Archive | June, 2011

Keeping the Remote under control

21 Jun

With the repose of technology, independent workers today have a choice to work anywhere for anyone. Clients sprinkled all across the globe,the communication cycle with long-term clients can quickly fall into a set pattern. Brief received. Clarification made. Deadline set. Research, interview, tappety-tap, edit, send, sometimes refine further. Both parties account for the time difference, and deadlines for assignments are so set.

This works brilliantly as most of my clients are 8-12 hours ahead in Asia & Europe. Even though they are sending me the assignment last thing on their Friday evening, dawn is just cracking through the blinds in my part of the hemisphere. Gives me all day to research, write, edit and complete the assignment. Suppose we were in the same time-zone, this would mean sacrificing my Friday evening, and grudgingly keying out the first available information I could acquire.

An unhurried meticulous writer, I get nervous and make the most mistakes when someone is breathing down my neck, asking to turn a piece in in 10 minutes. The 20 minutes spent editing such a piece would be spared if deadlines were not ridiculously crunched up.

With the different daytime, I can peacefully complete my work, and it reaches their inbox before the rooster starts crowing at the other shore of the Pacific Ocean. This neat little setting however is not flawless. What I enjoy in calm, I miss out on the warm, sometimes heated editorial meetings; fertile sometimes ground for sparking story themes and team-effort.

Also, the ocean-cooled conversations can cause dissonance if not detected at nascent stage with just a word or phrase out-of-place. And this is a dangerous fault line in client-relationship.

I seem to have adopted the right path, according to this article on 10 Ways to Stay in Touch with Your Long-Distance Clients. The list includes the most obvious champions – Email, Skype and Phone, and the addictive yet most candid, social media tools – Twitter, Facebook. I am surprised that the author did not list IM. If find online chat the quickest mode of communication.

While I have most of my basics covered, there is room for improvement. I would like to create a webinar, but for starters I plan to get on a video.

What are the resources you find the most useful to keep in touch with your clients? Feel free to discuss them in the Comments.