June 10, 2024

Why Community Building is Important for Remote UX Designers and Researchers

Written By: Nedu Achebe

When the pandemic hit, and our commute to work involved walking from our bed to get our laptop and then walking back to our bed again, this concept of ‘working remotely’ (new to some, familiar to others!) was glorious. Soon enough, we couldn’t imagine working any other way; we were thrilled by the idea of never sitting in morning traffic again. 

With pandemic times long behind us, many businesses have continued to adopt a remote working model. Although remote work offers many clear benefits, this work structure has a few drawbacks. One notable drawback is the challenge remote UX designers and researchers face in finding and maintaining a sense of community.

How can remote UX designers and researchers overcome the feeling of isolation? What strategies can enhance connectivity and collaboration despite physical distances? As an entirely remote company, we have years of experience in the remote work department and are ready to help!

This blog post will answer these questions and dive into: 

  • The Pros and Cons of Remote Work as UX Designers and Researchers
  • The Importance and Impact of a UX Community
  • How to Maximize the Potential of a Design Community as a Remote Worker


Pros and Cons of Remote Work as UX Designers and Researchers

While remote work has disadvantages, it also boasts a handful of wonderful advantages, with many UX designers favouring remote work and actively seeking these opportunities.

We’ve gathered some of the pros and cons of remote work for UXers below, along with some tips to help you combat those cons.


Pros: The most apparent advantage of working remotely is its unparalleled flexibility. Some employers may require you to work within the typical 9 to 5 schedule, but in many cases, you can shift your hours to work best for you. This new sense of agency over your work life is empowering and can increase productivity and job satisfaction. Designers can work when they feel the most creative and don’t necessarily have to push through periods of ‘creative block’ where inspiration is lacking big time.  

Cons:​​ Remote work offers increased flexibility but also entails greater responsibility for managing our time. As remote workers, we must excel in planning schedules, showcasing our value, and keeping ourselves accountable. This work structure requires a high level of self-discipline and organization to ensure our contributions are visible and valued.

With great power comes great responsibility, or should we say, with great flexibility comes great responsibility. 



Pros: Remote working has introduced us to many savvy modes of digital communication, offering a new and fresh perspective on how we interact. Those within remote-work teams are especially mindful of their digital communications’ frequency and format. Because of this, meetings are often very time-conscious, with other non-urgent information neatly packaged into emails for efficiency.

Cons: A dependency on digital tools for communication can lead to misunderstandings and lost information, with communicative nuances sometimes going overlooked. Digital communication can also make staying updated on changes in company culture and project developments challenging, which may leave you feeling disconnected from your team.


Location and Social Life

Pros: With geographical constraints no longer limiting your work, you can access a wider array of projects and collaborations, enhancing your exposure and experience in the global market. The sky’s the limit!

Plus, no longer having to commute to work saves significant time, which can be redirected toward personal interests, family, and self-care practices. This extra time can significantly enhance your overall well-being and help reduce burnout and stress. 

Cons: Humans are fundamentally social creatures, and without a shared office space, replicating those quick casual water cooler chats can be challenging. That being said, these conversations can still take place over Zoom— they might just need more intentional and coordinated communication from both parties. 


  • Turn those webcams on! Make an effort to schedule coffee chats over Zoom regularly. At Outwitly, we find that having coffee chats and 1:1s regularly makes all the difference. 
  • Get outside and plan a meetup with a co-worker once in a while. Although the Outwitly team spans the nation, we try to meet whenever we’re in each other’s city.

Some extra reading:

Check out WFH Research to learn more about the transition to remote work, including current-day stats, graphs, and market research on working from home. 

Despite the challenges of remote work, a supportive, online community can significantly ease these difficulties. Let’s look at how engaging with a UX community can benefit and transform your remote career. 


An image of a woman working, with a message to access a free webinar about making the leap from full-time employee to contractor in UX and HCD.


The Importance and Impact of a UX Community

Belonging to a UX community offers support, enhances industry connections, enriches skills, unlocks new opportunities, and elevates your overall well-being; all essential for flourishing in a remote UX career.

We’ve rounded up the top 6 reasons why UX communities are beneficial and essential for remote UXers:

  • Support – Working from home every day can get lonely. Connecting with a vibrant online community can ease these feelings and bridge you with peers who understand the unique challenges of remote work. This connection also cultivates a safe learning space to share experiences and celebrate each other’s successes.
  • Professional and Personal Growth – Communities act as catalysts for professional and personal growth. By participating in industry discussions, you can assert yourself as a thought leader, opening doors to opportunities like guest blogging and even getting involved in hosting online events, like webinars or Q&A panels!
  • Collaboration, Education, and Feedback – Online communities introduce you to collaborative opportunities that extend beyond local boundaries, allowing you to have a taste of projects around the world. Communities are also the perfect place to go to if you are struggling with a design problem and need some advice. A fellow community member might have that golden nugget of wisdom you need to tackle your project challenge. Or, you might have the answer to someone else’s UX challenge!

You are both a student and a teacher in a UX community. These communities are fantastic spaces to share your knowledge and expertise while continuously learning and adapting to new industry trends, which is crucial in the ever-evolving field of UX design.

  • Building Confidence – Without the in-person work environment, we might miss out on colleague encouragement and the chance to celebrate small victories together. However, being in a community can help diminish feelings of imposter syndrome and connect you to others feeling the same way. UX communities are especially great for confidence building because they are great spaces to share your portfolios and receive feedback. The UX community is very uplifting and always open to helping you out.
  • Engagement and Connectivity – Being a part of a UX community as a remote worker means that when you do have the chance to come together in person, the experience is even more genuine and memorable than you could imagine.

Many companies, like Shopify, have noticed the importance of establishing a connected team and are introducing in-person activities and events into their company culture. Shopify calls their intentional, in-person team gatherings “bursts.” These are curated moments where the company brings their remote team together for a brief period to build connections and solve problems, says Shopify President Harley Finkelstein.

At Outwitly, we also acknowledge the importance of getting together in person. Last year, we gathered our remote team and made our way down to Arizona for some quality team-building time (and to enjoy the heat). Take a look here

If you want to learn more about remote-work retreats or want to organize one of your own, this article from FlexOS talks about planning top-tier company retreats. 

  • Supporting Your Well-being – Finally, communities can significantly ease the stress and mental strain often associated with remote work. Online communities can give you a break from the ‘always-on’ mentality and can rekindle any lost passion for UX. Many other UX’ers in these communities are also remote workers, offering a great outlet for venting frustrations or negative feelings to someone who truly understands.

Let’s be clear: feeling stressed, isolated, and lonely can be expected with remote working, but if these feelings become too overpowering, we suggest reaching out to a trusted loved one or seeking professional help.

Online communities also connect you with professionals from different departments, industries, and sometimes even countries. This diversity of expertise introduces new perspectives and ideas, stimulating your creativity and keeping you informed. 


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How to Maximize the Potential of a Design Community as a Remote Worker

Even though the UX industry is relatively new and constantly changing, you can be assured that many different types of communities are waiting for you to discover! Whether you prefer forums, meetups, or workshops, there’s a community out there tailored to suit your interests.

Now, which type of community might be best for you, and why? Here are some kinds of UX online communities and their unique benefits for you to explore: 

  • Slack: This platform hosts online communities for various niches and is perfect for anyone seeking a more specialized space. UX designers and researchers can join Slack groups focused on UX topics, design thinking, or user research methodologies to connect with like-minded professionals and exchange ideas.
  • Meetups: Both local and virtual meetups play a crucial role in enhancing your professional network. These events offer opportunities to exchange insights, learn best practices, and maintain a personal connection with the UX community.
    • Search for a meetup taking place near you using Meetup.
  • Co-working Spaces: Explore co-working spaces to meet professionals from all corners of the industry. Spaces like WeWork or even your local cafe could connect you with local professionals and help you feel a part of a community. Whether you are meeting UX-specific folks or not, you are still gaining that valuable cross-industry exposure.
  • Interdisciplinary Groups: Speaking of cross-industry exposure… consider expanding your horizons even further with interdisciplinary groups! Venturing beyond UX-related communities and joining interdisciplinary tech groups or creative collectives can uncover unique collaboration opportunities. Engaging in other fields can diversify your approach to UX projects and ’round out’ your skillset as a professional. Check out the groups below – they have active Slack channels and sometimes even conferences!
    • OneTeamGov – A global community for those interested in tech and gov.
    • Product Tank – A great platform and resource for finding product design, development, and UX professionals. Outwitly is a member of Product Tank’s Montreal community! 
  • Conferences: Educational events are fantastic for those keen on learning and perfecting their craft. Tech-focused programs and conferences enhance your skills and connect you to skilled professionals and local designers. 

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Remember, the key is to be active! Whichever communities you choose to join, the best way to maximize the benefits of these groups is to be an active member and participant. 

As Coretta Scott King once beautifully put it, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

When in a community, offer your expertise, be an active listener, and be open to learning from others. Take an active approach by following these three tips:

  • Offer Valuable Insights: Don’t just lurk; share your knowledge, answer questions thoughtfully, and offer constructive feedback in discussions where applicable.
  • Start Conversations: Don’t be afraid to initiate threads about your own design challenges or questions. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help and share their expertise.
  • Showcase Your Work: Many online communities allow you to share your portfolio or design projects. This is a fantastic way to receive feedback, build your reputation, and connect with collaborators.


Remote work can present a unique set of challenges, but having a community by your side can make all the difference. ​Relying on a supportive, passionate, and lively online community can make your remote work days even brighter.

We love having you in our Outwitly community and would love to hear from you! Stay connected through our Instagram and LinkedIn.