For some, UX design is a dream job. Spend every day designing the ideal experience for users? Heck yes.
If this is your mindset and location flexibility is important to you, then the perfect perfect job is a remote UX design job.
Especially during the coronavirus, remote jobs are in especially high demand as companies are asking people to work – and interview – from home.
According to Flexjobs, remote work has grown over 44% in the past five years, 91% in the past ten years, and 159% in the past 12 years.
Basecamp, a project management tool for freelancers, has a fully remote team, they wrote a book called Remote outlining how organizations can work together remotely.
In this article, we will cover:
- Types of Remote UX Jobs
- Is Working Remotely For You?
- Where to Look For UX Remote Jobs
- Applying To Remote UX Positions
- Preparing To Do Remote UX work
Types of Remote UX Jobs
Remote work is defined as work done outside of a traditional office or corporate setting. Many companies such as Zapier and inVision are hiring remote teams, and this is certainly a trend that is increasing. Let’s look at three potential ways you may choose to work remotely.
Freelancing: A freelance UX position may fall under the terms of a “contract or short-term UX project”, it is unlikely that you will be employed fulltime by one company. The pros of freelancing are having complete control over your schedule and the type of clients you work with. The cons are needing to find clients and also handling additional tasks of running a business such as invoicing, project management, and marketing.
Fully Remote Work Position: A fully remote UX position is a more “classical” type of work situation. Generally, you will be working with a fully remote team and assigned work schedule hours. Work hours may vary from company to company. For example, you may be able to set your schedule most of the time but are required to attend team meetings or have overlap with other team members time zones.
Flexible Job: A flexible job won’t be 100% remote. But it may be the best of worlds if you are not fully ready to immerse yourself into the world of full-time remote work. This type of position may require you to be at the office a certain amount of time during the week and also allow you to work from the comfort of your own home.
Is Working Remotely For You?
The opportunities for remote work are fantastic and numerous. It is certainly tempting to jump right in! Remoteok.io boasts of posting over 530 UX remote positions. Before you do, let’s cover the benefits and constraints of working remotely.
Benefits of working remotely:
- No Commute: No more being stuck in traffic or having to spend money or time on the subway each morning and night. Getting to fill in the extra hours you have in a day the way you want is certainly a great benefit to working remotely!
- Flexible Schedule: It may be that you will still have to keep “business hours” or overlap other time zones. For example, you may have team members that work in time zones 4 to 5 hours ahead of you, and you will need to be available for meetings and communication with them.
- Working From Any Location: This can be as complex as working while you live a nomad lifestyle or switching up work environment by going to a co-working space or coffee shop a few times a week.
- Increased Productivity: According to a 2-year study by Standford University, remote workers are much more productive then there office counters parts.
Constraints of Working Remotely:
- Loneliness + Isolation: One factor that many remote workers may not talk about or admit to is the sheer loneliness and feelings of isolation that you may face. Lack of human interaction can be a big issue if you need communication with others daily; you may remote work isn’t quite the fit for you. (In our preparing for remote work section, we will cover ways to help with this.)
- Lack of Feedback: Working as a UX freelancer or a sole designer, you may encounter the challenge of having no teammates or other designers present to bounce ideas off of or get feedback from may present itself.
- Steady Flow of Distractions: From pets, children, phone, household chores, or friends staying focused can be frustrating. Setting boundaries with others and taking steps to step y from the start will be crucial for your success as a remote worker.
- Always On The Clock: Burnout can happen quickly. Take measures to establish a work schedule and make time for “fun and non-work” activities. Your mental and physical health will thank you!
Where To Look for Remote UX Jobs
As the popularity of remote jobs continues to grow there are more remote job boards, and thus the opportunities for remote designers grows. If you are truly in doubt that this is a rising trend, check the Remote Future Summit in which companies such as Hubspot, Dribbble, and Oracle take part in.
Let’s look at my top 3 favourites.
- We Work Remotely is the largest network community of remote workers. It’s worth checking out their list 100 tops companies, remote working resources and their podcast, The Remote Show.
- Flexjobs is a paid job search board that has employees that experts that scour the internet for the best remote job on the web. For more remote job search tips, check out their blog.
Applying For Remote UX Positions
Crafting Your Resume + Cover Letter
Crafting a resume and cover letter is not necessarily the same as applying for a non-remote UX position. You will want to pay particular attention to optimizing it for remote work.
- Highlight Your Remote Skills: Add remote skils to the summary section at the top of your resume and throughout your cover letter. Following articles from Flexjobs, and Business.com mention several skills you will need to work remotely.
- Pay Attention To Job Description: Scan remote job descriptions for keywords. You can use sites like jobscan and skillsyncer to help optimize your resume for this.
- 3 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out When Your Are Applying For Remote Jobs
- How To Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter For Remote Work
Preparing For Remote UX Interviews
It is nearly 99.9% likely that your remote UX interview will take place online. The following tips will help you to get prepared. Remember that you will also be presenting how will you work online and handle a remote environment during the interview.
Getting Equipment Ready For The Interview
- Reliable Laptop: Personally, my favourite will always be a Macbook Pro. If that’s not quite in your budget, here are a few more recommendations.
- Fast and secure internet connection: There is nothing worse than hopping on a call and having the person on the other end drop off. Check your internet connection well before the interview begins. You can see what Skype recommends for having a smooth call.
- Headset: A good headset with microphone will help to cancel out any background noise. Find out highfive’s recommendation for best headsets for conferencing calls.
- Web camera: Watch this video from Linked Learning to see which how to set a web camera for your interview.
- Clear, uncluttered background: Tidy up the space behind you, it will reflect poorly on you if you have piles of laundry or junk in the viewing area of the video.
Common Interview Questions
We’re going look at four questions that are particular to remote work only. If you need to focus on the UX interviews in general, check out our other UX interview articles on 4 Types of Interview Question to Master, Doing Well In UX Interviews, Top UX Interview Mistakes To Avoid, and Master the UX Interview.
1. Why do you want to work remotely?
Don’t just answer because I want to spend more time with my kids, or less commute time etc. (while this may be true). Focus your answers on the benefits to the employer who will be hiring you remotely.
2. How do you avoid distractions?
Be prepared to let the hiring manager or the interviewer how you have set up your workspace, eliminate distractions, and provide examples of how you have been proactive in your work in the past.
3. How do you remain productive and manage your time while working from home?
Be ready to prove and give examples of how you will manage your time. Building trust is here is essential because your new employer is taking a significant risk on you.
4. How will you handle communication when working remotely?
Remote UX Design will require strong communication on many levels; working other designers and developers, interactions with clients, and conducting remote user research. You can provide an example of tools that you have in the past for remote communication, remote UX research techniques and design tools you’ve used to collaborate with other designers.
Further resources to help you prepare for remote interviews:
- 18 Remote Interview Questions You’ll Need To Answer
- 13 Remote Interview Questions
- 5 Questions To Expect In Any Remote Interview
Preparing To Do The Work
- Dip Your Toe In The Water: If you are not sure that remote work will perfect for you. Try out a short term volunteer or contract projects that allow you to work remotely.
- Prepare Your Workspace: Create an environment where you will do your best work. It can be as elaborate as a home office or a quiet space in the corner of your home. The important thing is that you are comfortable and distraction-free in this space.
- Create a Schedule: No matter if you are keeping “office hours” or burning the midnight oil. You must set a work schedule for yourself. This will help you to get into the mental space to be ready for work.
- Form A Online or Offline Mastermind: This will be especially important if you are working alone on a sole contractor or freelancer. You would do well to find other designers to communicate regularly.
- Take Breaks: Get up and go for a walk around your neighbour or have a coffee or go to lunch with a friend.