My sister Leah and I are identical twins born less than a minute apart. We’ve spent most of our 23 years on Earth together, and even shared a room until our junior year of college. Considering all of that, I think it’s only natural that we share an eye for design. We decided to pursue graphic design together at Flagler College, and during those four years we would always say, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a place to work together?” The conversation would always end with us deciding that the likelihood of finding a company that needed two graphic designers and didn’t have any issues hiring siblings would be slim-to-none.
Turns out it wasn’t as impossible as we thought.
Fast forward a couple years, after both of us worked freelance, contracting and part-time jobs, and we are both working full-time as graphic designers at Design Extensions. We saw fit to sit down and compile a list of ten things we’ve learned in the past few months of working, literally, side-by-side. We feel like this list is full of tips for work besties—or any tight-knit office—looking to reflect on the benefits of teamwork.
1. A second set of eyes is always best.
No one is perfect. We catch each other’s mistakes and typos all the time. And when it’s design work that I’m stuck on, there’s no one else’s opinion I value more.
2. It doesn’t matter how much you work together, something new be can always learned when you collaborate.
Even though we currently work together, we still have different experiences and knowledge from previous jobs. Now that we’re working on many of the same projects, we’re teaching each other all of the things we learned when we were apart.
3. Working together doesn’t count as quality time.
Even though we spend time together during the day, we still need time to be ourselves outside of work. We try to have dinner together and have full conversations about things unrelated to work.
4. You can’t always communicate at work like you do at home.
There will be consequences. You know that nickname you got called as a kid? Well, now everyone in the office just can’t get enough of it. So get unless you just love being called ‘sissy’ or ‘shann-shann’, maybe just stick to your regular first names!
5. A little sibling rivalry can be a good thing.
We all want to be our best self, but sometimes we need that little extra push. Good thing siblings and best friends know a thing or two about tough love. Competition is healthy and often helps you create your best work.
6. Trade places when you can. You’ll learn a thing or two.
Just because we work for the same company doesn’t mean we have the same daily roles or interact with the same clients. Each role has it’s own challenges and knowing the source of work-related frustrations is a great way to resolve workplace conflict before it even happens. You learn the meaning of the phrase ‘The struggle is real’ for each other and know how to best help one another.
7. It’s not all fun and games. At the end of the day, there are still deadlines we need to meet.
It easy to get sidetracked and talk about all of the millions of other things we share in common outside of work, but at the end of the day we have to remember one important thing we share in common: We value being professional with our work and our clients. Deadlines are in place for a reason and we are expected to meet them.
8. The Pause Clause: You can’t bring your conflict to work.
This one takes some time to learn. Siblings fight, we know this. But when you work together that line between the ‘sibling you’ and the ‘work you’ can’t be drawn in the sand. You have to learn to set aside differences for the benefit of your coworkers and your work.
9. Kitten GIFs for days. Your other coworkers will never understand you like your sibling (or office BFF) does.
A question we often got asked growing up is “Do you have your own way of communicating with each other?” And while the answer used to be “No,” today we often communicate via cute kitten GIFs thanks to technology and the internet. When we send them to each other it means “Hey, I need a break from this task, now look at this cute kitten with me” and then for a few minutes we’re laughing over what looks like nonsense to our co workers, but to us, is pure gold.
10. Working together is nice, but being apart of a work family is even better.
One of our core values at Design Extensions is Family. We’ve come to learn that ‘Family’ is more than your brother or sister, it’s the people you spend your time, your successes, and your frustrations with. Our team feels more like a family some days than it does a traditional work place, and we love that.
If you want to come meet our work family, contact us today. We have a full team of web pros that specialize in all things marketing, websites and branding, and would love to help grow your business!