I thought about calling this "Care & Feeding," but that made me sound like a gerbil—or a mountain lion.
The simple fact is, we'll spend more time working apart than we will in the same place. After many years of working with remote teams and clients, I've learned that it's best for both of us to be upfront and honest about our preferences and expectations to prevent misunderstandings. I'll go first.
You are my only client—sometimes
We both know I’m seeing other people. That’s the nature of independent employment. When I’m actively working on your projects, though, you have my undivided attention. All of the tips on this and the following page are here to make sure that’s always true.
Emergency = fire, flood, explosion, Death, or declaration of war
Most of what businesses call “emergencies,” I've found to be the results of poor planning or the symptoms of greed. In reality, there are very few true emergencies that derail communications and marketing activities. (The only one I've ever experienced was 9/11, when I was working at a TV station.) We can anticipate most scheduling conflicts, quick turnarounds, or unusual business needs. Let’s plan ahead, together, to manage them.
Life is good (and messy)
Never apologize for the commitments you have outside of work. They’re what make you interesting. Illnesses, family events, vacations, Springsteen concerts, and summer Fridays—among many other things—are not interruptions. They're the good stuff. I’ll plan around yours if you’ll plan around mine.
Space may be infinite, but time is not
Each weekday, I try to spend about half my time completing focused work on existing projects. To preserve that schedule, I prefer to schedule most calls between noon and 4 p.m. Eastern. That means morning for the West Coasters and mid-day in the Mountains and Midwest. (See Scheduling Tips for call and meeting specifics.)
Email is still around because it works
You’re welcome to email me whenever it’s convenient. On weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern, I’ll reply within a few hours, at most. On evenings, weekends, holidays, and other days when I've told you I'll be unavailable, I’ll get back to you on the next business day. When we start working together, I'll ask for your normal business hours. If I email you outside them, I don’t expect a response until you’re back at your desk.