The Way We Work
December 22, 2009 by Tamara Rice

Chances are, your clients will be too swamped with office parties, last-minute shopping, and time off to be checking in with you over the next two weeks. But that doesn’t mean you are off the hook, whether or not you are taking a break of your own. Remember to keep the lines of communication open over the holidays and you’ll keep your clients happy!

  • Holiday Greetings. Send a warm, but politely professional e-mail or card to your clients this week, wishing them a happy holiday season. (Just not so elaborate or wordy that they’ll wonder how you found the time!)sad christmas freelancer
  • Twitter Updates. Now is not the occasion to tweet about how you wish you could have taken a holiday, but Client X just doesn’t pay you enough. Be positive, whether tweeting for the client or tweeting for yourself. A good attitude gets noticed!
  • Facebook Updates. Again, keep things upbeat and focused, whether or not your client is watching. If it’s your private account, say what you want, just don’t say it when you are on the clock and logged into your work room!
  • Voicemail. Make sure your outgoing voicemail message reflects any vacation days you are taking, and change it back to normal the minute you are done! If you aren’t taking days off, still give yourself a cheerful holiday greeting that states your work hours over the next two weeks.
  • Phone calls. Don’t call your clients if they are taking time off. Unless they have specifically asked you to or you’ve encountered a huge issue, you really don’t want to interrupt their holiday celebrations with work questions.
  • E-mails. E-mail your client a status update on your projects, so when she returns to work, she can get back to you (and notice you’ve been working!). But don’t make the mistake of filling your client’s in box with endless e-mails, since it will overwhelm her when she returns–and it will make you look needy and incompetent. 
  • Mail. Don’t let holiday mail snafus get in the way of your work. If things must be mailed, mail them priority or overnight. Sure, everyone understands that mail takes time during the holidays. But you should be working to impress your clients with your diligence, not your complacency.

Casual christmas shopping

Lastly, even if you are working through the holidays, do take some time–even if it’s just a day–to set work aside and be with the ones you love. It’s only work, after all, and it will still be there the next time you open your laptop.



Working from home can either liberate you or weigh you down — it’s all about how you do it. Having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work. Here at oDesk, you’ll find the tips and tools to do it right.

– Tamara

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.