Question of the week: Can a Design employee work off site?
This week’s welcomed question comes from none other that Drew Kora:
I mean to ask can a designer work from home AND BE PRODUCTIVE? And how might it affect the rest of the team?
It is quite a difficult question as there are a lot of considerations and here again it is a yes and no answer. With all our technology and the internet today, working off site is a possibility for any profession. The issue here comes when there is some sort of interaction required with other people or departments as well as a few other considerations. They are:
1) Individual Designer or Team Designer
Does this designer need to be managed or does he show initiative? Is this designer a cog in the design process? In other words does he need to work with other people in a constant back and forth interaction? Again this has variables to the equation. Off site work is possible if the designer’s job is only focuses on CAD or Web data files, and not possible the job requires human to human brain storming or concept sketching.
Off site arrangements is also a possibility if the designer is a senior one that does not do much actual hands on design work but instead focuses on more business development and account management work. In this scenario this senior designer would have a team of designers under him that he can manage off site.
2) Scope of work
Similar to point 1, does this designer focus on one aspect of the project and needs constant overseeing by a supervisor, or is this designer capable of running a project from start to end? Designers that can work on their own steam and need little supervision is more likely to be able to work off site.
3) Trust and value
Finally this is the most important. Does this designer have a good working relationship with his/her superior, and can that supervisor trust that the designer’s work and responsibilities be maintained. Also another question is how valued or senior is this designer? One of the big problems of working off-site or part time work, is that it is a huge burden for the people around that designer.
This falls along the same category of why office hours have to be a standard across the board, that is if you need to contact someone, you are likely to reach that person during office hours. Therefore people will have to manage their schedules so that they can only talk to him when he is in or take the extra effort to digitize design work to send it to the designer at home. It is a simple equation, the value of the designer has to our weight the sacrifices made by the organisation.
At the end of the day, there is no hard and fast rule, and my suggestions are very general at best as I do not know your full situation. It might be best if you consider proposing to go off-site, consider it during certain stages of a project when you have high autonomy and stick around when close interaction is required. Good Luck Drew and please let me know how things pan out for you?