Designing remotely — The best decision I’ve made in my life
A guide to remote working and how to get started
Look at that! There’s a bloody big world out there. Where do you wanna go?
Hiya, I’m Charles — I’m a product designer, I work remotely for InVision and I absolutely love it. I received a crazy amount of response from a Tweet I posted a while back so I thought why not do a little write up of all the things remote work and stuff I’ve learnt doing it over the past three years.
So what is remote work? 💻🎒🌴✈️🌞
Wanna work outside? Inside? In a coffee shop? At the park? On the beach? Remote! Remote work is working absolutely anywhere you want to. As long as you can deliver all of the things you have to deliver, what ever that is, you too can (and should) work remotely. As a designer, all I need is my laptop and an internet connection. BOSH!
Companies can now operate with entirely remote teams. Technology has finally enabled us to do so and we’re seeing companies adopting it more and more. Why? (see photo above) Because when you give people the opportunity to work where they want and how they want, they’re happier in themselves, and we all know we produce way, way better work when we’re happy. Everyone’s a winner baby! Here’s some stellar peeps that agree, including Dribbbles CEO Zack Onisko 100%
For the record, I myself asked all these same questions before I started working remotely too. I was skeptical, of course, why shouldn’t you be? It’s a relatively new thing to be experiencing, but I can say it’s by far the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and there’s no going back now.
Q: “Charles, why work remote?”
A: Well… why wouldn’t you!? Be your own boss, do what you want to do, go where you want to go. Using your own bathroom everyday is a serious game changer (honestly, this is invaluable). The absolute dream.
Q: “But wouldn’t I get really lonely?”
A: I really don’t get lonely and here’s why: Because I know it is super important to go and be with people! So I make a real effort to get out of the house and make arrangements to hang out with friends, go to events, go to coffee shops and co-working spaces etc. Pro tip: If you stay inside all day and don’t see people, yes, yes you will be lonely. Solution: go outside and see people.
Q:“Lol do you actually do any work though?”
I honestly get this one the most, and yes I do, I work bloody hard! And I work well. Because I’ve curated a space that allows me to work my best, I’m more productive now than I’ve ever been in my life. Cause I run the show with 0 distractions from anyone in the office. And also… if you ain’t workin’… it shows mate. People know if you’re not working, and what happens then? You’ll probably lose your job.
A lot of trust has been put upon you, it’s up to you to make sure that trust is kept. So do your work fam! To-do’s FTW
“Ok, so how do I get started then?”
Get setup right first… you’re gunna need these things to be remote. Here’s what I’m personally rockin’
I mean really all you need is whatever you do your work on. So you’re set to work remotely “Ok, now what?”
Before I tell you that — here are some rules that you must be prepared to follow.
✨ The remote essential, sacred rules ✨
Now… I live my life by these rules, they are sacred. They might seem obvious, but Ignore them and you will suffer and fail and probably die. Follow them, and you will succeed, flourish and probably thrive.
When I first went remote I was fortunate enough to know a few people that were already doing it, I listened to them and still abide by these rules every day.
№1 Routine, routine, routine, routine, routine ⚡️
Get up when you wake up. As in when you wake up, don’t just lay in bed, you ain’t on holiday. Get up. I don’t even have to set an alarm anymore.
Get up. Wash. Put clothes on. Eat breakfast (I eat porridge every day because it’s the breakfast of champions). Set a time to be at your work station. Eat lunch. Set a time to leave your work station. Once you’ve established your routine, that’ll allow you to also be flexible with your time.
№2 Don’t forget to eat, and eat well 🥗
“What are you on about Charles? How would I forget to eat?”
Well… you’re your own boss now. Most companies set times to get lunch, but you set lunch time now, so make sure you go get it! And also, hey, you’re at home, you’ve got the fridge, you’ve got your kitchen. This means you can save money and eat well! Establishing a good eating routine is crucial. It’s easy to get sucked into work, the whole day will pass and you haven’t eaten anything — bad times.
№3 Go outside! 🌱🌞
Remote doesn’t mean WFH (work from home). It’s easy to stay inside all day but make sure you get outside. Walk a dog. Go for a run. Otherwise you’re breathing your own breath all day. Dank. Getting some sun is good for you. We’re animals, we need to be outside sometimes. Think science.
№4 Be social 👭👬👫, like actual social 👭👫👬, like real people kinda social👬👫👭
Go out and see your mates! Make plans with the fam. If you’re really remote and not near anyone then sort an event out, best place you’ll ever meet anyone is at a music venue or a festival. Get social! If you’re really really remote then well I guess you just want to be on your own, that’s cool too.
№5 Standing desk ftw
I love my standing desk. When I stand at my desk, I feel like I have purpose. I’m standing up to do work. I’m ready! And I feel good about it. We’re designed to be standing. One piece of great advice that’s always stuck with me:
“When it comes to your posture, the next position is the always the best position”
Stand up. Sit down. Get on the bean bag. Move to the sofa. You get the idea. Too much of anything is bad, so mix it up. But I do stand the majority of the time. Core strength ftw.
№6 (but rule number 1) Never, ever, and I mean never, never work from bed 🛏 ❌ (Establish a working area)
I know it sounds cool and comfortable but DON’T!
Lol — what I‘m really getting at here (I’m super serious though, don’t work from bed) Is establish yourself a working area… where you work. Establish an eating area… where you eat. Establish a sleeping area… where you sleep. Sounds obvious right? But if you ever think about blending any of those things together… well… you fuuuurked. Making sure you have dedicated space where you know you work will mentally prepare your body to know that that’s what you should be doing in that space. “Oh I’ll just do a little bit of work in bed” No! Trust me, if you blur that line you’re in for some rubbish, rubbish times. No screens in the bedroom is an actual rule we have in our house. Works wonders. I sleep great. Sleeping great = happier Charles. Happier Charles = Happier Charles.
The remote essential tools 🎨
☝️ The holy grail to succesful remote work (for product teams, anyway)
From left to right: Slack… cause communications. Dropbox… cause all your files. Jira… cause everything developers need. InVision… cause everything designers need. Zoom… cause meetings. These really cover all bases in terms of getting stuff done. Not a lot else to say there… hit me up for some InVision Studio learnings.
“Ok so who can I work for then?”
Google is your friend. Here’s a list of remote companies from our friends at Forbes. Start there — look around online. The best remote company in the world is obviously InVision — so check out our jobs listings. My last piece of advice here would be to apply for companies that are fully distributed instead of only a peppering of people. It just works way easier if everyone’s in the same boat (but not in the same boat, cause that’s like an office, you get what I’m saying)
“Charles, where in the world are you though?”
I’m fully global, come and say hello any time mate 👋
September 2018—Split, Croatia
October 2018—Prague,Czech Republic
November 2018—Lisbon, Portugal
December 2018—Marrakesh, Morocco
January 2019—Hanoi, Vietnam
February 2019—Chiang Mai, Thailand
March 2019—Kyoto, Japan
April 2019—Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
May 2019—Santiago, Chile
July 2019—Medellin, Colombia
August 2019—Mexico City, Mexico