How creatives can collaborate effectively while working from home

April 29, 2020

Having spent several years as both a remote employee and freelance consultant, I’m not a stranger to collaborating across distance. Working from home can pose very specific challenges, such as feelings of isolation, difficulty separating work from personal time, and communication difficulties. Here are five strategies for thwarting these issues in your process:


Align on and document project expectations

In a traditional office setting, you may be able to rally and quickly sync up with your colleagues in a meeting room. Afterward, you may have the luxury of swiveling your chair around to periodically double check a project status with your colleague. However when you’re working remote, starting these kinds of on the fly conversations with colleagues may not be as convenient.

To make sure everyone is aligned when working remotely, kick off a project using a shared doc where key decisions are noted as agreed upon. If there are any open questions, capture them as well so everyone knows what decisions have yet to be determined. Use this collaborative documentation as a reference point for follow ups on the project.

Tailor communication based on the medium

Virtual communication methods can pose different challenges than in person. For example:

Meeting with your team over a video call? It can sometimes become difficult to make sure everyone is heard due to audio delays. If someone is trying to speak up but you notice them getting interrupted, call that out and make space for them to share their thoughts.

Does your team communicate through a chat channel? Consider framing up your work when sharing by articulating the stage you are currently in, what you were trying to accomplish, and the type of feedback you are seeking at this time. This will reduce many back and forth chat messages where your colleagues may be asking for those clarifying questions, or giving feedback that isn’t relevant for you at this stage.

Kienan Lafferty


Be inclusive of different time zones

Have teammates in a different locale who wake up as soon as you sign off? Make sure to be accommodating to time zone and schedule preferences so it’s not always the same party who has to stay up late or get up super early for meetings.

This is especially important as a team lead or manager, as continually planning meetings or pinging colleagues for immediate chat responses during sub-optimal time periods can be demoralizing for your remote creatives.

Set boundaries

Part of effective collaboration is making sure oneself is energized, engaged, and happy. This can be especially challenging when working from home, as there aren’t clear boundaries of an office or a commute to distance oneself from work. Make sure to establish boundaries for when you feel most comfortable working, and hold yourself accountable to step away when you feel your productivity dropping. Acknowledging when your productivity is tapped, and investing in being well-rested can be a huge boost to creative efficiency versus working without breaks and burning out. Respect your mind and body, and respect your team by setting a good example of healthy boundaries.

Make space for casual conversation

When a team is distributed, you may miss out on the impromptu banter and bonding that happens around the office. Because of that, it’s important to set aside time for getting to know each other virtually. This can be done through: icebreaker questions over chat, playing games over video calls, office pets video call meet and greet, making art together live as a team using collaborative drawing apps, or even simply reserving dedicated time for a casual virtual happy hour at the end of the day.

The trust that builds between a team through this kind of bonding can make its way through how you communicate with each other in projects. A team that trusts each other may be more open to giving feedback, sharing ideas openly, and may be more invested into helping each other learn and grow.

kienan bio pic smAbout Kienan Lafferty

Kienan Lafferty is an illustrator and lead concept artist at Phoenix Labs. He is best known for creating The KNKL Show, a free art instruction channel with over 350 video lessons. Kienan is also the creator of the time travel adventure tale, Maid of Metal. He lives in San Francisco with his partner and three bunnies. Keep in touch with him on Instagram, Twitter, and on The KNKL Show.

Find the perfect Wacom tablet for your “working from home” style and space

Small Desk or Tablet IconSmall Desk or Table
Dedicated Work Space IconDedicated Work Space
Office or Studio IconOffice or Studio


Small Desk or Tablet Icon

Wacom Intuos Pro Small

Proven, compact pen
tablet for drawing and photo editing. Perfect for small work surfaces.Includes 2 months of Photoshop and Lightroomsoftware iconPhotoshop and Lightroom


Shop now →

Dedicated Work Space Icon

Draw on screen

Wacom Cintiq 16

Feature-packed pen display for next level illustrations. 16” screen fits any work space.Includes up to 6 months of


Shop now →

Dedicated Work Space Icon

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium

All the features you need for drawing, sketching and photo editing. Great tablet for more spacious surfaces.Includes 2 months of Photoshop and Lightroomsoftware iconPhotoshop and Lightroom


Shop now →

Office or Studio Icon

Draw on screen


Wacom Cintiq 22

Large 21.5” HD display perfect for creating detailed illustrations, paintings and animations.Includes up to 6 months of


Shop now →

Related posts:

Wacom isn’t just for artists: streamlining daily business with a digital stylus

Wacom isn’t just for artists: streamlining daily business with a digital stylus

How to improve your handwriting for digital note-taking

How to improve your handwriting for digital note-taking

Using your Wacom pen tablet with Microsoft PowerPoint

Using your Wacom pen tablet with Microsoft PowerPoint

How to take handwritten notes on your laptop: the basics

How to take handwritten notes on your laptop: the basics

Connect with Wacom on social media

🚀 Appel ouvert aux artistes qui veulent nous joindre Webtoon Academy!

@ellipseanimation, @ono.officiel et @kenaz_comics lancent la Webtoon Academy Angoulême, une formation gratuite à la création de webtoons, menée avec le soutien de l’ @emcangouleme , Wacom et Celsys. (@clipstudioofficial)

La Webtoon Academy Angoulême est une formation gratuite qui vise à former et accompagner 12 talents francophones de tous horizons (webtoon, bande dessinée, animation...) et de tous les âges dans la création de séries webtoons.

A partir de septembre 2024, au fil de 13 semaines de cours par des experts coréens en présentiel à Angoulême et de cours en ligne, les artistes maîtriseront toutes les bases pour raconter leurs histoires en webtoon. Des projets lauréats pourront être sélectionnés par un jury pour finaliser leur série webtoon en vue d’une diffusion en France sur ONO et à l’international via le réseau de plateformes partenaires.

📍Les candidats peuvent soumettre leur dossier sur le site!

#WebtoonAcademy #Webtoon
76 1
@elyelyilustracion nos cuenta cuál es el proceso para hacer sus ilustraciones ✏️❤️

Y tú, cuéntanos… ¿cómo es tu proceso creativo? 👇

#CreativeProcess #Illustration #WomenInIllustration
936 23
"I actually prefer to draw on small,  screenless tablets..."⁣
@dewpearl_art ✍️😍🪄⁣
We love Jenny's take on the #WacomIntuos. ⁣
Are you also a pen tablet lover? ⁣
#wacom #wacomart #wacomintuos #digitalart #digitalpainting #illustration #drawingtablet
895 42
Get ready for an unparalleled experience at @dokomi_expo 2024! 🚀

Join us for an exclusive presentation featuring Wacom’s CEO, Nobu Ide, and Celsys’ CEO, Kei Narushima. (@clipstudioofficial)

Dive into the future of digital creativity as Nobu and Kei share their visionary insights, innovative strategies, and the latest advancements in digital art technology. 

Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a seasoned professional this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

🎤 Join our special guests on stage on Saturday, 29th from 14:15-15:30.

Mark your calendar and be part of this inspiring session at Dokomi 2024. See you there! 🙌🏻

#Dokomi2024 #WacomAtDokomi
451 3
Durability meets Creativity ✍🏻💥

The NEW Wacom Movink is crafted with precision, merges sleek design with robust materials, making it an ideal companion for any creative workflow.

Get yours in the link in bio!

#WacomMovink #CreativeProfessionals #CreativesOnTheGo
342 8
Studio reset with 3D artist, @champagne_corpse 🤍🖤⁣
Do you thrive in chaos or do you keep a pretty organized workspace? 
Shot by @filmswave / @nohatemale
#wacom #digitalart #3dart #studio #studiotour #cleaning #cleanwithme #wacomworkspace #wacomcintiq
188 11
Enjoy the watercolor sketch made by @mattheathart using the new Wacom Movink 🚀

Feel free to tag us with the hashtag #MadewithWacom in your work so we can feature you next ✍️

1181 14
A day in the life of @moment.series with the perfect creative partner #WacomMovink 🚀

Designed specially to effortlessly fit into any bag, making it easy to take it with you everywhere 💫 

How does your daily routine look like?

#WacomMovink #CreativeProfessionals #CreativesOnTheGo
226 4