There’s no question that last year’s lockdowns supercharged the shift toward working from home. Skeptical supervisors who’d worried that productivity would plummet when their staff wasn’t in the office were surprised that their workers were often more productive in their living rooms. Collaborating wasn’t seamless but videoconferencing tools made meetings across time zones possible. For years surveys suggested that working from home was far less stressful than going into the office. Now even as some companies are encouraging employees to return, some staffers not only don’t want to go back to the office but they don’t want to keep working from home either. They’re seeking a third way. They want the world to be their workplace.
Many of remote work’s advantages were drained by the pandemic. Parents of school-aged children who were learning remotely endured heightened distractions. Coffee shops and co-working spaces were limited. Travel was restricted. Now that many countries are beginning to reopen, it’s natural to ask how to work remotely and travel. Here’s some tips.
Keep Everyone Informed
Generally speaking if you have a single employer you will want to let them know your plans. Suddenly emailing from Barbados is not a good idea. There will probably be numerous policies to navigate. You don’t want to lose your job in the midst of a trip. In this case, it’s definitely easier to be self-employed. Still, you’ll want to give your clients a heads up. If you are more difficult to reach or there is an unavoidable obstacle to meeting a deadline, being open about your plans will build a fair amount of goodwill. Truth is, lots of people have wondered how to work remotely and travel. Far fewer have actually done it. Chances are they’ll be impressed by your courage and sense of adventure. They’ll likely bend over backwards to help.
Don’t Think of it as a Vaycay
If you’re wondering how to work remotely and travel, a key component is recognizing that you are working. If you start most holidays with noontime Daiquiris, you might want to make yours a virgin. Set a schedule and stick to it. This may seem to take the joy out of it but you’ll have more fun if you’re actually getting your work done on time. Then you can take off afternoons to explore museums or enjoy an early day at the pool. Connect with sites like Nomadlist –– a community of people who travel and work remotely.
Similarly if you have travel companions, you’ll want to book larger accommodations than you would otherwise. You absolutely need to have a dedicated work space –– ideally a room all its own. Or you can rent a coworking space which will help your mindset –– you can actually follow a routine of leaving for work. Don’t rely on coffee shops and other places offering free wi-fi. The internet service could be spotty; the security is likely lax. You may want to invest in a VPN subscription which will cloak your location. Also, consider places off the beaten path which will not only be less expensive but offer a more authentic experience.
Be Prepared for Odd Hours
Travel often involves leaving entire time zones behind. Accept that you’ll be jet lagged for the first day or two after arriving. If you’re an employee, you may need to stay more or less on the same schedule as the office where you once worked. If that’s Eastern Standard Time, be prepared for some three a.m. phone calls.
If you aren’t currently working remotely, you may want to start with a side hustle. Once you build up your client list, you’ll be able to do the job from just about anywhere. The world will not just be your oyster, but your office as well.
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