Work relationships have been commonplace for as long as the office-job has existed. Oh you know what I’m talking about: that special someone who brightens your day and gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. A friend who lends moral support, makes you laugh, and provides guidance during the hours of 9am – 6pm, Monday through Friday.
I have a confession…I have a long-distance work boyfriend.
“What is a long distance work boyfriend?” you may ask. As a small digital agency working with a wide array digital platforms, Verbal+Visual will often bring on specialists to help with a specific project’s features and requirements. Using external freelancers allows the agency to stay lean while having access to the high level of talent and expertise necessary to work on a diverse array of complex projects. Recently we found ourselves in need of a Shopify specialist to help with custom integrations for an e-commerce site: cue my long-distance work boyfriend.
For the record I refer to him as “boyfriend” as opposed to “husband” due to the fact that I had never worked with him prior, and needed to first make that meaningful connection.
There are some very key aspects to make any relationship a success: communication, trust, humor and mutual respect. As my work boyfriend and I began our journey together there were tools and technologies that helped us to foster these qualities, and stay grow close despite the long distance between New York City and India.
Communication | Skype
- As anyone in an LDR know, the wonders of modern technology make it immensely easier to stay in constant communication with your partner. Skype was our tool of choice, and allowed us to communicate any time during my day, his night, or vice versa. Given the time difference we both had to be flexible on timing, as there were many an evening or weekend that I needed him right away.
Trust | Asana
- Here at Verbal+Visual I rely on Asana as my primary project management tool for both our in-office staff, and outside contractors. I love Asana for its user-friendly platform that easily allows me to assign tasks and deadlines to anyone assigned to a specific project. Ensuring that my boyfriend understood my expectations was vital, and being able to monitor his progress from my end made it much easier to trust one another. I knew he would never lie to me.
Humor | Emojis
- With tight deadlines and the unexpected bugs that inevitably arise during any development endeavor, it’s important to mix in some humor whenever possible to lighten the mood. Keeping our communication casual and throwing in emojis brought a smile to our faces no matter how stressful the situation around us. My boyfriend has a great sense of humor.
- Respecting one another can be considered the foundation to all relationships in one’s life. In this particular relationship, establishing that respect for one another’s talents was a vital first step in building our partnership. There really is not one tool that can help foster respect, instead it comes from getting to know and understand a person and how they work. By mutually respecting one another’s job functions we were able to work together seamlessly.
The project my work boyfriend and I collaborated on ended a few months back, and it’s been a bittersweet journey returning to work without his wonderful work ethic and constant support.
So what did I learn from my work-relationship experience? Freelancers have a lot to live up to if they want to claim me as their work girlfriend!