Today you can do anything online order food, get a lift, buy anything and everything and you can also communicate with anyone from anywhere in the world. We spend so much of our time on the internet we grow an identity on the platform, we live there. With the thousands of uses for this fantastic tool it surprises me why people don’t utilise more often for work and have scepticism of remote employees when everyone is so accessible.
As a designer I have worked in-house, studio freelance and remote and at first it surprised me how little my work process changed. I became quickly aware that I can do my job at exactly the same standard from anywhere, and that having the freedom to be anywhere actually made my work better and gave me more resources to my disposal to make things happen.
When I was working in-house or on site the only benefits I found was the socialising and being able to have a work address, other than that nothing was different. Everything that needed to be communicated for a job was always done through email or the business’ choice of online messenger. All my projects were saved to my laptop or online servers, and the production side of projects was always outsourced anyway, everything I needed was found online. When I started working remote nothing changed because everything was naturally set up for me to be anywhere because of the internet. This is why I was so surprised when people were so sceptical about hiring remote workers, what exactly was going to be the barrier.
The answer to this was accountability, it is so sad that people are afraid that they are going to be taken advantage of and that there is a stigma that remote workers will “slack off” on the job. But often the case I find is that remote workers become accessible 24/7 for work because they appreciate the opportunity that comes with being location independent. Also remote work is a better solution for getting as much work as you can out of the hours you are paying for. When I work in an office I am paid from 9 to 5 regardless of how little work I have on my plate that day. In the office I am paid to sit an wait for email approvals and the twiddle my thumbs and wait for the project brief that was meant for the morning but turns up at 3pm. Working remotely my employee or client pays for none of that. I only charge for the hours I work and if I am on a retainer or contract for 40 hours a week you can guarantee that I am putting in those 40 hours with actual work, regardless of the time I do it. If a brief doesn’t rock up till 3pm I won’t start my work clock till then, I will use my day for my own needs and personal errands waiting for the *ping* sound of the brief dropping in my inbox and then I will start the clock and get to work. You don’t have to pay me for anything that isn’t the job you have hired me for.
being remote also gives me opportunity to be more creative. I remember I once had a brief for a paper company to make something edged while hightlighting the paper stock. I had an idea to collage all the paper colours into a picture of lady Gaga, it turned out fantastic. But to do this I had to lug all my supplies to the office, then my co-workers kept questioning what I was doing (I was he only designer in the marketing team) they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t working on my computer. Once it was complete and scanned in, people were excited about the out come and how it utilised the product instead of being a picture of a rectangular piece of paper. The criticism and the uncertainty the office felt about my artistic process made me nervous to create something outside the box again so all my in-house work from then on in was much more tame and less creative which was a down grade from what I knew I could do. when I work remote I have all my supplies accessible to me and the freedom to hire anything I don’t have like a studi space for photography. As an illustrator and designer the space to be creative is so important and my work always excels when I have the space to think on it and do my creative process rather than trying to fit in in a 9-5 office environment.
Next time you need a job done or have a new role that needs filling, think if it really needs a physical presence or if, by the beauty of the internet you can work with someone a little or a lot further away. I know I am always excited and available for exciting projects and new design endeavours ;)
Utilise the amazing tool we have at our finger tips and make things happen. Collaborate, create and invent, the virtual world is ripe for the picking and filled with so many amazing and talented people.