What I’ve learned about working from home
Back in 2007, after spending several years working and studying in Barcelona and New York, I decided to move back to the island where I was born, Menorca. At that time I was aware that, professionally, that wasn’t the the best move for me, but I kept finding very hard to see myself living in a large city.
Once stablished in Menorca, I found a job at a small agency but at the same time I started working on my skills in order to start getting attention from national and international clients. Believe me, like most beginnings, at first it was very difficult, building a career from “the middle of nowhere” was a tedious task, but I kept my vision very clear. It took, and still takes a lot of hard work, doing extra effort to be noticeable for the rest of the world and not fall into the very common complacency that shows up when you live in a small town with not much competitors around.
Today, 8 years later, I work full time as a designer for RebelMouse, a company based in New York and I’m really enjoying the fact of being part of an amazing team and working for top international clients, and doing everything from home. At the same time I’m the designer and co-founder of the killer photography app PhotoPills.
Being able to do all this and to watch my 1 year old daughter grow, taking her to school every single day, going to the forest and experience unbelievable trail run sessions, playing with my rock band, and so on, is priceless.
So I’d like to share a couple of tips that I’d have loved someone shared with me the day I decided to work remotely, and I believe they work for both of the scenarios I’ve been, full time freelance and being part of a company:
Make yourself very accessible
Since you’re not in the office, or you can’t meet the client, then make sure you reach the right channels to communicate the best way possible. Video calls, email, chats, whatever it takes. Make them feel you’re even closer than if you were physically next to them.
Share your progress every single day
Don’t take anything for granted, even if a company or a client trusts you, you must keep making that trust a bulletproof one, and sharing the progress every day helps, a lot. In creative jobs like mine, some days can be zero productive, but even those days, it is ok to send an email and let them know what you’ve been working on and how things are.
This one is probably the most important one. Emails tend to be impersonal and is extremely easy to fall in all kinds of misunderstanding, so make an effort to always be polite and make sure anything you send is written with respect, calm and professionalism.
Use the least personal excuses as possible
Clients don’t care if you had to leave earlier, or if you had this or that problem, they want the work done. So if some day there’s any circumstance that forces you to stop working or work slower, you don’t need to tell them why, just let them know that the day after everything will be back to normal. Some times this sucks, but hey! remember you’re working from home and you get to hit the kitchen every time you want.
Set your own workspace at home
Having an independent workspace is crucial if don’t want to end up talking about work when you’re with your family and think about your personal matters when you work.
Two words: Work Hard.
Overperforming is key. If a client or a company who’s based miles away trusts you, you simply have to deliver and top all the expectations. The way I see it is that I couldn’t be more thankful to the company I work with and offers me this opportunity so I have to give 200% of me.
I still think working remotely is not as easy as it seems, but that’s good. Pushing yourself to work harder and contribute as much as possible is the right thing to do, even if you do it with your pijamas on.