Design Workstyle. Freelance VS TeamworkDesign Workstyle. Freelance VS Teamwork Article considering benefits and drawbacks of freelance and teamwork in the sphere of digital UI/UX design. Based on experience of Tubik Studio designers.
Modern time and development of technology brought people much more ways and choices of their work style and routine. The broad availability of the Internet and its endless opportunities gave lots of workers, especially in creative spheres, the chance of being more flexible and resourceful about the organization of work process which is productive and convenient for all the sides. However, all the styles of work have not only their benefits but also drawbacks, and it’s really important for a professional to consider them before making the choice in favor of the particular working routine.
Most of the designers working in Tubik Studio have tried in practice both workstyles which are typical for today’s designers in the sphere of web, app and branding design: most started their path as freelancers before getting into the team. So, using the advantage of real-life experience we would like to discuss high and low sides of freelance and work in the studio or agency. Obviously, a lot of things have already been discussed in numerous articles on this topic, but, perhaps, our thoughts can also become useful for those who are considering the theme.
No doubt, due to the new technological horizons couple of decades ago freelance became the new and broad perspective of organizing work routine. It opened wide opportunities for those talented people who could not leave their homes, such as for example disabled or parents of babies and toddlers. This kind of workstyle brought easy solutions for a lot of problems and let the people realize their abilities against all the odds, so very soon it was taken over and improved by the huge number of professionals in different spheres. The accents moved a bit: a lot of people made the choice of freelancing not because they didn’t need to go to an office but first of all because they could work for themselves and be the only people responsible for their own decisions, choosing the partners or customers and depending on themselves. Freelance workstyle gave them the feeling of freedom.
– You are free to choose the projects and customers you want or do not want to work for;
– You make your own choice of place and time of work;
– You do not depend on other people and are able to estimate your own productivity;
– You decide what kind of tools to use for any stage of the project you work on;
– You don’t spend money on transport and other costs obvious for those who work in the office;
– You control your workload and decide on the flow and priorities of projects;
– You are totally responsible for your creative decisions and are free to stop work on the project whenever you want.
– Less (or absent) guarantees of successful payment;
– Less (or absent) guarantees of steady workload;
– No support in creative blocks and problematic issues;
– Great amount of time spent on communication with customers, which can be not only time consuming but also highly stressful);
– Work under pressure of responsibility 100% of time;
– Absence or lower amount of live communication with colleagues on regular basis;
– No financial support in cases of sickness or holidays.
Studio designer Violetta, as well as most other designers in the studio, tried the best and the worst of freelancing
– You are the person responsible for communication at all levels;
– You are the person of the business controlling the financial flows, income, and expenses;
– You set the deadlines and have to control them by yourself;
– You work from home or any other place and should control the influence of the conditions on your productivity;
– The scope of work you can supply is limited by your personal abilities and talent;
– You have to be strong-willed and highly organized to efficiently separate your work time and personal time.
This way of work demands a high level of total and absolute responsibility in case the person wants to become really successful rather than just make a living. In the sphere of design you have to become a “Jack of all trades” being able to organize efficient workplace, fast and easy communication, keeping deadlines, controlling finance and improving as a professional all at the same time.
Talking about design sphere, teamwork usually means that you become a part of design studio or agency. Certainly, this style of work is different from the one described above not only in terms of workflow itself but also in terms of process organization.
– In most cases, a team consists of diverse professionals in design and this gives a broad space of creativity and high chances of getting involved in complex design projects;
– Work in a team has a higher level of stability in workload, planning time and finances;
– In many cases it gives the faster way of successful presenting yourself as for international design community as a result of accumulated efforts of all the team members;
– Teams include not only designers but also managers who are real and important support in terms of communication with customers, including the cases of solving conflicts and misunderstandings that are unavoidable in full-time creative work; moreover, it saves your time which you are able to devote to pure creativity instead of organizational and communication issues;
– Team has a great advantage of brainstorming and collective mind that can become very supportive especially in case of creative block or complex task;
– Team can take big and complex design projects splitting the parts of it to the designers who are the most capable of producing final result good for all the team productivity;
– Team provides regular communication both with designers and managers which is good for self-improvement and building social relationship;
– You have clear separation of your working space and personal space which is a vital condition of personal comfort for many people;
– You have a feeling of somebody to back you up that can give you more confidence;
– Team has more variants of promotion and presenting its members. In case of design sphere, it is sometimes less time-consuming and faster way to get involved in the community and take the support and popularity being a part of the team;
– The flow of information exchange and circulation is much faster and more efficient that increases the level of general team productivity and problem-solving potential;
– Team can bring good friends into your life as well as inspiration and live energy absorbed from the other people around.
– You have to organize your routine according to the schedule of work with a team whichever flexible could be the variants offered to you;
– You have to get ready to be a part of a group. That’s vital to know that even presenting yourself as a designer you are working in the team and for the team;
– You are working in a set of restrictions and in many cases you are assigned for the projects, not choosing the tasks but getting them for your consideration and accomplishment.
– You have to be aware that you are the part of the team but as well the team is an integral part of your image;
-You are always involved in more or less active communication flow which is natural for any kind of work. That means that you should take into account interests, habits, characters and thoughts of other people around you;
-You have to consider not only your personal interests and prospects but also the interests and prospects of the team.
Teamwork has its own responsibilities, seems more than for freelance, although in most cases it is an illusion. Teamwork provides the chance of taking the best from delegating responsibilities between the people who are the best for the role, so a designer has more time for pure design and creative work as well as professional self-improvement not bothering so much about management and organizational issues.
Definitely, none of the benefits or drawbacks are absolute: as all the people are different the methods of workstyle for their best productivity should also be various. No secrets or tricks, just one man’s loss is the other man’s gain. Some of us are amazing team players while the others prefer full responsibility and decision-making only on their own shoulders. None is bad or good, all those things are extremely individual.
Inside the studio we have gathered people who are consciously keen and able to take all the advantages of teamwork. It never ever means that any of them has lost their freedom, as all people in the studio have enough of their own private space and the chances of work not being disturbed. However, this kind of freedom is always supported with all the team who are invisibly behind you and ready to back up any moment it’s needed. So, we think that teamwork organized wisely and thoughtfully doesn’t take away designers’ individual space or freedom – vice versa, it adds to it the power of solid support and prospective ways for bigger and more complex, therefore more interesting and challenging projects and tasks.
Originally written for Tubik Blog