Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many design businesses needed to close doors and shift to remote work. Since then, the roles and responsibilities of designers have changed in multiple ways.
From Zoom meetings to document sharing platforms, it is fascinating how fast the design community is adapting to the “new normal” to boost performance and keep the cash flowing.
Precisely because of that, we have summed up the most effective WFH practices any designer can apply right now.
Enhancing Internal Communications in Design Teams
Both synchronous and asynchronous communication is critical for remote designers that are working from multiple locations and time zones. To enhance collaboration with fellow designers and build stronger relationships, invest in the right communication tools.
Project Management Tools
In the design community, continuous collaboration with the team is critical. Since you cannot schedule in-house meetups, why not use a project management tool like Trello? They allow you to break work into projects and boost the overall data transparency. Everyone in your design team can delegate tasks, share ideas, and upload and download files.
Use Slack to create multiple channels to communicate about relevant design projects in real-time. You can also encourage coworkers to create Slack channels to share personal stories and get to know each other.
Video Conferencing tools
Apart from helping you schedule virtual meetings with your remote team, it also opens new opportunities to stay in touch. For example, you could create a virtual watercooler or even throw online parties.
Transparent Communication with Clients is Crucial
No matter if you are an in-house designer in a large team or a freelancer, effective communication with clients is critical for your success.
Talk to a Client about their Goals
Since you cannot meet with clients face-to-face, find alternative ways to enable effective communication. For starters, schedule an introductory virtual meeting with a client to learn about their ideas and needs. Keep your virtual meetings honest and transparent. If a client has set unrealistic expectations, talk to them, help them set realistic goals, and provide tips that will improve your further collaboration.
Keep a Client Updated
Once you deliver the initial design version, reach out to a client and ask them for feedback. Only by listening to a client and keeping them updated via various online communication tools will you build trust with them and get their ideas into shape.
Talk to a client and set clear communication rules. While some clients expect consistent hand-holding, others want you to get back to them once the project is finished.
Provide Timely Feedback
When you are working remotely, clients will be more suspicious if their phone calls and emails stay unanswered. Ensure them that you are working hard on their project and that you are going to meet the deadlines.
Provide feedback via phone calls, emails, instant messaging apps, video conferencing tools, etc. Email remains the most popular communication channel, while Slack is perfect for non urgent matters. Low-cost VoIP phone solutions come with softphone apps for both desktop and mobile devices. They improve your availability allowing you to answer clients’ calls from multiple devices and locations.
Enhance the Safety of your Data
As a designer, you use a wide range of collaboration tools to stay in touch with remote coworkers and clients. You visit a wide range of websites, click on links, share documentation, and download files. Not to mention a wide range of design tools and automation software you use to get the most of your job.
While working from home, you may become an easy target for sophisticated cybercriminals. That is why you should strengthen your network security. For starters, invest in a reliable antimalware and firewall solution to keep you safe from malicious websites.
To protect your intellectual property and keep clients’ sensitive data safe, consider investing in an encryption tool. It decomposes your files into multiple fragments. Even if a hacker intercepts your interaction with your client or coworker, they will not be able to use it.
Improve your Productivity and Wellbeing
Knowing that the chances of your boss walking by are slim to none, you may easily get distracted. Here are a few simple tips to improve your productivity.
- Create a Designated Workspace
While working from your bed or couch may be tempting, it can harm your productivity. That is why you should create a designated workspace:
- Get yourself a comfortable desk and an ergonomic chair. Set up your desk next to a window to have plenty of natural light.
- Decorate your work area to make it more pleasant. No matter if it is a plant or a poster, your favorite items will make you feel calm and focused while working.
- If you use a second monitor at work, get yourself one at home to boost your morale and productivity.
- To create clean and unique design solutions for your clients, you first need to clear your mind and declutter your workstation. At the end of the day, wipe down your desk and clear trash.
- Eliminate Distractions
If you easily lose focus, you need to organize your time and activities more efficiently. Create a framework for your workdays to help you prioritize your urgent tasks and keep your mind clear.
Stay off social networks and entertainment sites, too. If you cannot resist them, there is a wide range of free website blockers to help you focus on work and reduce distractions.
Most importantly, protect yourself from burnouts. Not having strict work hours, you may be tempted to keep checking your email even after you clock out. Create your work hours and set a time when you check out. Otherwise, you will not be able to set boundaries between private and professional life and, eventually, burn out.
Over to You
Working from home does not have to be difficult for designers. With the right resources, you can turn it into a fulfilling experience. The tips mentioned above will help you strengthen communication with coworkers and clients, boost your productivity and wellbeing, and keep your intellectual property safe. Additionally, you could also use remote work as an opportunity to:
- Create your first design course on online education platforms and monetize your knowledge.
- Build a personal website, optimize your LinkedIn account, and register on relevant platforms for designers to attract new clients or land a better-paid job.
- Learn to use a new design tool.
- Attend virtual events for designers and keep networking.
We hope these tips will help!