Working Digitally:Knowing personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is important
Modern world’s flexible work culture allows employees to propose their preferable working hours according to their needs and responsibilities. Kampala commuters are probably some of the bravest and most patient in the world, thanks to their daily practice of spending hours on the road, dealing with the city’s chaotic traffic jams and poor public transportation in their commitment to their jobs. The lucky and probably smarter Kampalans, though, have the privilege to stay at home or basically anywhere they feel like and make a living stress-free from the ‘pearl of Africa’ capital’s hustle and bustle. “Forget the office. As long as there is an Internet connection, I can work from anywhere,” said Michael Ginyera, who has works with National Information and Technology Authority. The ultimate freedom of setting your own working hours, not having to dress up for work or commute to the office are just a few of the things that freelancers like NITA field staff can boast about to their office-based colleagues. ”Even during a recent trip around the country, I was able to get work done on the road,” Ginyera said, adding that he would in future publish a book about his travels. But hold your horses.
There are a few things to consider before deciding to bid farewell to your present career. The whole ultimate-freedom thing, no matter how tempting it sounds, is not suited to everyone. “I have a friend who was inspired by what I was doing and so he decided to leave his current job. But later on, he got bored because IT freelance work just didn’t suit him,” Michael Ginyera said. Developing and maintaining the self-discipline and motivation to stick to your chosen working hours; working through to-do lists and meeting the deadlines that you have set; the uncertainty of hoping you get the projects you want and make the money you need, and the absence of having co-workers around to support you are just some of the things that freelancers have to deal with. “The hardest thing for me is dealing with the fact that not one of Uganda’s insurance companies offers outpatient insurance. That is why I always ask for generic drugs when I see a specialist,” another friend who did not want me to mention his name said. To ensure a bright future, in spite of all the uncertainties, another lady suggested that first-time freelancers should look ahead and set a detailed plan. It was a tip given me by one of my mentors. Her plan began when she resigned from work and that included things like how much money I need to earn, my monthly expenses, which projects I will run, and when I need my income to clear in my bank account. You really need to write down all these little details. You can’t be a freelancer just for the sake of the freedom,” the 27 year old techpreneur explained. She has consistently promoted herself to the world and possessing networking skills are also important for freelancers. Somocon, a Finland based company is one of those open-minded firms that allows its employees around the world including Uganda to enjoy a convenient and flexible work routine. Corporate companies in Uganda are now adjusting to flexible work culture with some allowing employees to propose their preferable working hours according to their needs and responsibilities. In short, happy employees really do make happy companies. And if more Ugandan companies show themselves willing to embrace this kind of working style, then maybe, just maybe, there will be fewer commuters on Kampala’s chaotic streets, with less need to bravely and patiently practice the art of spending hours on the road.