I’ve been a freelancer for a while now but only for the last few months, I’m actually working full-time within several remote teams. What should you know before agreeing to work remotely?
Related article: Truth about working remotely
What you need to know about working with remote teams
I’m a graphic designer & any feedback from my team members or clients is really important. I would be happy to work on my own terms and create only what I like but it’s not how things work when you’re a part of a team and you’re a designer… Along the way, there are several things I’ve learned in my career & some of them you should learn on your own but others – you should know before getting into business!
LEARN TO WRITE SHORT MESSAGES
I hate to write short messages. Whether it’s an email, Slack message or Skype, it never feels enough for me to write ”Ok!” or ”Deal!”. Especially, if the only way I can answer to the last 10 messages is this… So I feel like a retard, always repeating my approval.
But along the way, I’ve learned that short messages are an amazing way to communicate. You’re not wasting anyone’s time and your main point is not getting lost in a long, useless sentence. People can read the message and there’s no further food of thought necessary. And that’s great!
You’re not unprofessional or lazy. If that’s a yes/no question, don’t create a paragraph out of your answer!
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR IDEAS
Although short messages and agreeing/disagreeing to whatever is flying your way is great, you should feel like a part of the team. Not only the one that’s doing things but also a mind behind it. Therefore, don’t be afraid to share your opinion and ideas! Suggest new things, come up with better solutions, explain why one way could be better than the other one. Remote teams usually are even more open-minded than any other company could ever be!
First of all, it’s just a great way to work – you’ll feel more valuable and more like a member of an actual team even if you’ve never met them.
But after all, there’s also an option to get promoted or to get more job by showing your expertise. You should prove that you’re not only a doer but also a thinker and you actually know what you’re doing. That way you can get more job options, maybe even some promotion or just be one of those amazing colleagues who’s always up for helping out (people remember those!).
Almost after any task, you’ll receive a comment ”ask if anything is unclear”. Believe it or not – it is not only a complimentary phrase. People really do like when you’re asking questions!
For some, it could be strange & feel like you’re keeping the other person busy. But the truth is – for your boss/manager or whoever you’re working with, it is always better to know that everything really is clear & that you won’t spend time on a task that is not accomplished as necessary.
Even silly questions are great as long as you don’t get stuck with one of them again and again. Add in some of your understanding, make sure that everything is clear & everyone will turn out to be a lot happier than without any question asked!
KEEP YOUR TEAM UPDATED
Whether it’s an update about the project, update about your availability or any other things that can be a concern of your team, inform them & make sure that everyone is on board with what you had to say!
Not always everyone has time to remember that 3 months ago you said you’re going on a vacation next week. People might be staying up late waiting for that one last tweak update that you’re planning to make in the next morning. Things happen, smaller or bigger delays can appear but it’s always best to chat with people about these kinda things.