or who work with employers in a range of different countries.
However, Skype does have some cons for freelance workers communicating with their employers as well as its list of pros, as we consider below.
Firstly, let’s look at the plus points.
1. Skype is free to use. This is something that every freelancer trying to minimise their expenditure will no doubt appreciate.
2. The time and expense of travelling to meetings are eliminated. By being able to join meetings from home, freelancers can communicate regularly with their employers while avoiding travel costs and the time that would otherwise have been wasted getting to and from the meeting.
3. Skype enables cross-border communication. This is particularly relevant to freelancers such as translators, who may need to communicate with employers in more than one country and more than one language. Skype allows this to happen without the translator every having to leave the comfort of his house.
4. Face to face contact. For many people, being able to look someone in the eye while speaking to them is an essential part of building up trust. Thus freelancers who communicate with their employers through Skype can develop stronger and longer-lasting business relationships.
5. Multi-user calls are easy with Skype. You can connect people in multiple locations without the need for an expensive and complicated conferencing system.
6. Screen sharing is one of Skype’s best features when video conferencing. You can quickly and easily flip from your own image to showing your employer a live image of your screen. This means you can make presentations, explain complicated passages of a document while highlighting them, provide training with visual demonstrations and make use of myriad other screen-sharing benefits.
As mentioned above, communicating with your employer through Skype can also have some down sides.
1. There’s no escape. Regardless of the time of day, your current appearance and state of dress or the fact you are mid-mouthful, your employer can call and expect to chat with you face to face. Unless you plan to reject your employer’s call while you frantically make yourself more presentable, this means that many freelancers find themselves having to dress just as smartly for working at home as they would in an office.
2. Poor connections. Communication with your employer via Skype when one of you has a poor connection can be a frustrating experience, ending with both of you feeling annoyed. Clearly this is not good for a business relationship!
3. Face to face contact. While this is a pro for many people, as explained above, there are some for whom communication simply has to take place in the same room. If you work with an employer who takes this view, then communicating only via Skype could lead to your relationship with him or her weakening over time, which again isn’t good for business.
As with all technology, Skype clearly has both pros and cons when it comes to communicating with your employer. Whether or not the pros outweigh the cons (or vice versa) will come down to each individual’s experience of using Skype and incorporating it into their daily routine. For those who feel that Skype does not give them everything they need, it can still be a useful tool for occasional usage.
What are your views on the pros and cons of communicating with your employer via Skype? Share your comments in the box.