My question is if here there is anyone who’s actually pulling off working full-time as a Graphic Designer, Web UI/UX designer remotely? I’m really curious what’s it like if you are? I would love to hear from you.
@Rowan — Do you have specific questions about what it's like to work remotely? I've worked remotely full-time for the last ~6 years, working as a Senior Product Designer for Stack Overflow and Dialpad. As I made the transition from Stack Overflow earlier this year, I compiled some thoughts on 5 lessons learned after working remotely for 5 years. If you have specific questions, let me know.
I'm not Rowan, but I'd be curious to hear if you have any favorite tools for remote teams that are spread across timezones. Also, have you found certain habits that help you not feel trapped in your house?
@Matt — I didn't use any tools unique for remote teams. Remote team members formalize your communication process further. I still used Google Docs, Calendar, Gmail, Slack, Trello, GitHub, JIRA, etc like when I was in an office.
Re: Working across timezones— Again here is making sure you document and communicate progress, ideas, and roadblocks to your teammates so they can respond when they're able to. You can still communicate that you need feedback within a certain amount of time, but you're also accommodating their schedule and work hours as well.
Re: Not feeling trapped in your house— When I was first starting out, the best advice I got was to get out at least once a week to stave off cabin fever. I found a group of local freelancers and other remote workers and we scheduled weekly meetups. I don't get out as much anymore, but I've also gotten used to working from home and value my ability to work in silence (most of the time).
Thank you, I just post them as comment!
Any experience with companies that are not familiar with remote work? I feel like it's very hard to break the mold of a mostly in-house team with one or two remote workers. Far too exhausting to keep the communication going and staying always up to date with things.
I am. I freelanced for many many years before accepting a fulltime position. I'm used to working by myself, so there were no adaptation problems, but I do sometimes get left out of all the "casual" conversations that the colleagues have in the office and have to make an active effort to stay in the loop.
That's not the case in fully distributed teams
nope. actually there were some growing pains as we transitioned from fully distributed to some remote/some in-office
sometimes get left out of all the "casual" conversations that the colleagues have in the office
Sorry but are people who all come together to work within talking distance of each other the ones at fault because that can actually talk to each other?
Think remote people don't realize how frustrating and time consuming it is to work with them sometimes and it's ALL for their benefit, no one in the office gets any benefit out of them not being in the room.
fault? of course not. there is absolutely nothing wrong with them talking to each other face to face, and I never said there was. It only means that, since I'm not there I have to make an extra effort, because it's my choice not to be there.
You are the only one trying to point fingers here, Kemie never said it was anybody's fault, just one of the challenges of working remotely.
it's ALL for their benefit, no one in the office gets any benefit
Apart from the reduced operating costs, which is an indirect benefit to everyone, if that person is happier and more productive working remotely, then that is a benefit to everyone that has to interact with them.
Me, working full-time at Toptal. They have really serious screening process, but once you passed it, you'll have access to many cool remote projects.
I work remotely full-time as a Product Designer for Elastic. Of our ~1100 employees, it seems that 90% of us are remote, which is pretty amazing. Moving to full-time remote work was a bit of an adjustment for me, but I think my team handles it well. Since we're all over the world, we mostly communicate over Slack and Zoom, and we record and make notes of every meeting and conversation for people who can't be present. Also, we're hiring.
@Casey — How often does your team meetup in person?
Usually twice a year for about a week each — once in the US, and once in Europe.
@Casey that is amazing, It's great to know about people who have a good experience working remotely, thanks for sharing with us!
That Product Designer role you linked is filled with content about an Integrations Engineer role just FYI
It's great because I rent a flexible co-working space so I'm not always at home. If I didn't have that, I would probably go crazy from cabin fever and lack of social interaction.
I often make friends where I work, so switching to a 10 to 6 job where I never actually get to meet and chat casually with my coworkers was a difficult choice for me. Thus the necessity of working remotely in a space that is still social.
I do find it a bit more difficult to communicate some design and interaction ideas to developers because you can't point at stuff with your fingers and no online shared whiteboard app is ever as good as an actual whiteboard. That being said having switched to Figma has made presenting design stuff remotely much easier.
Thanks @Mattan this is actually very helpful
About 8 years of experience working remote full-time and a few more years of remote freelance before that. I love working from home but I've never really worked in an office for more than a week at a time whilst on visits so can't really compare. What kind of things are you interested to hear about?
I've been working as Product and UX Design at Discovery Education remotely for over 2 years now. If you have any additional questions let me know.
Thank you, I post them as comment!
Another remote designer here – working for the 100% remote charity mySociety for the last 4 years. I work in a coworking space a 20 minute walk from my home, in a mid-sized city in the UK. Happy to answer any questions you might have.
Thank you, I post them as comment!
Thank you all for answering and sharing your experiences!
I have some curiosities, back in 2013 I was working from home for an organized company with experience in remote work. For me it was a good experience, time management, work assignment and communication in general worked wonders.
Now I'm freelancing, and I have some difficulties with the overworking, I start at 9am and most of the days I finish at 8pm doing a brake from 4 to 5:30. I'm also trying to avoid interruptions in the home, family, friends who do not understand what it means to work from home and of course "the famous since you are at home can start preparing dinner?"
I have learned to deal with isolation and lack of human interaction, but I also need to practice some routines because I never leave the office, I live in a small apartment and I can not avoid using my spaces as an office.
Of course I almost forgot, has anyone had a problem with Bad Health Habits?
Re: Setting work hours— Yes, this is a temptation—especially if you enjoy your work. "Just five more minutes…" turns into another hour too many times. The thing that has helped me here are two things:
1. Set working hours for yourself—and keep them! There will always be days where your schedule may change, but for the most part lock in a limit. For me it's 8:30am-5:30pm. When 5:30pm comes around, I stop working. Everything will be there tomorrow. Nothing will burn down. You need to make sure your leaving margin in your life for others and yourself outside of work.
2. Have a dedicated work area. Some people I know like to move around the house all day depending on how they feel. I find when I do that, it's hard for me to disconnect after-hours. Instead I have a dedicated work area where I always work when I'm home and when I'm done I walk away and try to stay away from that area when I'm not working.
Re: Isolation / Human interaction— If you're a person who feeds off of interacting with others, I'd recommend looking into a coworking space—at least a day or so a week. If you don't want to make a commitment like that, at least designate a day you try and go to a favorite coffee shop. Look for local freelancer groups on Meetup or other websites to meet up with. That helped me a lot when I first made the transition to remote. Now I don't need it as much, but I still try and get out every couple of weeks. Also I've found other ways to get out, like joining a gym and attending classes.
@Joshua Thanks! this is great I will definitely be implementing your advice.
+1 on having a dedicated work area.
I work in a coworking space. I enjoy the separation it gives me between home time and work time, and the 20 minute walk into work gives me time to think about stuff. And it guarantees that I’ll meet and talk to people throughout the day.
If you pick a coworking space with set opening hours (eg: 9 to 6) that can help you avoid overworking too.
A coworking space might feel like a huge expense, but it’s worth it if it makes you more productive, and helps you enforce a healthy work/life balance.
Also look up local creative / freelance / coworking meetups. In Liverpool, we have a group called "Jelly Liverpool" that gives local freelancers / remote workers a free day coworking in a different space every Thursday. Maybe there are similar things where you live?
Do you track your time / fill in timesheets at the end of every day? If not, you should. It’s a quick way to force yourself to notice when you’re working more than your target number of hours. The charity I work for uses Freckle, but I’m sure there are lots of alternatives out there.
at this moment I can not afford to pay for a coworking space, but I'm going to start participating in meetups in my city, the community is active but I never go to meetings, I love the idea thank you @Zarino
Hi Rowan! I wrote an article talking about my experience working remotely as a UI/UX designer. https://uxdesign.cc/my-experience-of-working-remotely-as-a-ui-ux-designer-bb38c5bf5445 If you have specific questions, let me know :)
I have in the past. It's awesome for the most part but you get bored/lonely and meetings are annoying and it's hard to switch off because you never leave your 'office'
Were you working from home?
I have the exact opposite experience - I work from a home office and I love it. I don't have to deal with an hour commute each way, I'm better able to schedule my time, I get to walk my dog during lunch.
I found the biggest way to avoid that "never leave your office" feeling is to A) have a routine and B) actually have an office. I get up, have coffee and breakfast, then sign in for the day. At the end of the day, the lights go out in the office and I don't come back in here unless it's an emergency.
Yeah man I loved it too, which is why I said it's awesome. I just listed some of the negatives aspects of it because the dude who posted wanted to know what it's like so i wanted to give a bit of balance, and for some reason i got downvoted. lolz.
Thank you Todd, You should have pointed out that you mentioned some cons, because of course they are part of the remote work,
I have been doing ux/product design remotely for almost 4 years now. It's awesome. The work/life balance is great and the travel opportunities are really amazing.