Today was a work from home day to focus in on heads-down research work and because I’m still feeling pretty sore from Tuesday’s run. Still hoping to go for a run today, just need to muster up the energy to do so.
Working from home has it’s pros and cons — pros: less distractions, quiet time, no need to dress up and online meetings generally don’t get pulled in any longer than the time allocated within the calendar invite, cons: sharing out work might not always be immediate, some co-workers are less likely to responding right away about assets you might need, less opportunity for collaboration and some disconnect in conversation.
I generally try to limit my time working from home for more early sprint, conceptual and necessary group collaboration work. But it’s beneficial when there aren’t as many meetings to worry about and I can focus in on taking on tickets that require some real research and iterative work to be done.
Despite being away from the office, I still felt connected to my team when they were responsive to jumping on a call and doing a work share to update them on some things I wanted feedback on.
Quite recently we’ve been working with an additional large consulting firm collaborating on building and testing out new feature concepts. I’ve learned a lot from working virtually with this team at the beginning to eventually transitioning into in-person work sessions for more of the conceptual and early white boarding work.
Key takeaways so far from this experience —
Set meetings with purpose and a proposed agenda outlining what you’re hoping to gain from the meeting versus a consistent meeting time/date that might not provide any value if there is nothing to talk about
Ensure we’ve been provided with the right amount of context for the project and any technical or legality constraints to keep in mind before designing
Well flushed out goals and priorities provided by the product manager or owner should be clearly communicated at the beginning and any further changes or add-ons past this date or mid-way through a sprint should be created within a new ticket separately
Narrowing down on two final designs presented as a design team versus providing many multiple designs to choose from allows for greater efficiency and effective discussion at a stakeholder level
Provide proper design rationale — whether in the form of a compiled research report, user test videos, interview findings, etc. always be prepared to back up design decisions made
Communication is crucial to any work flow. Remote or not, communicating early and often has been really effective in my work process while designing. Even more so in a tech consulting firm where we are reporting to multiple channels and disciplines, it’s important to ensure everyone is aligned in order to avoid time wasted and going in continuous loops. This experience with working with the other firm ultimately started off quite unbalanced, but has gradually become more collaborative while working together rather than in isolation.