Five things I didn’t know about remote copywriting
2019 saw a flurry of new remote contracts arrive at TMCM Towers. We’ll work anywhere, from Buckinghamshire to Beirut, but there’s something rather charming and sensible about getting stuck into some challenging briefs from the relative ‘comfort’ of Didcot.
Here are a few things we noticed about remote working in 2019.
1. Gone are the days of a word doc, sent by email
Being freelance has always meant learning different systems. How to get past agency security, or waiting half a day for your email to be set up (followed by another half day trying to find the printer).
Today’s remote worker needs to get to grips with a host of new and ‘exciting’ ways to stay in touch, and on brief.
We’re talking Slack, Toggl, InVision, Teams, Monday.Com, Clockify, Trello. These are just a few of the various project management, timesheets and web design widgets we’ve tried to get to grips with in 2019.
Some were useful, others contradictory or simply overwhelming. Ultimately the success and failure of every single one came down to how easily each element was adopted by everyone on the project.
Because you can’t just walk over to someone’s desk with a question, or have the necessary time (and training) to get to grips with these new systems, remote workers need to learn fast and try to have a working knowledge of the ‘new digital frontier’.
2. Meetings take on a whole new meaning
Ahhh agency meetings. Hours, days, weeks you’ll never get back. The same blowhards honking on about something or other. You’re thinking ‘I could be working, writing, or at least looking like I’m writing’.
Jump forward to remote working. A meeting request. Outside your four walls. Escape. Adventure. The public!
Admittedly not all meetings are a cause for celebration. But it’s funny what takes on importance, or value, when it becomes rare. The chance to have a face-to-face discussion, usually a first meeting, sometimes a brief or feedback, often takes on a more energised atmosphere.
By piggy-backing on the positivity (if the meeting went well) we found getting and staying motivated much easier.
Who knew you could look forward to meetings?
3. Headspace is harder to find
When your home also becomes ‘the office’, you need to make time to reset your head, or step away from the laptop.
You will be surprised what a difference exercising, taking the dog for a walk, or simply reading a few chapters of a book, will do. Even mundane tasks like housework, or food prep for the evening are vital to stop remote working turning into ‘forever at work’.
4. ‘Work creep’ is also tricky to keep in check
The delights of portable email means work extends outside the existing 9-to-5. And that’s part and parcel of remote working. Often clients are in different time zones, or don’t get around to responding to your emails or feedback requests because you’re not physically in their office, chasing them down.
Working when you want is part of the charm of remote contracts. Just be aware that you’re in charge of managing expectations - your clients, and your own. Give yourself the time and space to work effectively. Only you’ll know when this is!
5. Variety is the secret
When it comes to remote working, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to pick and choose what to work on. However, saying ‘yes’ to as many different briefs as possible will help keep your copywriting gears spinning, and hopefully improve both your abilities and chance of getting more work.
We find that a broad range of industries, campaigns and customers makes for a more exciting working environment. Even when that environment is our dining room.