I follow several EDI and data integration groups and occasionally there is a topic that gets a ton of comments from group members. The latest one is whether or not it is feasible to have an EDI or data integration consultant work remote versus on-site. This is has been an ongoing topic for many many years. As a matter of fact, my first project after starting REMEDI was remote, and that was almost 17 years ago!
I think that this decision all boils down to trust. In our field, 95% of the work can be done remote, but does the client trust that you will get it done just as well as if you were on-site?
If the client is not familiar with you and your work ethic, you may need to earn their trust first. How can this be done? The only way to do this is to work on-site initially. I personally feel that you should not suggest working remote right out of the gate, but propose on-site and a time period to re-evaluate whether it is feasible to work remote…say after two weeks. During that time, demonstrate that you can work independently, be on time, and work efficiently.
You could also build a case for working remote – no travel costs, maybe enticing them with a lower rate, and the expectation that more work can get done without the hustle and bustle of a busy office environment. Of course, if these are reasons a client allows you to work remote, make sure to follow through with them!
Once you are able to work remote, continue the good work ethic – you should be getting the same amount or more work done, be available at least the same hours as you were on-site, give status updates either daily or weekly, and check-in via phone regularly. The updates via email or phone should be initiated by you, the client should not have to track you down to get the information.
Make sure to put yourself in their shoes…you would want to know that you are getting what you are paying for!