Freelance Tips & Tools: 5 Things to Remember When Working Remotely
Published on Jan 14, 2014 by Amy Cassell
Full Sail Mobile Development Course Director Bear Trickey has had his share of experiences working from home – he currently runs his own small game studio with a team of employees scattered across California and Japan. Bear shared a few tips with us for how to be a successful remote employee. Check them out below.
Working remotely from home has many benefits. If you're a freelancer, it allows you to work on multiple projects in parallel without the hassle of driving around to many physical locations. If you're taking care of a dependent child or elderly family member, working from home might give you more chances to fulfill necessary familial tasks or spend more quality time with your loved ones. But while the benefits may vary with each person's situation, the pitfalls encountered in remote work tend to be the same. Below are the practices I recommend you employ to skirt the issues I've stumbled across in my time as a telecommuter.
- Clearly identify yourself consistently through pictures, screen names, and profiles. Don't be iceDragon9 on one network, PartyNinjaMax5839 on another, and use hand-drawn cartoon characters for your avatar. Use the full name you go by most frequently and don't be afraid to show your beautiful mug to the world! A person's openness to communicate with you improves when they understand they're talking to a real person and not a shadowy figure hiding behind a curtain.
- Be polite. Some people think that the anonymity of the Internet allows them to be complete jerks online and they're absolutely right … until they get banned from a site or fired from a team. Why be a jerk, anyway? Be a nice person. Enjoy your life and your job through pleasant interactions with your fellow humans.
- Use proper email and text messaging etiquette. Open and close with salutations, keep the content readable and concise, and avoid contractions and abbreviations.
- Don't work remotely every once in a while. If your team is within a reasonable distance, make time to actually show your face in the office from time to time. Go grab lunch or dinner with other team members. Attend conferences, shake hands, trade business cards, and hob-knob at networking parties. Even seasoned veterans need to renew ties in the real world every now and then. Join a monthly or weekly meetup.com group with like-minded professionals in your area.
- Occasionally, press the refresh button. You have a commute time of zero seconds. You have no dress code. You have no punch card. It's easy to get sloppy in the world of remote work. You might find yourself slouching at your desk on a Friday afternoon still in your pajamas with a five o'clock shadow. Get it together! Step outside for some exercise and sunlight. Put on some nice clothes. Chow down on some healthy food. You're worth it!