Nowadays, you often hear the term digital nomads. This refers to people who take jobs on their terms as they pursue a work-life balance. They come from all fields, including creative ones, like graphics, media, content creation, video, and animation.
It’s a long-held belief that creatives are best left to work alone when their imagination can roam free and unfettered. For companies, hiring remote workers, whether full-time or project-based, works for them because of the reduced overhead cost and the potential to tap top talents.
Still, it remains to be seen if creative jobs are more effective when done outside the office. If you were a business owner or team leader, would you allow freelancers or full-time employees to work remotely? Is remote work an ideal setup for them? Weigh the pros and cons here.
The Good Thing about Telecommuting for Creatives
Aside from greater autonomy and freedom, here are the top reasons creatives can work from home.
Remote workers are exempt from waking up early, getting dressed, and commuting during the rush hour. All it takes nowadays are a reliable internet connection and equipment to work anywhere.
Graphic designers and video editors likely have everything set up in their homes. A laptop, external monitor, drawing tablet, mouse, etc. can be plugged into a laptop docking station for an organized workstation. The more ports this hub has, the better.
No Strict Adherence to Rules
The most creative people can be hot messes and won’t mind showing up dressed unconventionally. Still, the office, no matter how flexible it can be, operates by a set of rules that some employees may find too rigid or stifling. They won’t have to deal with these policies and with coworkers when working by themselves.
Minimal to No Problem with Attendance
Telecommuters, in general, are less likely to call in sick because they don’t have to move around much. They can rest for a few more hours before reporting for duty and extend work to cover for hours offline.
Motivation for Productivity
Generally speaking, people who freelance or work remotely are self-motivated individuals who can do their tasks with minimal to no supervision. They know themselves too well not to lose to distraction and can drive themselves to complete their assignments on time.
The Dark Side of Remote Work
Not everything is what it seems because creative members of your team who are telecommuting can experience any of the following.
Employers hire those with highly effective written and oral skills because collaboration entirely happens online. The remote worker may misunderstand the instructions and come up with a different output. This can take a lot of back-and-forths until you or the client gets a satisfying result, leading to a waste of resources on both ends.
Even when one is in the comfort of the home office, each day is spent sitting for hours in front of the computer to meet deadlines. Without exercise, this lifestyle can take a toll on creativity as the lack or reduction of activity can negatively affect the body’s ability to break down fat and regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Aside from physical fatigue, the mind can receive a beating after a prolonged time of remote work. The pressures of commuting and going to the office may have been taken out of the equation, but they are replaced with feelings of isolation and disconnection. Loneliness is also a long-term effect of working alone.
Lack of Spontaneity
Inspiration is central to creativity, and it often appears when you least expect it. One can also derive great ideas from daydreaming and spontaneous meetings or interactions. That can be hard to achieve when working remotely. Without in-person nuances, communication seems almost mechanical and emotionless.
So is remote work an ideal setup for creative people in your team? Yes, but with caveats. Consider the points above, and assess how you can address them in the long run.
As the boss, you take the lead in making remote members feel connected; their efforts, appreciated or counted.
– Schedule bonding sessions. Everyone can meet once every quarter or take an all-expense-paid company trip.
– Keep them in the loop for announcements and updates.
– Provide regular feedback. The first week of the month can be a great time to talk about performance and goals.
– Communicate constantly. Aside from emails and chats, call your remote members. Regular communication is crucial to the success of any collaboration. You have plenty of choices for your business phone.
Creative people may look like they are made from the same mold, but they differ—introverted, extroverted, work well on their own and/or with other people, can have messy or neat desks, etc. Also, they have different ideal working styles and environments, and it will work to your advantage to place them where they will thrive and succeed.