Freelance programmers can work from home

Remote work better than freelancing? 5 pros and cons

Get on the train stressed after getting up to go to work or have your first coffee in front of your laptop? Certainly, many would choose the second option if the workplace didn't get in the way. But both can be combined by moving the job to the home office, the so-called “home office”. Terms such as “freelancing” or “remote development” appear, but what is the difference and which of the models is more suitable?

According to a survey by Statista, more than 30% of employees in Germany can work completely or partially in the home office. The term home office actually only means that the workplace is at home or at least in a freely selectable location. However, this term is mainly used for employees in permanent employment. Freelancers, on the other hand, also work from home, although the word home office is used much less often. In addition, there are activities that are carried out “remotely”. What is the difference between these three terms?

“Remote”, “Freelancing” or “Home Office”?

These three terms should not be confused as they describe very different use cases. Let's look at the example of a software developer. He wants to earn money in this area and has various options.

By being employed by a permanent employer, the programmer is subject to the boss's instructions and only works for a company that also pays social security contributions and taxes. This can then freely determine the place of work, working hours, processes and tasks. The employee has no or only limited influence on this. However, as noted above, more than 30% of companies allow working from home. That would be the classic home office, whereby the employee is still subject to the instructions of the employer, only the place of work has changed.

A freelancer, on the other hand, is self-employed and works “on his own account”. In the broadest sense, the employer is himself an employer and takes on the role of the boss himself. Freelancers can choose their customers and usually work for several clients at the same time, mostly even for different projects on one day. Companies that commission such software developers receive a single invoice at the end of the contract and do not have to pay any additional social security contributions or taxes.

These classic models are supplemented by the remote development variant.

Remote development

Remote software development is basically similar to home office activity. Programmers work for exactly one company, but not in its office. The setting can be made either internally or externally. External remote developers are often provided by personnel service providers. These IT service providers take over the recruiting, create the legal requirements such as employment contracts and pay social security contributions and taxes. The employees are then integrated into the respective team of the searching company on demand and then work exclusively and full-time for one employer.

The advantages of remote development

If a company decides to use remote developers, they can only be employed for the duration of the project. This avoids unnecessary idle times for employees. At the same time, the employee does not have to “sit down” working hours, but can carry out activities throughout. This increases productivity and employees and employers are happier and create better results.

As a result, this model is extremely flexible. But not only working hours are used effectively. Should a project require more employees or know-how from another area, additional team members can easily be integrated.

As a result, the costs for companies are greatly reduced. Overall, savings of up to 55% are possible, as developers from other countries can now also be hired. In addition, there is no rent or office equipment, and administrative costs are minimized when commissioning an IT provider.

In contrast to freelancers, remote developers work full-time. This creates a certain security and stability for both sides. Especially for long-term projects, this is an important criterion for making the decision for or against freelancers.

Another advantage of remote developers is that they often have more experience than freelancers, since, as mentioned above, they carry out development activities throughout. Furthermore, remote programmers have higher chances of long-term projects, which then leads to more experience and greater stability. Freelancers, on the other hand, are usually only commissioned for short-term and smaller tasks.

The disadvantages of remote development

The advantages are very attractive for both the company and the employees. However, working as a remote programmer is not for everyone.

On the one hand, there is no personal contact with other colleagues. This makes the exchange more difficult and doubts could arise as to whether the remote employee is actually working or just drinking coffee. In addition, some companies report that important meetings are best held on-site, as the results are then achieved much faster and are better.

Since the remote employees often work from home, a clear distinction between work and leisure time must be possible. In families in particular, the disturbances can get out of hand and thus affect work. Either fixed working hours, during which there are no interruptions, or good software for time recording are suitable for this.

For these reasons, some remote programmers also have problems working permanently. The possibilities for distraction are great, which is why this model is particularly suitable for strong-willed and self-organized people. But freelancers also need to be aware of this fact.

Freelancers can organize their day-to-day work freely, reject orders and also work in the park or café. Remote employees are significantly more restricted in this regard. The company determines the working hours and the tasks to be performed. Long-term contracts mean that termination is not possible “overnight”.

This flexibility also enables freelancers to reduce working hours. You are free to choose whether you work 20, 30, 40 or 60 hours a week. Depending on whether the family needs time or whether more money is needed, the working hours can be reduced or increased. Full-time remote developers usually only have one option: 40 hours a week. In addition, legal requirements apply.


Working as a freelance programmer gives you extensive opportunities to flexibly design your workplace. You decide for yourself how long you work, who you work for and what tasks you take on. However, you also have to acquire your customers yourself and sometimes you may not have any assignments. So if you are more of the risk-taker type and can live without a fixed amount of money, then this model is ideally suited.

As a remote developer, you enjoy secure and long-term projects. This means that the security of the regular receipt of money is in the foreground. Furthermore, all social security and taxes are already included in the salary, which means there are no extra costs for health insurance, pension insurance or additional tax payments. Since you still work in the home office, you can also take advantage of it, i.e. there are no long commutes and there is certain freedom to organize the working day. In addition, there is a better separation of work and leisure time, as the working time is recorded precisely.


Anastasia Stefanuk is always interested in new IT topics and especially remote software development. As she works as a content writer and marketing manager at Mobiunity, an IT service provider for PHP developers, working with remote programming on a daily basis, she would like to pass on her experience to other companies and employees so that they can work even more productively.

Keywords for this article: Content, earn money, PHP, service, software